Gibraltar Princess Anne’s Battery

Rock Of Gibraltar aerial view

Constructed on Willis’s Plateau, this is the only intact battery of 5.25 inch AA guns anywhere in the world. The name has been a source of confusion in that most people refer to the battery as Princess Caroline’s Battery because access is via the junction with Willis’s Road alongside Princess Caroline’s Battery (which houses the Military Heritage Centre). The battery is actually on the site of the much older Willis’s Batteries.

Please visit all of the sections above to read the extensive amount of information about this battery.

This is the only intact battery of 5.25 inch AA guns anywhere in the world. This type of anti-aircraft gun was by far the most expensive and most complex of the antiaircraft weapons of the war. They were intended for the static defence of the key locations like London or the naval bases. Originally, they were naval 5.25″ QF Mark I, developed by the Royal Navy as a double purpose weapon.

In 1942, the Royal Navy gave some of them to the British Army, they modified the type with a reinforced breech to work under higher pressures and a simplified breech mechanism, the mounts by contrast were heavily modified. They were single (shown below at Princess Anne’s Battery) whereas the naval mounts were twin.

While the purely anti-aircraft models (Mark IA mounts) were protected by simple shields, the double purpose guns such as these at Princess Anne’s Battery (anti-aircraft and coastal defence) looked very much like ships guns with their fully enclosed turret.

These types of gun became obsolete in the late fifties with the advancement of anti-aircraft missile systems.

Originally known as 3rd Willis’s Battery, Princess Anne’s Battery is located on Willis’s Plateau at the north side of the rock below the Great Siege Tunnels. It was named after the eldest daughter of George II and was first armed in 1732 and during the Spanish War of 1762 it mounted five 12-pdrs. In the Great Siege of 1789-1793 it formed one of the group of batteries on Willis’s that saw action and received punishment from the Spanish Lines. In 1782 its magazine was blown up. It then had eight embrasures for cannon. In 1859 it mounted four 24-pdrs. and three 13-inch mortars.

The name has been a source of local confusion in that most Gibraltarians refer to the battery as Princess Carolines Battery because access is via the junction with Willis’s Road alongside Princess Caroline’s Battery (which houses the Military Heritage Centre). Further confusion is created because the site is shared with the remains of Princess Amelia’s Battery and Princess Royal’s Battery. Both existed as part of the heavy fortifications of the 19th century.

All of the guns remaining at the battery were installed after the Second World War.

GUN SPECS:

Calibre: 133 mm
Barrel weight: 4348.66 kg
Length with the carriage: 7.00 meters
Length: 6.67 meters
Weight of the projectile: 36.29 kg
Rate of fire: 10 rounds per minute (max)
Muzzle velocity: 853 meters per second
Range: 24,678 meters
Ceiling: 16,947 meters

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