Desert Training Center

Last updated

Desert Training Center
Part of United States Army
Southern California/Western Arizona
Desert training center - map.png
Map of Desert Training Center
Coordinates 33°40′N115°43′W / 33.667°N 115.717°W / 33.667; -115.717
TypeArmy Training Area
Site history
Built1942
In use1942–1944
Garrison information
Past
commanders
Major General George S. Patton, Jr., April–August 1942.
Desert Training Center map US Army 1943 US Army DesertTrainingCentermap.jpg
Desert Training Center map US Army 1943

The Desert Training Center (DTC), also known as California–Arizona Maneuver Area (CAMA), was a World War II training facility established in the Mojave Desert and Sonoran Desert, largely in Southern California and Western Arizona in 1942.

Contents

Its mission was to train United States Army and Army Air Forces units and personnel to live and fight in the desert, to test and develop suitable equipment, and to develop tactical doctrines, techniques and training methods.

It was a key training facility for units engaged in combat during the 1942–1943 North African campaign. It stretched from the outskirts of Pomona, California eastward to within 50 miles of Phoenix, Arizona, southward to the suburbs of Yuma, Arizona and northward into the southern tip of Nevada.

History

Catholic Chapel at Camp Iron Mountain, WW2 era. Camp Iron Mountain is the best-preserved divisional camp today. Now preserved in Mojave Trails National Monument. Catholic Chapel at Camp Iron Mountain.jpg
Catholic Chapel at Camp Iron Mountain, WW2 era. Camp Iron Mountain is the best-preserved divisional camp today. Now preserved in Mojave Trails National Monument.

This simulated theater of operation was the largest military training ground in the history of military maneuvers. A site near Shavers Summit (now known as Chiriaco Summit) between Indio and Desert Center, was selected as the headquarters of the DTC. The site, called Camp Young, was the world's largest army post.

Major General George S. Patton Jr. came to Camp Young as the first commanding general of the DTC. As a native of southern California, Patton knew the area well from his youth and from having participated in army maneuvers in the Mojave Desert in the 1930s. His first orders were to select other areas within the desert that would be suitable for the large-scale maneuvers necessary to prepare American soldiers for combat against the German Afrika Korps in the North African desert.

Patton and his advanced team designated various locations within the area where tent camps would be built. The camps were situated so that each unit could train individually without interfering with the other. Airfields, hospitals, supply depots and sites for other support services were selected as was a corps maneuvering area. The plan was that each division and or major unit would train in its own area, and near the end of its training period would participate in a corps (two divisions or more) exercise in the corps maneuvering area at Palen Pass. Upon completion of the corps exercise, the trained units would leave the DTC, and new units would arrive to begin their training and the process repeated.

By March 1943, the North African campaign was in its final stages and the primary mission of the DTC had changed. By the middle of 1943, the troops who originally came for desert training maneuvers, were now deployed worldwide. Therefore, to reflect that change in mission, the name of the center was changed to the California-Arizona Maneuver Area (C-AMA or CAMA). The CAMA was to serve as a theater of operations to train combat troops, service units and staffs under conditions similar to those which might be encountered overseas. The CAMA was enlarged to include both a communications zone and combat zone, approximately 350 miles wide and 250 miles long. [1] [2] Due to a severe deficit of service units beginning in the winter of 1943, it was decided that maneuvers in CAMA would cease as of 15 April 1944, with internal operations continuing until 1 May, after which the center would be officially discontinued.

Lineage

Radio message Headquarters, War Department, Washington, D.C.
War Department Memo W210-27-43, dated 18 October 1943
War Department Circular 207, 20 June 1944

Facilities

Camp Ibis, 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion, circa 1942 Camp Ibis Charles C. Dike, 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion (15291915002).jpg
Camp Ibis, 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion, circa 1942
Training at Camp Iron Mountain, 1942 Training at Camp Iron Mountain, 1942.jpg
Training at Camp Iron Mountain, 1942

