Fire control tower

Fire Control Tower

Fire control tower

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A fire control tower is a structure located near the U.S. coast that was used to detect and locate enemy vessels offshore, direct fire upon them from coastal batteries, or adjust the aim of guns by spotting shell splashes. These towers were part of the U.S. Coast Artillery fire control system, and were used between about 1900 and the end of WW2.

A Typical Fire Control Tower

The photo at left shows two typical fire control towers on Swallow Cave Rd. in Nahant, MA, known during WW2 as Site 131. The tower at Site 131-1A (on the right in the photo) is the example described here. Built in 1943-44, these twin towers watched over the northern approaches to Boston Harbor and directed the guns of several different Coast Artillery batteries. Towers similar to these can be found today in all coastal New England states.

A fire control tower usually contained several fire control stations, known variously as observation posts (OPs), base end stations, or spotting stations from which observers searched for enemy ships, fed data on target location to a plotting room, or spotted the fall of fire from their battery, so the aim of the guns could be adjusted. For...
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