Portsmouth

Posted on September 17, 2020 / 17
Listing Type : Naval Port or Anchorage
Location : England

Portsmouth was designed in 1890 as a A Class Harbour with Naval Dockyard and facilities.  It had defences intended to resist attack from battleships.  However, dating back to the times of Henry VIII, Portsmouth had been a key Royal Dockyard.

The defences of Portsmouth were split into seven distinct geographic areas:

  • Western Forts on the Isle of Wight and mainland which include:
    • Hurst Castle with original fortifications dating back to Henry VIII.  The granite fort was built between 1861 and 1870 and mounted six 12.5-inch Rifled Muzzle Loading guns and eleven 10-inch Rifled Muzzle Loading Guns behind armoured shields.  Between 1900 and 1902 three 12-pdr Q.F. guns were added, two in the west wing casemates and one on top of the Tudor Keep.
    • Cliff End Battery which was built between 1862 and 1868 and then redeveloped between 1899 and 1902 to mount four 6-inch Mark VII guns and four 4.7-inch Q.F. guns.
    • Warden Point Battery was built between 1862 and 1863 and then redeveloped between 1898 to 1902 to mount three 9.2-inch Mark X guns and four 6-inch Mark VII guns.
    • New Needles Battery was built between 1893 and 1895, initially with two 9.2-inch Mark IX guns in 1900, with a third being added in 1904.
    • Freshwater Redoubt was built between 1855 and 1856.  In 1902 two Hotchkiss 6-pdr Q.F. guns were mounted.

 

  • Eastern Forts on the Isle of Wight include:
    • Sandwich Barrack Battery which was originally built between 1861 and 1863 for being redeveloped between 1901 and 1902 to mount two 6-inch Mark VII guns.
    • Yaverland Battery was built between 1861 and 1864 with external defences.  It was upgraded between 1898 and 1900 to mount two 6-inch Mark VII guns, with one additional in reserve.
    • Puckpool Battery was built 1863 and 1865 to provide a cross fire with the Spit Head Forts.  In the 1880’s it was redeveloped to mount one 9.2-inch Mark X gun with another similar gun held in reserve.

 

  • The Spithead Forts includ:
    • Nomansland Fort built between 1865 and 1880 with two tiers of armoured casemated Rifled Muzzle Loading guns .  The RML’s were eight 12-inch breech loading guns and two 12.5-inch RML guns.  Between 1907 and 1909 three 6-inch Mark VII guns were mounted on the roof of this sea fort.
    • Spitbank Fort built between 1865 and 1878 with a single level of casemated guns.  It was upgraded in 1900 with two 4.7-inch Q.F. gun followed by two 6-inch Mark VII in 1910, all placed on the roof of the sea fort.
    • Horstead Fort was built between 1865 and 1880 two levels of armoured casemates.  The RML’s were ten 12-inch breech loading guns and two 12.5-inch RML guns.  Between 1908 and 1909 three 6-inch Mark VII guns were mounted on the roof of this sea fort.
    • Southsea Castle had two Wing Batteries built adjacent to 1863 and 1868 with a total of thirty two guns.  Between 1899 and 1901 the Wing Batteries were upgraded to mount-
      • East Battery, two 9.2-inch Mark X and two 6-inch Mark VII guns
      • West Battery, one 4.7-inch Q.F. and three 12-pdr Q.F. guns.

 

  • The Gosport Defence include:
    • The Gosport Advanced Lines with Forts Elson, Brockhurst, Rowner, Grange and Gomer.
    • Stoke Bay Defence Line.
    • Browndown Battery.
    • Fort Gilkicker.
    • Fort Monkton.

 

  •  The Portsdown Ridge Line to North of Plymouth
    • Fort Fareham
    • Fort Walllington
    • Fort Nelson
    • Fort Southwick
    • Fort Widley
    • Fort Purbrook
    • Crookhorn Redoubt
    • Farlington Redoubt

 

  • Harbour Mouth include:
    • Fort Blockhouse was built as a casemated granite battery.  Between 1897 and 1899 six 12-pdr Q.F. guns were mounted on the top of the old casemates.
    • Portsmouth Lines was originally built in the 1600s and included Point Battery and the Saluting Battery.  Point Battery was a casemated battery and between 1895 and 1898 five 12-pdr Q.F. guns were mounted on the old casemates.  Two 12-pdr guns were also mounted on the Saluting Battery at the same time.
    • Long Curtain Battery again dated back to the 1600s and between 1903 and 1904 four 6-pdr Q.F. guns were mounted, to be replaced by 12-pdr Q.F. guns by 1908.

 

  • Southampton Water
    • Calshot Castle was an old Tudor coastal battery and was one side of the boom defence.  Between 1895 and 1897 four 4.7-inch Q.F. guns and eight 12-pdr Q.F. guns were mounted at the Castle.
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