completion, two each were
shipped to Los Angeles and the Panama Canal to augment the fixed defenses in those regions. The first of
these new guns arrived in Los Angles to great fanfare, the gun's arrival at
the opening of the new Union Station in Downtown Los
Angeles was celebrated by an estimated 60,000 people.
The public's love for the big
guns was short lived, while the army made every attempt to
keep the public informed of the test firing schedule, the
news often did not get communicated very well and the
concussive nature of the test firings often caused heavy
damage to local homes and businesses.
By 1928 the test firings
became such a political issue that the War Department was
forced to issue orders that no further firings would be
permitted at Fort MacArthur. When the second gun arrived in
1929, it was quietly parked next to it's sister and the two
guns quietly remained there until 1937.
Late that year, the two guns
traveled south to a specially constructed railway siding on
what is now modern day Camp Pendleton, where gun crews could train and
the rifles themselves could be tested without causing damage
to nearby property. The next year, would see the two guns
leave Fort MacArthur for another training run, this time
traveling north to the small town of Goleta, just north of
the city of Santa Barbara. The guns of Battery Erwin were
the longest ranging artillery pieces assigned to Fort
MacArthur prior to World War Two and were capable of
shooting a 1,450 pound shell up to 27 miles.
A unique feature of these guns was that they could be parked
over a special prepared gun mount and have their wheels
removed. This allowed the guns to turn 360 degrees and fire
in any direction. This was a great advantage to firing on
the tracks which limited the guns to a 7 degree traverse.
This limitation was to prevent the force of recoil from
exerting too much pressure on the tracks, which could cause
damage and leave the guns stranded.
Both of Battery Erwin's guns remained active
throughout World War Two but were declared surplus after the
wars end and cut up for scrap sometime in 1946.