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HER Number:MDV102678
Name:Mock Landing Craft Tanks to south of D Lane, Braunton Burrows


Six mock Landing Craft Tanks (LCTs) forming part of the Second World War US assault training centre. Six rectangular concrete structures, visible on aerial photographs taken in the 1940s, are the remains of ‘Landing Craft Tank' training structures, used to practise amphibious landings of tanks for Operation Overlord. All are are visible as structures in varying degrees of preservation on aerial photographs taken in 2010.


Grid Reference:SS 461 331
Map Sheet:SS43SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBraunton
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRAUNTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MILITARY TRAINING SITE (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))
  • TRAINING STRUCTURE (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/LA/102, NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 5015-5016 17-JAN-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349060.

Six walled structures are visible.

Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/LA/132, NMR RAF/106G/LA/132 5026-5027 14-FEB-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349061.

The superstructure at the rear of the four easternmost structures is not visible.

Royal Air Force, 1952, RAF/540/949, NMR RAF/540/1949 5035-5036 24-NOV-1952 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349761.

None of the side walls of the structures are visible, and the front walls of the two westernmost structures also appear to have been removed or collapsed. Tracks in the area suggest intensive use by the military.

Meridian Airmaps Limited, 1963, MAL/63603, NMR MAL/63603 115805-115806 11-JUN-1963 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349962.

The bases of the two westernmost structures appears to be split longitudinally, and some scrub growth is visible.

Ordnance Survey, 1989, OS/89115, NMR OS/89115 281-282 04-MAY-1989 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349086.

The front walls of the westernmost structure are not visible.

Ordnance Survey, 1992, OS/92243, NMR OS/92243 030-031 07-JUL-1992 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349088.

The bases of all six structures appear to have split longitudinally, and scrub growth is visible along the line of the crack.

Landing Craft Tank of WWII, 2002, WORLD WAR II LANDING CRAFT TANKS, http://ww2lct.org/history/stories/lctevolution.htm (Website). SDV350032.

Plans and dimensions for Landing Craft tank (LCT) Mark 5 and Mark 6 are given as 35.81 by 9.8 metres and 36.30 by 9.96 metres respectively.

Environment Agency, 2006-2007, LiDAR data JPEG image (1 metre resolution), LIDAR SS4633SW Environment Agency D0072720 03-NOV-2006 to 03-FEB-2007 (Cartographic). SDV349850.

The platforms of all six landing craft are visible as structures.

Next Perspectives, 2010, Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref:, Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref: SS4633 08-APR-2010 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349899.

All six of the structures are visible as split platforms, three with a surviving superstructure at their northern end.

Hegarty, C. + Knight, S., 2011 - 2012, North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV349018.

The landing craft mockups marked on U.S. Army plans are visible as sub-rectangular structures on the south of D lane on aerial photographs from 1945 to 2010. At approximately 35 by 10 metres in plan, with tapered ramped openings to the north flanked by walling, they are consistent in size and shape with Landing Craft Tank (LCTs) mark 5 and mark 6.
Used to practise amphibious landings of vehicles for Operation Overlord in 1944, they appear fairly complete in January 1945, with side and end structures of uncertain materials. However by February 1945 the rear sections of the four easternmost had been removed or collapsed, and the sides had all gone by 1952 leaving just the flanking tapered concrete walls at the fronts of the four easternmost structures upstanding to their full height. Use of the site by vehicles suggested by tracks visible on the photographs may have contirbuted to the collapse. The front superstructure of the easternmost LCT mockup appears to have collapsed between the 1960s and 1980s, but the other three seem to have retained theirs, which are still visible as structures on aerial photographs taken in 2010. The bases of all six appear to have split longitudinally between the 1960s and the 1990s, possibly a result of root action, as scrub growth established across the site. Lidar images from data captured in 2006-2007 confirm that the remains of all six platforms survive and details of their condition in 2009 are given in parent HER record MDV57287.

Historic England, 2019, National Heritage List for England, 1463671 (National Heritage List for England). SDV362730.

