Seaside History

Artillery on the Beach

May 22, 2013 | by Nate Burke

With Memorial Day just around the corner, we remember the tremendous sacrifices of our armed forces both abroad and on home soil. Speaking of home soil, Seaside and Oregon’s North Coast have played a role as an ideal National Guard training location since way back at the dawn of the twentieth century. Training in numerous locations between Seaside and Astoria, the National Guard took advantage of the diverse terrain and wide open topographic expanses.  Mobility and transportation were relatively dependable and the troops would often relocate to the area during the summer for special exercises.

Pictured here is a National Guard unit in 1908 practicing their aim on what’s likely a 6-inch Field Howitzer M-1908. The 6-inch Field Howitzer was a customary American heavy howitzer in use before World War I and was mainly used for field training stateside.  They had a maximum range of 6,700 yards, or around 3.8 miles. According to the notes written on this photo, the soldiers were practicing their aim using Tillamook Head as a target. However it’s unclear if they were taking shots directly at the headland. Regardless, it’s fascinating to note the antiquated uniforms and unexpected placement of this training exercise in a location we all know so well in our current times.

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