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History Castles and Fortifications

New Needles Battery

REF NR: 17

The New Battery was completed in 1895 after problems with subsidence and concerns the concussion from larger guns would cause the cliffs to collapse at the Old Battery. The building cost was £9,821 and was armed with three 9.2" breech loading guns, weapons that cost £12,750, weighed 28 tons each, and fired shells weighing 380lbs, each gun needed a crew of eleven men. The battery has a commanding position overlooking the Old Battery and is almost 120 metres above sea level.
 
In 1895 the replacement battery for the “Old Needles Battery” was completed, this was commissioned because it was deemed that the original battery position and  problems of subsidence, especially when compounded by the concussion from the recoil  was enough to cause the possibility of collapsing the whole cliff area around said guns.

The new Battery costs was £9,821 and were fitted with 9.2-inch B.L. guns these in turn cost another £12,750 pounds each and weighed in at 28tons and could fire a whopping 380lb shell ! The men needed to fire such a  weapon amounted to 11 per gun!

In 1918 the Battery was put in mothball and only light maintenance carried out. However in late 1939 it was reopened by the Army as a radar position with a CD/CHL triple service station radar instrumentation installed  covering the Needles passage and would give cover for shipping bombardment where necessary. 

Come the end of the war the Battery was again mothballed and the guns were scrapped in 1954, a new lease of life was given to the local are when fro 1956 to 1971 the site was used for the testing of the Saunders Roe, highly secret at the time,  Black Knight and Black Arrow rocket engines. Subsequently the National Trust purchased the site in 1975 and demolished many of the buildings; today you can see most of the actual foundations of both the Battery and the Rocket testing gantries .
 

 


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