The remains of a key Second World War training site in North Devon have been given listed status to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Replica landing craft tanks at Braunton Burrrows. Picture: Steven Baker/Historic EnglandReplica landing craft tanks at Braunton Burrrows. Picture: Steven Baker/Historic England

The six replica landing craft installations at Braunton Burrows are now Grade II listed after being granted protection by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England.

The concrete landing craft were used by American troops for training from September 1943 as Allied forces prepared for the famous attack on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944.

Codenamed Operation Overlord, the D-Day attack was the greatest combined land, air and naval operation in history as forces invaded Nazi-occupied Western Europe. 156,000 soldiers from Britain, America, Canada and France landed on the beaches of Normandy together with thousands of vehicles and supplies.

The concrete landing craft at Braunton were based on an American modification of the British Tank Landing Craft and were designed to represent the top deck of the craft with its front lowered, giving troops the chance to practice the embarking and disembarking of vehicles and personnel.

US assault infantry training with flame-thrower against a pill box at the Assault Training Center at Braunton Burrows. Picture:US Signal Corp. George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.US assault infantry training with flame-thrower against a pill box at the Assault Training Center at Braunton Burrows. Picture:US Signal Corp. George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

The structures were abandoned and a large number demolished in the late 20th century.

A further concrete structure to the north of the landing craft, a practice rocket or 'Bazooka' wall, has also been Grade II listed.

The wall was built deep in the sand dunes in 1943 and was a target butt for forces. The wall is largely in tact, with visible repairs providing evidence of its use.

In addition the listing at Braunton Burrows, sunken tanks and armoured bulldozers and components of Mulberry floating harbours across Dorset and West Sussex have all been protected by DCMS.

Replica landing craft tanks at Braunton Burrrows. Picture: James O. Davies/Historic EnglandReplica landing craft tanks at Braunton Burrrows. Picture: James O. Davies/Historic England

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: "Evidence of D-Day planning, rehearsal and the actual operation is all around us, on our coastline and in our waters helping to tell the D-Day Story.

"These tanks, armoured bulldozers, Mulberry Harbour components and concrete training landing craft are important as a witness to the great engineering achievements and logistical preparations around England's coast for the largest amphibious invasion ever undertaken, on 6 June 1944.

"It is vital that we protect them as a memorial for future generations."

A 30 Cal. browning machine gun team at the Assault Training Center at Braunton Burrows. Picture: US Signal Corp. George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.A 30 Cal. browning machine gun team at the Assault Training Center at Braunton Burrows. Picture: US Signal Corp. George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.