The Sandy Hook Mortar Battery


The 1890 Sandy Hook Mortar Battery was among the first Endicott-style concrete gun batteries built on Sandy Hook as part of New York Harbor defense against attack from the sea. Most of Sandy Hook's batteries had guns that fired in a straight line that would blast into the sides of attacking ships. The Mortar Battery was unique, it's guns fired in a high arch with their shells designed to come down crashing through enemy decks.

The Sandy Hook Mortar Battery has four mortar pits, each of which contained four 12-inch mortars. The pits are connected by a tunnel system where the shells and ammunition were stored and where the men who fired the big guns could be housed.

By in 1930s, the mortar battery was obsolete and its guns were removed. The tunnel system however took on a new role as it was converted to the Command Center for all of New York Harbor defenses. Its rooms contained communication, plotting and telephone rooms, a map room, and emergency shipping and office spaces for military commanders. It was here that harbor defense was directed throughout World War II.

Currently much of the battery is overgrown and one of the four mortar pits is open to the public. in 2011 the National Park Service successfully had all asbestos removed from the interior tunnels, and the goal of the Sandy Hook Foundation is to rehabilitate the battery and open more of it to the public.



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