Badger Army Ammunition Plant

Badger Army Ammunition Plant

Infobox Military Structure
name=Badger Army Ammunition Plant

caption=General view of Badger Army Ammunition Plant
location=Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin
used=World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War
controlledby=Department of the Army

The Badger Army Ammunition Plant (BAAAP or Badger) or Badger Ordnance Works (B.O.W.) is an excess, non-BRAC, U.S. Army facility located on Sauk Prairie, Sauk County, Wisconsin, United States. Badger consists of 7,354 acres (30 km²) of land. It manufactured nitrocellulose-based propellants during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. It is currently the site of demolition and remediation projects being conducted in preparation for property transfer. This ammunition plant was the largest in the world when it was built during World War II. [ [ GSA - Badger Site Information] ]

Geography [ [ Badger GIS Website] ] [ [ Badger Installation Action Plan (IAP)] ]

Badger consists of 7,354 acres (30 km²) of land in Sauk County. It is bounded by Devil's Lake State Park and the Baraboo Hills to the north, the Town of Merrimac and the Wisconsin River to the East, the Town of Prairie du Sac to the south, and the Town of Sumpter and the Bluffview community to the West.


Badger is located on the terminal moraine of the outwash plain of a glacier which stopped in the area during the Wisconsin Glaciation approximately 12,000 years ago. The bedrock in the area consists of quartzite, sandstone, shale, and limestone. Groundwater flow is influenced by the Baraboo Hills to the north and the Wisconsin River to the east.


This area originally consisted of oak savanna and prairie habitat. After settlers populated the area, agriculture became predominant and few prairie and oak savanna remnants remained. Currently, the open spaces at Badger consist of some prairie remnants, which are maintained each year through the use of prescribed fire and clearing.

=The Construction of BadgerGoc, Michael J. "Powder, People, and Place; Badger Ordnance Works and the Sauk Prairie", Friendship, WI: New Past Press, 2002.] =

On 29 October 1941, U.S. Representative William H. Stevenson announced the construction of a powder and acid works to be built by Hercules Powder Company. On 19 November 1941, despite protests from those living on Sauk Prairie, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the $65,000,000 necessary to build the plant. By 1 March 1942, the farmers who lived there had left their farms.

Construction of Badger Ordnance Works, as it was known in World War II, began in March of 1942. Before, the works were built, a 7,500 foot fence was erected around approximately 7,500 acres (30 km²) of the 10,500 acres (42 km²) acquired by the U.S. Army. When the plant was finished, it was complete with smokeless powder and rocket grain production facilities as well as housing for 12,000 construction workers and their families for six months, housing for 4,000-8,000 production workers and their families for the length of World War II, a school, a recreation center, a child care facility, a hospital, cafeterias, and a transportation system. By December 1942, 24 miles of standard gauge railroad were completed.

Within the first ten months of construction, the first production area went into operation. [ [ Badger History Group] ] The plans originally called for production lines to make smokeless powder, diphenylamine, and sulfuric acid. In the end, Badger included production lines to make smokeless powder, acid, sulfuric acid, rocket propellant, and ball powder.

During the 60 years it produced ammunition for World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, the Badger Army Ammunition Plant employed over 23,000 workers.

=Badger During World War II=

During World War II, Badger was managed by Hercules Powder Company. It produced rocket propellant, smokeless powder, and E.C. powder. Smokeless powder had been patented a decade before World War II by DuPont and Hercules Powder Company had the rights to make it at Badger. E.C. Powder was used in hand grenades, tear gas canisters, and blank cartridges. Badger also produced acid and oleum which are necessary for the production of these forms of ammunition. The acid and oleum produced at Badger were used on site as well as shipped to other Army ammunition plants in the area.

On 10 May 1943, the first trainload of finished product left Badger; 60,000 pounds of .30 caliber smokeless powder was sent to the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant in Minnesota where it was turned into M-1 rifle cartridges.

After World War II, Badger was placed on stand-by and subsequently placed into excess federal property status. The Hercules Powder Company began the process of demolishing and burning contaminated buildings, scrapping equipment, and donating office furniture and supplies to area schools. This led to some difficulties when Badger was reactivated for the Korean War.

Periods of Operation
Production Area Start Date End Date
Acid January 1943 August 1945
Oleum January 1943 August 1945
Smokeless powder March 1943 July 1945
Rocket propellant March 1945 September 1948
E.C. powder July 1943 October 1945

Ammunition Type Pounds
Smokeless powder 257,968,900
Rocket grain 13,394,700

=Badger During the Korean War=

In 1951, during the Korean War, Olin Industries was awarded the contract to manage Badger; Olin continued to operate Badger until 2004. In order to get Badger into operational shape, Olin replaced machinery, office furniture and supplies, and added building production areas such as the ball powder plant. At that time, Olin Industries was the only manufacturer of ball powder in the United States. Ball powder had been introduced by Western Cartridge, a subsidiary of Olin Industries, in 1933; however, it was not accepted by the U.S. Army until 1944.

Ball powder is a fine-grained, spherical gun powder coated in graphite that is easy to store and transport in any climate and ideal for modern infantry. The time it took to build the ball powder plant at Badger was too long to enable any of the ball powder produced there to be used in the Korean War. Therefore, it was put into storage and eventually used during the Vietnam War.

