Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons

Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons also called Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons Island was a US Amphibious Training Base at Solomons, Maryland, on the Dowell Peninsula, from 1942 to 1945 built to train troops for World War II amphibious warfare. Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons was the United States's first official naval amphibious training base, it was established in August 1942 on the Patuxent River, called: USNATB, United States Navy Amphibious Training Base. The base closed April 1945 after training 67,698 troops.[1][2]

Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons
Part of US Navy
Solomons, Maryland, U.S.
Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons with a Landing Ship, Tank (LST) ship unloading in 1943
Coordinates38°19′37″N 76°27′18″W / 38.326913°N 76.454940°W / 38.326913; -76.454940
TypeMilitary training base
Site information
Controlled by United States Navy
Site history
Built1942
In use1942–1945
FateClosed in April 1945
EventsAmphibious Training for World War II
Map of Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons

History edit

Due to the urgent demand for Amphibious Training, Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons was founded as a temporary base. On July 22, 1944, had its maximum population of 10,150 troops on the base staff and amphibious landing training troops. The base had its own power station, water system, barracks, mess halls, motor pool, and other facilities. On-ship training took place in Chesapeake Bay. Many of the troops completed their basic training at nearby United States Naval Training Center Bainbridge. The first 3,300 Troops arrived at the base in July 1942 for an eight-week training program.[3][2] A Naval Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU) was started on May 14, 1943, at the Solomons base. The first team was made up of six officers and 18 enlisted troops trained at the base. Each NCDU were volunteers, training for the Allied invasion of Sicily, called Operation Husky.[4] In addition to Amphibious Training, for the war effort the US Navy had other operations and training at the base including: Naval mine Warfare Test Station (NMWTS), Mine Warfare Experimental Station, and Naval Dispensary for the Training Base.[5] The site of the Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons is now Calvert Marina. In 1945, at the closure of Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons, the land was given to the state of Maryland and used for Maryland Marine Police for Tidewater Fisheries Enforcement Patrols. In 1959 the US sold the land to a private yacht club and marina. In 1981 the land was sold again. Some of the Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons 17 buildings have been converted for other uses.[6][7] Across the Patuxent River from Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons is Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Naval Ordnance Laboratory Test Facility edit

While the Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons closed in 1945, the Naval Mine Warfare Test Station (NMWTS) and Mine Warfare Experimental Station continued to operate at what was known as the 295-acre Naval Solomons Annex under the Naval Ordnance Laboratory (NOL). At the site the Naval Ordnance Laboratory Test Facility (NOLTF) was founded in 1947 and operated till 1950. The NOLTF worked on high and low-altitude aircraft drops for testing and training of mine drops, training and testing of torpedo firing in the river, and with naval mines. By 1958, torpedo firing had ended and missile assembly was added to the Test Facility. In 1948 the Bureau of Yards and Docks opened the Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory (NCEL), which worked on amphibious equipment, at the Annex. In 1967 facility activities started to close and in 1971 site became a Naval Recreation Center Solomons (NRC) under Naval District Washington (NDW), and administered by Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Naval Recreation Center Solomons is open to Active Duty Military and Reservist Military in active standing including spouses and dependents. Naval Recreation Center Solomons had cabins, store, camping, fishing, adventure zone, boat rental, pool and beaches.[8][9][10]

 
Naval Recreation Center Solomons (NRC), opened in 1971 on the former site of the Naval Ordnance Laboratory Test Facility, at the former Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons

Background edit

The United States amphibious operations dates back to the early dates of the nation. On March 3, 1776, the Continental Marines made their first amphibious landing in the Battle of Nassau on to the beaches of the Bahamas.[11][12] While amphibious operations took place in the American Civil War, Spanish–American War, and World War I, large-scale amphibious training bases were not established till World War II.[1]

Before World War II the need for Amphibious Training Base was seen. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt from his experience in the Spanish-American War established a Joint Army-Navy Board in 1903, but no Amphibious Training Base came out of this. One of the first small-scale Amphibious Training took place in Culebra and Vieques, Puerto Rico at the request of the Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels in 1913. During World War I, the Gallipoli amphibious operations in Turkey did not go well for the Allies, thus some thought that amphibious warfare was at an end.[1]

