What a Sausage Camp might have looked like

The Marshalling Areas were called "Sausage Camps" because of the slightly elongated appearance they had on maps. They were designated with names like D-1, D-2, etc. According to US Army Center of Military History...

"Lt Gen John C. H. Lee, was directed to provide installations, facilities, services, supplies and equipment replacements in coordination with V Corps, to process the participating units through assembly areas, and to load them on US Navy landing craft. Lt Gen Lee delegated this responsibility to Col C. O. Thrasher, commanding officer of Southern Base Section, who further delegated it to Col Theodore Wyman Jr, commandant of XIX District in which the exercise was to be held. Col Wyman was assisted in planning and executing the SOS phase of the exercise by staff members detached from Southern Base Section headquarters.

Their mission was "to furnish necessary installations, equipment and supplies to move units from home stations to assembly areas, process units through assembly areas, embark units in order at priority as set forth by the task force commander, and return the units to their home stations."

The exercise was broken into two phases, the first including the concentration, processing and embarkation of assault troops, and the second involving the actual assault. Following embarkation of the units, the 11th Amphibious Force was to move the troops from the embarkation point to the assault beach and, with the help of British naval units, protect the convoy from any attacks by German submarines and E-boats. Air protection and tactical assistance was to be furnished by the Ninth Air Force.

Troops for the assault were located in the vicinity of Plymouth, Taunton, Barnstaple, and Lands End. They were to be embarked at Falmouth and Dartmouth. Following the embarkation of the troops which were to land at Slapton Sands, 28th Inf Div units, with attached troops, were to be processed to the embarkation points, but then were to return immediately to their stations.

The nucleus of Col Wyman's staff was gathered together the third week in November. A major problem was the objection of British military authorities to holding large-scale exercises on the south shore of England because of possible damage to "hard-standings", areas capable of being used as vehicle parks, and thus hamper the mounting of the actual invasion. Many of these areas had turf surfaces, satisfactory for use during a short time, but easily broken up. Once the turf was torn, the areas would turn quickly into quagmires. To overcome this, Col Wyman evolved the "sausage" plan, under which assembly areas were built around secondary paved roads. The roads were blocked off to all civilian traffic and were used as hard standings. The tents were located along the edge of the roads in wooded areas. Because of the shape of the areas on maps, they were nicknamed "sausages." The success of this plan not only made DUCK I and other exercises possible, but also demonstrated a quick way of supplementing NEPTUNE installations."

The following account is also from the US Army Center of Military History. However, I found it in a different article on their site...

"Next came the selection of temporary camp sites near embarkation points. The capacity for out-loading from a certain group of herds determined the size and number of camps located nearby. Each marshaling area had railheads for storing all classes of supplies, and every camp was supposed to maintain a stock of food, along with fast-moving items.

The marshaling areas were of two patterns, large camps that might accommodate as many as 9,000 men and sausage-style camps-fourteen small camps, each with a capacity of 230 men, ranged along five to ten miles of roadway. These small camps provided better dispersal and the possibility of good camouflage, for tentage followed hedgerows. But they required more personnel for efficient operation because some degree of control was lost. Good camouflage practices were not always followed.

Most of the camps consisted of quarters for 200 enlisted men (often in pyramidal tents), officers' quarters, orderly rooms, supply rooms, cooks' quarters, kitchen, mess halls, and latrines. Special briefing tents with sand tables were also available. Where necessary, engineers erected flattops over open areas used for mess lines. In both the Southern and Western Base Sections they also constructed security enclosures and special facilities. Engineers had to maintain and waterproof engineer task force vehicles. Each marshaling camp had either a concrete tank or a dammed stream for testing waterproofing. Roads, railroads, bridges, and dock and port facilities were primarily British responsibilities, and American engineers performed maintenance in these areas only on request or in case of emergency.

The Western Base Section's task was easier than Southern Base Section's for little new construction was required. Existing troop camps were big enough and close enough to the ports. Camp capacities were increased by billeting eighteen instead of sixteen men in each 16-by-36-foot hut and by adding an extra man to each seven-man 16-by-16-foot pyramidal tent. Additional tents were also erected with construction materials the Royal Engineers contributed.

Providing the needed accommodations in both Western and Southern Base Sections entailed much more than acquiring buildings and erecting tents. An acute shortage of base section engineer operating personnel which arose in the spring of 1944 promised to become worse once the invasion-mounting machinery went into full swing. SOS, ETOUSA, officials recognized the problem as early as February 1944 and saw the need to use field forces to help out. General Lee estimated that at least 15,000 field force troops would be required, along with 46,000 SOS troops who would have to be taken off other work. As a result, ETOUSA permitted an entire armored division to be cannibalized to provide some of the troops needed for housekeeping in the marshaling areas. Of the total, 4,500 were assigned as cooks, but many of these men were not qualified. General Moore thought the shortage in mess personnel was frequently the weakest part of the engineer phase of marshaling."

As it turned out, the Armored Division used was...you guessed it...the 5th Armored Division!!

The following excerpt is from ibiblio.org/hyperwar...

"Providing the needed accommodations entailed much more than acquiring buildings or erecting tents. Early in the year there was a severe shortage of beds, and it was necessary for Southern Base Section to buy lumber, wire, nails, and tools on the open market and to build 50,000 double-tiered bunks. Later in the spring an acute shortage of operating personnel developed, which promised to become worse once the mounting machinery was set in motion. SOS officials foresaw this deficiency as early as February and at that time indicated that it would be necessary to use field forces to perform service functions during the mounting of the operation. General Lee estimated that at least 15,000 field force troops would be needed, in addition to some 46,000 SOS troops that were to be taken off other work for this purpose.

The necessity of calling on combat troops to perform housekeeping duties was fully confirmed with the mounting of the two rehearsals, TIGER and FABIUS, in April. In fact, the original estimates proved too small. At that time the Southern Base Section was given use of the entire 5th Armored Division in the concentration and marshaling areas of the XIX District. In addition, the 29th Infantry Regiment and the 6th Tank Destroyer Group were assigned similar duties in the XVIII District. Even these measures did not meet all requirements, for there was an unfilled demand for specialists in certain categories. There was a persistent shortage of cooks, for example, despite the fact that attendance quotas at the Cooks and Bakers School were increased early in the year in Southern Base. SOS units were ordered to double the normally allotted number of cooks to meet the housekeeping needs of the marshaling areas. As a result of the stepped-up program, 4,500 cooks, in addition to many mess managers, were trained in the first three months of 1944.

The sausage camps are also described in The History of the 81st Tank Battalion on this site. You can view it at by clicking