New WWII Gun at Fort Miles - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New WWII Gun at Fort Miles

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LEWES, Del. -Fort Miles is now 32,000 pounds heavier, thanks to one grand gun.

On Thursday, a M2 90 millimeter anti-aircraft gun was delivered to the Fort Miles Artillery Park in Cape Henlopen State Park. It was so big it required a crane to lift it off a flatbed and into the lot where it will be restored. The gun was acquired under the partnership between the Fort Miles Historical Association and DNREC from the National Electronics Museum in Linthicum, Md. Delaware Department of Parks and Recreation's Chief of Cultural Resources Jim Hall says the addition has special meaning to the park.

"Unlike the rest of our guns in our artillery park, this is a model of gun that was actually here," he tells WBOC. "It was used towards the end of the war for top secret research for a proximity fuse -- it allows the shell to explode when it gets close or near its target." 

Hall says the M2's presence at Fort Miles made the site incredibly important, despite it never seeing actual conflict.

"General George S Patton considered the development of the proximity fuse to be second only to the development of the atom bomb," he says.

The Fort Miles Historical Association will restore the gun before it's put on display. Hall estimates the restoration will be done by late 2017. Wray says acquiring this gun is helping them achieve their long-term goal.

"We're pleased to continue on this path of making the best World War Two museum in a World War Two facility in the country," he says.

This type of gun was used on ships in both Pacific and European battles in WWII. It could fire explosive or 24 pound shells that could pierce armor, at about 25 rounds per minute. The high-velocity gun fired rounds at 2,700 feet per second and could hit land or water targets 11 miles away, or even aircraft 34,000 feet high. Wray says their new M2 will be a joy for many of their visitors.

"I can tell you from the thousands of veterans that have already been out here that they constantly are telling us how wonderful it is to see us restoring these kind of historical efforts," he tells WBOC.

Some of those veterans were motorcyclists from three Sussex County American Legion Posts, who gave the gun a motorcycle escort Thursday morning as it left Milford.

"This park here means a lot to a lot of us," says Jerry Martin from American Legion Post 19 in Laurel. "[Riding was] a show of respect for the veterans and the people that actually operated these things."

After the restoration, the gun will be installed in Fort Miles Artillery Park for display. Wray estimates that will be in about a year. 

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