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article number 740
article date 10-18-2018
copyright 2018 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Fort Morgan Beach Thanksgiving? Beautiful White Sands, Sea Shells, Birds and Ships
by Stu Moment

Bring a jacket but go barefoot through the white sands of Fort Morgan Alabama’s beaches on the Mobile Bay side. You will get much exercise walking through the sand but you may stop often to examine the life and signs of life that the beach provides.

Driving down State Route 59 we turn right on State Route 180, just a bit short of Gulf Shores.


Overlooking the Gulf, houses on stilts? These poor people obviously could not afford houses away from the flood areas.


Ferry wait line for the west side of Mobile Bay.


You’ll have an abundance of shell shapes to view.


Many ships pass riding high in the water . . . perhaps they are being serviced in a Mobile shipyard. This is cargo ship "Star Herdla." Most of the ships are of foreign registry.

Cargo ship "Star Herdla," Mobile Bay.
1920x1080 size available. to open in new window.

The vegetation in the sand is quite picturesque. Some areas are off limits for restoration.


Good ole’ shell next to driftwood shot.


A trawler. Before you head home we stopped at one of the Bon Secour fish markets a bit northeast of us and had 3 pounds of big shrimp iced up for a day’s trip home.


Lots of these jellyfish washed up with the waves. Carefully went to take a closer look . . . then it washed back into the gulf.


Another cargo ship, "Red Jacket."

Cargo ship "Red Jacket," Mobile Bay.
1920x1080 size available. to open in new window.

You’ll find many of these crab shells on the shore . . . pretty.


These crab holes in the sand are made by a different type of crab.


This heron was on vacation from the Midwest. Wasn’t a country bird . . . would not hold a conversation with me.


Sandpipers dot the beach. They’re funny birds . . . they can’t sing like other birds do . . . sticking their beaks in the sand. But could hear her humming 1960’s folk rock.


If you have kids, be prepared to bring a variety of shells home.


Cargo ship Stellar Voyager.

Cargo ship "Stellar Voyager," Mobile Bay.
1920x1080 size available. to open in new window.

The ferry to Dauphin Island (to the west side of Mobile bay) passes by.


The Blue Angels are practicing for their last show . . . at home, Pensacola, just a few miles to the west.


Not to be outdone by the Blue Angels, these birds are in trail formation, dive bombing the water one after the other. You will see some come up with a fish.


Kept trying to get a close-up shot of a bird. Finally one, probably hired by the local Chamber of Commerce, came close for some Ft. Morgan promo shots.


The sun is getting low. A day’s fresh air . . . you’ll sleep well tonight.


_ _ _

Plaque commemorating the first Alabama soldier to die in the Civil War.


We note connecting tunnels to in the design of the complex.


Early 1800’s defense gun.

A 32 Pounder sea Coast Defense Gun on Barbette Carriage.

32 Pounder Cannon side view.
This smoothbore, muzzle-loading cannon was one of the main coast defense weapons in the United States’ arsenal when Fort Morgan was completed in 1834. With an eight pound charge of powder the gun could fire a 32 pound solid iron shot about one mile.

After the start of the Civil War in 1861, the 32 pounder was still widely used in coastal forts, but it was being replaced by more powerful and more accurate guns. When the war began there were 78 of these guns at Fort Morgan, but when the fort was captured in 1864 only 14 were still in use.
Rear view: 32 Pounder sea coast defense gun on Barbette Carriage.

An old anchor.


M1918M1 Coastal Defense Cannon.

M1918M1 Coastal Defense Cannon.

Plaques tell the history of a 1918 gun.

U.S. Model 1918M1 155mm Gun and Model 1918A1 Carriage.

The U.S. Model 1918M! 155mm Gun, more commonly known as the "G.P.F.", was a French heavy artillery piece manufactured in the U.S. for use by the U.S. Army during World War I. Due to the gun’s mobility and hitting power, it was used during the 1920’s and 1930’s as a coast defense weapon. By 1944, the M1918M1 gun and the M1918A1 carriage with its solid rubber tires were no longer in front line service and had been relegated to a support role. During World War II, Battery F of the 50th Coast Artillery Regiment manned two M1918M1 GPF guns (Nos. 176 and 802) at Fort Morgan, initially in field emplacements and later on "Panama" mounts on top of the fort.

Weight of Gun and Carriage: 19,860 pounds
Weight of Projectile: 95 pounds
Muzzle Velocity: 2,360 feet per second
Range: 20,000 yards
Rate of Fire: 4 rounds per minute
Panama Mount

After World War I, the versatile M1918M1 gun and its M1918A1 carriage were adapted for coast defense. Although the gun could be traversed over a wider range than other large guns of the period, it was still unable to adequately track moving targets. This deficiency was rectified the Development during the 1920’s of circular concrete gun emplacements in the panama Canal Zone.

When emplaced on these simple, inexpensive, Panama mounts, the 155mm GPF was an effective alternative to older more complex coast defense weapons emplaced in large concrete batteries such as Battery Duportail’s 12-inch "Disappearing Rifles."

During World War II, two of Battery F, 50th Coast Artillery’s 155mm GPF’s were mounted on two Panama mounts that were constructed on top of Fort Morgan. The emplacement located on Bastion #4 is the last Panama mount at Fort Morgan.

There is much, much more to see at Fort Morgan . . . but . . . don’t forget to stop in at Bon Secour for shrimp or other seafood.

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