After World War I, in which Japan fought on the Allied side, Japan took control of German bases in China and the Pacific. In 1919, the League of Nations approved Japan's mandate over the German islands north of the equator. The United States did not want any mandates and was concerned with Japan's aggressiveness. As such Wilson Administration transferred 200 Atlantic warships to the Pacific Fleet in 1919.[13][14][1]

With new concerns in the Pacific, in 1921, Marine Commandant Lieutenant General John A. Lejeune asked Major Earl "Pete" Ellis to make up plans for an amphibious war with Japan, as to be prepared. Ellis wrote OpPlan 712: Advance Base Operations in Micronesia, which outlined modern amphibious warfare.[15] The Fleet Marine Force was founded on December 7, 1933. Fleet Marine Force was a combined Force of both the US Navy and the United States Marine Corps. On December 7, 1941, Japan carried out a surprise military strike on the Naval Base in Pearl Harbor.[16][17] Japan hoped to eliminate US military force in the Pacific as it soon carried out attacks across the South Pacific.[18][19] The attack led the US to enter World War II. During World War II the United States was fighting on two fronts, the Pacific War and the European theatre. The Pacific War was an amphibious operation of Island-hopping and the European theatre required amphibious operations to get a foothold on the European continent. European theatre saw major amphibious operations at the invasion of North Africa, Southern France, Sicily, Italy and Normandy.[1]

On January 5, 1942 Seabee Navy Construction Battalions officially began operation.[20] In July 1943 Seabee started an Amphibious Construction Battalion, with Amphibious Construction Battalion 1 as the first unit, which operated in the Pacific War. Seabee were given the task of clearing beaches of obstacles and establishing beachhead bases.[21][22] In addition, Seabees built and operated sea ports, airfields and served as elements the United States Marine Corps.[23]

Other bases opened on both coasts of the United States.[24][2] Due to the demand for Amphibious Training, overseas bases were founded in North Africa and the South Pacific.[25][26][1]

The United States Navy needed to train with the US Army and US Marine Corps, as amphibious landing require complex operations:[27]

  • Strategic planning
  • Amphibious vessels need to arrive and be loaded with all the supplies and troops needed for the operation.
  • Must be reconnaissance of the landing site
  • Landing site may need obstacles removed, and the water depth checked.
  • Landing must be timed to the tide.
  • Air cover must be timed to landing.
  • Beach checked for landmines and other obstacles.
  • After troops and vehicles debark, support supplies are unloaded the beachhead supply depot

