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Columbia River Harbor Defense System

03.06.13

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Columbia River Harbor Defense System

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  • Fort Stevens Coastal Defense Map- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Fort Stevens aerial rendering of batteries and artillery gun station layout- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Fort Stevens section of battery- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • US Soldiers inspecting crater caused by Japanese shelling.  June 1942.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Captain's and infantry quarters at Fort Columbia.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • View south looking over the gun batteries at Fort Columbia.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • One of the two coastal artillery guns on display at Fort Columbia.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Fort Columbia: View looking up toward the barracks and battery.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • One of the two coastal artillery guns on display at Fort Columbia.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Bunker hidden along the Scarborough Hill Trail at Fort Columbia State Park.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Bunker atop McKenzie Head at Fort Canby.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Fort Canby: Coastal artillery gun mounting pad.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Fort Canby: Coastal artillery gun mounting pad.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Fort Canby WWII bunker at the top of McKenzie Head.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Fort Canby: Bunker overlooking the Pacific Ocean at North Head.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Fort Canby: Three-tiered bunker at Bell's View.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Fort Canby: Three-tiered bunker at Bell's View.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Fort Stevens: WWI coastal artillery gun.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Battery at Fort Stevens.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Battery and bunkers at Fort Stevens.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Battery at Fort Stevens.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Battery at Fort Stevens.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Steam Plant at Fort Stevens.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
  • Communications bunker at Fort Stevens.- Columbia River Harbor Defense System
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Fort Stevens, along with Fort Columbia and Fort Canby (now Cape Disappointment State Park) in Washington comprised the Columbia River Harbor Defense System for the United States Army Coastal Artillery Corps to protect the entrance of the Columbia River from military threat.

Though they were each built at various periods in history they were collectively upgraded and maintained over the first half of the 20th century.  Fort Stevens has the distinction of being the only military installation on US mainland to have been attacked in the Second World War when it was shelled by an Imperial Japanese* submarine on June 21, 1942.  After the war the rationale for coastal defenses eroded and all three forts were deactivated in 1947.

* In June of 1942, bolstered by early tactical successes in the Pacific, the Japanese High Command ordered two submarines, the I-25 and the I-26, to patrol the west coast of North America.  After the two submarines shelled Estevan Point lighthouse on Vancouver Island and torpedoed the Canadian SS Fort Camosun, the I-25 set course for Fort Stevens on the evening of June 21, 1942.  The I-25 proceeded to open fire on the fort, though only hitting the beaches and causing some minimal damage to power and telephone lines.  This attack gives Fort Stevens the unique distinction of being the only military installation on United States mainland to be fired upon during the Second World War.

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