Garelochhead Training Area
The Garelochhead Training Area was built in 1940, during World War II.
A mix of British and Polish units were originally based here, and many of the original Nissen huts remain in use. Some thirteen square miles of the surrounding area was extensively used as a training area, and some 22,000 American servicemen were accommodated and trained there immediately prior to the D-Day operations. Part of the Clyde AA Defences surrounded the camp, defending the nearby shipbuilding facilities and naval base on the Clyde. The naval base remains at Faslane as Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde, and is home to the British nuclear submarine fleet, in conjunction with the Royal Naval Armament Depot (RNAD) facility at Coulport.
The training area extends to some 8,200 acres (3,3200 hectares) and includes live firing up to platoon level on ranges which include grenade and mortar facilities, a field firing area, and dismounted (foot) infantry dry training to battalion level. The terrain rises from sea level to over 700 m, and is used by infantry and transport units for off road and amphibious training. The area also benefits from the mountain, forest and moorland which can be used year round in the nearby Ardgarten Forest area. The main camp can accommodate 500, while an associated camp at Strone can accommodate another 130, where specialist training for Fighting In Built-Up Areas (FIBUA) is carried out. This is also referred to as FISH, Fighting In Someone else's House, particularly by British forces.
Although it contains only one Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Ardgartan Forest, the area is one of great natural beauty and rich diversity. As with many similar facilities, the area benefits from the absence of development and intrusion, and many species survive that would otherwise be lost if it were to be developed commercially.
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