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HER Number:MDV73990
Name:North Devon US Assault Training Centre


US World War II Assault Training Centre covered eleven separate areas from Morte Point in the north to Braunton Burrows in the south.


Grid Reference:SS 453 377
Map Sheet:SS43NE
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)

Full description

Unknown, 1944, Roads and Training Aids: U.S. Assault Training Center (Un-published). SDV339604.

Copies of the Original US army site plans and of German-type pillboxes.

Wasley, G., 1994, Devon at War 1939-1945, 124, 128-30 (Monograph). SDV165766.

The Assault Training Centre opened in the late summer of 1943. the Americans constructed a variety of fortifications and obstacles modelled on German coastal defences. Different areas of beach and dunes were designated for particular types of training exercise. Training commenced in September 1943 with 2 to 3 week training courses for each infantry unit.

Bass, R. T., 2005, Spirits of the Sand: Field Edition (Monograph). SDV325697.

The significance of the World War II US Assault Training Centre was revealed in May 1992. The perimeter of the training area followed the railway line south from Mortehoe Station to Braunton and from the River Caen to the Taw and Torridge estuary. The land to the west of this line was used for exercises and rehearsals. It was closed in April 1944. The Assault Training Centre covered eleven separate areas from Morte Point in the north to Braunton Burrows in the south. The brief of the Assault Training Centre was to train combat units under realistic battle conditions, including overcoming on and off-shore obstacles, reduction of fortifications, repulsing of counter attacks and establishing of the beach head. Construction work began on training aids after 7/8/1943 with the arrival of Companies C, E, and F of the US 398th Engineer General Service Regiment. Facilities included a full scale German-type 'Hedgehog' and full-scale obstacles and individual fortifications of various types sited along the sheltered beaches (including Croyde and Woolacombe). Also mock-ups of various types of landing craft, obstacle courses, combat ranges and observation towers. Accommodation was in tent cities at Braunton and Croyde and at the hutted Braunton Camp. The ranges, pillboxes, roads and other aids built by the 398th were subsequently maintained and rebuilt by the 146th Engineer Combat Battalion that had arrived by 27/10/1943. Details of training programme and individual structures are given. After D-day the base was given over to the 18th Field Force Replacement Depot to house and feed replacement troops on their way to Europe. Braunton Burrows included, from south to north, Areas A, B, C and D, Area E was at Croyde Bay, Area F was at Baggy Point, Areas G, H and L covered Morte Bay from Woolacombe in the north to Putsborough in the south, Area M was at Morte Point and Area N covered a small area inland form Morte Bay to the northeast of Georgeham.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV165766Monograph: Wasley, G.. 1994. Devon at War 1939-1945. Devon at War. Hardback Volume. 124, 128-30.
SDV325697Monograph: Bass, R. T.. 2005. Spirits of the Sand: Field Edition. Spirits of the Sand. A5 Paperback.
SDV339604Un-published: Unknown. 1944. Roads and Training Aids: U.S. Assault Training Center. U.S. Plans from R.T.Bass. Mixed Archive Material + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV73993Parent of: Area N of US Assault Training Centre to the northest of Georgeham (Monument)
MDV21118Parent of: Baggy Point Area F of US Army Second World War Assault Training Centre (Monument)
MDV57283Parent of: Braunton Areas A, B, C and D of US Assault Training Centre (Monument)
MDV52983Parent of: Braunton Camp (Monument)
MDV57324Parent of: Croyde Bay Area E of US Assault Training Centre (Monument)
MDV103262Parent of: Military Buildings South of The Esplanade, Woolacombe (Monument)
MDV57332Parent of: Morte Bay/Woolacombe Areas G, H and L of US Assault Training Centre (Monument)
MDV57333Parent of: Morte Point Area M of US Assault Training Centre (Monument)
MDV102580Part of: Military maintenance site on Instow Sands (Monument)
MDV102555Part of: Military training area on the Skern, Northam. (Monument)
MDV131210Related to: Long Stone, Putsborough (Monument)
MDV131791Related to: Pickwell Down, Georgeham (Monument)
MDV103142Related to: Second World War Camp at Lincombe (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6518 - Archaeological Survey of Northam Burrows (Ref: ACD760)

Date Last Edited:Oct 28 2021 9:31AM