Desert Training Center WWII Patton's Arizona California Maneuver Area


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Desert Training Center
In early 1942, the U.S. Army established the Desert Training Center to prepare soldiers for the harsh desert conditions that would be faced when fighting the German Army in North Africa. The War Department utilized over 18,000 square miles of desolate land in southeastern California and western Arizona where it trained over a half million soldiers on desert warfare tactics and survival in extreme conditions. For two years, 13 infantry divisions and 7 armored divisions marched and drove over the vast desert landscape. This massive training ground consisted of 13 divisional camps and numerous railroad sidings, ammunition dumps, hospitals, airfields and quartermaster depots. By May 1943, the German Afrika Korps had been defeated and desert training was no longer a necessity. However, training lasted for another year until it was officially closed in April, 1944.

Although the tents, jeeps and tanks are long gone, there are still many traces and reminders of the soldiers who trained in the desert 70 years ago. Many of the divisional camps still have the rock-lined walkways, roads, and entryways leading to the tents. In areas where infantry and tanks would go on maneuvers one can still see the wide tank tracks in the ground, as well as the occasional machine gun cartridges, old gasoline cans, rusted food cans and other debris left behind by the troops.

The Desert Training Center is an interesting and historical perspective into Arizona's and California's ties to World War II.

Vehicles & Armor
used at DTC


Maps of DTC Area

Concentric rock ring which may have once been a company or regimental flagpole at Camp Horn. A foxhole/ rock embankment on a hill used by infantry troops to overlook Rice Valley below. A pile of 1943 dated ammo. Must have been from a .30 cal machine gun or a few M1Garand 8-round bloc clips.