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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Online Library of Selected Images:
-- PLACES -- UNITED STATES -- CALIFORNIA

U.S. Naval Magazine, Port Chicago

The Naval Magazine, Port Chicago was established in 1942 at Suisun Bay, California, as an ammunition trans-shipment facility. During the first part of World War II, it was rapidly built up to support the heavy explosives demands of the Pacific War. On 17 July 1944, Port Chicago was the scene of a massive ammunition detonation, which took the lives of over 300 persons, destroyed two cargo ships and wrecked or damaged structures at a considerable distance from the blast.

Following this tragedy, Port Chicago was rapidly returned to service. It is now part of the U.S. Naval Weapons Station, Concord.

This page features photographs of damage resulting from the 17 July 1944 explosion.

For additional information on the Naval Magazine, Port Chicago, and the 17 July 1944 explosion there, see:
Frequently Asked Questions: "Port Chicago Naval Magazine Explosion, 1944".

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: NH 96821

Naval Magazine, Port Chicago, California


Damage resulting from the 17 July 1944 ammunition explosion.
This view looks south from the Ship Pier, showing the wreckage of Building A-7 (Joiner Shop) at the right. There is a piece of twisted steel plating just to left of the long pole in left center.
Photograph was taken by the Mare Island Navy Yard.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 159KB; 740 x 620 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 96822

Naval Magazine, Port Chicago, California


Damage resulting from the 17 July 1944 ammunition explosion.
This view looks north from barricade magazine BM-138. A badly damaged pier is in the background with the remains of a ship barely visible off its tip (right distance).
Note crushed roofs on Southern Pacific railway cars in the foreground, damaged automobile at left, railway crane in center, Marine sentry at right armed with a Reising .45 caliber submachinegun, and magazine door (labeled "BM-138/B") below the sentry.
Photograph was taken by the Mare Island Navy Yard.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 124KB; 740 x 620 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 96823

Naval Magazine, Port Chicago, California


Damage resulting from the 17 July 1944 ammunition explosion.
This view looks north, showing the wreckage of Building A-7 (Joiner Shop) in the center and ship pier beyond.
Note bulldozer and damaged automobiles in the foreground, railway crane at left, and scattered pilings.
Photograph was taken by the Mare Island Navy Yard.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 141KB; 740 x 620 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 96824

Naval Magazine, Port Chicago, California


Damage resulting from the 17 July 1944 ammunition explosion.
This view looks southwest, showing collapsed Building A-14 (Garage) in the center.
Photograph was taken by the Mare Island Navy Yard.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 110KB; 740 x 620 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 96825

Naval Magazine, Port Chicago, California


Damage resulting from the 17 July 1944 ammunition explosion.
This view looks northeast, showing damaged Building A-1, (railway station) with men working in its vicinity.
Note upended barrel at right, marked "For Fire Only".
Photograph was taken by the Mare Island Navy Yard.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 105KB; 740 x 620 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 96826

Naval Magazine, Port Chicago, California


Damage resulting from the 17 July 1944 ammunition explosion.
This view looks west, showing damaged Buildings E-67, E-66 and E-72.
Note that Building E-66 has its windows pushed in.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 85KB; 740 x 620 pixels

 



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10 March 1999