What is a Panama Mount?

When I look at the these relics on the beach, after they have been battered by wind and tide and weather, I wonder what they looked like when the were new.  Thanks to a number of other websites, I've been able get an idea of what they probably looked like in 1942.

A photo from Matthew Hunter's Sitka's WWII Page shows what the gun probably looked like as it about to be fired.   This is a photo of a
155mm gun at Fort Rousseau, Makhnati Island

Photo courtesy of the Sitka Historical Society
155 mm gun about to be fired

In this photo you can see the ring that the trailing arms of the gun rest on (and the rings visible on the beach).  But what of the center support -- they certainly are NOT centered now on the beach.  These photos from the Fort McArthur Museum site show Panama mounts on land at the Bolsa Chica State Park.  This location was the southern most battery of Fort McArthur during WW II.

      Bolsa Chica panama mount 1           Bolsa Chica panama mount 2

As you can see, the center support is both centered in the ring, and the top surface is level (as is the ring filled in with soil). Comparing these to what is remaining on the Ventura beach, we see that they are neither centered nor level.  It gives an indication of the amount of battering they have taken over the years from the waves and the tides.

photo of base showing uncentered center support

A closer view of the surface of center support (below) shows a square stud pattern.  According to a conversation chain I saw in a Yahoo forum (either the coastal defense forum, or the California coastal defense forum), the square pattern indicated that the 155 mm Long Toms had been installed most recently, as opposed to the 155 mm GFP (French) style of gun that were initially installed.

'top' surface of center support

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Last Modified:  15 Sep 2007

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