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  #1  
Old 28 February 2010, 08:28 PM
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Blow Your Top Hidden stash at naval base

Comment: In Portsmouth, Virginia there is a Naval installation called St.
Julien's Creek Annex. It was orignially an ammunition depot. Many of the
buildings there are converted from ammunition bunkers. It dates primarily
from WWII.

The story goes that during the changeover of either the commanding officer
or supply officer, the incoming officer was taking custody of keys to the
various buildings and asked what each one was for. His predecessor was
able to answer most of those questions but there was one key that he
couldn't identify, and mentioned that his own predecessor didn't tell him
either.

So they tracked down the building whose number appeared on the tag and
found that it was a bunker whose locks were all corroded to the point of
unusability. Whether by the services of a locksmith or a cutting torch,
they gained access to the building and found that it contained several
vehicles - Jeeps and other light trucks - many sets of combat gear -
belts, boots, packs, helmets, and so forth - and a large collection of
small arms. The explanation of this cache was that it was assembled
during WWII in case the place actually came under attack and it became
necessary for the facility's own personnel - mostly Navy and not
accustomed to carrying weapons areound - to arm themselves to defend it.
It was gradually forgotten until the curious officer rediscovered it. No
time frame for the discovery was given but it was represented as being
fairly recent when I heard the tale in the '70s.
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  #2  
Old 01 March 2010, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
The story goes that during the changeover of either the commanding officer
or supply officer, the incoming officer was taking custody of keys to the
various buildings and asked what each one was for.
Well, which was it, the Supply Officer or the Commanding Officer? Or was the Commanding Officer a Supply Corps officer, hence the confusion?

Quote:
His predecessor was able to answer most of those questions but there was one key that he couldn't identify, and mentioned that his own predecessor didn't tell him either. So they tracked down the building whose number appeared on the tag and found that it was a bunker whose locks were all corroded to the point of unusability.
Right. In all his time at the installation there was this one mystery key that he could never figure out, but all the while the building number was on the key?

'Hey, do you suppose this mystery key that says "Building 17" on it is the key to building 17?'
'You know, it never occurred to me, but that's just crazy enough to be worth a try!'

Quote:
Whether by the services of a locksmith or a cutting torch,
they gained access to the building and found that it contained several
vehicles - Jeeps and other light trucks - many sets of combat gear -
belts, boots, packs, helmets, and so forth - and a large collection of
small arms. The explanation of this cache was that it was assembled
during WWII in case the place actually came under attack and it became
necessary for the facility's own personnel - mostly Navy and not
accustomed to carrying weapons around - to arm themselves to defend it.
Yeah, because the only reason to have a stockpile of weapons on a military installation is to defend against an all out invasion. And of course no one in the Navy has ever had to maintain, operate, or even carry a weapon before in the course of their normal duties. Oh, and it's perfectly normal for members of every other branch of the military to walk around doing office work or moving stores or construction within the borders of the US to do so with a rifle in one hand and a pen/pallet/shovel in the other.

Now, St. Julien's Creek Annex does exist, and it was an ordinance depot, and I suppose it’s possible that for some time there was a loss of accountability for some weapons, but the explanation provided for how that stockpile came to exist doesn’t seem particularly plausible.
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  #3  
Old 01 March 2010, 10:48 AM
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And in the event the facility came under unexpected attack, no-one would know that there was a stash of equipment, or if they suspected there might be, where to get the key.
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  #4  
Old 01 March 2010, 02:17 PM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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If a military base is close enough to any front to be in danger, it is abandoned. No use sitting still in a location that the opponent is likely to bomb, and the fighting men will probably be out fighting, while the non-combat roles have been moved back from the front.
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  #5  
Old 04 March 2010, 06:43 PM
Malruhn Malruhn is offline
 
 
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I've been involved in dozens of changes of command - and dozens of changes of watch for supply officers.

