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View Full Version : Gunnery Range - But which guns??



ww2ni
04-03-2011, 21:40
I visited what remains of a Battery Gunnery Range at Islandmagee in County Antrim yesterday and was very pleased with what I found.

As well as the usual pieces of concrete there are 4 metal bases/mountings for the large guns.

I suspect they would have fired at targets towed by aircraft over the sea.

I have been unable to download the pictures onto this site and would appeal to all you knowledgeable folks to go to http://www.ww2ni.webs.com and click on "County Antrim Part 2". Scroll down to find them.

Its quite an impressive setup and I am interested to know what types of guns would have been used?
Do the 2 types of mounting relate to 2 types of guns?
Would the targets be air-tow or in the sea?

Thanks.

PETERTHEEATER
05-03-2011, 07:43
Andy, (see my PM)

It would be useful if you could provide some dimensions of the gun mounting holdfasts (diameter will do).

PNK has this listed as The Gobbins at J485980 (target location?) used as a Royal Navy ship gunnery range. From your pictures it may have been a range for RN Gunnery Training on the type of guns that were usually ship mounted and of relatively small calibre (say 4 inch or less) in particular the BL (Breech Loading) Mk VII (Mark 7) 4 inch (102mm) was available in large numbers at the start of WW2 and was often used in shore batteries and training mounts.

Alternatively, the guns may have been hi-angle anti aircraft shooting against aircraft towed targets. Perhaps PNK has more.

The NGR for this site is J480987 right on the coast.

Peter Kirk
05-03-2011, 12:21
Sadly, I have no further information. Details of Admiralty ranges of all types is not as easy to find as RAF ones. I will pass on anything I do find though.

spike7451
05-03-2011, 19:13
Sadly, I have no further information. Details of Admiralty ranges of all types is not as easy to find as RAF ones. I will pass on anything I do find though.

When I was a young lad,we used to collect spent .5 & .303 cases & bullet heads from the shore around Kirkubbin area.According to my father,the was a gunnery range on the Strangford Lough for aircraft gunnery.Maybe it's the same sort of thing at Islandmagee.

BTW,

I can't see any mention of the airfield buildings on the Donaghadee side of Four Road Ends on the above site...

PETERTHEEATER
06-03-2011, 07:17
Spike, I am only now getting used to navigating around Northern Ireland (virtually that is). You are querying buildings located well south of this thread subject. Would you explain Four Roads End?

Yes, there was at least one aircraft gunnery range of Strangford Lough and PNK and I are plotting the sites.

The Islandmagee site we thought might be a practice bombing or air to ground range but it looks very much like a Navy gunnery practice range, not RAF or FAA.

PETERTHEEATER
06-03-2011, 09:00
Spike, I think this is the site you are querying:

http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?2431-Mill-Isle

Peter Kirk
06-03-2011, 13:31
There were many bombing and gunnery ranges in Northern Ireland and also ground to air ranges for AA practice and air gunner training. Some have been identified and others remain elusive. The main problem is access to archives in NI which is somewhat limited for someone based in Kent :) At some point we hope to identify the location of all the sites with confirmation from archive sources, including aerial photographs as some plans depict proposed layouts and not actual.

ww2ni
07-03-2011, 11:47
The range near Kircubbin was on South Island (Which is on my list of places to visit). It was a bombing range and old vehicles were towed to the site. On one occasion a Seafire was hit by shrapnel from the bombing run of the aircraft immediately in front and crashed on the shore at Kircubbin.

ww2ni
08-03-2011, 17:41
FOUND IT!!
The "Defending the North" by Bill Clements says its a Royal Navy Gun Range to be used by Merchant Navy, soldiers and Marines from Armed Merchant Ships who carried out practice fiting with 4.7 (120mm) QF and 12-pdr QF guns.

So now we know!

Peter Kirk
08-03-2011, 18:05
Splendid. This is the Gobbins location I assume you have clarified. I didn't have it down as a DEMS (Defensivley equipped merchant ship) practice location though.

Also, slightly off range, if you zoom into the aerial photo via http://www.strangfordlough.org/MapsTrails/MapsTrails/Heritage.aspx is there a triangular shape in the grass or am I just seeing things?

PETERTHEEATER
09-03-2011, 04:08
The guns described would match the holdfast remains that you photographed.

Happy to record it as a Navy DEMS practice range so that we don't waste time looking for an RAF or FAA connection.

spike7451
09-03-2011, 20:21
Spike, I think this is the site you are querying:

http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?2431-Mill-Isle

That's the airfield side but at the opposite end of the photo is a fairly large industrial estate using the old nissan huts what used to house the Airmen.Next time I'm passing,I'll see if I can grab some photo's on my phone as it's on my way home.