The National Park Service and the Army Ground Forces Association (AGFA) will bring you back in time to Friday, May 18th, 1943, to learn about defending New York Harbor against the German Navy and their submarines, called U-Boats, that were operating off the Jersey Shore during WWII.
The tour will meet at the FORT HANCOCK MUSEUM (aka the Post Guardhouse), located adjacent to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, at 5:45 PM. It’s official building number is 28, and it is located on Kearney Road.
This is a one story building with four very large and brightly painted artillery shells out in front of it. It is due west of the Light House, and is only a one minute walk away. Please be there early, as the tour will step off and depart PROMPTLY at 6:00 PM. There are multiple parking areas immediately adjacent to the Light House and the Museum.
**** Again, the best address for the Museum and start point is: 28 Mercer Road, Highlands, NJ 07732.****
Volunteers from the Army Ground Forces Ass’n, uniformed as soldiers of Battery K, 245th Coast Artillery Regiment, U.S. Army, which was stationed at Fort Hancock in WWII, will then escort you on a “First Person” walking lantern tour of Fort Hancock’s main harbor defense locations during WWII:
1) The Harbor Defense Command Post (HDCP), located in the Mortar Battery next to the Light House, where all harbor defense units in the New York Harbor sector were coordinated from. **Please note that as this tour continues to grow by leaps and bounds, we may not be able to safely enter the HDCP with a large number of people. HOWEVER, if this is indeed the case, a DETAILED description and lecture will be given in front of the HDCP.
2) Battery Gunnison, the “Exam Battery” for the Harbor Entrance Control Post. This gun emplacement is undergoing a full restoration to its 1943 configuration and features two working 6″ M1900 coastal guns and the only restored – and functional – seacoast artillery Plotting Room in the nation. Battery John Gunnison / New Pwck is the finest and best preserved and restored Coast Artillery battery in the United States. It will truly become 1943 when you enter inside of it! You will get to see the daily life of a soldier at Fort Hancock and learn about the nerve-wracking stressful environment that came with the responsibility of protecting New York and New Jersey – the industrial heartland of America during WWII – and 20 million people from the shores of Sandy Hook.
The tour will also pass other gun batteries and structures that were part of the World War 2 defenses throughout the walk.
At all times will the atmosphere on the tour will be kept as historically accurate as possible – please make sure your cell phone is on silent!!
Please bring a flashlight or a lantern, and certainly bring your camera. Also, sturdy walking shoes, long pants and a jacket are recommended, as it can get unseasonably chilly at night on Sandy Hook during this time of year. Bringing water and a snack are also HIGHLY RECOMMENDED . Please also note World War 2 Harbor Defense Lantern Tour is held RAIN OR SHINE – if we have visitors in a downpour, we will still conduct the hike. Again, please dress accordingly for the weather.
This one of a kind tour is not to be missed, and will take you straight into one of the most important and forgotten battles of WWII… The Battle of The Atlantic.
Please post any questions here to the event wall, and we will answer them as quickly as possible. Also, please do not hesitate to call the Fort Hancock & Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark Visitor Center at (732) 872-5970.
We will see you on May 18th!!