ROADSIDE WEAPONS of MASS DESTRUCTION
PROVING GROUNDS ENTRANCE
The Howitzer and the Missile both had a 20 mile range.HONEST JOHN MISSILE
The South West is under attack or it may seem so if you are driving along west of the Colorado River on the California side and
suddenly you brake when you notice Weapons of Mass Destruction stashed in the desert just off CASR 95 near the Yuma Proving Grounds, 32 miles north of Yuma.
A roadside pullout allows you to wander through Vietnam-era self propelled howitzers, World War II tanks, missiles that ended the Korean Police Action and the smallest missile in the US Arsenal capable of delivering a nuke, along with some big brothers, like the Honest John, capable of carrying a 5000 pound payload 20 miles away, hits within 250 yards of target, but with nukes, who cares? All of war machines on display were tested and developed for the US Ground War here at the Yuma Proving Grounds. The testing grounds got its start during WWII when the US needed to develop better bridging capability, so they moved to the desert where the Colorado River stretches 1450 miles across the WEST. Every Year more than 500,000 artillery, mortar and missiles are fired, 36,000 parachute drops take place and 4000 air sorties are flown from YPG which is one of the largest military installation’s in the World, it includes 1300 square miles on both sides of the Arizona and California Line. Yuma Proving Grounds 6000 plus foot runways at Laguna Army Airfield grabbed the hedlines recently when a passing by SouthWest Airlines Jet began to loose its skin covering and the pilot make an emergency landing at Laguna Field. Everyone survived, thankful for Yuma Proving Grounds stuck out in the middle of nowhere, which was there to save them when they needed it. Many troops train in Yuma before shipping out, most all of the equipment they use is developed and tested there before deploying to the troops. Yuma has a stake in the glorious past of the American Military and its Future. As you drive the 200 miles of improved road making up this military reservation you will find our military’s colorful past scattered tastefully along the side of the roadway as if some performance artist ran amuk with a huge crane until running into two big MP’s who took him away quietly… Leaving the past behind…
Old War Horse
closeup of OWH track
“OLD WAR HORSE” or the General Stuart, a light tank which lead infantry with its 37mm cannon, almost 6,000 where built and deployed from 1941 but by 1944 German counterparts outgunned the light tank who found its start in the desert sands of Yuma. Some of the earliest construction on the YPG was done by Italian POW’s captured in North Africa, and who were allowed weekly trips to Yuma, they went home in 1945.
The M107 (right) a Vietnam-era howitzer fired 174 pound 105mm projectiles 20 miles, the M386 Launcher with a 762 mm Honest John Rockets had an early range of 15 miles but with shorter fins and better rifling increased range to more than 30 miles. Manned Honest John Rocket with M386 Launcher