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I--- Fortifications
 I---   Otago Peninsula
I---   ** Tomahawk Battery**

Coastal Defence, Otago Peninsula
82nd Heavy Battery NZA
'D' Section


Fort Tiaroa Harrington Point Rerewahine Battery Tomahawk Battery



                                                                                                                                                     Archives NZ: Fort Record Book Taiaroa CAWQ/CH540/6/3.7

Aerial photos of Tomahawk Battery taken by 2 GR (General Reconnaissance) Sqn. RNZAF Jan 1943
Click Image for a larger view

Guns of Tomahawk 1941 - 1945
Today's View (2010) of the Battery from the Battery Observation Post
Guns BOP

'D' Section, 82nd Heavy Battery NZA
Tomahawk, 1942 - 1945

No2 gun disguised as a shed from side, note gun barrel. No1 gun disguised as a holiday cottage from rear.

Details of Gun Mounting

Details of the equipment of the above battery are as follows:

Two B.L. 6" Mk VII guns on P.III Mountings fitted with telescope sights for line and elevation.
     Reg. number of piece 1955. 
(No. 1 Gun/D1)
     Reg. number of mounting 1119.
     Muzzle velocity 2500 f.s.
     Maximum. elevation 20 deg.
     Maximum depression 7 deg.
Reg. number of piece 1635
(No. 2 Gun/D2)
     Reg. number of mounting 1549
     Muzzle velocity 2500 f.s.
     Maximum. elevation 20 deg.
     Maximum depression 7 deg.

The guns had a Maximum Range of 14,000 yards (12,800 meters)

These two guns were mounted on 23 Oct. 42, but no history sheets accompanied them from England, therefore no further information is available.
Piece number 1955 was proofed on 27 July 43,
(Note: Three rounds fired were the only shots fired by the Tomahawk battery over its short life) but piece number 1635 was never proofed as equipment is incomplete.

This battery is not operational and on 23 Sept. 43 was placed at care and Maintenance. In April 43 auto sights were fitted to these guns by D.S.I.R.

Extract from Fort Record Book

It would appear that one gun was replaced in 1944 with a 6" Mk VII from Bluff Battery. (See extract from fort record book below) It does not say which gun but you can only presume that it was the incomplete No 2 (D2) gun.

                                                                                                                                Archives NZ: Fort Record Book Taiaroa CAWQ/CH540/6/3.7

On the 26th July 1945 the guns were removed and railed to Burnham from Dunedin on 30 July 1945.
On 21 September 1945 the gun position and BOP were sealed by Engineers from 36 Troop RNZE against pillage and damage.
29,955 ($60.000) were spent on this site.

Enlargements of Gun Position from Aerial Photographs
No 2 Gun (D2) Breach end showing NZ manufactured Auto Sights by the DSIR (Department of Scientific Industrial Research)
                                                                                                                                Archives NZ: Fort Record Book Taiaroa CAWQ/CH540/6/3.7
Tomahawk Colchester type gun shelters from the BOP (2010)
No1 gun (D1) Colchester type shelter No 2 Gun (D2)
Left of Arc, No 2 gun (D2) Right of arc, No 1 gun (D1)

Tomahawk effective Arcs of Fire 1942, a page from the Fort Record Book

 Archives NZ: Fort Record Book Taiaroa CAWQ/CH540/6/3.7

Battery Observation Post (BOP)

The BOP from the gun position



The entrance to the BOP, entrance passage and blast protection
Exterior and Interior of the BOP a rangefinder was not installed at Tomahawk
Gun position from the BOP The Magazine The Battery camp

Archives NZ: Fort Record Book Taiaroa CAWQ/CH540/6/3.7


Explanation and notes
A 6" Mk VII gun fires separate ammunition. This means that it does not have a cartridge case but bags of propellant powder.
Relating the list above from the Fort Record Book to the Diagram below, the explanation of terms are:

Ctges (Cartridge)  B.L 6" Gun                           Bagged Cartridge (The igniter may be an integral part of the propellant
                                                                              charge bags or separate)

Cylinders Cartridge No 34 & 44                   
Shell B.L. 6" Gun                       }
Shot Practice B.L. 6" Gun         }                  
Fuses not listed ???                                             Fuse
Crates Skeleton No44                                   
Shell B.L. 6" Gun   H.E Mk XII TNT Plugged     Plug
Grummets Sets,
Rope circles( Like Quotes) to protect the copper driving band of the shells when they are stacked.

Cylinders Cartridge No 34 & 44 or Tube



What Remains

All structures remain. The Colchester type gun shelters remain beside the road. The area is now a reserve and open to the public.
The area of land containing the Magazine, Battery Observation Post and remains of the Battery Camp are private property, Landowner permission must be obtained before gaining entry.

This battery would have to be the most accessible Coastal Defence installation in the South Island.

1. Defending New Zealand, Ramparts of the sea 1840-1950s, Parts 1 & 2, Peter Cooke, ISBN 0-473-06833-8
2. Archives New Zealand
 Archives NZ: Fort Record Book Taiaroa CAWQ/CH540/6/3.7

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Last modified: 02/10/10.