Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields:
Camp Granite
In 1942, the War Department acquired 67,907.5 acres through public land transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior and leases from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The site was used as a divisional camp during World War II troop training maneuvers by General George Patton, Jr. The divisional camp was one of many associated with the Desert Training Center/California-Arizona Maneuver Area (DTC/CAMA).
One of the DTC/CAMA camps established in 1943 Camp Granite was located about 45 miles west of tile Colorado River. In June 1943 the 76th Field Artillery Brigade was at Camp Granite although the permanent camp had not yet been completed. After the 76th Field Artillery Brigade departed, the 90th Infantry Division took its place and trained there.

The property was declared excess March 30, 1944. On two different occasions between 1944 and 1952, the Department of the Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted range clearance operations. Again from 17-30 May 1964, the Department of Defense used the DTC/CAMA for a military exercise code named, DESERT STRIKE.
Camp Granite is located on State Route 62 just east on its junction with State Route 177. Camp Granite is on the south side of the road while Camp Iron Mountain is on the north. Both Camps are visible from the highway.
Camp Granite was established in the spring and summer of 1943. The original camp was closer to the highway but, because of flooding, was moved closer to the mountains. The date of this move is unknown. The 90th and 104th Infantry Divisions were both assigned to Camp Granite, at different times. Thre camp was flooded, and the 90th Division moved to higher ground when they arrived.

Among the smaller units known to have been stationed at Camp Granite were the 76th Field Artillery Brigade and the 413th Infantry Regiment. The 76th Field Artillery Brigade, in fact, was stationed at Camp Granite prior to the completion of the camp and may have been there to assist in its construction. During the XV Corps occupation of the DTC/CAMA (July-November 1943), the headquarters of the XV Corps' artillery was at Camp Granite. Facilities constructed at the camp include 40 shower buildings, 157 latrines, 191 pyramidal wooden tent frames, and one 50,000-gallon water tank. There were a total of nine ranges south of the camp, all of which faced into the Granite Mountains. The ranges were used for artillery( 57- and 105-mm), rifle and pistol, regimental, towed target, and antiaircraft weapons.
Camp Granite is located south across California Highway 62 from Camp Iron Mountain, near the base of the Granite Mountains. The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) aqueduct was located northeast of camp and supplied it with water. The camp was located near the Palen Pass area to the south, where several large maneuvers took place.
Current Condition

The remains of numerous rock-lined roadways can still be discerned, as can several rock insignias. Reports of ordnance have been made south of the camp area, indicating the presence of artillery ranges in the vicinity. The majority of the eastern portion of the camp has been washed away. The western portion of the camp, particularly that lying at the foot of the Granite Mountains, is extremely well preserved. Numerous rock-lined walkways can be found in this portion of the camp, as can unit insignias, several of which have been roped off. Access to this portion of the camp is easy, although the road leading from the highway is extremely sandy.
484th Quartermaster Battalion, Freda

A camp, complete with rock-lined walkways and roads and the insignia of the 484th Quartermaster Battalion, exists west of the Freda railroad siding, immediately south of the MWD aqueduct and northwest of Camp Granite. There also appear to be several pieces of water tanks, as well as other miscellaneous metal. The camp is well preserved and should be considered eligible for listing in the NRHP. It can be accessed from the MWD aqueduct road extending west from California Highway 62, immediately west of where the highway bends at Freda. The camp is approximately 0.25 miles down the road, to the south. Further archival research should be performed on this camp. It is expected that the camp represents a historically important aspect of the DTC/C-AMA, and it is likely eligible for listing in the NRHP. The site is in good condition and retains sufficient integrity.
Palen Pass

The site of the largest maneuvers during the life of the DTC/C-AMA, Palen Pass received heavy impacts from the army. Fortifications were constructed throughout the pass, as one unit would "defend" the area from another. These fortifications consisted of gun emplacements, barbed-wire entanglements, bunkers, minefields, and foxholes. Several maneuvers were held in the area. In addition, each unit that came to defend Palen Pass erected its own defenses by building on what had already been constructed by previous units. Vestiges of maneuvers can also be found in the valley east of the pass, in the form of bomb craters, cartridge cases, concertina wire, and various refuse. Palen Pass can be accessed from the Arlington Mine Road, east from California Highway 177. This road is very sandy in places and should be traveled only in a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Perhaps the largest maneuver to take place was the first mock battle of Palen Pass. The battle was partly conducted for the benefit of visiting dignitaries, including several state governors. One of the participants in the battle, Sgt. Joe Delgado, recalled the action several decades later:
First came the airplanes and strafed hell out of it . Then the artillery shells began to cover the ground, next came tanks rumbling into the pass blasting away and finally streams of troops. There was so much dust and smoke up there you wouldn't think anything could be alive for miles. But when we stopped, and the smoke began to clear, someone shouted, "Hey look up there, what's that moving?" And just like nothing at all had been going on, this old dusty prospector and his burro, looking like something from the last century, came walking through all that smoke and dust and debris paying no attention at all to any of us or all the live ammunition we'd blasted that pass with.


