WWII history in our backyards

One of the many bunkers left on Antioch Road.

One of the many bunkers left on Antioch Road.

In our never ending search for entertainment and wonderful things to see, we have found another right before our eyes, but of which little is known.

A short drive out into Sam’s Valley will reveal some relics of World War II. Those would be the concrete bunkers, standing near the intersection of Antioch Road and Highway 234. While most are aware that Camp White was the second largest city in Ofregon during the war, they pass by these sentinals of that bygone era with little knowledge about their purpose.

The Bunkers were built on the range for training army troops on the 105 and 155-mm guns. According to the Military museum at the VA SORCC, those weapons were much too powerful for such a short range and the Army had to use some ingenuity to provide the training needed to send troops into battle.

What they did was to mount a smaller barrel on the top of the 105s and 155s so that troops were trained on the sights they would be using during real combat. The change had to be made because they were lobbing shells into the neighboring farms and disturbing farm animals. No too many years ago, I found one of those 105 shells when disking my field. The shell was in remarkably good condition and the solid steel point had been dented, obviously from impact with one of the concrete bunkers or some other hard surface on the range.

There is very little space to pull off the road and the bunkers are on private property. It might be best to grab a quick photo from the side of the road, but be aware of traffic on Antioch Road.


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