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From 1940 to 1942 the United States military engineered a huge fortification at the mouth of the Delaware Bay to protect Philadelphia. The fort included over 1,500 acres. Today the fort lies beneath Cape Henlopen State Park and is open on a regular basis for tours of the facility.
Eleven "fire control towers" were built along the Delaware and New Jersey coastlines during World War II. Eight of the towers were located in Delaware and three in New Jersey. The towers were used as artillery spotting locations. Our military was posted in each of the towers in order to triangulate artillery fire on enemy ships sailing off our coast. Inside there were metal stairways leading to the observation levels. There was no electricity and they were heated by coal space heaters. One of the towers has been converted into an observation area for visitors to Cape Henlopen State Park and is open to the public.
Tower locations include:
There were four huge guns located at Fort Miles, which is located in the Cape Henlopen
State Park near Lewes, Delaware. Two of the guns had a 16" wide barrel and could shoot a
2,700 pound shell about 25 miles. The "spotters" used a telephone to
advise the artillery gunners as they targeted enemy ships.
The Fort Miles Historical Association has accepted the responsibility for maintenance of these historic towers. Contact information:
Dr. Gary Wray