Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Fort Barry: Batteries Samuel Rathbone and James McIndoe
Battery Rathbone in action. Image courtesy of Chuck Wofford
Battery Samuel Rathbone was the second six inch barbette battery at Fort Barry and was also armed with Model 1900 weapons, serial numbered 19, 29, 33, and 34. These were manufatured by the Watervliet Arsenal. They were mounted on Model 1900 barbette carriages serial numbered 42, 43, and 44 from the Builders Iron Foundry and serial number 26 from the Waterlievt Arsenal. War Department General Order 194 dated 27 December 1904, named the battery in honor of Lieutenant Sanual B. Rathbone, U.S. Artillerists, who died of wounds received in the attack on Queenstown Heights, Upper Canada in 1812.
In 1922, Battery Rathbone was divided for better management of the weapons, and the two guns on the left flank were named for James F. McIndoe, an engineer officer who served in France as a brigadier general, where he died in 1918.
During World War II the guns from these two batteries were used to defend the minefields outside the Golden Gate from minesweepers.
The battery was inactivated in 1945 and its guns scrapped in 1948.
M1900 six-inch rapid-fire gun
Technical Data
This battery was named in GO 194 December 27, 1904, in honor of Lt. Samuel B. Rathbone, US Artillerists, who died of wounds received in the attack on Queentown Heights, Upper Canada in 1812, in 1922 the battery was divided into two for better management, the left flank was named in GO 13, March 22, 1922, James McIndoe, an engineer officer, was a brigadier general serving in France where he died in 1918.
This battery was mounted with four 6-inch rapid-fire guns, model 1900 nos 19, 29, 33, and 34, manufactured at the Watervliet Arsenal. The following specifications are for the Model 1900. Weight of the gun was 19,114 lbs and the gun cost 9,000.00, with a range of 17,000 yards, Ratthbone#1 left & right=all-around-fire, #2 right=290o left=48o McIndoe #1 left, 289o right 47, McIndoe #2 left=288o right=48.
The following is information on the Model 1900:
The carriage for this model gun was a Barbette model # 1900, nos 42, 43 and 44) from Builders Iron Foundry and # 26 from the Watervliet Arsenal. The carriage weighted 26,450 with a range of 17,000 yards, there were 45 built: Original Emplacement: 44 Time Emplaced 1902-1906, reallocations until 1943. It was installed using 16 bolts, Circle of Diameter: 5' Parapet Height: 2'9" Center To Parapet: 3' 6", this battery had groves in platform behind the carriage for increased elevation. The carriage cost (barbette) $11,750.00.
Ammunition Service
As to ammunition storage and service, this battery had a Shell Room and a Powder Room, The movement of ammunition must be very rapid and it is the duty of the Engineer Department to so design it emplacement that each and every step of the ammunition service may be performed with such speed that the ammunition can be carried to the breech of the gun at least as rapidly as it can be loaded into the gun and fired; and so the rate of fire which can be obtained from the gun be limited by consideration other that the functioning of the portion of the ammunition service for which the Engineer Department is responsible. The projectile are stored in rows along the wall of the shell room, with there point to the wall so the bases could be gotten at for placing fuse, the bottom layer of shells where placed in pairs and put on timber skids, and then stacked. There was a trolley rails fastened to the ceilings over the center of gravity of the shells in each row, to start with it was a simple I beam, that dead ended in the wall of the shell room. A tong was lowered over the shell, and hoisted up out of the stack with a chain and pulley and taken out of the shell room. As far as Powder Service, the powder was shipped to the battery in metal cases and stored in racks, that they were shipped in, in most cases, there ends projecting into the passageway. When a cartridge was desired the solder strip was to be pulled of without moving the cartridge case from the rack, this loosens the top of the case and the cartridge is then pulled out, leaving the case still fastened in it proper place. The weight of the shell for this battery was 108 lbs and could easily be carries short distances by hand, when however it needed to be carried a great distance or raised to any considerable height, a mechanical appliance was desirable. The ammunition supply for this battery was stored in the shell room which was 11' x 36' (there were 2 of them) and held 500. The size of the powder magazine was 11'.0" x 36'.0" and held 1414. The battle allowance for this battery was 1200, and its war reserve was 1200 plus 400 HE, which were at the central reserve. There were no hoists needed in this battery.
