The Desert Training Center/California-Arizona Maneuver Area, 1942–1944, Volume 2: Historical and Archaeological Contexts for the Arizona Desert

Author(s): Matt Bischoff

Year: 2008


With the German Afrika Korps driving across the North African desert with impunity in 1941 and 1942, the U.S. Army realized that it might be called upon to assist its British ally in the fight against the Germans and Italians. Egypt, along with the strategic Suez Canal and the Middle East in general, were in danger of being lost to the Axis powers. It became imperative that the Axis be expelled from North Africa. The U.S. Army, however, had never fought a large-scale war in a desert environment. As a result, the Army Ground Forces designated over 18,000 square miles of the Arizona and California desert as an armored training facility. Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., was placed in charge of establishing this facility and served as its first commanding officer. The facility would thereafter reflect his tough image and relentless training doctrines. The facility was called the Desert Training Center (DTC), and its mission was to harden and prepare troops for the rigors of desert warfare in the forthcoming invasion of North Africa. Operating from 1942 to 1944, the DTC expanded far beyond this original scope and in 1943 became known as the California-Arizona Maneuver Area (C-AMA).

The facility was truly massive in scale. Numerous divisional camps-measuring three miles long by one mile wide and housing more than 15,000 men each-were established throughout the desert. In addition, the facility contained airfields, supply depots, railroad sidings, hospitals, ranges, and maneuver areas. Because of its hasty construction, short duration, and the army's desire to train men under spartan conditions, the DTC/C-AMA contained few permanent structures and was quite ephemeral compared to other military bases. Nevertheless, countless reminders of this massive training facility exist throughout the Arizona and California desert today. Maneuver areas, where entire divisions practiced attacking and defending huge land areas, can be seen. The Desert Training Center/California-Arizona Maneuver Area, 1942- 1944: Volume 2: Historical and Archaeological Contexts for the Arizona Desert, is the second of two volumes providing an in-depth look at the history of this massive military training ground. This volume focuses on the Arizona portion of the DTC/C-AMA, complementing the first volume's focus on its California portion. Like the first volume, this report includes a detailed historic context for this unique facility. The report is richly illustrated with historic as well as modern photographs, maps, and drawings, all of which help the reader to gain an intimate sense of what took place in this portion of the desert Southwest over half a century ago.

Volume 2 of 2.

Cite this Record

The Desert Training Center/California-Arizona Maneuver Area, 1942–1944, Volume 2: Historical and Archaeological Contexts for the Arizona Desert. Matt Bischoff. Technical Series ,75. Tucson, AZ: SRI Press. 2008 ( tDAR id: 425938) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8425938

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1942 to 1944 (Duration of training during World War II)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.774; min lat: 32.343 ; max long: -113.467; max lat: 35.425 ;


General Note: Volume 2 of 2

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