Shooters Hill, Time Team and the defences of London in WW2

I posted this elsewhere but it fits this thread.

The local "expert" said the Army and HG had placed fougasse' by the roads. Presumably using some of the huge amount of POL we had stocked up.

That was the first time time I ever heard of the British using them and indeed the first time I ever heard the word used in British milhist. I know US engineers used them in Vietnam as Joe Haldeman, the sci fi writer, wrote about them in his memoirs of being a combat engineer in VN.

You wouldn't want to be Hans driving up the A2 and getting hit with one of them. Goodnight Vienna.

Edit: Here is an example. There is a vehicle in there somewhere:
1627757342746.png


From Wiki:

The flame fougasse was developed by the Petroleum Warfare Department in Britain as an anti-tank weapon during the invasion crisis of 1940. During that period, about 50,000 flame fougasse barrels were deployed in some 7,000 batteries, mostly in southern England and a little later at 2,000 sites in Scotland. Although never used in combat in Britain, the design saw action later in Greece.
 
I posted this elsewhere but it fits this thread.

The local "expert" said the Army and HG had placed fougasse' by the roads. Presumably using some of the huge amount of POL we had stocked up.

That was the first time time I ever heard of the British using them and indeed the first time I ever heard the word used in British milhist. I know US engineers used them in Vietnam as Joe Haldeman, the sci fi writer, wrote about them in his memoirs of being a combat engineer in VN.

You wouldn't want to be Hans driving up the A2 and getting hit with one of them. Goodnight Vienna.

Edit: Here is an example. There is a vehicle in there somewhere:
1627757342746.png


From Wiki:

The flame fougasse was developed by the Petroleum Warfare Department in Britain as an anti-tank weapon during the invasion crisis of 1940. During that period, about 50,000 flame fougasse barrels were deployed in some 7,000 batteries, mostly in southern England and a little later at 2,000 sites in Scotland. Although never used in combat in Britain, the design saw action later in Greece.

The IWM picture library has quite a few of them shown. If you can stand the painfully slow loading times.
mid_H_022072_1.jpg

becomes:
mid_H_022078_1.jpg


Then there's this thing, called a Hedgehopper
mid_H_022074_1.jpg
 
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The IWM picture library has quite a few of them shown. If you can stand the painfully slow loading times.

Thanks.

I have been reading about WWII for sixty years now and I had genuinely never heard fougasse used in a British context.

I have seen the word used in connection with historical wars up to Vietnam but not by us.

Obviously no one person knows everything (well, apart from a few ARRSErs) but given we seem to have made 50,000 of them I would have thought the word would have cropped up somewhere in the last six decades.

Supposedly the origin of the word fugazi (which is claimed to come from “fucked up, got ambushed, zipped in [a body bag]” but I doubt that - it is most likely a backronym).
 
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Thanks for this, only watched the first minute or so so far but already intrigued. Used to walk my dog all over Oxleys wood but never really noticed anything war like. My sister still lives in the old hospital on Shooters Hill and i pop down now and again... i need to go exploring.
 
Thanks for this, only watched the first minute or so so far but already intrigued. Used to walk my dog all over Oxleys wood but never really noticed anything war like. My sister still lives in the old hospital on Shooters Hill and i pop down now and again... i need to go exploring.

I had my first al fresco shag in Oxleas Woods.

I didn't notice any fugazis.
 
.....Supposedly the origin of the word fugazi (which is claimed to come from “fucked up, got ambushed, zipped in [a body bag]” but I doubt that - it is most likely a backronym).

A complete guess, but I assumed it came from "fougou" - archaeological name for short underground passages, thinking how the devices might be dug into an enbankment or a cliff.

ISTR there were flame fougasses protecting the beach at Porthcurno, where the subsea telegraph cables came ashore.

ETA - brief reference here:

And a bit of film:
 
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A complete guess, but I assumed it came from "fougou" - archaeological name for short underground passages, thinking how the devices might be dug into an enbankment or a cliff.

ISTR there were flame fougasses protecting the beach at Porthcurno, where the subsea telegraph cables came ashore.

ETA - brief reference here:

And a bit of film:

Good spot.

I think the 100,000 asbestos suits and the thousands of immolated German soldiers might be a bit of propaganda (or a cock and bull story as it is known).

Some of those blokes must have had the time of their lives dreaming up bangs. "Hey guys, we have almost unlimited reserves of POL. Let's see what we can blow up".

I was not totally convinced by the effectiveness of the anti-aircraft flamethrower.
 

Londo

LE
Good spot.

I think the 100,000 asbestos suits and the thousands of immolated German soldiers might be a bit of propaganda (or a cock and bull story as it is known).