In a letter of May 8 1905, the Quartermaster Corps will delivery the above to Fort Barry instead of Fort Baker, Jan 9 1936 at Battery Rathbone the 3" Telescopic sights #M1905 #26-52 were cross wires installed in clover leaf reticule, at the same date in Battery McIndoe the same work was done on the same equipment # 26-52 Model 1905.
As with any battery is to be built in any Engineer district, as much information as may be necessary is sent to the district officer.
Work on this battery was authorized on August 17 1901 with the appropriation of $54,000.00. The first thing that was done was road was constructed connecting the two rapid fire batteries with the road leading to the two 12" battery that was built and balloted with the disintegrated rock taken from the two three gun batteries excavation.
The active work of clearing and grading the site for the excavation was well advanced and 25% toward completing. The material encountered was first a 2 foot layer of loose sand, then compact clay tending to rock. It is believed that a ledge will soon be encountered. There was approximately 1,560 cu yds of dirt and sand were removed from the site.
As the excavation went on the building of the forms started, and on the timber used in making the forms, in all cases dressed lumber will be used.
After the forms are built all of the reinforcing including, trolley, Maneuvering Ring, and iron and steel, in the form of I beams for reinforcing ceilings, and in columns for supporting ceilings, for reinforcing concrete, you can use wire mesh, but after 1902 steel deformed bars were standard. Approximately 23,900 lbs of reinforcement metal was used in this battery.
It is the purpose to do the concrete work for the rapid -fire battery from the main mixer plant that was still set up at the two 12" gun battery; hence the active construction had not been pushed to hard, waiting for the larger battery to be finished.
Finely the crew was ready to put in a foundation for the gun blocks, which are generally poured first. This is the portion of the emplacement that supports the gun and the carriage. Its size and mass therefore must such as to make it safe from overturning by the shock of the discharge, the size and shape of the gun block must, of course be such as to fit the carriage and consequently, it must be largely designed to accord with the Ordnance Dept drawings of the carriage, in fact for a few details such as drainage, bringing in the electric cable, etc. the Engineer Dept in preparing gun block design, has but little freedom or responsibility. In this barbette emplacement they were simple, but in the larger emplacement the gun block is very large and complex.
Construction of this battery began in 1903, Another consideration which increases the difficulty of laying the foundation, are weights are unequally distributed, the parapet are solid, gun platforms and gun blocks are lower that the parapet, and the weight of the gun and the carriage are much less than if the gun block was extended upward in solid concrete to the crest of the parapet, in the rear are loading platforms, in this emplacements rooms were placed under the loading platforms so that the weight per square foot of foundation under the loading platform is much less that under the gun block, and the weight per square foot under the gun block is much less that under the parapet. In this battery there was 1,364 cu yd regular concrete, and over 5,180 cu yd of finished concrete used.
The last thing to be down is the using sand on the front and flanks of the lower floor of batteries; the sand was filled in front of the concrete. This battery used 1,159 cu yds of fill on the slopes, and was planted with oats to keep the back fill in place. This battery was completed in 1905, except the electric wiring and setting pedestals, May 1905, 16 shot trucks were received on March 31, 1905.
This battery was 350' across and 80' deep , there was 90' between Gun # 1 and Gun # 2 and 49' between Gun # 2 and Gun # 3, battery was at an elevation of 371. This battery also had 4 Store Rooms , which were 9' X 10' and one was 18' X 26-6', and One Guard Room which was 12' X 10' and a Plotting Room which was 2, one small one on the McIndoe and was 12' X 10' and the other was in the center back between #1 (McIndoe and # 2 Rathbone ) which was 25', there also was a B.C. over the Guard Room and one of the Store Room, in this one and a half story battery, on the Rathbone side, it was the same , except they had the Engine Room 10' X 15" and the Radiator Room, which was 8' x 10', and a B.C. over the top of Engine Room on the Rathbone side.
