Page 7 - Fort Gilkicker
P. 7

Fort Gilkicker                                                                                  Solent Papers No.5

            Monckton Auxiliary Battery
            The first Fort Gilkicker 1858

            M - Magazine
            C - Musketry Caponier
            B - Barracks
            1 to 11 Gun Emplacement

                          2  x 10   inch. 85  cwt Preview

           is very doubtful whether their own fire would not  Gomer was altered and the Browndown Batteries
           cause their embrasures to bulge, and probably to fall  were replaced in 1888 by a more powerful sea facing
           in and smother the guns; certainly one shot from the  battery for two heavy 12.5 inch Rifled Muzzle
           enemy would effect this.’                          Loading guns.

           He adds that neither had any defence against assault  The Commission of 1860
           in front. He also criticised Gilkicker and the two  By the 1850’s England was seriously concerned by
           Browndown Batteries for being built on the shingles  the possible intentions of France to invade England
           close to the waters edge just where the sea is deepest  once more. The introduction of steam propulsion was
           close in to the shore. In his view they should have  a threat to the supremacy of the Royal Navy, which
           been 300 to 400 yards further back giving them more  up till now had been able to blockade the French
           resistance to a landing or assault. He presented plans  channel ports. In 1858, the French had constructed
           for the defence of Stokes Bay which consisted of a  the fore-runner of a new class of fighting ship, La
           system of ramparts and a ditch running the length of  Gloire. These ‘Ironclads’ posed a particularly serious
           the Bay.                                           threat to the dockyard at Portsmouth which would
                                                              have to be destroyed in preparation for a French
           A map of 1858 states that the fort at Gilkicker had  invasion. England’s answer on the sea was the
           positions for twelve not six guns. It was usual to  construction of its own ironclads such as ‘Warrior’.
           provide only half the number of guns as there were  The rapid advances made in the construction of guns
           embrasures to allow for some of the embrasures     culminating in the invention of Armstrong’s Rifled
           being destroyed by enemy action. An armament list  Breech Loading gun (R.B.L.) in 1859 showed that
           of 1860 states that ‘Monckton Auxiliary Battery’ had  the land defences clearly had to be upgraded to take
           as armament the following guns :-                  the new ships and guns into account. It was expected
                          9  x 68   pdr.  95  cwt             that the forces on the Continent would soon possess
                                                              guns of equal performance.  Under the direction of
           Fergusson also criticised the new fort at Gomer and  Lord Palmerston a Royal Commission was set up to
           the existing batteries at Browndown. His scathing  ‘Consider the Defences of the United Kingdom’ with
           comments were obviously taken seriously for Fort   particular reference to the new rifled guns, under the

   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12