On August 20, 1943, the 85th Division was treated to a tremendous fire power demonstration of aircraft and infantry. The demo included P-38 fighters that attacked ground targets. Then the entire 2nd Battalion of the 339th Regiment massed along the firing line and fired all the weapons at once, including rifles, machine guns and mortars.

Desert field exercises were carried out by battalion and involved a meeting engagement with the enemy, an overnight bivouac and an early morning attack. These were held across the valley from Camp Coxcomb, just before the Palen Pass, which ran between the Little Maria and Palen Mountains
During October 25 to November 13, 1943, the 15th Corps maneuvers were carried out in the Palen Pass area east of Camp Coxcomb. This included the 81st and the 79th Infantry Divisions, the 15th Mechanized Cavalry, 182nd and 119th Field Artillery Groups, 3rd Field Artillery Observation Battalion , 185th Tank Destroyer Battalion and 2 anti-aircraft groups.
The army recognized that practically the entire maneuver area had been used for live-fire exercises, and that clearing it [of unexploded ordnance] was nearly impossible. The Palen Pass maneuver area was left as is, and only marked with signs
Source: Bureau of Land Management

Corps of Engineers History
LOCATION: The site is located approximately 45 miles west of the Colorado River in Riverside County, California. A monument marks the site 0.3 miles west of the San Bernardino-Riverside county line on California Highway 62. The Colorado River Aqueduct is located approximately one mile from the northwest corner of the former camp.

SITE HISTORY: One of the Desert Training Maneuver Area camps established in 1942-43 during World War II, Camp Granite was located about 45 miles west of the Colorado River. In June 1943, the 76th Field Artillery Brigade was at Camp Granite although the permanent camp had not yet been completed. The camp was later used by the 90th Infantry Division upon completion of the permanent camp. The entire Desert Training Center was in operation for nearly two years and was closed in early 1944 when the last military units were shipped overseas for combat.

The east-west running, temporary tent camp was roughly three miles long and approximately one mile wide. Camp Granite was located on the northern plain formed at the bottom of the Granite Mountains opposite from Camp Iron Mountain. According to information from the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, California Desert District, two camps were built in this area. The original camp was built closer to the current California state highway 62, but was moved to higher and dryer ground following problems generated by runoff from the Granite Mountains. Information contained in the Army Corps of Engineers project file for the Needles Resource Area indicated that Camp Granite utilized two artillery ranges, A and B, during its operation. A map of the former camp suggests that these artillery ranges were located on the southern part of the camp near the Granite Mountains. According to the Bureau of Land Management, ordnance has been reported in the area.

Army Corps of Engineers maps outline the areas surveyed for ordnance by the Corps afterWorld War II in the California-Arizona Maneuver Area. These maps show that some portions of the former site area have been cleared for all uses, while other areas have been restricted to surface use only (mostly the regions closer to the Granite Mountains). After military occupation, the subject lands were returned to the Department of the Interior. The lands returned by the military were later declared part of the Department of the Interior's Desert Conservation Area on October 21, 1976. The site is currently maintained by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management as part of the California Desert Conservation Area.
Source: Los Angeles District, US Army Corps of Engineers
Army Units Assigned to Camp Granite

 Data Source


 Army of the United States Station List  1 June 1943
76th Field Artillery Brigade (AGF)
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery
17th Field Artillery Observation Battalion
144th Field Artillery Group (Formerly 144th Field Artillery Regiment, California National Guard)
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery
980th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm, Motorized)
981st Field Artillery Battalion (155mm, Motorized)
183rd Field Artillery Group
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery
183rd Field Artillery Battalion (155mm, Truck-Drawn)
195th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm, Truck-Drawn)
188th Field Artillery Group
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery
188th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm, Truck-Drawn)
957th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm, Truck-Drawn)
195th Field Artillery Battalion
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery
195th Field Artillery Battalion (8-Inch, Motorized)
997th Field Artillery Battalion (8-Inch, Motorized)
269th Ordnance Maintenance Company (AGF)
605th Engineer Camouflage Battalion (AGF)
Company B
AAF - Army Air Forces units AGF - Army Ground Forces ASF - Army Service Forces units WDC - Western Defense Command
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Updated 3 July 2017