Eight Second World War concrete replica landing craft structures
Eight concrete replica landing craft structures, built in 1943 for training in preparation for D-Day.
Reasons for Designation
The eight Second World War concrete replica landing craft at Braunton Burrows are listed Grade II for the following principal reasons:
Historic interest:
* as a key part in the Allied forces’ preparations for and a tangible reminder of Operation Overlord and its significance to national and world history;
Architectural interest:
* the concrete structures of three of the six replica Landing Craft Tank (6) and one of the two surviving Landing Craft Mechanised are largely intact, whilst the remains of the other examples contribute to the understanding of the site overall;
* it is believed that the concrete replica landing craft structures are exceptional survivors in the national context;
Group value:
* within the contextual history of the use of Braunton Burrows as an army assault training centre in the Second World War.
The United States of America entered the Second World War on 7 December 1941, following a surprise attack by Japanese aircraft on its Pacific Fleet Naval Base at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, destroying ships and aeroplanes and killing almost 2,500 people. Initially unprepared for conflict in Europe, throughout 1942 America quickly mobilised its war industries and expanded its armed forces. Training for American troops began at home, but on arrival in Britain it was clear that they had not been fully-trained for assaulting the heavily-fortified and defensively-prepared French coastline.
From September 1943, the North Devon coast became an assault training centre for American troops as part of the preparations for an Allied attack on the Normandy beaches: this was codenamed Operation Overlord (more familiarly known as D-Day) and was the beginning of the end of the war in Europe. The British combined forces had previously been allocated the beaches from Morte Point in the north to Crow Point in the south, but considered them unsuitable for practice due to the stormy nature of the sea. In the event, their tides and currents closely matched those at the beaches which were to be used by the American forces during Operation Overlord. Responsibility for the construction of the training areas was initially given to the American army’s 398th Engineer Service Regiment, but was soon passed to their 146th Engineer Combat Battalion; the latter were one of the first Battalions ashore at the Omaha and Utah beaches on 6 June 1944 - D-Day. The training facilities were divided into ten key areas, designated ‘A’ to ‘M’.
The southern part of Braunton Burrows, near Crow Point and within ‘Area A’, was used for training personnel in the loading, embarkation and disembarkation of landing craft. Concrete replica landing craft structures were built to the north of Broad Sands Beach, initially based on a 1942 American modification of the British Landing Craft, Tank (LCT) (5), designed to represent the top-deck of the craft with its front ramp lowered. These were then altered to the dimensions of the LCT (6) with additional aprons added to the back of the structures, allowing training to include both types of landing craft. Six-foot high metal poles at the base edges supported canvas or corrugated-tin screens to represent the sides of the craft. Thirteen craft structures were built at Braunton Burrows; six LCT (6) and seven Landing Craft Mechanised (LCM).
On the 1 September 1943 the first American units began arriving to use the training facilities. This training continued until May 1944 in the run up to D-Day.
The training structures were abandoned and a large number demolished in the late-C20. Large parts of Braunton Burrows are leased to the Ministry of Defence and some military training continues today. A memorial service is held on 6 June each year at the replica craft structures to recognise and remember the important role that the members of the Allied forces played in the liberation of Europe.
The remains of six concrete replica Landing Craft, Tank (LCT) (6) and two concrete replica Landing Craft Mechanised (LCM) structures, built for the American forces in 1943 to practice embarkation and disembarkation of vehicles and personnel in advance of the D-Day landings. To identify the craft they are designated ‘A’ to ‘H’ running east to west.
The replica landing craft structures are situated approximately 800m to the north-west of Broad Sands Beach. They are orientated roughly north-south, on the south side of a former military track (‘D’ Lane) which runs east to west. The structures were deliberately positioned offset against each other, so that they simulated the potential uneven approach to the beach.
The two easternmost structures replicate the decks of the LANDING CRAFT MECHANISED (LCM). The first - craft A - comprises a concrete base approximately 12m long by 4m wide. It consists of three sections: a rear flat panel 4m long; a slightly ramped panel 4m long; a further flat panel 1.8m long; and a downwards ramp at the front measuring 3.4m. 30cm from the edge around the rear three sections of the base is a 15cm raised lip 7cm high, with adjacent holes where temporary sides would have been attached. Craft B is overgrown and appears to have been partially demolished but is assumed to have been of the same dimensions.
The remaining concrete craft replicate the decks of six LANDING CRAFT, TANK (LCT) (6). Each concrete base measures approximately 36.3m long by 9.8m wide (119ft by 32ft) including a 3m extension to the rear. The front (north) of the replica craft has shuttered-concrete walls (or ‘jaws’) up to 2m high angled inwards around a downward-sloping textured-concrete ramp approximately 3m long. The bases have various steel rings and post holes set within them, used for lashing down vehicles and attaching temporary sides. The front walls to craft C (furthest to the east) have been partially demolished. The craft has inscribed in the concrete extension to the rear ‘Co C 1st Platoon 146th Engineers’. Craft D has a dug-out trench at the base of the ramp, occasionally filled with water; that to craft E is infilled. The jaws to craft G and H have been demolished.
Date first listed: 31st May 2019

Historic England, 2019, Second World War concrete replica landing craft and training area, located within Braunton Burrows, centred on NGR:SS4623433157. (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV363101.

Notification that, as part of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Historic England are assessing the structures in order to consider if they are of national importance.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV349018Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S.. 2011 - 2012. North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. ACD383/2/1. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV349060Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1945. RAF/106G/LA/102. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 5015-5016 17-JAN-1945. [Mapped feature: #62156 ]
SDV349061Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1945. RAF/106G/LA/132. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/LA/132 5026-5027 14-FEB-1945.
SDV349086Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1989. OS/89115. Ordnance Survey Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR OS/89115 281-282 04-MAY-1989.
SDV349088Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1992. OS/92243. Ordnance Survey Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR OS/92243 030-031 07-JUL-1992.
SDV349761Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1952. RAF/540/949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/540/1949 5035-5036 24-NOV-1952.
SDV349850Cartographic: Environment Agency. 2006-2007. LiDAR data JPEG image (1 metre resolution). Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. LIDAR SS4633SW Environment Agency D0072720 03-NOV-2006 to 03-FEB-2007.
SDV349899Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2010. Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref:. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref: SS4633 08-APR-2010.
SDV349962Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1963. MAL/63603. Meridian Airmaps Limited Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR MAL/63603 115805-115806 11-JUN-1963.
SDV350032Website: Landing Craft Tank of WWII. 2002. WORLD WAR II LANDING CRAFT TANKS. http://ww2lct.org/main.htm. Website. http://ww2lct.org/history/stories/lctevolution.htm.
SDV362730National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2019. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1463671.
SDV363101List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2019. Second World War concrete replica landing craft and training area, located within Braunton Burrows, centred on NGR:SS4623433157.. Notification of Completion of Assessment. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV57287Part of: Mockup Training Area, Braunton Burrows (Monument)
MDV102668Related to: Craters around The Salllows, Braunton Burrows. (Monument)
MDV74040Related to: Mock Landing Craft Mechanised (LCMs) to south of D Lane, Braunton Burrows (Monument)
MDV102671Related to: Possible vehicle standings next to mock-up landing craft, Braunton Burrows. (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4737 - Stewardship Scheme Archaeological Survey, Braunton Burrows
  • EDV6132 - North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty NMP Project

Date Last Edited:Jul 10 2019 10:24AM