Mauritius had two major strategic values for the British which were its’ close location to Reunion and the French coastal defences at Diego Suarez, and that it was a convenient stopping off place for vessels travelling between India and South Africa. By 1888 the harbour at Port Louis had three good graving docks, two slips and major coaling facilities.
Port Saint Louis in Mauritius was designated as a defended coaling stations by the Royal Commission of 1879 chaired by the Earl of Carnarvon. The third and final report was published in 1882 and this recommended that Port Louis be upgraded to a 1st Class Coaling Station with the armament be upgraded to:
- Nine 10-inch RML guns
- Two 7-inch RML guns
- Six 64-pdr RML guns
Prior to this the three main fortifications around the harbour had been:
Fort George with two 7-inch RMLS and four 7-inch RBL guns and Fort William which was an earth work without any guns.
After much consideration the following armament for Port Louis was approved in October 1887:
- New Battery at Tombeau Point, later Albert Battery with two 10-inch RML guns and eight 64-pdr guns
- Fort George with two 9.2-inch guns, two 7-inch RML guns and two 7-inch RBLs (for Minefield defence)
- Fort William with one 9.2-inch gun, and two 7-inch RBLs (for Minefield defence)
- New Victoria Battery with two 10_inch RML guns and one 64-pdr RML gun
- Minefield Defence with three 6-pdr AF gun and four machine guns
- Mobile armament was to include six 9-pdr RML guns, six 3-pdr QF guns, eight machine guns and six 7-pdr RML guns
These batteries were all completed by 1892 with the exception of Fort William which was not completed until March 1893. By the time these fortifications had been completed some changes had been made to their armament:
- Albert Battery mounted two 10-inch RML guns and two 64-pdr guns
- Fort George mounted two 9.2-inch BL guns on HP mounts, two 7-inch RML guns, two 64-pdr RMLs and one 6-pdr QF gun
- Fort William mounted two 9.2-inch BL guns on HP mounts and two 6-pdr QF guns
- Victoria Battery mounted two 10-inch RMLs guns and one 64-pdr RML gun
A Submarine Mining Establishment had also been built adjacent to Fort George to protect the harbour entrance.