Fort Cronkhite located in Marin County was a former military outpost during the World War II. A structure such as this was constructed to serve as temporary training grounds and housing for the soldiers during the war. Fort Cronkhite was completed in 1941 and is considered to be one of the best preserved military outposts in the country today.
During the Second World War, Fort Cronkhite was the base of more than a hundred Coast Artillery service men assigned to the harbor Defenses of San Francisco. These soldiers manned their stations and were always ready to defend the coast of San Francisco from possible enemy attacks. Luckily, these threats from the enemy never materialized.
Half a mile from the parking area of Fort Cronkhite along the Coastal Trail, one would be able to see the secret weapon of Fort Cronkhite – the Battery Townsley. To be able to reach the battery, one has to walk at least 45 minutes, a bit tiring and if you are not up to it, the park has facilities that could aid you in your tour. A description of the battery is as follows –
“ …was a casemated battery that mounted two 16-inch caliber guns, each capable of shooting a 2,100 pound, armor-piercing projectile 25 miles out to sea. The guns and their associated ammunition magazines, power rooms, and crew quarters were covered by dozens of feet of concrete and earth to protect them from air and naval attack” – The National Park Service, 2012
Battery Townsley was completed in 1940 and done in utmost secrecy. At that time, this was among the very top secrets of the military. Local San Francisco residents knew that there were batteries being installed in the bay area but they never really knew the locations.