Battery Seaman

Description

Battery Seaman is an abandoned reinforced concrete coastal gun battery in present-day Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, New Hampshire. It was built during World War 2 and was originally equipped with two 16-inch MarkII-M1 guns mounted on M5 Casemated Barbette Carriages.

Battery Seaman Establishment

Coastal gun batteries were built in the United States during World War II as a defensive measure against potential naval attacks by enemy forces. The United States was keenly aware of the vulnerability of its coastal regions, particularly after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. To protect its shores, the government invested heavily in the construction of gun batteries along the coast. These gun batteries were equipped with powerful artillery and strategically placed to defend major ports and other strategic locations. The primary objective was to deter and prevent any enemy naval forces from approaching the coastline and launching an attack. While the threat of a naval invasion never materialized, the coastal gun batteries played an important role in ensuring the safety and security of the United States during the war.

Portsmouth Harbor in New Hampshire was an important location to protect during World War II due to its strategic position as a major shipbuilding and repair center for the US Navy. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was one of the largest shipyards in the country at the time and played a crucial role in building and repairing ships for the war effort. The harbor was also a major transportation hub for goods and supplies being sent to Europe to support the Allied forces. In addition, the harbor was home to a submarine base, where US submarines were serviced and refueled before being deployed on missions. Given its importance, the harbor was heavily guarded with coastal defenses, including gun batteries, searchlights, and anti-aircraft guns, to protect against potential attacks by enemy ships and aircraft. The protection of Portsmouth Harbor was critical in ensuring the success of the US Navy’s war efforts and the safe transport of troops and supplies to Europe.

Construction of Battery Seman began on April 8, 1942. Two years later, in August of 1944, the battery was completed. It was transferred to the Coast Artillery and put into service on September 8, 1944. In total, the battery cost the government just about $1.5 million. When complete, the battery was equipped with two massive 16-inch MarkII-M1 guns mounted on M5 Casemated Barbette Carriages. These were some of the largest gun batteries ever produced and weighed over 300,000 pounds. They were capable of firing 2,000+ pound projectiles over 25 miles (45,000 yards). Both of the guns at Battery Seaman were covered by concrete castmates that provided overhead protection and added security. A large central magazine was constructed between the two gun emplacements. It held the powder and shells needed to supply the guns. Movement of shells and powder was carried out by overhead tracks and chain hoists. There were some additional rooms in the battery for plotting. Additionally, a fire control tower can be found above the battery. It offered lookouts sweeping views of the ocean. 

Disarmed during World War 1

After World War II, the military began to abandon many of the coastal gun batteries that had been built during the war. The development of new military technologies such as aircraft carriers, guided missiles, and nuclear weapons rendered many of the gun batteries obsolete. In addition, the cost of maintaining these facilities and their outdated equipment was deemed too high for the military to justify. Many of the gun batteries were decommissioned and dismantled, and some were repurposed for other uses. However, some of these coastal gun batteries have been preserved as historic sites and tourist attractions. Today, they serve as a reminder of the important role that coastal defenses played during World War II and the sacrifices made by those who served in these facilities to protect their countries. Battery Seamna was officially abandoned in 1948 after its guns and mounts were removed.

What Remains Today

Exploring abandoned coastal gun batteries built during World War II can be a fascinating and unique experience for history buffs and adventure seekers. These abandoned facilities offer a glimpse into the past and allow visitors to imagine what life was like for the soldiers who served there. While some coastal gun batteries have been demolished, Battery Seaman has remained standing and currently sits abandoned in Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, New Hampshire. Although the guns and mounts were removed decades ago, there are still many cool features to be seen. Visitors are welcome to walk around the old emplacements and even through some of the old tunnels. On top of the gun battery is the old fire control station which is open for visitors to see inside. However, it is important to remember that these abandoned sites can be dangerous and unstable, and visitors should exercise caution when exploring them.

Specs

  • Year Construction Began: 1942
  • Year Construction Finished: 1943 
  • Year Abandoned: 1948
  • Original Function: World War II concrete coastal gun battery emplacement with a 16″ MarkII-M1 gun mounted on an M5 Casemated Barbette Carriage

Battery Seaman Location

  • Park: Odiorne Point State Park
  • Address: NH-1A (Ocean Boulevard
  • Town: Rye
  • State: New Hampshire
  • GPS: Lat 43.0503056 Lng -70.7210278
  • Parking notes: There are two main parking areas at Odiorne Point State Park. The western parking area is located at the Odiorne Point Boat Launch and it is closest to Battery Seaman Emplacement #1. There is also the primary Odiorne Point State Park parking lot located about a half-mile to the east of Battery Seaman. There is a small fee charged to park at the park in the summer.
  • Parking directions: HERE
  • Location directions: HERE

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