Prisoner of War Camp located at Coalinga, California, reported as a branch camp of Fort Ord, California. - per Report on Prisoners of War, Office of The Provost Marshal General, 1 November 1945. It held 250 German prisoners used on farms in the Coalinga area.
Posted 3 January 2008
When the need for a branch camp was identified and certified as valid to the Army, it sent a team to select a site for the camp to fulfill the contractors requirements while still ensuring that the prisoners would be properly housed and secured. In many cases, few or no adequate buildings were available for prisoner relocation, so the Army developed a mobile unit package that could be set up quickly to temporarily house 250 POWs. It consisted of 42 tents, sized 16 by 16, allowing 6 or 7 men per tent. Seven additional tents of the same size were used as office and storage buildings. Four larger tents were used, one each, for mess hall, shower, latrine, and chapel/recreation purposes. This entire layout was set up in a compound bordered by a single wire fence that measured 282 by 550 feet (155,100 square feet). Portable guard towers, with searchlights, were placed at opposite corners of the compound to permit clear observation in the camp. Light poles were erected at intervals both inside and outside the camp. Each tent would have one or more light bulbs for night use.
The guard force for a branch camp of 250 POWs consisted of approximately 160 officers and men. It was composed as follows: 30 camp guards; 70 prisoner chasers who were the guards accompanying the POWs to and from work sites and monitoring them during work hours; 15 NCOs to oversee the guard force; seven support staff such as cooks and clerks; 33 drivers and mechanics; and five medics. Usually five officers were assigned including the camp commander, three camp officers, one supply and mess officer, one POW company commander, and one medical officer (if available).