Army Divisional Camps

Army Depots

Army Airfields

Camp Goffs Army Field Train station, 1943 CampGoffsArmyFieldtrainstation.jpg
Camp Goffs Army Field Train station, 1943
Camp Goffs Army Field, 1943 CampGoffsArmyField.JPG
Camp Goffs Army Field, 1943
Desert Training Center, California-Arizona Maneuver Area, former Camp Goffs, Mojave Desert Desert Training Center plaque.jpg
Desert Training Center, California-Arizona Maneuver Area, former Camp Goffs, Mojave Desert

Hospitals

Mohave Maneuver Area C

Desert Training Center Mohave Maneuver Area C MohaveMAC inset map.jpg
Desert Training Center Mohave Maneuver Area C
Former Desert Training Center Mohave Maneuver Area C. River crossing during Exercise Desert Strike in 1964 MohaveManeuverAreaC.jpg
Former Desert Training Center Mohave Maneuver Area C. River crossing during Exercise Desert Strike in 1964

In May of 1964 part of the former Desert Training Center was reacquired for the purpose of Exercise Desert Strike. The former Mohave Maneuver Area C was included in this area and used as part of the training ground for the two-week exercise. The exercise had large maneuvers and some river crossing training. Mohave Maneuver Area C was 781,452 acres located in Mohave County, Arizona. [5]

Present day sites

Most of the sites can be visited, but some are difficult to reach. In most cases the only things that remain at the camp sites are streets, sidewalks, building foundations, patterns of hand-laid rocks for various purposes and trash dumps.

Monuments have been erected at some of the camp sites and there are areas within CAMA that are fenced off with danger signs warning of unexploded ordnance.

The General George S. Patton Memorial Museum is located near the former entrance of Camp Young.

California Historical Landmark

California Historical Landmarks Marker at Desert Training Center sites reads:

Camp Pilot Knob – Imperial

Camp Young – Riverside

Camp Granite – Riverside

Camp Coxcomb – Riverside

Camp Iron Mountain – San Bernardino

Camp Clipper – San Bernardino

Camp Ibis – San Bernardino

See also

Related Research Articles

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The General George S. Patton Memorial Museum, in Chiriaco Summit, California, is a museum erected in tribute to General George S. Patton on the site of the entrance of Camp Young, part of the Desert Training Center of World War II.

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Iron Mountains (California)

The Iron Mountains are a mountain range in eastern San Bernardino County, California. The southern end of the range extends into Riverside County north of Granite Pass.

Desert Center Airport

Desert Center Airport is a private-use airport located five nautical miles northeast of the central business district of Desert Center, in Riverside County, California, United States.

Banning General Hospital, later the Naval Convalescent Hospital, Banning, was a military hospital in Banning, California, built in 1943 to support training at the Desert Training Center. Built by the army as a 1,000-bed hospital, it was transferred to the navy in 1944. In 1948 the site was declared surplus, all buildings were removed, and the leased land was returned to the original owners.

Camp Ibis California Historic Landmark

Camp Ibis was one of twelve divisional tent camps of the US Army Desert Training Center (DTC) which was established in early 1942 during World War II, originally to advance desert tank warfare and to train troops for desert combat. The DTC was located in the Mojave Desert and Sonoran Desert, largely in Southern California and Western Arizona. In October 1943, the DTC was redesignated as the California-Arizona Maneuver Area (C-AMA). The headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young where General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Camp Ibis was designated a California Historic Landmark. The site of the Camp Ibis 8 miles (13 km) East of Needles, California off Highway 95, north of Interstate 40 in San Bernardino County, California. The camp was originally named after the Ibis railroad siding in Piute Valley. The camp was located at the west side of the Dead Mountains Wilderness.

Camp Granite California Historic Landmark

The Camp Granite was a sub camp of the US Army Desert Training Center in Riverside County, California. The main headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young were General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Camp Granite was designated a California Historic Landmark (No.985.2). The site of the Camp Granite is 45 miles East of Indio, California off Interstate 10 and California State Route 62 near the Granite Mountains.

