Installing guns at Balmacara
It was not until October 1940 that Balmacara had guns installed at the station and could actively prevent an enemy attack.
In a meeting on June 11 1940, Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force Fighter Command, noted that there was a "difficulty finding additional guns for ports with so many competing requirements," War record EAB 82/13 DCOS (AA) Meeting 15 June 1940, referenced by C. Dobinson (2001) in AA Command.
Listed as a defence site but not armed, it was at this meeting that they decided that equipping Balmacara was a priority.
It became operational in October 1940, manned by the 51st Brigade of the 108th Regiment of the Royal Artillery. Two years later, the 113th Regiment of the same Brigade replaced them.
The soldiers would have lived in Nissen huts; metal, pre-made, portable huts placed beside the gun station.
The soldiers needed to hit a moving target at great heights. Each battery had its own height finder and predictor. These machines calculated where the plane should be, allowing the gunner to position and shoot with greater accuracy.
Flight paths of enemy planes, however, were still difficult to predict. The main success of anti-aircraft defences lay in putting enemy planes off their course by firing at them from the ground. This was termed jinking.