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16 inch Coastal Defense Gun M1895
File:Crowds in New York watch the shipment of the 16 inch Coastal Defense Gun M1895 January 1915.jpg
Crowds in New York watch the shipment of the 16 inch Coastal Defense Gun M1895 January 1915
Type Coastal Artillery
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1915—1943
Used by United States Army
Wars World War I
Production history
Designer Watervliet Arsenal
Designed 1895
Manufacturer Watervliet Arsenal
Weight 284,000 pounds (129,000 kg) [1]
Length 35 calibers (56 feet (17 m))

Shell 2,400 pounds (1,100 kg) shell
Caliber 16 in (406 mm)
Carriage M1912 disappearing

The 16 inch Coastal Defense Gun M1895 was a large artillery piece installed to defend major American seaports. Only one was built and it was installed in Fort Grant on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal Zone.[2] It was operated by the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps.


Under President Grover Cleveland administration in 1885 William C. Endicott was ordered to investigate the value and state of America's coastal defenses. The Endicott found that America had fallen behind and that new naval technology made many forts, coastal defense weaponry had been made obsolete. The 1886 report recommended a massive $127 million ($ 3,334,000,000 in 2022) construction program of breech-loading cannons, mortars, floating batteries, and submarine mines for some 29 locations on the US coast-line. New fortifications built in the following decades as a result of this report were called Endicott Period fortifications.[3]

Finding a need for long range weaponry, America ordered a 16-inch (406 mm) gun started construction in 1895 at the Watervliet Arsenal.[2][4] The massive artillery piece was designated the M1895 and was completed in 1902; only one was built. The gun was massive and at 284,000 pounds (129,000 kg) weighed more than any gun that had ever been created up to that point.[1] The 32-wheeled train car alone weighed 192,420 pounds (87,280 kg). The 56 feet (17 m) long gun could launch a 2,400 pounds (1,100 kg) shell 21 miles (34 km).[5]

The weapon was shipped from the Watervliet Arsenal in Watervliet, New York to Watertown Arsenal in Watertown, Massachusetts to be packed for shipment to the Panama Canal Zone. It was installed on an M1912 disappearing carriage in Fort Grant on the Pacific side of the Canal in 1915, where it protected the Fort until it was scrapped in 1943.[1][2][6] The muzzle section was later preserved and displayed at the Watervliet Arsenal museum, which closed in 2013.[7]

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