1946 invasion exercise at Camp Pendleton

Nov. 25, 1946: Men and equipment disembark from landing craft at a beach north of Oceanside. The U.S. 2nd Infantry Division conducted a mock invasion during joint Army-Navy amphibious operation.

This photo accompanied an article by staff representative Cleaves Jones in the Nov. 26, 1946 Los Angeles Times:

CAMP PENDLETON (Marine Corps Reservation) Nov. 25. –Men and equipment of the 2nd Infantry Division, reinforced by the 2nd Engineers Special Brigade, landed on the beach five miles north of Oceanside this morning in the culmination of the major amphibious exercise, but not without incidents demonstrating the need of intensive training for such intricate operation.

The 12th Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps flyers entered the operation today in full force, with some 500 airplanes, engaged in reconnaissance, high level and medium bombing and strafing. The 1st Fighter Group’s P-80 jets raced across the landing beaches with unbelievable speed. …

As the first wave approached the shore, small charges simulating land mines were exploded, a few machine guns firing blanks and fighter aircraft raked the strand. Three banks of low wire were strung on the beach. High tide was in effect at H-Hour, the water extending to within a short distance of a 3-foot sand bank, beyond which level land and marshes led inland past the Coast Highway, and the Santa Fe Railroad tracks.

Some of the amphibious vehicles scrambled up the bank and smashed down the wire before debarking their men, or, in the case of those armed with snub-nosed 105-millimeter guns, dispersed and pressed inland. …

Some of the landing ships Medium, containing the heavy equipment, which came in the following wave, had trouble when the disgorged equipment “downed” in the low surf or fouled  the ramp gear. Tanks made the beach and surmounted the sand banks, but several trucks, although waterproofed, swamped in the surf and had to be hauled ashore by bulldozers.

One 37-millimeter anti-tank gun broke loose from its tow and disappeared in the breakwater. A debarking crane went out of control and blocked the ramp of its LSM. …

Nov. 25, 1946: The 2nd Infantry Division landing at Aliso Canyon near Oceanside during joint Army-Navy exercise. Credit: Ray Graham/Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA.

Nov. 25, 1946: A column of landing craft move toward beach in Oceanside during joint Army-Navy exercise. Credit: Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA