Gibraltar Spur Battery

Rock Of Gibraltar aerial view

Spur Battery together with O’Hara’s, and Lord Airey’s batteries formed the Upper Battery and was in service until 7th April 1976 when they were all fired for the last time. The gun was removed from the battery in 1981 and now forms part of an Imperial War Museum branch at Duxford in Cambridgeshire, England.

The photograph below shows the gun some time before removal in 1981.

Photo courtesy Tito Vallejo

Click here for details about the removal of the gun Project Vitello

Named because of its position on St. George’s Spur high on the southern ridge just below O’Hara’s Battery, it was completed in 1902, at a height of 1,130 feet (344 metres) above sea level. The installation of Gibraltar’s 9.2 inch guns had begun in the 1890s. By 1914 there were fourteen 9.2 inch guns in twelve batteries on the Rock.

The barrel of the gun now displayed at Duxford Airfield replaced the original barrel at Spur Battery in 1929. It had first been issued in 1903 as a Mark X and upgraded in 1919, but nothing is known of its service during that period. As part of the programme of modernisation of Gibraltar’s 9.2 inch guns between the wars, the gun carriage at Spur Battery was converted in 1935 from a Mark V to a Mark Vll, which provided improved loading, elevation and traverse. Since 1935 the gun had fired 596 rounds. It was last in action in 1973, when 29 rounds were fired at a towed target which received several direct hits.

On 31 December 1915 Spur Battery took part in Gibraltar’s only general action during the First World War when German submarines were sighted off the Rock. Firing began at 10.30 pm and ended at midnight. Spur Battery fired three rounds as part of South Fire Command. Other 9.2 inch guns fired a further ten rounds. The War Diary of the Gibraltar General Staff recorded, ‘Result of action. One target disappeared, and a large explosion took place at another’.

The photograph above shows the dilapidated entrance to the battery, many tourists will have driven through this since the battery is now used as a turning circle for cars which use the narrow road for parking at St Michael’s Cave.

The photograph to the left shows what remains of the cut supports for the gun mount enclosure, the tracks for the shell trolleys can also be seen.

The magazine and other lower level rooms are empty or sealed. Vandalism is always present at Gibraltar’s derelict batteries.

The photograph below shows what remains of the upper level room which still shows evidence of the electrical equipment it once housed.

he lined cartridge storage bays are now exposed to the open air since the removal of the gun mount enclosure.

Gun Technical Data:

CALIBRE AND MK OF GUN 9.2 ins MK 10
WEIGHT OF GUN AND MOUNTING 204 TONS

WEIGHT OF SHELL 380 LBS
WEIGHT OF CHARGE 109 LBS
WEIGHT OF BARREL 28 TONS
RANGE OF GUN 29,600 YDS
DISTANCE ACROSS STRAIT 25,500 YDS
DISTANCE ACROSS BAY 9000 YDS

MUZZLE VELOCITY 2,700 FT/SECOND
RATE OF FIRE 2 TO 3 ROUNDS PER MINUTE

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