Some of those blokes must have had the time of their lives dreaming up bangs. "Hey guys, we have almost unlimited reserves of POL. Let's see what we can blow up".

I was not totally convinced by the effectiveness of the anti-aircraft flamethrower.
Early days of the battle of Britain some German aircraft (a few HE111's I think) had a flamethrower in the tail to discourage British fighters .
That didn't work too well either .
 
Some of those blokes must have had the time of their lives dreaming up bangs. "Hey guys, we have almost unlimited reserves of POL. Let's see what we can blow up".

I was not totally convinced by the effectiveness of the anti-aircraft flamethrower.

I believe it's why we took a lead in flame thrower development, one we maintained until the early 50's, when flamethrowers fell out of favour. Where we'd gotten to was pretty impressive. Simply as we had so much POL we invested more.
Unlike the Germans or the US, the latter is a bit surprising TBH considering they were the largest POL producer in the world. But their attempts always came out as a bit shit.

Early days of the battle of Britain some German aircraft (a few HE111's I think) had a flamethrower in the tail to discourage British fighters .
That didn't work too well either .

There's actually a lot of story about that Flamethrowing German bomber, and it's tied to one of the most iconic pictures of the Battle.

(and yes, I like abusing the German language for giggles)


In related developments I found this picture the other day (all thanks to you @HE117) when I was doing some stuff on a No76 SIP presentation.
dXEy7NH.jpg

Which just goes to show how much thought and work we put into Incendiary IED's. I wonder if the Germans would have found it as unpleasant as we did in Iraq. You'd have been able to see the smoke from Kent Burning in France
 

Tyk

LE
Even if the Germans could have secured a beachhead in SE England (which they couldn't) the cost of pushing inland against the Home Guard (even ignoring the considerable number of regular Army) would have been appalling. If they'd had armour ashore it wouldn't have survived with all the gubbins @Listy has pointed out.

Maybe the Germans thought they'd face a resistance like they met in France, on mainland UK it would have been a very different tale.
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
Even if the Germans could have secured a beachhead in SE England (which they couldn't) the cost of pushing inland against the Home Guard (even ignoring the considerable number of regular Army) would have been appalling. If they'd had armour ashore it wouldn't have survived with all the gubbins @Listy has pointed out.

Maybe the Germans thought they'd face a resistance like they met in France, on mainland UK it would have been a very different tale.
They faced resistance when they strolled through France via tree lined boulevards and avenues (obviously not counting the many millions of members of the Maquis)?
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
It's not awe, it's respect. When it comes to his areas of focus, which is generally pre-WW2, I'm not sure anyone can touch him. He has no particular interest in, and doesn't spend much of his time on, the post-WW2 era stuff at all.

The other matter is that "Tank chats" aren't him at his best. He's not a 'nuts-and-bolts-of-the-tank" chap like myself. He's a "This is why they did the things they did" chap, but that's not what "Tank Chats" is for. So they work with "good enough." It's not as if he hasn't had access to the field reports or technical evaluations for context.
He gave me a guided tour of a section of the museum one afternoon, what a nice man, knowledgeable and well informed and great company, without his guidance I would have missed an important and fundamental pert of Great War tank history
 
As with every factor of WWII things become more and more intriguing the more you look into them.

Who knew that Lagonda made flamethrower vehicles*: Lagonda flamethrower - Wikipedia

(^ that also indicates why the AA flamethrower might not have been such a stupid idea after all).

The Petroleum Warfare Department didn't just look at ways of blowing things up in mighty fireballs and torching Germans. They were also responsible for sensible stuff like PLUTO and FIDO.




(*Apart from the bloke who wrote the Wiki page)
 
Even if the Germans could have secured a beachhead in SE England (which they couldn't) the cost of pushing inland against the Home Guard (even ignoring the considerable number of regular Army) would have been appalling. If they'd had armour ashore it wouldn't have survived with all the gubbins @Listy has pointed out.

Maybe the Germans thought they'd face a resistance like they met in France, on mainland UK it would have been a very different tale.

The tanks wouldn't have made it off the beaches. See we very cunningly expected the Germans to do what we had been thinking of. Big amphibious tanks. We were thinking of the 6-800 ton range at the time. So we speculated that the German tanks would be about 100 tons. Our solution to emplace 3.7in HAA batteries on the headlands of as many beaches as we could, so they could provide grazing fire into the flanks of the heavily armoured 100 ton Behemoths.

Into this cannonade would have driven a few 20-30 ton Panzer's. I suspect they'd be so much scrap in as many seconds.
 

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