This battery was transferred on June 8 1905 a cost of $59,038.57. When the structure is completed the district Engineer officer prepares the "transfer drawing" then the Engineer officer and the local Coast Artillery officer, make an inspection of the structure, and all was in order the keys, are transferred to the Artillery commander.
The electrification for this battery was supplied by two standard Engineer Dept 25 k.w. 115 volt d.c. sets, one intended for use and one as a reserve unit, the two to be operated alternately. The Motor Generator # was 183199 & 183193, the Engine # was 5460 & 5457One set will furnish ample power for the battery and fire control, no additional units are needed. This plant is located in the rooms in the rear of the traverse between emplacement #1 and #2 of Battery Rathbone. The existing vertical and horizontal protection is the same as that referred to at the Battery Guthrie /Smith plant, except the outer side wall of the radiator room is not subject to attack. Also the rear walls of both engine and radiator room could be reached by projectiles from vessels approaching the harbor from the northwest. Additional protection for the rear wall of the traverse cannot be provided, however with out extensive construction in order to avoid blocking the entrance to the rooms or else by closing the doors and windows in the rear wall entirely and cutting new doorways to provide entrances to the engine room from interior room of the traverse, no action taken on this project. This plant supplied power for the battery itself, and B Rathbone. In August of 1943, some changes to the electric service was made, these two batteries, had only two gas motor sets, in 1943, commercial power was also installed by OCE or ORD, kw for battle condition were 2.54, there was then also auxiliary power was provided.
Fire Control
The B.C. for this battery was an open crows nest between guns and was subjected to smoke, blast and dust, the elevation of the battery was 371 feet, the B1 was a single dug in station on the right flank, a distance of 300 yards and at an elevation of 342 feet, the B2S2 was at Tennessee Point at an elevation of 200 feet for both of these two batteries. This station ample observation for horizontal or vertical base tracking over the entire water area and vertical base tracking over the beaches (length of baseline B1 with B2S2, 7200 yards) on the Mcindoe side of the battery a B1 single dug in station 160 yards on the left flank at an elevation of 375 feet, the plotting room was located inside the battery, and was equipped with a Whistler-Hearn M1904 plotting board which should be replaced with a 110 o M1915 plotting board. A B station was constructed for this battery at a point about 200 yards westerly from emplacement # 1 and one of the rooms in the traverse between emplacement 3 and 4 was altered to serve as a plotting room for the battery. In March 28 1919, a letter from the War Dept it was requested that plans be submitted for fire control system for this battery which will permit this four gun , to operated as a 2 gun battery. These plans should include a station for a D.P.F. instrument and a plotting room for each 2 guns which are to constitute a battery. Rooms in the battery emplacement should be utilized for a plotting room.
In November 23, 1923, had some modifications, enlarging the plotting room and alteration to the B.C. for both batteries. The Traverse in Azimuth (Rathbone) was Emplacement #1 Left & Right "All Round Fire" Emplacement #2 Left 290 & Right 48. Traverse in Azimuth (Mcindoe) Emplacement # 1-Left 289 & Right 47, Emplacement #2 Left 289 & Right 48.
Trunnion elevation in battery #1-371.4-#2- 371.0 (Both Rathbone) Datum plane M.L.L.W. was connected to sewer and water, with a siphon latrine, a telephone was used for data transmission, ventilated by natural draft two 4"x8" flues from magazine extending through roof in one 10" flue terminating in metal cap, the trunion in battery McIndoe was 371.0, the datum plane was M.L.L.W. it also was connected to water and sewer, with a syphon latrine, with a telephone for data transmission, also had the same draft as it sister battery Rathbone.
The armament was scrapped with the final abandonment of all the seacoast batteries in the late 40's. Because of it mission to cover the submarine mine fields it was one of the last batteries to be disarmed after WW 11.

Layout of Batteries Rathbone and McIndoe, 1943
Drawings courtesy of Mark Bernow

Batteries Rathbone and McIndoe Today
Photos taken October 2000