Legacy edit

  • In Dowell, Maryland, in Calvert County, Maryland on Dowell Road, at 38°20′05″N 76°27′13″W / 38.334783°N 76.453617°W / 38.334783; -76.453617 is a Maryland Historical Society historic marker to Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons. The Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons marker read:
    • This nation's first naval amphibious training base was established here at Solomons where between 1942 and 1945 some 68,000 sailers, marines, coast guardsmen, and soldiers were trained. They formed the major components of the amphibious forces which landed at Guadalcanal, North Africa, Sicily and Normandy. Ironically, some of those trained here at Solomons, Maryland, participated in the landings in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific.[24]
  • The "On Watch" Monument is a bronze sculpture, commemorating the World War II Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons from 1942 to 1945. The "On Watch" Monument at 38°19′32″N 76°27′21″W / 38.325487°N 76.455840°W / 38.325487; -76.455840 was made by Antonio Tobias Mendez at Solomons, Maryland.[28][29]
  • Calvert Marine Museum has a Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons Collection in the maritime history section.[30]
  • The Calvert Marine, which serves boats and ships is on the former site of the Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons on Black Creek.[31]
  • The Harbours Point Park is on the former site of the Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons.[32]
  • The Senior Officers Quarters, Solomons ATB, is now the Calvert Marina Clubhouse.[33]
  • Naval Recreation Center (NAVRECCEN) Solomons, also known as Naval District Washington (NDW) Solomons Complex, is on the former site of the Naval Mine Warfare Test Station (NMWTS), also called the Naval Ordnance Laboratory (NOL), on 296 acres on Point Patience.[34]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Prelude to Liberation: Genesis of American Amphibious Assault in the ETO". The National WWII Museum | New Orleans. November 8, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "U. S. Naval Amphibious Training Base, Solomons, Maryland". www.wilmon.com.
  3. ^ Cradle of Invasion: A History of the U.S. Naval Amphibious Training Base, Solomons, Maryland, 1942–1945, by Merle T. Cole
  4. ^ "History". www.nsw.navy.mil.
  5. ^ "Solomons Mines": A History of the U. S. Naval Mine Warfare Test Station, Solomons, Maryland, 1942-1947, published in 1987, by Merle T. Cole
  6. ^ "Historical Markers – Marker Details". mht.maryland.gov.
  7. ^ Naval Amphibious Training Base Solomons maryland.gov
  8. ^ Naval Ordnance Laboratory Test Facility
  9. ^ Naval Ordnance Laboratory Test Facility, `usni.org
  10. ^ Naval Recreation Center Solomons navymwrsolomons.com
  11. ^ Field, Edward (1898). Esek Hopkins, commander-in-chief of the continental navy during the American Revolution, 1775 to 1778. Providence, Rhode Island: Preston & Rounds. OCLC 3430958.
  12. ^ Riley, Sandra; Peters, Thelma B. (2000). Homeward Bound: A History of the Bahama Islands to 1850 with a Definitive Study of Abaco in the American Loyalist Plantation Period. Miami: Island Research. ISBN 978-0966531022. OCLC 51540154.
  13. ^ Cathal J. Nolan, et al. Turbulence in the Pacific: Japanese-U.S. Relations during World War I (2000)
  14. ^ Development of the Naval Establishment Pearl HarborUS Navy
  15. ^ "HyperWar: Advanced Base Operations in Micronesia". www.ibiblio.org.
  16. ^ Island of Oahu, Attack on Pearl Harborhmdb.org
  17. ^ Pearl Harbor: Its Origin and Administrative History Through World War TwoUS Navy
  18. ^ "HyperWar: 7th Amphibious Force (Part II)". www.ibiblio.org.
  19. ^ "Amphibious Training Centre Gan Gan, NSW". www.ozatwar.com.
  20. ^ "Seabee History: Formation of the Seabees and World War II". NHHC. 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Chapter VI: The Seabees". Building the Navy's Bases in World War II: History of the BuDocks and the CEC 1940–1946. Vol. I. Washington, DC: U.S.GPO. 1947. Retrieved 18 October 2017 – via HyperWar.
  22. ^ 37th Seabees cruisebook, Seabee Museum Archives website, Port Hueneme, CA, Jan. 2020, p. 12-16
  23. ^ US Navy Seabee, history.navy.mil
  24. ^ a b "Amphibious Training Base Historical Marker". www.hmdb.org.
  25. ^ "HyperWar: Building the Navy's Bases in World War II [Chapter 20]". www.ibiblio.org.
  26. ^ "80-G-250062 Rear Admiral Don P. Moon, USN". US Navy.
  27. ^ "The Problems Facing United States Marine Corps Amphibious Assaults". www.usmcu.edu.
  28. ^ "Honor Veterans with Commemorative Bricks in Support of Solomons "On Watch" Memorial Statue". The Southern Maryland Chronicle, by David M. Higgins II. January 11, 2019.
  29. ^ "On Watch, Sailor". www.tobymendezstudios.com.
  30. ^ SOLOMONS: THE CRADLE OF INVASION, Calvert Marine Museum 1998
  31. ^ "Calvert Marina". calvertmarina.com.
  32. ^ The Harbours at Solomons Island, youtube.com
  33. ^ Senior Officers Quarters, Solomons NATB, (Calvert Marina Clubhouse) Architectural Survey
  34. ^ Naval Recreation Center (NAVRECCEN) Solomons, maryland.gov