Camp Coxcomb California Historic Landmark

The Camp Coxcomb was a sub camp of the US Army Desert Training Center in Riverside County, California. The main headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young were General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Camp Coxcomb was designated a California Historic Landmark (No.985). The site of the Camp Granite is 45 miles East of Indio, California off Interstate 10 and California State Route 177 near the Coxcomb Mountains. The train stop at Freda railroad siding delivered Troops and equipment. The camp closed in early in 1944 after about two years of operations.

Camp Clipper Former US Army camp in Mojave Desert, California

The Camp Clipper and Camp Essex were sub camps of the US Army Desert Training Center in Riverside County, California. The main headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young, this is where General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Camp Clipper was designated a California Historic Landmark (No.985.5). The site of the Camp Essex at the Fenner Rest Area in Fenner, California, on Interstate 40, 32 miles (51 km) west of Needles in San Bernardino County, California, near Clipper Mountains. Currently at the south end of the Mojave National Preserve. Camp Clipper was just to the east of Camp Essex, it was a temporary camp for incoming and out going troops. Camp Essex was named after a small town near the camp, Essex, San Bernardino County, California. Near the camp was the 4,500 foot Camp Essex Army Airfield.

Camp Iron Mountain California Historic Landmark

The Camp Iron Mountain was a sub camp of the US Army Desert Training Center in Riverside County, California. The main headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young, this is where General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Camp Iron Mountain was designated a California Historic Landmark (No.985.6). Camp Iron Mountain is near the site of Camp Granite, both are 45 miles (72 km) miles East of Indio, California off Interstate 10 and California State Route 62 near the Granite Mountains in San Bernardino County, California. In 1980 Camp Iron Mountain received the listing as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern from the Bureau of Land Management. The listing was given as Camp Iron Mountain is the best preserved of the Desert Training Center Camps. The Bureau of Land Management put up fences to protect the camp from Off-road vehicle traffic. Still at the camp today are a 200 x 175 foot contour training map, some rock mosaics, two church altars, rock lined roads and walkways. The camp is named after the near by Iron Mountains.

Camp Bouse US Army training center during World War II

Camp Bouse was a secret camp of the US Army, Desert Training Center in Riverside County, California. Camp Bouse is located 25 miles (40 km) miles from Bouse, Arizona, just north of Arizona State Route 72 and about 50 miles (80 km) north of Interstate 10.

Camp Hyder US Army sub camp during World War II

The Camp Hyder was a sub camp of the US Army, Desert Training Center in Riverside County, California. The main headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young, this is where General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Camp Hyder is 2 miles (3.2 km) miles south of Hyder, Arizona. The camp was just north of the Gila River. Camp Hyder is 60 miles (97 km) miles east of Yuma, Arizona, near Camp Horn. Camp Hyder was built at the site of an old 1890s military base. Trained at Camp Hyder, in 1943, for six months was the 77th Infantry Division from April 1943 to September 1943. Then the 104th Infantry Division moved in for training. Unlike the other camps, no large tank activity was done. The camp was built by The 369th Engineer Regiment. Camp Hyder had it own rail station at which most troops arrived. The train station at Sentinel, Arizona south of the camp was also used. Over 13,000 troops were trained at Camp Horn and Camp Hyder.

Camp Laguna US WWII army training camp

The Camp Laguna was a sub camp of the US Army, Desert Training Center in Riverside County, California. The main headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young, this is where General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Camp Laguna is 16 miles (26 km) miles northeast of Yuma, Arizona, off of U.S. Route 95. Trained at Camp Laguna were the 3rd Armored Divisions the 9th Armored Divisions, the 79th Infantry Divisions, 80th Infantry Divisions and 8th Infantry Division. The camp is named after the nearby town of Laguna, Yuma County, Arizona on the Colorado River. Camp Laguna was first World War II training camp built in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, it trained thousands of troop for war. Most of the land that was Camp Laguna is now part of the vast Yuma Proving Ground.

