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Paloma Alta Artillery Battery to become a Theme Park!

Martin Serrano · Photos: Fran Montes

The Paloma Alta Artillery Battery is planned to become a Theme Park!

Time is about to be called on this old military site which used to house the old batteries at Paloma Alta, near Tarifa.

The Paloma Alta Artillery Battery, a ghostly emplacement which had three 1926 ‘Vickers 381/45’ canons, and in its heyday used to be a strategic monitoring base, is now being called to become a theme park if the initiative by the Conde de Gazola artillery association prospers.

Paloma Alta Artillery Battery to become Theme Park
Paloma Alta Artillery Battery

This is for real. The promoters have presented their plans to the various official bodies including the Junta de Andalucia, the Municipality and the provincial government as well as a number of private entities on the understanding that the abandoned artillery battery can be completely restored and turned into an attraction in which the three antique canons and various buildings can be refurbished and used as a museum, and for touristic and cultural purposes.

The Ministry of Defence has already given in principle approval pending submission of final plans.

The restoration of the three guns on the site which lies in beautiful natural surrounds between the rolling dunes of Valdevaqueros and the hamlet of Paloma will be a great heritage value.

The Area

Punta Paloma is a cape located in the cove of Valdevaqueros, in the municipality of Tarifa. It is part of the foothills of the mountains of San Bartolomé in the Sierra de la Plata. Also referred to as Punta Paloma, there is a beach, a watchtower and the coastal battery .

Above the dunes and the beach is a mountain where underground military installations dominate the Strait of Gibraltar and which goes by the name of Paloma Alta. The coastal battery, comprises a set of three guns organized to fire under the same command.

The emplacement belongs to the Spanish army and used to boast of the most advanced materiel of its time. Today they await restoration for the enjoyment of lovers of military history.

The Canons

Paloma Alta Artillery Barracks

The artillery pieces are protected by layers of thick cement from 4 to 5 metres in depth so that only the barrels protrude from the mountain side. Below was buried and duly camouflaged the munitions dump.

There is a lift on one side. The guns themselves were produced in the Vickers factory in England.

The battery was initially designed to house 2 pieces but following an accident which damaged one of them two more were brought from Favaritx in Menorca so that eventually there were three.

There are similar batteries in El Ferrol, Cartagena and Mahon. All have now been decommissioned and some are open to visitors. The ones at Punta Paloma fired their last shells in 2008.

The Vickers de 381/45 mm, also known as the 38 plus 1 in centimetres, was an naval gun used in Spain as coastal artillery for the defence of the naval bases at El Ferrol, Cartagena and Mahon and subsequently in the Straits of Gibraltar and were in use between 1933 and 2008. It was the highest calibre piece used in Spain and needed a squad of 15 to operate.

The Paloma Alta Artillery Battery is planned to become a Theme Park!

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