We first hear of Exercise SMASH as an invasion exercise for the 3rd British Infantry Division at Burghead Bay in Scotland. No. 102 R.A.F. Beach Section was to take part with No. 6 Beach Group. The 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion formed the core battalion in No. 6 Beach Group.

‘The first divisional exercise, entitled “Smash,” was scheduled to begin on New Year’s Day, 1944, and the troops were actually in the marshalling area when the weather broke so violently that the exercise was cancelled.’


After this SMASH became a series of exercises for the 50th (Northumbrian) Division assault force in Studland Bay, Dorset.

On the 4th April 1944 during Exercise SMASH I, six lives were lost when some Valentine DD tanks of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards sank. More information about Exercise SMASH has been published in recent years because of this incident. (See, for example, Exercise Smash – BU Maritime Archaeology)

View of Studland Bay during Exercise SMASH I by artist Anthony Gross.
Spectators (Including Corps and Divisional Commanders) observe the landings. Note rockets being fired in the distance.© IWM Art.IWM ART LD 3954

On the 17th and 18th April 1944, the Landing and Provost sub sections of both Beach Sections of No. 4 R.A.F. Beach Unit participated in Exercise SMASH III.