Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Camp Seaside
(Ventura Group, Harbor Defenses of Los Angeles: Ventura Tactical Battery 2)
This site consisted of two parcels of land located on what is today the Ventura County Fairgrounds and the neighboring Emma Wood State Beach. The Panama Mounts are still in place although erosion as taken there toll and they are below the high water mark on the beach. The Army Corps of Engineers' Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) program considers these two separate cases although in reality they are on installation separated by the Ventura River.

Corps of Engineers History of Camp Seaside
The 251st Coast Artillery Regiment of the California National Guard (CNG) first utilized Seaside Park (assumed by lease) in 1930 as the site of their 2-week annual field training. The local CNG unit (i.e.,196th Field Artillery Regiment) acquired portions of the site (namely the warehouse and Pavilion) for full-time use from the County of Ventura by lease agreement on 1 May 1936. Conditions of the lease agreement between the 196th and the County included use of the Pavilion by the 251st Coast Artillery during their annual training. Formal occupancy of the entire Park (approximately 42 acres) by the 251st occurred by lease agreement between the County of Ventura and the War Department on 17 August 1940, just prior to its change to Federal Service (Army).

As a mobile anti-aircraft artillery unit, the use of the site-in the 1930s by the 251st Coast Artillery Regiment was predominantly bivouac training. Artillery practice for 3-inch and 37mm anti-aircraft guns as well as .50-caliber machine guns was conducted off site.

Authorized use of the park by the 196th Field Artillery Regiment (redesignated 144th Field Artillery Regiment) as the local National Guard unit included the use of the Pavilion as an armory and drill hall, and the warehouse for truck storage. During World War II, the site was used as the command post for all the artillery batteries and searchlight units between Point Mugu and Santa Barbara. Improvements during the War included the construction of a number of buildings (barracks, small mess halls with unlined grease traps, tent houses), three grease racks, an incinerator, and numerous gravel roads.

Use of the Pavilion and warehouse by the 144th Field Artillery Regiment, subsequent to original lease, was terminated on 17 March 1941, due to federalization of the unit. The lease of the site by the War Department was terminated on 15 May 1945. No improvements remain from military use of the site. The present use of the site is primarily for the annual agricultural fair but also includes other weekend exhibits and expositions.

Location of Camp Seaside. Tactical Battery 2 was located across the Ventura River at Bench Mark 14 (BM14)

Source: US Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District

Army Units Assigned to Camp Seaside

 Data Source


 Army of the United States Station List  1 June 1943
56th Coast Artillery Regiment (155mm Truck Drawn) (WDC)
Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Battery
3rd Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Battery
Batteries D and G
ASF - Army Service Forces units AGF - Army Ground Forces AAF - Army Air Forces units WDC - Western Defense Command

Corps of Engineers History - Ventura Tactical Battery 2

The Army acquired use of the property from the County of Ventura by a permit agreement on 4 August 1942. The agreement specified the size of the property as 10 acres.

The site was initially established by the 144th Field Artillery Regiment, later to be replaced by the 56th Coast Artillery Regiment. The main purpose of the site was for coastal defense but activities also included rifle range practice and "parade ground" drills. Improvements on the lo-acre site included an undetermined number of buildings of wood-frame and tar-paper construction (at least 21, a rifle range, asphalt road(s), an ammunition magazine, and two Panama gun mounts for two 155-mm guns. Practice firing of the guns included monthly live ammunition firing at towed targets offshore.

3. The permit agreement was terminated by the War Department and custody of the property was returned to the County of Ventura on 15 May 1945. The site is currently the location of the Seaside Wilderness Park, which is part of a joint coastal dune preservation and enhancement project of the City of Ventura, the Nature Conservancy, and the State Department of Parks and Recreation. Remaining Army improvements(i.e., concrete gun mounts) are not beneficially used.


155mm Batteries, Harbor Defenses of Los Angeles
by Justin Ruhge

The first 155-mm battery at Fort MacArthur was Battery Hogsdon. This battery of two 155 mm GPFs was built in 1928 and located in front of the Korean Friendship Bell on the Upper Reservation north of Point Fermin. One of these mounting rings is visible in front of Battery 241. The other is used as part of a playground.

In 1942, a program began to place 155-mm batteries from Santa Barbara to Bolsa Chica. Each battery consisted of two or three mounting rings, known as Panama Mounts, that allowed the guns to be rotated 360 degrees, and underground ammunition storage bunkers and sleeping quarters for the troops. The batteries were transferred in 1943 and 1944 and cost on average about $10,000 each.

Locations of these Panama Mounts and the 155-mm batteries are: Pacific Palisades, Playa Del Rey, El Segundo/Hyperion, Redondo Beach, Rocky Point, Long Point, Fort MacArthur, Bolsa Chica, Costa Mesa, Port Hueneme, Oxnard, Ventura and Santa Barbara. Some of these locations were built for 3 guns but only two were delivered. Some of the installations are still visible in

M1918 155mm Gun
The gun was designed during World War I by Colonel Louis Filloux to meet France's urgent need for modern heavy artillery, and became the standard heavy field gun of the French Army from 1917 until World War II. It was also adopted by the United States as the M1917, and a close derivative of it was made in and used by the US as the M1918 through World War II.
It was also manufactured in the USA from 1917, after the US switched to metric artillery based on French patterns. It was used by the United States Army and United States Marine Corps as their primary heavy artillery gun under the designation 155 mm Gun M1917 (French-made) or M1918 (US-made) until 1942, when it was gradually replaced by the 155 mm M1A1 'Long Tom'.
During World War II, some US-made guns were used for coast defense of US and allied territories, such as Australia and Bermuda, typically on "Panama" mountings - circular concrete platforms with a raised centre section, with the carriage tires pivoting around the center section and the split trails spread out on rails at the platform's edge.
Report of Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications

Report of Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications
Additional Online and Printed Histories
Fort MacArthur Museum
Fort Wiki


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Updated 10 August 2017