In neither case are there ANY locked locks remaining. Those guys and gals want to see EVERYTHING - even if it's broken. There is NO way an entire building would remain unlocked. A missed hammer? Sure. A building? No possible way in all of humanity. Not even for an idiot relieving a moron.
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  #6  
Old 05 March 2010, 04:56 AM
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I used to hear about clean up crews finding warehouses full of outdated equipment during base closures all the time in the early and mid '90's while I was stationed in Germany. None of the stories were very believable as told. I head of it happening at Mainz-Kastel, Rammstien, The Abrams Complex in Frankfurt, Kaiserslautern, Bremmen, Rhien-Main airbase, Illeshiem, and a few other places.

What I see as a more likely scenario is that the incoming commander was signing for property book stuff that was years or maybe decades out of date and no longer actually used. But because whatever it is still on the property book it needs to be inventoried, inspected and signed for. Whoever was in the detail to lay out the old equipment said something along the lines of, "This is stupid, we don't even use this crap anymore". They hit the barracks that night and mention it one of their buddies and it goes from there. And it becomes a legend from there.

I know in my time I have laid out equipment for inventory that no one in the unit even knew how to use anymore. Stuff that had been there for years stored in a MILVAN but was not worth the effort of turning in and getting removed form the books. Stuff that only saw the light of day every 12-18 months during a change of command inventory.

Greg
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  #7  
Old 05 March 2010, 05:32 AM
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Royalty

When I worked for a well known water company serving the south east of England, I heard lots of "true stories"about MOD sites in the area.

Some of them were to do with lost weapon caches.

Most of them were to do with mj plants planted by either the MOD staff or the water company staff, as the areas were not searchable under civic law. Nor under militatry law..as the land was gifted .

I always thought this was a PO..un-mentionables.
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  #8  
Old 05 March 2010, 06:04 AM
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However there is a former RAF base on Detling Hill that has since the 1960's been used as as industrial park and the County Showground. http://pastscape.english-heritage.or...&criteria=fort

I'll try to dig out the story but some years back some workmen discovered a series of explosive filled pipes which had been laid to be detonated in the event of invasion and deny the enemy the use of the facility. Apparantly no-one knew they were there.

It caused some excitement here for a few days.

Last edited by Eddylizard; 05 March 2010 at 06:14 AM.
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  #9  
Old 05 March 2010, 10:05 AM
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Skeptic Skeptic is offline
 
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Military

I've been reading shooting magazines since I was a kid, and am particulary interested in old bolt actions military guns. Every now and then, I see an ad for same stating something like - "found in an old warehouse in (fill in some obscure WW2 region)".
Plausable, but still unlikely.
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  #10  
Old 06 March 2010, 12:13 AM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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The ref. to WW2 might be relevant. Lots of stuff went missing after VE. Where "lots" is equal to all the material needed to operate a full army (couple hundred thousand soldiers) for several months. It all just "vanished".

At the end of WW2 the industrial and transportation pipeline from the US to Europe had such immense momentum that when the war ended millions of tons of materiel was simply pushed off trucks, trains and boats into big piles and abandoned. It was to expensive to ship it back to the states (besides most of the shipping capacity was being used to transport soldiers and expensive stuff like tanks, artillery and aircraft, home). There weren't enough soldiers left in Europe to actually use all the stuff that kept spewing out of the supply pipeline for many months after the war ended.

I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't any number of backwater supply sites, particularly ones that weren't on gov't property, that got left stuffed with stuff. Material was only moved by military means, and through military facilities, on it's last leg of transport. Within the US, and often on ships, most of the transportation and temporary storage would have been done by contractors.

So an actual military warehouse seems unlikely, but a backwoods transshipment center that went from 5 buildings before the war to 100 buildings during the war then back to 5 within weeks of the end of the war ... not all that difficult to imagine.

Last edited by jimmy101_again; 06 March 2010 at 12:32 AM. Reason: engrish
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  #11  
Old 06 March 2010, 06:43 AM
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The US government, (and I assume others also) had a policy of dumping equipment for another reason as well. A massive influx of stuff like trucks and aircraft on to the civilian market would have swamped it, leading to a reduction in production, and therefore jobs, for the next decade.
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Old 06 March 2010, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
I'll try to dig out the story but some years back some workmen discovered a series of explosive filled pipes which had been laid to be detonated in the event of invasion and deny the enemy the use of the facility. Apparantly no-one knew they were there.

