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Fire Control - Base End Stations
Fire control stations were the eyes of the batteries

Beginning in the 1920's, these small concrete "bunkers" were built in several groupments on the Upper Reservation, Point Fermin, White Point, Sea Bench and at Point Vicente. These stations were located  some distance from their respective emplacements along a measured base line. During World War II additional fire control stations were constructed for the new weapons then under construction to protect the harbor. These structures are technically known as base-end stations, although they are some times called fire control stations, observation stations or fire control bunkers. They are often mistaken for "pill boxes" or machine gun positions.

Base-end stations contained various optical instruments for making observations of the target.  The standard issue for Coast Artillery was the Model 1910A1 azimuth telescope which was used to determine horizontal angles of the azimuth to the target from the base-end station. A second and much more complex instrument was the depression position finder (DPF). The DPF was used to determine the vertical azimuth of the target from the base-end station. Azimuth telescopes were mounted on concrete columns, depression range finders were mounted on large eight sided concrete bases.


Azimuth Instrument M1910A1

Over the years, these stations have disappeared when found to be in the way of various developments.  Some have been destroyed by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks without any review or permit process. Others have been destroyed by the Air Force for their new housing project at White Point.  Now remaining sites are in scheduled for destruction for several golf courses in the Rancho Palos Verdes area. The Fort MacArthur Museum Association is exploring the possibility of securing the sites and placing interpretative signs at the sites. It may be too late to save more of these small but valuable elements of the Harbor Defenses of Los Angeles.
 
The Fort MacArthur Museum and the San Pedro Bay Historical Society made a joint effort to save some of the 1920's era fire control stations at White Point.  We were partially successful. One World War I era fire control station will be preserved in place. The Battery Commander's station for Battery Bunker will be preserved in place, and one of the World War I era fire control station will be moved off its base line and restored for viewing.

Additional Projects

     Fort MacArthur K9 Cemetery

     Hey Rookie (Gaffey Street) Pool
     Upper Reservation Barracks Structures
    
Incredible Shrinking National Register Site
     Whites Point Preservation
     Fire Control Stations Preservation
          How Did Base End Stations Work?
          What Do They Look Like?
     Bolsa Chica Beach Panama Mounts

 

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