Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Fort Baker: Battery Yates
Battery Yates as viewed from Battery Spencer, October 2000
Battery Yates was constructed in 1903 and armed with six M1902 3-inch rifles mounted on M1902 pedastal mounts 1905. Four guns from Battery Yates were removed in 1942. Two were emplaced on top of old Fort Point and two were emplaced at Gravelly Beach, for use as Anti-Motor Torpedo Boat guns. Later the Gravely Beach guns were also moved to Fort Point. By 1943, the remaining guns were removed and scrapped.
Battery Yates
by Justin Ruhge
Battery Yates was six 3-inch, 15-pounder, breech-loading rifles mounted on Model 1902 pedestal mounts, Nos. 18 to 23 manufactured by Bethlehem Steel Company.
This battery was provided with an open crow's nest fire-control station and an open coincidence rangefinder station having a 15-foot coincidence rangefinder.
This battery was named in General Order 194 dated December 27, 1904, in honor of Captain George W. Yates, Seventh Cavalry, killed in action by Sioux Indians on June 25, 1876 at the Little Big Horn River, Montana (Custer's Last Stand).
Completed and turned over to the artillery troops on June 6, 1905, this was the last of the Endicott-period batteries to be constructed at Fort Baker.
Battery Yates
by Chuck Wofford
This battery was named in GO 94 dated December 27,1904, in honor of Capt. George W. Yates, Seventh Cavalry killed in action by Sioux Indian on June 25 1876 at the Little Big Horn river Montana (The Custer debacle).


This battery was armed with six 3-inch 15-pounder guns model B/L#1902 M1, nos 18,19,20,21,22, and 23 and made by the Bethlehem Steel Company. The gun cost $2,000.00, with a range of 11,100 yards. The following are the specification.

These gun were mounted on barbette pedestal mounts, Model 1902, nos 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23, and were 60 mounted, 60 emplaced, relocations until 1942. It took 10 bolts to mount it to circle of 3' 1", Parapet height was 3", and the center to parapet was variable. Note: uneven bolt distribution around circle, often a center pipe for electrical. They were made by Bethlehem Steel Company at a cost of $2,500.00 and weighted 4,075 lbs.

The following information of Gun Model 1902 M1 #18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23 and Carriage Model # 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. Emplacement #1 through # 6. The reference height of the crest=75.1 ft above mean low water.
Sights: Model of sight for this battery was a Model 1902.

The guns in general shared a number of features, the principal one of which was--as there generic designation indicates the ability to delivery fire at high rates, as much as 20 or 30 rounds per minute for short periods by this battery. The projectiles weighted 15 lbs. the projectiles are ordinarily stored and transported to the gun in the form of complete cartridges, put up in metallic cases similar to the cartridges used in the Infantry rifle.

They are shipped to the battery in wooden boxes or cases containing several rounds. The projectiles are stored in rows along the wall of the shell room. It is kept in the form that it was received until just before it is to be used, when the boxes are broken open. Its storage, therefore consist simply in piling up the boxes in the most convenient arrangement. In form these weapons were quite simple: light guns mounted on carriages technically classified as barbette, though actually nothing more that pedestals, in addition to the gun itself, the mounts supported the necessary elevation and traversing machinery plus the recoil and counter-recoil appliances, which were usually of a hydraulic-spring mount combination. The ammunition supply for this battery was stored in the magazine which was 9 x 15, there was 6, of them and held 2400 each. The battle allowance for this battery was 2400 rounds of fire, the War Reserve was 2400.

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. This battery was started in April 1903, with the clearing and grading of the site of the battery, which took four day. Then the excavation started with the removal of approximately 2800 yards of sand and dirt, going down to a hard clay shelf which was done by graders, and took several weeks, as this work was being done the forms for the concrete were started. On the timber used in making the forms, in all cases dressed lumber will be used. The reinforcing steel will be measured by the pound in place and ready for pouring concrete and will include allowance for minimum laps, splices and hooks, if any item needs to be embedded in the concrete such as bolts, anchor, pipes or other embedded items are firmly and securely fastened in place indicated on the plans, in this battery there was used over 8,200 lbs of reinforcing steel bar used.

At this time the pouring of the foundations has started, the gun block being the first generally poured. One consideration which increases the difficulty of laying the foundation, are weights. The parapet are solid, gun platforms and gun blocks are lower than the parapet, in the rear are loading platforms, in this medium size battery, emplacements rooms were placed under the loading platforms so that the weight per square foot of foundation is equally distributed. It must be largely designed to accord with the Ordnance Dept. drawing of the carriage, in fact for a few details such as drainage, bringing in the electric cable, ect the Engineer Dept. in preparing gun block design, has but little freedom or responsibility. In a medium barbette emplacement as was Battery Yates are very simple. in this battery there was over 2984 cu yds of concrete used and about the same amount of finnishing concrete. After the forms were removed, One last thing was left to do, and that is the using of sand on the front and flanks of the lower floor of batteries, the sand was filled in front of the concrete, then when a shell was fired at the battery it has been found that a projectile entering a mass of sand appears to have a tendency to deflect upward and to leave the sand with out penetrating very far. There was 764 cu. yds of back fill, and top fill, which was made from the material from the excavation and all the slopes were covered with loam. In contrast to a lot of the earlier batteries this one was built as separate monoliths in order to guard against unequal setting. The elevation of this battery is 76', and the distance between the guns is 42 feet.

The battery was 240 ' across and 47 ' in depth. There were two 7' X 16' Storerooms, and three 7' X 21' Tool Rooms, and a Guard Room -11'.6" x 21' and one Oil Room-- 7' X 16'. and a Communication Officer Room 16' x 17' ( this is an approximately size as this is a funny shaped room, see electric wiring plans # 42, sheet 3, dated Dec. 1915 for the shape or room or R.C.W. dated Dec. 1919, which is between emplacement # 2 and #3.

When the structure was completed the district Engineer officer prepares the so called "transfer drawing" then he and the local Coast Artillery officer , make an inspection of the structure , and all is in order and the keys, were transferred to the Artillery commander. The inspection of the finished battery was made on Dec. 1903, and transferred on June 8 1905, at a cost of $41,406.82.

Fire Control: It had an open crow's nest B.C. station and a coincidence range finder (CRF) station, having a 15 foot C.R.F. There was no plotting room.
Miscellaneous: It had running water, and sewer, with syphon latrine, ( they were approximately 80' North of emplacement # 6 ) and it data transmission was a telephone, It had natural ventilation using 6" vents from the magazines terminating in traverse wall. Traverse in Azimuth In all 6 emplacements Left and Right was "All - around - fire". Trunnion elevation in battery was 76.4, Datum M.L.L.W.
Powers: Electrification for the battery came from Duncan which needed 2.9 kw, there were no motors in this battery. This plant was placed in storage in 1935.

Abandonment: Although its guns were small, its history is long, it saw service from 1905 until 1946, at that time April 22 1946, the guns at Battery Yates, were cut up and turned into the Salvage Officer per letter H.q. 6th Army, March 26 1946, File 47 GMMOR. Considering the two nearby Batteries, Duncan and Cavallo, it complements the historic setting.

Report of Completed Works (1919)
Image Courtesy of the Coast Defense Study Group
Report of Completed Works - Seacoast Fortification: Battery Yates
Battery Yates in 2000
October 2000
Additional Online Histories:
Harbor Defenses of San Francisco - A Field Guide 1890 to 1950
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Updated 20 December 2015