What were these mini-corkscrew pickets used for?

#1
Hi,

I found a number of these 'mini-corkscrew pickets' (they're about 12-15 inches long) in the undergrowth on the southern side of Dover's Western Heights fortifications:

[align=center]

[Click on the photo to see the original web-page][/align]

One of several still embedded into the ground:

[align=center]

[Click on the photo to see the original web-page][/align]

Does anyone know for sure what they were used for?

I thought they might have been intended for tethering horses, but I'm only guessing!

John Latter / Jorolat
 
#3
rickshaw-major said:
Mr_Deputy said:
isn't it for securing barbed wire at ankle height?
Yup - and they could be screwed in quietly! Possibly a hangover from WW1.
Nope, mainly from WWII.

I was brought up on top of the White Cliffs and you used to find this sort of stuff all over 'Hell Fire Corner'.

I believe that they were used for low level barbed wire containment and delay areas, mainly at ankle level.


Try looking in the field edges around Langdon, there used to be loads in there as well!
 
#4
Gremlin said:
I was brought up on top of the White Cliffs and you used to find this sort of stuff all over 'Hell Fire Corner'.

I believe that they were used for low level barbed wire containment and delay areas, mainly at ankle level.
Must play havoc with your scrotum then, oh stumpy one!!!
 

Schaden

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
Design is from WW1 where one spent one's evening hours crawling around in front of the trenches fixing the barbed wire - you couldn't stand up and whack the pickets into the ground as Jerry might take offence - so you screwed the pickets into the mud and fixed the wire to them.
 
#6
tattybadger said:
Gremlin said:
I was brought up on top of the White Cliffs and you used to find this sort of stuff all over 'Hell Fire Corner'.

I believe that they were used for low level barbed wire containment and delay areas, mainly at ankle level.
Must play havoc with your scrotum then, oh stumpy one!!!
I don't have one any more. It was ripped off at an early age by said military hazards.



Oh and: You Bloody Hypocrite!
 
#8
I've seen them re-used for securing tentage guy ropes. More efective than pegs.
 
#9
Mr_Deputy said:
isn't it for securing barbed wire at ankle height?
Well, I was in the Royal Signals and only have a vague idea about what the real Army got up to.

Consequently, I couldn't see the point of a single-strand barbed wire obstacle until I thought about what's been said above - which does make sense, I hasten to add :)

As far as I'm concerned, the barbed-wire is an optional extra: I'm as blind as a bat and have been tripping over these flipping things all morning.

The reason I thought they may have been used for horses is because of the close visual match to what the Americans call 'spiral tie-out stakes' for tethering dogs:
[align=center]
[/align]

John
 
#10
Schaden said:
Design is from WW1 where one spent one's evening hours crawling around in front of the trenches fixing the barbed wire - you couldn't stand up and whack the pickets into the ground as Jerry might take offence - so you screwed the pickets into the mud and fixed the wire to them.
But surely you're referring to the 'full-size' pickets such as this one:

[align=center]

[Click on the photo to see the original web-page][/align]

You can see the 'curly-wurly' bit sticking out from the right of a leaf; to the left of the leaf the picket is at least another 3 feet long and has several looped eye-holes for attaching coils of barbed-wire to.

You just needed to put an iron-bar (whatever) through the eye-hole immediately above the curly-wurly bit and you could, um, screw away all night if you wanted to (no 'banging', see?).

John
 
#13
WaltOnTheMildSide said:
Here we go: BARBED WIRE ENTANGLEMENTS
Fig 4-10 shows the pickets, the short ones being recommended for a 'tanglefoot' barrier which is lower than a low-wire entanglement.
Absolutely brilliant, WaltOnTheMildSide, thanks ! :)

Here are two relevant sections:

4-4. PICKETS

Wire entanglements are supported on metal or wood pickets.

a. Metal pickets. Metal pickets are issued in two types, screw and U-shaped. The standard lengths are short or anchor, medium, and long (fig. 4-10). The U-shaped picket also comes in an extra long length. Pickets that are serviceable are recovered and used again.

(1) Screw picket. The screw picket is screwed into the ground by turning it in a clockwise direction using a driftpin, stick, or another picket inserted in the bottom eye of the picket for leverage. The bottom eye is used in order to avoid twisting the picket. Screw pickets are installed so the eye is to the right of the picket, as seen from the friendly side so standard ties to be made easily. Screw pickets tend to be less rigid than other types but are desirable because they can be installed rapidly and silently. When silence is necessary, the driftpin used in installing the pickets should be wrapped with cloth.

[align=center]

Figure 4-10. Pickets for use with barbed wire.[/align]

Tanglefoot... ...is used where concealment is essential and to prevent the enemy from crawling between fences and in front of emplacements. The obstacle should be employed in a minimum depth of 10 meters (32.8 ft.). The pickets should be spaced at irregular intervals of from 75 cm to 3 meters (2.5 to 10 ft.), and the height of the barbed wire should vary between 23 to 75 cm (9 to 30 in.). Tanglefoot should be sited in scrub, if possible, using bushes as supports for part of the wire. In open ground, short pickets should be used. Growth of grass should be controlled to help prevent the enemy from secretly cutting lanes in, or tunneling under, the entanglement.
John
 
#14
From Wiki
Military non-equestrian use;

Screw pickets, used as supports for barbed wire defences, were introduced around 1915 as a replacement for timber posts. The French name for this type of steel stake was 'queue de cochon' or pigtail. The World War I steel stake became known in the British Army as a 'corkscrew picket'. The corkscrew picket was made from a steel bar which had its bottom end bent into a spiral coil. It also had three loops or 'eyes' (some even had four) formed, one at top, one at midway and one just above the corkscrew spiral. The final product was about five feet long.
Seen quite few lying about , wondered what they were,
 

Similar threads

Top