Gibraltar O’Hara’s Battery

Rock Of Gibraltar aerial view

The massive 9.2 inch gun at O’Hara’s Battery has a range of 16 miles which effectively closes the gap between Europe and Africa. This battery and its underground facilities can be visited by arrangement with the Gibraltar Tourist Board.

O’Hara’s Battery is high on the southern ridge of Gibraltar. With a range of 29,000 yards, this gun can effectively close the gap between Europe and Africa. The panorama opposite shows a number of key views, Africa can be seen on the horizon in the direction which the gun points (south), the Bay of Gibraltar can be seen sweeping round to the west with the city of Algeciras directly across the bay. This gun along with the nearby Lord Airey gun were last fired during training on 7 April 1976. This facility is now a tourist exhibit.

Photo:

Estoril Ltd.

This Battery was named after Lieutenant General Charles O’Hara, Governor of Gibraltar 1787 – 1799. He believed that if only the Rock could be a little higher, his lookouts would be able to see the Spanish ships as they left Cadiz. For this reason he had a tower built on top of the highest point of the Rock where O’Hara’s Battery stands today. It proved to be a failure and was later known as “O’Hara’s Folly”. It was demolished in 1888 and in 1890 a 6 inch BL gun on a Vavasseur centre pivot mounting was installed only to be replaced in 1901 by the current 9.2 inch gun.

The gun was originally open to the elements until 1934 when a the steel shield was added to give protection against splinters and small arms fire. The photo below shows the Mark of the shield.

A narrow channel descends to the entrance door of the underground magazine. The turntable which supports and rotates the gun is surrounded by concrete. Access to this area is via the large black steel doors seen behind and below the gun. The turntable enclosure also contains the upper parts of the shell hoist, you can view these as well as the turntable in item C in the map above.

The pathway leading downhill from the gun turns uphill to Lord Airey’s Battery which can be seen at the top left of the photo above. The tops of the air vents above the underground engine room can be seen in the top centre of the photo. The entrance to the engine room is via steel doors adjacent to the point where the downhill slope turns uphill towards Lord Airey’s battery.

The spare barrel sits along the path leading to Lord Airey’s Battery.

Gun Technical Data:

  • Calibre And MK Of Gun: 9.2 Ins/MK 10
  • Weight Of Gun And Mounthing: 204 Tons
  • Weight Of Shell: 380 Lbs
  • Weight Of Charge: 109 Lbs
  • Weight Of Barrel: 28 Tons
  • Range Of Gun: 29,600 Yards
  • Distance Across Straits: 25,500 Yards
  • Distance Across Bay: 900 Yards
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2700 Feet Per Second
  • Rate Of Fire: 2-3 Rounds Per Minute

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