For the American’s European campaign the Commanding General of Services of Supply in England was directed on 24th October 1943 to establish and operate a replacement system to be in operation by 1st January 1944.
To achieve this he required 285 officers and 6,050 enlisted men, all to be trained for 11 Depot Headquarter Companies, 35 battalion headquarters and 168 Replacement companies to distribute an estimated 74,000 replacement troops.
The word “Replacement” had a certain stigma attached to it so was changed to “Reinforcement”.
On 1st May 1944 Assault Training Centre facilities, camps and billets were taken over by the 18th Replacement Depot and men of the Replacement Companies and Battalions moved in for refresher training prior to movement to Europe. Key officers had already arrived in late April to organise their units.
Most replacement troops had been languishing in U.S. staging camps for two to six weeks and had spent another two weeks reaching England so a strenuous physical training programmes was set up alongside refresher courses to prepare the troops for combat on the European continent.
The reinforcement organisation used the “package” system to despatch men to Europe with 250 to 300 men in a “package”. By D-Day 35,500 men had been formed into these “packages”, prepared for shipment and held in reinforcement depots awaiting orders to depart for Europe.
Once on the continent they individually replaced soldiers killed or wounded in combat but they had no combat experience and could pose extra risks for others due to their lack of combat awareness or quickly become a casualty themselves.
Replacement units at the Assault Training Centre APO (Army Post Office) number 872
18 Replacement Depot, Casual Detachments 2,3,4 & 5
36 Replacement Battalion, Headquarters
26 Apr 44 – Capt E D Ames arrived ATC
45 Replacement Battalion, Headquarters
26 Apr 44 – Capt H F McGuire arrived ATC 31 Jul 44 - Body of 2 Lt John A Burnette 0-1823831from Tennessee, found on Saunnds at approx 8.30 am. Deceased had been bathing at Saunton Sands on 30 Jul 44 with other officers but had not been reported as missing. Body identified by 2nd Lt Alexander E Woodside of same unit. Body removed to Braunton mortuary and later to 313 American Field Station Hospital at Fremington, Devon. Buried at Cambridge American Cemetery Plot E Row 4 Grave 113.
79 Replacement Battalion, Headquarters
26 Apr 44 - 1 Lt G H Mead arrived ATC
80 Replacement Battalion, Headquarters
26 Apr 44 -Capt C L Barrister arrived ATC 188 Replacement Company228 Replacement Company300 Replacement Company 189 Replacement Company229 Replacement Company355 Replacement Company 190 Replacement Company297 Replacement Company458 Replacement Company 226 Replacement Company298 Replacement Company459 Replacement Company 227 Replacement Company299 Replacement Company460 Replacement Company
18 Replacement Depot, Casual Detachment 7
50 Replacement Battalion, Headquarters
26 Apr 44 -Capt M Lunt arrived ATC
197 Replacement Company
19 Jul 44 - Report of Coastguard, Croyde, Devon that unknown female bather rescued from the sea at Croyde Bay in the afternoon by a coloured American soldier Johnson Pvt Rudolph 32910881 , 197 Replacement Company, Croyde Camp, and Garner T5 David A 15078994, A Company 771 Tank Destroyer Battalion, Saunton, Devon. Johnson before entering water handed his gold wrist watch to a female who was missing when he came out. Enquiries made and statement taken with a view to locating the female who held the watch, also the person who was rescued but with no result. 7 Aug 44 - Mrs J.R.W. Shepherd Standing, Pinkney Green, Berkshire, temporary home at Home House, Croyde, age 44, married woman. Reports Kodak folding camera No A118 in brown leather case and two pairs of bathing trunks stolen from a locked beach hut on Croyde Burrows between 6.30 pm 6.8.44 and 11 am 7.8.44. US Army personnel suspected. Enquiries made by US Army CID agents. Camera found in possession of Pvt , 197 Replacement Company, APO 872 stationed at Croyde. 198 Replacement Company199 Replacement Company354 Replacement Company
18 Replacement Depot, Casual Detachments 6 & 8
78 Replacement Battalion, Headquarters
26 Apr 44 -1 Lt P W Bissell arrived ATC 455 Replacement Company456 Replacement Company457 Replacement Company
18 Replacement Depot (-), Headquarters
19 Apr 44 – Lt Col H C Settle (Hq) arrived ATC 24 Apr 44 – Lt Col H C Settle (Hq) arrived ATC Lt Col R W Castle Maj I M Flacks 1 Lt R C Yoder 1 Lt M Adams
28 Apr 44 - 1 Lt T J Dananer arrived ATC
WO J L Burford WO C A Oswald