High Angle Battery
The High Angle Battery is a derelict fort built in 1892 on the Isle of Portland
Isle of Portland
The Isle of Portland is a limestone tied island, long by wide, in the English Channel. Portland is south of the resort of Weymouth, forming the southernmost point of the county of Dorset, England. A tombolo over which runs the A354 road connects it to Chesil Beach and the mainland. Portland and...

 in Dorset
Dorset , is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The county town is Dorchester which is situated in the south. The Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch joined the county with the reorganisation of local government in 1974...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. The battery was built as part of Britain's Coastal Defences in 1892 and is located in a disused Portland Stone quarry at the northern end of the island. Just to the north, at the top of high cliffs of Portland is the Verne Citadel
Verne Citadel
Verne Citadel is a citadel on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, England. The citadel was started in 1847 at a camp for prisoners building Portland harbour's breakwaters, and was extended during the 1860s as a result of the Royal Commission, ending up with 8 RML guns with calibres up to 12". It is now...

 with which it would have formed part of an impressive defence installation, protecting both merchant and naval shipping using Portland Harbour
Portland Harbour
Portland Harbour is located beside the Isle of Portland, off Dorset, on the south coast of England. It is one of the largest man-made harbours in the world. Grid reference: .-History:...


Being down in a quarry the guns were hidden from view of any passing enemy ships, the element of surprise would keep them moving on, minimising a possible threat. The "high angle" that the RML 9 inch 12 ton gun
RML 9 inch 12 ton gun
The RML 9 inch guns Mark I - Mark VI were large rifled muzzle-loading guns used as primary armament on smaller British ironclad battleships and secondary armament on larger battleships, and also ashore for coast defence.-Design:...

s fired at ensured shells dropped down to inflict maximum damage on the less well protected upper decks of any attacking vessel, the sides of which were usually rather better armoured.

Positions were built for eight guns but in the event only six were installed. The supply of shells were stored in underground magazines reached by a short rail. Shelters for the men were also to be found here, their main accommodation being in the adjacent Verne buildings.

The pace of maritime warfare increased with the use of smaller craft like torpedo boat
Torpedo boat
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

s, and the big guns would be far less likely to score a hit. As a result, they had been in use for just six years when they were taken out of service in 1898. The Battery was decommissioned in 1906, a short lifespan on the whole. Nevertheless the idea was adopted elsewhere with some enthusiasm, especially in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


The Portland installation is the best preserved Battery of its type in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and is a scheduled ancient monument
Ancient monument
An ancient monument is an early historical structure or monument worthy of preservation and study due to archaeological or heritage interest. In the United Kingdom it is a legal term, differing from the American term National Monument in being far more numerous and always man-made...

but remains hidden from view: a short walk across from a tiny car park that serves the nearby Verne will soon reveal its layout in the lower levels of the shallow quarry.

External links

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