Exploring a U.S. ABANDONED WW2 Military Base (Found Explosive Material)

in military •  last year

This now abandoned base was at one time a crucial part of the defeat of the Nazi's, and the Imperialist Japanese during WW2.

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Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant (VAAP) is a government-owned, contractoroperated
(GOOD) munitions plant situated on 7,353 acres northeast of
Chattanooga, Tennessee. The installation is part of the Army's Armament,
Munitions and Chemical Command (AMCCCM). Constructed in 1941-1943 to
produce trinitrotoluene (TNT), VAAP remained in operation from July 1942 to
August 1945.

The installation was reactivated for the Korean War and
remained in production until 1957, when placed on standby status. Rehabilitation
for the Vietnam War began in 1966 and full production resumed.
Major modernization, including construction of continuous-process TNT lines
and a new acid plant, began in 1971 and was completed before the plant was
laid away in 1977.

The installation currently consists of 422 buildings, nearly two-thirds of
which date frcm the World War II period. Most of the buildings are utilitarian
in nature. Current production facilities include examples of both
modern and World War II technology. There are no Category I or II Historic
Properties at VAAP. The Redwater Treatment Plant (Buildings 816, 816-1,
816-2) is a Category III Historic Property because it is a good example of
early munitions-related pollution abatement efforts.

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Documentary Research

The VAAP was one of a series of government-owned TNT plants constructed
during 1941-1943. Because it was part of an extensive
manufacturing network, an evaluation of its historical and technological
significance requires a general understanding of the wartime
munitions industry.

To identify published documentary sources on the
_ American munitions industry during Vforld War II and the Korean and
Vietnam wars, research was conducted in standard bibliographies of
military history, engineering, and the applied sciences. Unpublished
sources were identified by researching the historical and technical
archives of the U.S. Army Armament, Munitions, and Chemical Command
(AMCCCM) at Rock Island Arsenal.

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In addition to this general research, a concerted effort was made to
locate published and unpublished material dealing specifically with
the history and technology of the VAAP. This site-specific research
was conducted primarily at the AMCCCM Historical Office at Rock Island
Arsenal, the Chattanooga Public Library, and the government and
contractor files at the VAAP. The Tennessee State Historic
Preservation Officer also was contacted but provided no additional
information.

On the basis of this literature search, a number of valuable sources
were identified. These included general information about the wartime
munitions industry and the manufacture of explosives, and an unpublished
detailed account of the construction at VAAP.

Army records used for the field inventory included current Real Property
Inventory (RPI) printouts that listed all officially recorded
buildings and structures by facility classification and date of construction;
the installation's property record cards; base maps and
photographs supplied by installation personnel; and installation
master planning, archaeological, environmental assessment, and related
reports and documents. A complete listing of this documentary
material may be found in the bibliography.

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Historical Overview

A combined architectural, historical, and technological overview was
prepared fran information developed from the documentary research and
the field inventory. It was written in two parts: 1) an introductory
description of the installation, and 2) a history of the installation
by periods of development, beginning with pre-military land uses.
Maps and photographs were selected to supplement the text as
appropriate.

The objectives of the overview were to 1) establish the periods of
major construction at the installation, 2) identify important events
and individuals associated with specific historic properties, 3)
describe patterns and locations of historic property types, and 4)
analyze specific building and industrial technologies employed at the
installation.

Come join us as we explore this abandoned huge military sight...

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