Periods of Operation
Production Area Start Date End Date
Acid July 1951 November 1957
Oleum October 1952 October 1956
Smokeless powder October 1951 December 1957
Rocket propellant November 1951 October 1954
Rocket propellant (2nd Run) March 1955 September 1955
Ball powder September 1955 September 1956

Ammunition Type Pounds
Ball powder 5,758,600
Smokeless powder 235,832,900
Rocket mortar 35,845,200
Mortar 17,400

=Badger During the "Cold War"=

During the "Cold War" years between the Korean War and the Vietnam War, Badger was held in stand-by status. It was believed that Badger would not be reactivated unless a war was imminent because the threat of a nuclear strike existed. Badger was important to the United States because of its location far from large cities, its water source, small reactivation costs, and the fact that it had the greatest ammunition manufacturing capabilities in the United States; Badger had the capability of producing most of the ammunition necessary for a land war. These qualities of Badger also made it a very likely target of a nuclear attack if it were to be reactivated. Therefore, Olin Industries maintained Badger on stand-by status until the United States announced its intent to send troops to Vietnam.

Badger During the Vietnam War

Before the Vietnam War began, the army was testing the new M-16 rifle which used ball powder ammunition. DuPont and Olin Industries each developed ball powder that was compatible with the M-16 rifles used in the Vietnam War and were used interchangeably. Hercules Powder Company also developed a ball powder for the rifles; however, it was not selected by the rifle manufacturers or the U.S. Army.

Badger was not the only location where Olin Industries was able to make ball powder; the company had another, smaller, plant in East Alton, Illinois. It was believed that the East Alton plant would produce the ball powder necessary for the Vietnam War. However, when workers at the East Alton plant went on strike, the entire Vietnam operation was put into jeopardy. Therefore, Badger was reactivated on 3 January 1966 and Olin Industries prepared to make what would be millions of pounds of ammunition.

By September 1966, Badger was producing and shipping oleum to the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant near Chicago, Illinois.

Periods of Operation
Production Area Start Date End Date
Acid August 1966 June 1975
Oleum September 1966 June 1975
Smokeless powder August 1967 August 1973
Rocket propellant June 1967 June 1975
Ball powder May 1966 May 1975

Ammunition Type Pounds
Ball powder 99,985,600
Smokeless powder 302,151,100
5" Navy gun 12,869,500
MK-43 Rocket mortar 71,718,600

Post War Badger

Olin Industries continued to maintain Badger on stand-by status after the Vietnam War. In 1997, the U.S. Army declared Badger to be excess to its needs. Until 2004, Olin Industries led the clean-up of Badger. In 2004, [ SpecPro, Inc.] , an 8(a) Certified Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) and subsidiary of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, was awarded to the contract to operate Badger. Since that time, [ SpecPro, Inc.] has led all maintenance, demolition, and remediation activities at Badger. [ [ SpecPro, Inc.] ]

The Future of Badger

Badger will be split among six landowners [ [ Badger GIS Website] ] [ [ Badger Installation Action Plan (IAP)] ] :

*United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dairy Forage

The USDA Dairy Forage will continue grazing cattle and growing crops on the land it receives. The estimated area to be received is approximately 2,233 acres (9 km²).

*Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)/Ho-Chunk Nation

The BIA will manage land for the Ho-Chunk Nation to graze bison and hold ceremonies on the land it receives. The estimated area to be received is approximately 1,553 acres (6 km²).

*"'National Park Service (NPS)/Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR)

The NPS will manage land for the WDNR. The land will be used to expand Devil's Lake State Park and possibly make a hiking corridor connecting Devil's Lake State Park with the Wisconsin River. The estimated area to be received is approximately 3,408 acres (14 km²).

*Town of Sumpter, Wisconsin

The Town of Sumpter will receive the three historic cemeteries located at Badger. These cemeteries were acquired and maintained by the U.S. Army during the initial land acquisition in 1942. The three cemeteries are the Pioneer, Thoelke, and Miller cemeteries. The estimated area to be received is approximately convert|3.6|acre|m2.

*Bluffview Sanitary District

The Bluffview Sanitary District will receive land relating to the sewage and water treatment system it currently shares with Badger. Bluffview, located across U.S. 12 from Badger, is former Badger employee housing which is now private residences. The estimated area to be received is approximately 165 acres (0.7 km²).

*Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT)The WI DOT will receive land along the existing State Highway 78. The WI DOT plans to expand and straighten State Highway 78 in 2009. The estimated area to be received is approximately convert|58.3|acre|m2.


All publications cited in this Wikipedia article may be found in the Badger Repositories. The Badger Repositories are located at the [ Sauk City Public Library] , [ Prairie du Sac Public Library] , and at the Badger Army Ammunition Plant. The Badger Repositories include all available public information; including publications (i.e. Environews), RAB meeting minutes, groundwater monitoring data, and completed remediation projects or work plans.

Cited References

External links

Site Information
* [ Badger GIS Website] This site contains information from the Badger GIS system; including groundwater data, parcels, vegetation, structures, roads, etc. It is updated weekly. "(username=guest password=badger)"
* [ Badger Reuse Plan]
* [ GSA - Badger Site Information]
* [ Badger Installation Action Plan (IAP)]
* [ Survey number HAER WI-8] - Badger Army Ammunition Plant, Baraboo, Sauk County, WI
* [ SpecPro, Inc.] , provides current site management and U.S. Army support

Community Groups
* [ Badger History Group]
* [ Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance]
* [ CSWAB]

ee also

* World War II
* Korean War
* Vietnam War

* Olin Corporation, previous contractor
* [ SpecPro, Inc.] , current contractor
* [ The Shaw Group] , current contractor
* [ Grand Terre GIS] , subcontractor maintaining GIS program

* Ammunition
* Dinitrotoluene
* Nitrocellulose
* Nitroglycerin
* Oleum
* Propellant
* Rocket propellant
* Smokeless powder

Other AAPs Associated with Badger
* Joliet Army Ammunition Plant
* Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant

Other Topics
* Environmental remediation
* Prairie restoration
* Restoration ecology

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