United States Army Coast Artillery Corps

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U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps
Coast Artilliary Insignia.png
Active1901–50
Country United States
BranchUnited States Army
Garrison/HQFort Monroe
PatronSaint Barbara
ColorsScarlet
MascotOozlefinch
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Major General (Chief of coast artillery) Arthur Murray, Erasmus M. Weaver, Jr., Frank W. Coe, Andrew Hero, Jr
 
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U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps
Coast Artilliary Insignia.png
Active1901–50
Country United States
BranchUnited States Army
Garrison/HQFort Monroe
PatronSaint Barbara
ColorsScarlet
MascotOozlefinch
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Major General (Chief of coast artillery) Arthur Murray, Erasmus M. Weaver, Jr., Frank W. Coe, Andrew Hero, Jr

The U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps (CAC) was a corps level organization responsible for coastal and harbor defense of the United States between 1901 and 1950.

History[edit]

As early as 1882 the need for heavy fixed artillery for seacoast defense was noted in Chester A. Arthur's Second Annual Message to Congress where he noted:

"I call your attention to the recommendation of the Secretary and the board that authority be given to construct two more cruisers of smaller dimensions and one fleet dispatch vessel, and that appropriations be made for high-power rifled cannon for the torpedo service and for other harbor defenses."[1]

Army leaders realized that heavy fixed artillery required different training programs and tactics than mobile field artillery. The Artillery Corps was divided into two types: field artillery and coast artillery. This process began in February 1901 with the authorization of 30 numbered companies of field artillery (commonly called batteries) and 126 numbered companies of coast artillery. 82 existing heavy batteries were designated coast artillery companies, and 44 new CA companies were created by splitting existing units and filling their ranks with recruits. The head of the Artillery Corps became the Chief of Artillery in the rank of brigadier general with jurisdiction over both types of artillery.

The coast artillery became responsible for the installation and operation of the controlled mine fields that were planted to be under observation, fired electrically and protected by fixed guns.[2] With that responsibility the Corps began to acquire the vessels required to plant and maintain the mine fields and cables connecting the mines to the mine casemate ashore organized as a "Submarine Mine Battery" within the installation command.[2] The larger vessels, mine planters, were civilian crewed until the creation of the U.S. Army Mine Planter Service (AMPS) and Warrant Officer Corps to provide officers and engineers for the ships designated as mine planters.[3][4] The mine component was considered to be among the principal armament of coastal defense works.[4]

Taft Board and creation of CAC[edit]

16-inch coast artillery gun, Ft. Story, USA 1942

In 1905, after the experiences of the Spanish-American War, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed a new board, under Secretary of War William Howard Taft. They updated some standards and reviewed the progress on the Endicott board's program. Most of the changes recommended by this board were technical; such as adding more searchlights, electrification (lighting, communications, and projectile handling), and more sophisticated optical aiming techniques. The board also recommended fortifications in territories acquired from Spain: Cuba and the Philippines, as well as Hawaii, and a few other sites. Defenses in Panama were authorized by the Spooner Act of 1902. The Taft program fortifications differed slightly in battery construction and had fewer numbers of guns at a given location than those of the Endicott program. By the beginning of World War I, the United States had a coastal defense system that was equal to any other nation.

The rapidity of technological advances and changing techniques increasingly separated coastal defenses (heavy) from field artillery (light). Officers were rarely qualified to command both, requiring specialization. As a result, in 1907, Congress split the Field Artillery Branch (United States), and Coast Artillery into separate branches, creating a separate Coast Artillery Corps (CAC), and authorized an increase in the Coast Artillery Corps to 170 numbered companies. In 1907 the United States Army Field Artillery School at Fort Monroe became the Coast Artillery School, which operated until 1946, and in 1908, the Chief of Artillery became the Chief of Coast Artillery. The official birthday of the Army Warrant Officer Corps is July 9, 1918 when an act of congress established the Army Mine Planter Service as part of the Coast Artillery Corps. Implementation of the Act by the Army was published in War Department Bulletin 43, dated 22 July 1918. [1].

By the end of the Second World War such fixed coastal defenses were obsolete and the artillery branches were merged back together in 1950[2] with some of the mine planter vessels being transferred to Navy and designated Auxiliary Minelayer (ACM / MMA).

Coast Artillery Corps sound locator and searchlight 1932

Chief of Coast Artillery[edit]

The Office of the Chief of Coast Artillery was abolished 9 March 1942. with functions transferred to Commanding General, Army Ground Forces, effective 9 March 1942, by Circular 59, War Department, 2 March 1942.

ImageRankNameBegin DateEnd DateNotes
Arthur Murray.jpgMajor GeneralArthur MurrayArthur Murray1908-07-011 July 19081911-03-1414 March 1911a[›]
Erasmus M. Weaver.jpgMajor GeneralErasmus M. WeaverErasmus M. Weaver, Jr.1908-07-0115 March 19111918-5-02828 May 1918a[›]
Major GeneralFrank W. Coe Frank W. Coe1918-05-2424-may-19181926-03-1919 March 1926a[›]
Andrew Hero Jr..jpgMajor GeneralAndrew Hero, Jr Andrew Hero, Jr1926-03-2020 March 19261930-03-2121 March 1930a[›]
John W. Gulick.jpgMajor GeneralJohn W. Gulick John W. Gulick1930-05-2222 March 19301934-03-2121 March 1934a[›]
William F. Hase.jpgMajor GeneralWilliam F. HaseWilliam F. Hase1934-05-2626 March 19341935-01-2020 January 1935a[›]
Major General Harry L. Steele.jpgMajor GeneralHarry L. SteeleHarry L. Steele1935-01-2121 January 19351936-03-3131 March 1936a[›]
Archibald H. Sunderland.jpgMajor GeneralArchibald H. Sunderland Archibald H. Sunderland1936-04-011 April 19361940-03-3131 March 1940a[›]
Joseph A. Green.jpgMajor GeneralJoseph A. GreenJoseph A. Green1940-04-011 April 19401942-03-099 March 1942a[›]

Units[edit]

Coast Artillery School device

In 1901, the regimental organization of the US Army artillery was abolished, more companies were added, and given numerical designations.

In 1907 the Coast Artillery Corps was established and the Field artillery re-regimented

The Corps constantly reorganized the numbered companies until 1924. but during WWI created 61 regiments from the numbered companies, for service with the AEF. Most of these were disbanded immediately after the war. In 1924 the Coast Artillery Corps tried to go back to the regimental system, and numbered companies were returned to letter designations. (In order to promote esprit-de-corps, the first 7 regiments were linked to the original 7 regiments of artillery).[citation needed]

In WWII more expansion and reorganization occurred to the battalion/brigade system. More than 900 units were created with the following titles:

and later

Coast Artillery School[edit]

Distinctive unit insignia[edit]

The design was used by the Coast Artillery School for many years but was never recorded by the War Department. It is a shield of red and blue parted horizontally by a wavy line; on the upper red portion of the shield is the insignia of the Coast Artillery, and on the lower blue portion a submarine mine in gold. A scroll bearing the words “Coast Artillery School” may be added to the device.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29523%7C Chester A. Arthur| Second Annual Message to Congress
  2. ^ a b c http://www.cdsg.org/reprint%20PDFs/CACorg2008.pdf |Coast Artillery Organization – A Brief Overview | Bolling W. Smith & William C. Gaines
  3. ^ http://www.usawoa.org/stivers2announced.htm | U. S. Army Warrant Officers Association| “LET GO!”
  4. ^ a b http://www.fortmiles.org/firepower/batteries/batt8.html | Ft. Miles | Principal Armament – Mine Field

External links[edit]