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HER Number:MDV27370
Name:Moving Target / Anti-Tank Range (H1) east of West Mill Tor, Okehampton Hamlets

Summary

Moving target anti-tank range, later replaced by a H1 Battalion Anti-Tank Range in 1959. Target Carrier shed at the western end. The rubble remains of the old target carrier shed lie at the eastern end of the tramway. Decision not to schedule in 2015. A Wickham trolley used to carry the target along the track is stored in the shed.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 594 910
Map Sheet:SX59SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishOkehampton Hamlets
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishOKEHAMPTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX59SE/109

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ANTI TANK GUNNERY RANGE (XIX to XX - 1850 AD to 1959 AD (Between))
  • TARGET TRAMWAY (XIX to XX - 1850 AD to 1920 AD (Between))

Full description

National Monument Record, 12/04/1969, SX5991, SX5991/2/223 (Aerial Photograph). SDV247639.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Three redundant target tramways located on the saddle between Rough Tor and West Mill Tor.
1) SX59459105, an east-west length of disused railway, marked as apparently in use on the 1964 Ordnance Survey map. A building is marked as in use on the 1964 map at the western end of the railway. A substantial bank runs east-west on the north side of the track.
2) SX59329113, a short length of east-west bank only.
3) SX59409120, remains of a long north-west, south-east railway track with a bank on the east side.


Royal Air Force, 1993, 372/v1/39/RAF/6156 (Aerial Photograph). SDV247640.

Three firing positions visible at SX59309140.


Francis, P., 2002, Okehampton Artillery Range, 10-11, plates (Report - Survey). SDV359222.

H1 Moving Target Range. Prior to the BAT Range, there was a moving target anti-tank range with a 'V'-shaped layout, it consisted of two 3 foot wide track beds aligned roughly north-south and east-west. Where both tracks meet (at the foot of the 'V') was a target carrier shed build of limestone blocks. This was destroyed by gunfire before 1958 but the rubble survives. After 1959, the east-west track bed was widened and re-used as the BAT Range. Remains of the Target Carrier Shed are located at NGR SX5948 9107.
H1 Battalion Anti-Tank (BAT) Range. This range was used firstly by BAT, then MOBAT and finally WOMBAT weapons - these were 120 millimetre recoilless guns firing high explosive Squash Head (HESH) and HE Anti-Tank (HEAT) and practice rounds. The weapon also had an aiming rifle fixed co-axially to the main armament.Using part of a site of the earlier 'V'-shaped moving target railway, the new BAT range was laid out in May 1959. A straight section forming part of the track bed of the old railway was widened from 3 foot to 6 foot and a 2 foot 6 inch gauge railway laid. At either end of the straight section, the track forms a 40 foot radius loop to allow continuous operation. A set of points at the western end enables the carrier to be stored inside a shelter. Protecting the carrier along its route is a 4 foot high and 9 foot wide banking, made from a borrow pit on the north side. This hides the carrier from view, allowing just the 'tank' to be seen moving along the bank. The straight section forming the target area is 375 foot long, in section along its length it begins (in the west) at 1507 foot, peaks at 1509 foot, before falling to 1506 foot above sea level at the eastern end.
The target carrier was a Wickhams trolley with a Jap side-valve petrol engine. The target shelter was originally planned to be built at the eastern end of the railway track, just east of the old carrier shed (destroyed by gunfire). The remains of the shed were to be used as spoil behind a retaining wall which protected the new shed, but a change in design took place in April 1959 and it was built at the western end instead. The target Carrier Shed at NGR SX 59189129 is similar to the original design in terms of size and construction materials but is without a retaining wall. Wall construction is of a mixture of reinforced concrete, dense concrete block and a brick pier supporting a reinforced concrete slab roof. Except for the front elevation, a drystone limestone block blast wall surrounds it. Internal dimension 16 foot by 19 foot for two target carriers.


Historic England, 2015, Case Name: Okehampton Artillery Range: H1 Battalion Anti-Tank Range and Medium Anti-Tank Range (Schedule Document). SDV359233.

After examining all the records and other relevant information and having carefully considered the
archaeological interest of this case, the criteria for scheduling are not fulfilled. The remains of H1 range are therefore not recommended for scheduling.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
The remains of H1 range are not recommended for scheduling for the following principal reasons:
Period: while the mid-C20 and late-C20 moving target railways demonstrate the continued importance of the Okehampton Range for training and the changing nature of military tactics, particularly tank-warfare, there is not sufficient evidence at this time as to the relative significance of H1 range in relation to other contemporary moving anti-tank target railways that survive;
Survival: the infrastructure of the mid-C20 and 1950s target railway survive to differing degrees; the 1969 firing range in particular has undergone a much greater level of alteration and reconstruction than other historic military features at Okehampton;
Group value: although not identified as nationally important, these features do have strong local interest and are part of a group of related military training features including associated listed buildings in Okehampton Camp to the north.


English Heritage, 2015, H1 Battalion Anti-Tank Range and Medium Anti-Tank Range, to the south of the summit of Rowtor, Dartmoor Forest, Okehampton, Devon (Correspondence). SDV358078.

Notification of completion of the initial assessment of the H1 Battalion Anti-Tank Range and Medium Anti-Tank Range which is being considered for inclusion on the Schedule of Monuments. The principle features of the monument are the infrastructure of an abandoned, V-shaped multi-phase target
railway, one arm of which was adapted in 1959 to form a Battalion Anti-Tank range, and an
adjacent Medium Anti-Tank Weapon range, all of which lies on a plateau on the south side of
Rowtor. See consultation report for full details.


Sharpe, N., 2017, Details on Wickham Trolley (Un-published). SDV360619.

Dartmoor Wickham Trolley History
Details of the pair of trollies used for training on Dartmoor from the 1940s-1970s. They were used for moving targets to train infantry. The trollies left the range in the 1980s; one went to local musuem but was later returned and is now stored in the shed.


Sharpe, N., 2017, H1 Battalion Anti-Tank Range (Correspondence). SDV361116.

Discussion regarding possible repair / maintenance work to the site.


Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

'Tramway' shown on modern mapping with a small square building at the western end. A 'Rifle Range' is shown 200 metres to the north.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV247639Aerial Photograph: National Monument Record. 12/04/1969. SX5991. National Monument Record Aerial Photograph. Unknown. SX5991/2/223.
SDV247640Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1993. 372/v1/39/RAF/6156. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Unknown.
SDV319854Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV358078Correspondence: English Heritage. 2015. H1 Battalion Anti-Tank Range and Medium Anti-Tank Range, to the south of the summit of Rowtor, Dartmoor Forest, Okehampton, Devon. Notification of Assessment of Monument for Inclusion on the Schedule of Monuments. Digital.
SDV359222Report - Survey: Francis, P.. 2002. Okehampton Artillery Range. A4 Comb Bound. 10-11, plates.
SDV359233Schedule Document: Historic England. 2015. Case Name: Okehampton Artillery Range: H1 Battalion Anti-Tank Range and Medium Anti-Tank Range. Reject at Initial Assessment Letter. Digital.
SDV360619Un-published: Sharpe, N.. 2017. Details on Wickham Trolley. Digital.
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV361116Correspondence: Sharpe, N.. 2017. H1 Battalion Anti-Tank Range. Email. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV113528Related to: Anti-Tank Weapon(H1) Range south of Rough Tor, Okehampton Hamlets (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7620 - Okehampton Artillary Range

Date Last Edited:Oct 5 2018 2:03PM