Fire Control - Base
control stations were the eyes of the batteries
Beginning in the 1920's, these small concrete "bunkers" were
built in several groupments on the Upper Reservation, Point
Fermin, White Point, Sea Bench and at Point Vicente. These
stations were located some distance from their respective
emplacements along a measured base line. During World War II
additional fire control stations were constructed for the
new weapons then under construction to protect the harbor.
These structures are technically known as base-end stations,
although they are some times called fire control stations,
observation stations or fire control bunkers. They are often
mistaken for "pill boxes" or machine gun positions.
Base-end stations contained various optical instruments for
making observations of the target. The standard issue for
Coast Artillery was the Model 1910A1 azimuth telescope which
was used to determine horizontal angles of the azimuth to
the target from the base-end station. A second and much more
complex instrument was the depression position finder (DPF).
The DPF was used to determine the vertical azimuth of the
target from the base-end station. Azimuth telescopes were
mounted on concrete columns, depression range finders were
mounted on large eight sided concrete bases.
Azimuth Instrument M1910A1
the years, these stations have disappeared when found to be
in the way of various developments. Some have been
destroyed by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and
Parks without any review or permit process. Others have been
destroyed by the Air Force for their new housing project at
White Point. Now remaining sites are in scheduled for
destruction for several
golf courses in
the Rancho Palos Verdes area. The Fort MacArthur Museum
Association is exploring the possibility of securing the
sites and placing interpretative signs at the sites. It may
be too late to save more of these small but valuable
elements of the Harbor Defenses of Los Angeles.
The Fort MacArthur Museum and the San Pedro Bay Historical
Society made a joint effort to save some of the 1920's era
fire control stations at White Point. We were partially
successful. One World War I era fire control station will be
preserved in place. The Battery Commander's station for
Battery Bunker will be preserved in place, and one of the
World War I era fire control station will be moved off its
base line and restored for viewing.