Camp Desert Center California Historic Landmark

The Camp Desert Center was a sub camp of the US Army, Desert Training Center in Riverside County, California. The main headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young, this is where General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Camp Desert Center was at Desert Center, California, in Riverside County, California in the Colorado Desert. It is in southern California, between the cities of Indio and Blythe at the junction of Interstate 10 and State Route 177, about halfway between Phoenix and Los Angeles. The Camp Desert Center was location just south of Joshua Tree National Park near the Colorado River Aqueduct. Camp Granite was designated a California Historic Landmark (No.985). The site of Camp Desert Center became the small town of Desert Center, California. Army Divisions were not stationed at Camp Desert Center, the camp was used as a supply depot, maintain repair depot and an evacuation hospital run by the 92nd medical unit.

Camp Horn, Arizona California Historic Landmark

The Camp Horn was a sub camp of the US Army, Desert Training Center in Riverside County, California. The main headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young, this is where General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Camp Horn was near Camp Hyder about 6 miles (9.7 km) miles west of Hyder, Arizona. Camp Horn was just north of the Gila River. Camp Horn was 54 miles (87 km) miles east of Yuma, Arizona. Most troop arrived at Camp Horn from the train station at Camp Hyder or the train station at Sentinel, Arizona south of the camp. Over 13,000 troops were trained at Camp Horn and Camp Hyder. The 81st Infantry Division trained at Camp Horn was from June 1943 to November 1943.

Camp Pilot Knob Historical US Army sub camp in California

The Camp Pilot Knob was a sub camp of the US Army, Desert Training Center in Imperial County, California. The main headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young, this is where General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Camp Pilot Knob was designated a California Historic Landmark (No.985). Camp Pilot Knob is near Felicity, California, in Imperial County, California. Camp Pilot Knob is 2 miles north of the US-Mexico border, just north of the now Interstate 8. The camp is five miles northwest of Yuma, Arizona and 2 miles west of the Colorado river. The camp was built just north of the Felicity train station, which was used to bring the troops and supplies to the camp. The camp is named after a hill south of the camp.

Camp Goffs Former U.S. Army Camp in Mojave Desert, California

The Camp Goffs was a sub camp of the US Army Desert Training Center in Riverside County, California. The main headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young, this is where General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Camp Goffs was designated a California Historic Landmark (No.985). The site of the Camp Goffs just north at the former Santa Fe Railroad station at Goffs, California. Goffs, California is on U.S. Route 66 5 miles north of the current Interstate 40, 25 miles (40 km) west of Needles in San Bernardino County, California. Currently at the south east end of the Mojave National Preserve. Camp Goffs was 20 miles southeast of Camp Essex and Camp Clipper.

California during World War II Overview of the role of the U.S. state of California during World War II

California during World War II was a major contributor to the World War II effort. California's long Pacific Ocean coastline provided the support needed for the Pacific War. California also supported the war in Europe. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941 most of California's manufacturing was shifted to the war effort. California became a major ship builder and aircraft manufacturer. Existing military installations were enlarged and many new ones were built. California trained many of the troops before their oversea deployment. Over 800,000 Californians served in the United States Armed Forces. California agriculture, ranches and farms were used to feed the troops around the world. California's long coastline also put the state in fear, as an attack on California seemed likely. California was used for the temporary and permanent internment camps for Japanese Americans. The population of California grew significantly, largely due to servicemen who were stationed at the new military bases/training facilities and mass influx of workers from around the U.S. in the growing defense industries. With all the new economy activity, California was lifted out of the great depression. Over 500,000 people moved to California from other states to work in the growing economy. California expanded its oil and mineral production to keep up with the war demand.

Needles Station Hospital California Historic Landmark

Needles Station Hospital was US army Hospital built to support the training at the camps of the vast World War II Desert Training Center. Needles Station Hospital was located in the City of Needles, California in San Bernardino County, California. The main headquarters for the Desert Training Center was Camp Young were General Patton's 3rd Armored Division was stationed. Needles Station Hospital was on 875 acres of land and was open from 1942 to 1943. The hospital had two 250 bed hospital units. The hospital and camp was built using temporary buildings. Due to a shortage of manpower, Prisoner of War at the Hospital Camp volunteered to work at the hospital. The land was transferred back to the Department of the Interior on December 16, 1944. The site today is a mix of open land and housing. The Federal Property ID number is J09CA0507.

References

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  3. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Camp Granite (historical)
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