General Patton WW2 and the Arizona desert
I have mentioned before about the tank tracks that are still visible in the desert around here. It’s crazy to think that 70 years later they are still very visible. But not only are there tank tracks to be seen, you can still find where the camps of the soldiers were during WW2.
We found several army camp spots close by our old camping place, plus when we were in Lake Havasu last year we found some old 50 cal. bullets and shells. When we camped outside of Yuma last year, we found quite a lot of discarded remnants from the war, I even found an old glass IV bottle. So all this got me wanting to learn more, and like everyone else, I Googled it.
The desert training center was established in 1942 to train the troops for desert warfare. General Patton oversaw every aspect of what was the largest military base in the world. At 18,000 square miles, the desert training center stretched from California into the Arizona desert. More than a million troops were trained in a two year period.
Patton personally traveled the whole training center, and stayed in the desert rather than in nicer accommodations in Indio,Ca.
These old wooden stakes are markers that I can only guess were to tell the tank drivers to turn here. They are always on a flat spot, and some have a line of rocks going behind them.
The tank tracks are much wider, and deeper than any other vehicle could ever make.
Finding the camp spots is so fascinating. I can only imagine what some of the young men thought when they found themselves in the desert. Were they city boys who had never been in the wide open wilderness? What about the 120 degree days?
This path going into this particular camp spot took a lot of man hours. Notice how it is not only lined with rocks, but the rocks in the path itself are a different color.
Meaning, they were brought from someplace else and placed on this path. Some of the camp spots were pretty good sized, and the rock paths would lead to square outlines were I am sure someone had a tent.
Down the road from where we were camped, until we moved, is a big marker in the desert. I looked on the internet to try and find an aerial photo, but couldn’t find one. The army took rocks and made a giant earth glyph. It says Quartzsite, and there is also a giant circle, and an arrow that points north. A compass marker.
This shows how big these letters are. They had to be seen from the air, so they could find their way to the airfield.
Troop 86 must have made this nearby camp.
We also found this way cool pile of old cans. It’s kinda surprising they just left the trash.
The cans tell a story though. I love these that were opened with a knife. I can just picture a weary soldier opening his can of juice, or whatever they had.
Life could not have been easy. The conditions were very primitive in the desert training center. The focus was to get the troops trained as fast as possible for the war in the desert. After two years, the military training ended with the end of the war. It’s obvious in looking at these places, that they just up and left.
If you would like to read more about the desert training enter, check out the links below.