Archive for April, 2011

The 5th Battery was part of a major tactical system of coast defense, covering all approaches to the mouth of Tagus river, therefore, to the capital city Lisbon. If not for any other reason, the place definitely deserves a visit, on account of the great views over Lisbon, Tagus mouth. Above all, it’s easily accessible and even by public transportation: one can take the ferry from Lisbon to Trafaria and then find the way up, walking a couple of kilometers.

The battery was built in 1893, not far from the old Vigia fort, a bit higher, to the East. By then the garrison was accommodated in other military facility, Trafaria’s barracks, inaugurated by the king D. Carlos in 1905. All these military installations were renovated during the 1st World War, when they got new cannons, of a higher caliber.

The cannons you will see there these days are old Krupps of 152 mm. They had a fire rate of 4 shots per minute and were able to hit a target 20 km far. The crew was formed by 9 men. Each shell had a weight of 45 kg.

It’s hard to find details about this place. Eventually, I could find memories of guys who were kids when the battery was abandoned but nothing truly solid. There is a Facebook Group, in Portuguese, trying to gather people to bring force to a plan to renovate the whole place.

As always, we never know the kind of people we might bump into. Eventually the area will be crowded with paintball players. Ah! try to rotate the guns… you will be surprised… it’s possible to rotate them simply using your thumb. Amazing.

A bit farther but at walking distance, there is another spot. I think its name is Battery of Aplena (although I didn’t find there any artillery positions). To me it looks more like an ammo depot attached to the 5th Battery. Anyway… short on info, I know, and for that I apologize. So I leave you with some pictures and the coordinates for both places:

5th Battery: N 38° 40.087 W 009° 14.128

Battery of Alpena: N 38° 39.577 W 009° 14.057

The last two pictures are from the second spot as explained in the text