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Dutch Harbor Defenses, Unalaska Island

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Dutch Harbor Defenses, Unalaska Island

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Date Posted:April 16th, 2007
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Description: Located on Unalaska Island approximately 780 miles southwest of Anchorage, Dutch Harbor was the site of an important Naval operating base during the Aleutian Campaign of World War Two. To protect this strategic harbor from enemy attack, the Coast Artillery Corps would construct a total of seven gun batteries in the harbor, along with numerous fire control stations, searchlight positions and other support facilities.

Battery Const. #402 mounted the largest caliber weapons in the defense, two 8-inch Navy guns on barbette mounts, and was located at Fort Schwatka, high atop Ulakta Head. Battery Const. #402 was built on the site of an earlier battery of four 155-mm guns, burying two of the old emplacements.

In addition to the above, two other 155-mm batteries were also constructed in the area. One was at Fort Brumback on Summer Bay and the other on Hill 400 at the southern end of Amaknak Island. The remaining major gun position, Battery Const. #298, was armed with a pair of 6-inch guns and is located at Fort Learnard on the northwestern side of the harbor.

Defense against small, fast boats was provided by two 90-mm rapid fire AMTB batteries. One battery was located on Eider Point at Fort Learnard while the other was emplaced on Amaknak Spit, near Dutch Harbor.

Also constructed during this period were several outlying fire control sites to support the gun batteries. Each site usually included an observation station, two searchlight emplacements and living quarters for the troops. Some of the sites were provided with distillation plants to provide fresh water where none was otherwise available.

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