Ocotillo Wells SVRA
Looking over a petrified tree buried in the sand.
These unusual rolling hills and sand washes, located 10 miles west of Hwy. 86 on Hwy. 78, The area consists of 4,800 acres now part of the Ocotillo Wells Vehicular Recreation Area. Part of the area was used for training by the Army Tank Corps in the early part of World War II. The area has been cleared of most dangerous material, but it is still possible to find old ammo buried in the sand. Anything found should be left alone and reported to the BLM or Rangers in the area. The wash run into Anza Borrego Desert State Park where only street legal vehicle are allowed.
Some old 50-calibre ammo that must have been dropped in a 1942-43 training exercise.
In January 1942, just a month after the United States entered the war, German troops under the command of Field Marshall Rommel started pushing toward Egypt, threatening the Suez Canal. The British experienced great difficulty fighting an enemy well versed and able in the use of tanks as a tactical weapon in the desert. It was evident that U.S. troops would have to engage in a desert campaign. There was no background for such an engagement in the history of U.S. warfare.
On February 5, 1942, Lt. General Lesley J. McNair, Chief of Staff, General Headquarters, gave his approval to a plan developed to stop Germany's advance in Northern Africa. He designated Major General George S. Patton, Jr. to establish the Desert Training Center for the purpose of training men and machines for action under the harsh conditions of the African deserts. The area selected by General Patton in the California and Arizona deserts encompassed approximately 18,000 square miles, making it the largest military installation and maneuver area in the world. Training over 1 million men for desert warfare.
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