Bolsa Chica Military Reservation

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Bolsa Chica Military Reservation (1942-1948) - A World War II Coastal military reservation first established in 1942 through fee, leaseholds and permits. Located at present day Huntington Beach, Orange County, California. A sub-post of Fort MacArthur. Deactivated in 1948.

Bolsa Chica Radar Site Foundation Ruins
Bolsa Chica PSR Entrance Ruins
Bolsa Chica Miltary Reservation Upper Level from the Lagoon Level

World War II

Part of the Harbor Defense of Los Angeles.

Bolsa Chica Gun Club Sketch from Park Sign
Bolsa Chica Reserve Ammunition Magazine Plan

This reservation was established early in 1942 on the property that the Bolsa Chica Gun Club occupied. The lower lagoon level was chosen to house the first temporary mobile battery and the gun club's clubhouse became a temporary barracks. Leases and permits were obtained for use of the full reservation by May 1942. Construction began for the temporary battery and for two modern larger caliber gun batteries even before all the property was formally acquired. The two new modern batteries were located on a higher mesa overlooking the lagoon in the middle of the reservation.

The reservation was initially armed with two tractor-drawn 155mm GPF Guns in field emplacements right after the U.S. entry into World War II. The initial field emplacements were replaced with two reinforced concrete Panama mounts for the 155mm guns that were completed in February 1942, see Battery 155 - Bolsa Chica. While this battery was completed in February 1942, it was not formally accepted for service until 15 Nov 1943.

Construction on the two modern gun batteries began later in 1943. One 6" gun Battery 242 and one 16" gun Battery 128 were planned for the military reservation. Battery 128 was substantially completed but never armed when it was deemed to be unnecessary in November 1943. Battery 242 was armed and became operational before the war's end. The reservation was deactivated after the end of the war in 1948.

Additional structures on the reservation included an underground Plotting-Switchboard-Radio (PSR) structure for Battery 128, a reserve ammunition magazine, a fire control tower and a SCR-296A Radar installation.

Bolsa Chica Military Reservation World War II Battery (edit list)
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Notes
Battery 128 2 16" Casemated Barbette (CBC) 1943-1944-1945-1948 Not armed
Battery 242
Battery Harrison
2 6" Shielded Barbette (SBC) 1943-1944-1944-1948
Battery 155 - Bolsa Chica 2 155mm Mobile, Panama Mounts 1941-1942-1943-1944
Source: CDSG
Fort Bolsa Chica Miltary Reservation Plan

Current Status

The lower portion of the old reservation is now the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and it covers most of the wetlands. Trails lead across the wetlands and wind up around the edge of the upper level to, two park entrances on the upper level. Most of the upper level is overbuilt by private commercial development except for the east side where the remains of the PSR and the Radar site are located. Access to the upper level is mostly restricted to the trail corridor. The two Panama mounts can still be seen on the lower level. The two modern batteries on the upper level have been destroyed/buried and no trace is visible. The PSR entrance, ventilation shaft, and escape hatch tops can be seen but the entrances are blocked and in ruins.

There are park entrance points on the east, west and south side with limited interpretive signage.

Location: Huntington Beach, Orange County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 33.708401 Long: -118.0456066



Visited: 1-2 Jan 2013, area 1 Feb 2009

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