It caused some excitement here for a few days.
Something similar happened a couple miles from me. There was a vacant lot on the main road through town (my town was just beginning it's population explosion, there are no vacant lots anymore... ), and on the corner of this lot there was a little dilapidated shack right next to the 5 lane road. A developer purchased this bit of prime real estate, and when they began tearing down the shack they found old dynamite under the floorboards. It was deemed too unstable to move, so they evacuated everyone around the area and blew it up. Made quite a boom!

After typing this up I hit Google to see if I could find a link, and I did.
http://community.seattletimes.nwsour...4&slug=2787051

Kinda freaky to think how many hundreds of times I'd driven within 20 feet of the stuff!
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  #13  
Old 06 March 2010, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
If a military base is close enough to any front to be in danger, it is abandoned. No use sitting still in a location that the opponent is likely to bomb, and the fighting men will probably be out fighting, while the non-combat roles have been moved back from the front.
That might be true, but the US was not attacked in WWII (except for Pearl Harbor). The US did, however fear the possibility and prepared for the it and even built additional shore defenses just in case.

I've actually been here - http://ue-bangor.tripod.com/peaks/steel.html
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  #14  
Old 06 March 2010, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemonWolf View Post
That might be true, but the US was not attacked in WWII (except for Pearl Harbor).
I've actually been here - http://ue-bangor.tripod.com/peaks/steel.html
Not quite. Dutch Harbor in Alaska was also attacked, and some of the Aleutian Islands were occupied.
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  #15  
Old 06 March 2010, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
Not quite. Dutch Harbor in Alaska was also attacked, and some of the Aleutian Islands were occupied.
I didn't know that. That'll be interesting to look up.
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  #16  
Old 06 March 2010, 04:19 PM
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And Idaho was bombed by balloons released from submarines.
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  #17  
Old 06 March 2010, 05:43 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
And Idaho was bombed by balloons released from submarines.
Washington, Oregon, Idaho ...

And I belive the ballons were launched from Japan and not subs. They even killed a couple people.
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  #18  
Old 07 March 2010, 08:03 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemonWolf View Post
That might be true, but the US was not attacked in WWII (except for Pearl Harbor). The US did, however fear the possibility and prepared for the it and even built additional shore defenses just in case.

I've actually been here - http://ue-bangor.tripod.com/peaks/steel.html
You miss my point. A base is not a place you bother to defend, it's mostly a peace time installation. During war, it's kept as long as it's safe as a training ground before sending new troops off to fight. If the Japanese were to invade (which, of course, would be a logistical impossibility), the base would not be a priority to defend, and would be abandoned as the troops protect priority targets and the training aspects of the base are moved to safe baser further back.
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Old 09 March 2010, 09:23 PM
kanazawa kanazawa is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemonWolf View Post
That might be true, but the US was not attacked in WWII (except for Pearl Harbor). The US did, however fear the possibility and prepared for the it and even built additional shore defenses just in case.

I've actually been here - http://ue-bangor.tripod.com/peaks/steel.html
Yes, there are coastal gun batteries in San Diego as well.
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  #20  
Old 09 March 2010, 09:29 PM
kanazawa kanazawa is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
Not quite. Dutch Harbor in Alaska was also attacked, and some of the Aleutian Islands were occupied.
Santa Barbara was shelled by a Japanese submarine:

"On February 23, 1942, not long after the outbreak of war in the Pacific, a Japanese submarine surfaced offshore and lobbed 16 shells at the Elwood Oil Field, about 10 miles (16 km) west of Santa Barbara, in the first wartime attack by an enemy power on the U.S. mainland since the War of 1812. Although the shelling was inaccurate and only caused about $500 damage to a catwalk, panic was immediate. Many Santa Barbara residents fled, and land values plummeted to historic lows."


Here's the whole story:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elwood_Oil_Field
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