Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Lake Chabot Machine Gun Range
 
Lake Chabot Machine Gun Range circa 1946. The triangular target track can be seen in the center of the photograph..
 
With the start of World War II, the U.S. Navy required a large quantity of new training facilities to enlarge its pool of trained aerial gunners for its patrol and bomber aircraft. In order to accomplish this mission, the 12th Naval District entered into a lease arrangement with the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) to establish a gunnery range on a watershed area adjacent to the Lake Chabot Reservoir.

The U.S. Navy built a circuit training range on which gunners would fire turret mounted machine guns that were built onto the beds of light trucks, rail cars, and fixed firing platforms. Gunners would engage targets that were on an automated circuit on small rail cars. This would simulate firing in air-to-air combat.

In addition to the automated circuit range, there was a shotgun range that was used for the primary training of aerial gunners. This was basically a skeet range in which trainees would learn the fundamental techniques of aerial gunnery, such as proper sighting of fast moving targets.

Documentation supports that during the U.S. Navy's tenure, there seems to have been problems with the training activity causing erosion that resulted in an overabundance of silt in Lake Chabot. Documentation at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland also states that tracer ammunition fired at the range caused at least one major wildfire.

With the end of World War II, the need for aerial gunners decreased and the Site was no longer needed by the U.S. Navy. While a copy of the lease or other termination documents could not be located during records research, documentation indicates that the lease between the U.S. Navy and EBMUD expired on 30 June 1947
Site Map
 

Building Schedule

Building No.

Facility

Comment/ Concern

1

Barracks

None

2

Subsistence Building (Mess Hall)

None

3

Bachelor Officers Quarters

None

4

Small Arms Ammunition Storage

None

5

Control Tower

None

6

Sewage Disposal

None

7

25,000 Gallon Water Tank

None

8

Repair Shop

None

9

Turret Truck Garage

None

10

Turret Maintenance Shop

None

11

Target Repair Building

None

12

Ammunition Belting and Paint Building

None

13

Recreation Building

None

14

Armory

None

15

Dispensary

None

16

Paint Locker

None

17

Rail Car Storage Shelter

None

18

Malfunction Classroom

None

19

Classroom

None

20

Classroom

None

N/A

Pump House

Adjacent to 100,000 Gallon Water Tank

N/A

100,000 Gallon Water Tank

None

N/A

Underground Storage Tank

Adjacent to Subsistence Building

N/A

Underground Storage Tank

Adjacent to Subsistence Building

N/A

Above Ground Storage Tank

Adjacent to Bachelor Officers Quarters

N/A

Pump House

Between Dispensary and Repair Shop

N/A

Septic Tank

Between Dispensary and Repair Shop

N/A

Boxing Ring

Adjacent to Barracks

N/A

500 Gallon Above Ground Gasoline Tank and Pump

Adjacent to Building 10

N/A

60’x6’ Target Butt

Burst Control Range

N/A

118’x6’ Target Butt/Storeroom

Malfunction Range

N/A

61’x10’ Firing Platform

Burst Control Range

N/A

101’x10’ Firing Platform

Malfunction Range