Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

14-inch guns fired near Oceanside

14-inch guns fired near Oceanside

June 12, 1936: United States Coast Defense 14-inch railway gun is fired during practice session near Oceanside.

Los Angeles Times staff correspondent Mark Finley reported in the June 13, 1936 edition:

OCEANSIDE, June 12. (Exclusive)–With throaty bellows of defiance, the twin fourteen-inch railroad rifles of the United States Army Coast Defense roared for the first time in eight years twelve miles north of here today.

They spat out shells weighing three-quarters of a ton. Minutes later, twenty-two miles and more to sea, towering waterspouts marked the landing places of the great projectiles, crammed with high explosives.

Thousands of feet in the air a tiny scout plane marked the splashes in relation to an imaginary enemy dreadnaught and reported their exact location by radio.

A quarter of a mile from the great guns experts in mathematics hastily corrected calculations in a railway plotting room, then telephoned new orders to the gunners. The great barrels of the 365-ton rifle was elevated and they spoke again in a billow of smoke and a torrent of flame…

The rifles hadn’t been fired for eight years because of the cost of shells and damage to windows in their previous location at Los Angeles Harbor.

A week ago they were taken to their new location, twelve miles north of here, a railway stop named Don, which is a bean field…

There between the highway and the ocean they were anchored to the rails with out riggings on either side, and prepared for the terrific explosion and recoil. A quarter-ton of powder is used to send the shells on their way. Some 2000 persons gathered in the vicinity this afternoon, army and navy men and civil.

Included in the group were Col. C. L. Sampson, of the Ninth Corps Area General Staff at San Francisco, and Capt. W. L. Friedell, commander of the USS Colorado.

Other thousands gathered at strategic points along the coast where they could see the great shells splash into the water…

All three of these photos were taken by former staff photographer J. H. McCrory. The top photo accompanied Finley’s report in the June 13, 1936, Los Angeles Times.

June 12, 1936: United States Army Coast Defense 14-inch railway gun is is fired during target practice near Ocaenside. Credit: J. H. McCrory/Los Angeles Times

June 12, 1936: United States Army Coast Defense 14-inch railway gun is prepared for target practice near Oceanside. Credit: J. H. McCrory/Los Angeles Times.

Follow Scott Harrison on Twitter and Google+

Thumbnail view to all From the Archive posts.

1 Comment

  1. March 23, 2014, 10:30 pm

    Thank You L.A. times for posting this photo on your site.
    It reminds me of a time when photographers, life, and silver halides created a record of the truth.


Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.


Required, will not be published

Browse All Photos »