As part of their Coastal Heritage Project the AONB organised a work task, in association with the Friends of the Assault Training Center on Braunton Burrows and with permission from the landowners Christie Estate, clearing away vegetation from the “Rocket Wall” on Braunton Burrows.
The Rocket Wall was an American military construction of concrete with steel reinforcing bars constructed in 1943 as a target backdrop principally for practice firing the “Bazooka”. This was a shoulder fired anti-tank rocket that would explode on impact and adopted by the Americans for their Normandy D-Day landings as a means of destroying or neutralising enemy bunkers and pillboxes. The face of the rocket wall was repaired several times but was left in a damaged state when the Americans left. Whilst World War 2 target butts are fairly common throughout the U.K., what makes this structure unique is that it was constructed specifically for “Bazooka” Training in the run up to D-Day.
The rocket wall was located in Area “C” of the Assault Training Center which covered the central part of Braunton Burrows. It included the rocket range and the Infantry Demolition Range as well as Practice Beaches “Saunton Blue”, “Saunton Yellow” and a part of “Estuary Red”. Here the Infantry not only practiced attacking pillboxes with various projectiles, but they also practiced laying charges (specialised explosion packs) up against various concrete structures.
Following work by the AONB team in June of this year, the Rocket wall was designated as a Grade 2 Listed Building.
Some of the volunteers who turned up, were treated to a ride in a period American Army Vehicle which drove them to and from the site.