Twelve inch mortar

Twelve inch mortar is one of four that remain at the fort.

The eight 12-inch M1890-M1 mortars, manufactured in Watervliet Arsenal, Watervliet, New York, were breech-loading and rifled. The weapon had safety features built in, such as a device which kept the mortars from being fired until the breech locks were secured and the weapons were elevated to the minimum 45 degrees.

rifled barrel

Notice the rifled barrel. (The four small mounting tabs are for fastening a plexiglass cover to keep kids from crawling in!)

The purpose of these mortars was to control the main shipping lane into Tampa bay. A ship entering Tampa bay had to pass in between Fort Dade, on Egmont Key, and Fort De Soto. For that entire time, they were directly under the guns of the batteries on either side of them.

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