WWII Defensive Pillboxes

simbo

LE
Type 24 apparently- now enjoyed by sheep. At the time this would have been in a pretty strategic location on the A6 at Levens hall. Just by the farmhouse one turns left for Barrow-in-Furness along the coast road. Apologies for the google images- it's a bit far for me to pop back to the village.
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I suppose the same could be said for Normandy...

Now, if I'd been preparing to invade Britain, I'd see two choices, Northumberland or East Anglia, these having beaches generally remote from centres of population and therefore less likely to be densely defended. I'd avoid cliffs, so that's the south coast and Yorkshire ruled out.

Invading East Anglia would involve a lot of mileage before achieving anything notable whereas rolling down from Northumberland would take out Vickers, shipbuilding and repair, coal mines, steel manufacturing and a host of other war effort manufacturing sites, all within a 60 mile push.
With regard to East Angular, maybe not so 'empty' as you believe.

Norfolk/Suffolk/Cambs was one BFO aircraft dispersal, even before 8th Air Force rocked up. Plus, the Norfolk and Suffolk coast (and just inland) was home to several 'secret' radar stations (Neatishead in Norfolk, Bawdsey and Darsham in Suffolk, etc) as well as smaller, coastal listening posts.
 
One I totally forgot about was the defences on Inchcolm Island in the Firth of Forth. Took a boat trip over there once to have a look around. Quite an amazing place with history dating back to the romans, even has an abbey on it.
All the war defences are still there in quite good nick. Well worth a trip out if you're ever up that way.

Forth Defences, Middle, Inchcolm | Canmore

Also Inchgarvie Island defences which is not far from Inchcolm, just about under the rail bridge.

 
With regard to East Angular, maybe not so 'empty' as you believe.

Norfolk/Suffolk/Cambs was one BFO aircraft dispersal, even before 8th Air Force rocked up. Plus, the Norfolk and Suffolk coast (and just inland) was home to several 'secret' radar stations (Neatishead in Norfolk, Bawdsey and Darsham in Suffolk, etc) as well as smaller, coastal listening posts.
not to mention the building of coastal craft/some aircraft in the boatyards around Oulton Broads as I'm beginning to discover. There's a whole forgotten string of pill boxes between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. Most are now many feet under sand.
 
For the 15 minutes before the Germans brought up a 88 mm I expect they were quite a good defence.
Agreed ... I have photographed a few in Northumberland which were part of various Stop Lines ... the two below about 1 km in from the coastline and are made from concrete filled sandbags ... some of the woodwork in the firing / viewing ports is still in remarkable condition ~ 75 years old ... however easily seen silhouetted on the sky line ...

DSCF3479 WL.JPG


.... closer view of Pill Box to right of track ...

DSCF3482 WL.JPG


... these are on part of a walk which I think takes in seven .... some are less conspicuous .
 
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Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Now, if I'd been preparing to invade Britain, I'd see two choices, Northumberland or East Anglia, these having beaches generally remote from centres of population and therefore less likely to be densely defended. I'd avoid cliffs, so that's the south coast and Yorkshire ruled out.

Invading East Anglia would involve a lot of mileage before achieving anything notable whereas rolling down from Northumberland would take out Vickers, shipbuilding and repair, coal mines, steel manufacturing and a host of other war effort manufacturing sites, all within a 60 mile push.
The slight flaw in that argument was that by the time of Operation Sealion, the Kriegsmarine had very few surface warships left - many had been sunk in the Norwegian campaign, including 10 destroyers at Narvik. Others were repairing damage from that campaign - for example Renown had landed a 15" shell on Gneisenau and knocked out her main fire control system.

About the only option the Germans had was to invade the south coast on the shortest possible sea crossing and hope the Luftwaffe could stop the RN sending all the transports to the bottom.

Wordsmith
 
not to mention the building of coastal craft/some aircraft in the boatyards around Oulton Broads as I'm beginning to discover. There's a whole forgotten string of pill boxes between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. Most are now many feet under sand.
I hear you.

I'm from Norfolk: as a young boy, when 'helping' the Granfa' bring in cattle from the Acle marshes, it used to surprise me to find, in what was the biggest not-quite-dried-out puddle on the East Coast of GB, pillboxes. In the middle of nowhere.

In the name of God, why there?
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
I'm from Norfolk: as a young boy, when 'helping' the Granfa' bring in cattle from the Acle marshes, it used to surprise me to find, in what was the biggest not-quite-dried-out puddle on the East Coast of GB, pillboxes. In the middle of nowhere.

In the name of God, why there?
Many of the pill boxes were built as part of the GHQ line. They were intended to delay a defending force until the mobile reserves could get to the area.

GHQ Line - Wikipedia


Other pill boxes were build about the ports and other likely landing spots and invasion force would have to seize.

There were two reasons (IMHO) so many pillboxes were built. The first was that the British army had left much of its equipment in France and it was hoped fighting from pillboxes would partially make up for that lack of equipment. The other was morale: people could see defences being built - and felt safer from invasion.

Wordsmith
 
I hear you.

I'm from Norfolk: as a young boy, when 'helping' the Granfa' bring in cattle from the Acle marshes, it used to surprise me to find, in what was the biggest not-quite-dried-out puddle on the East Coast of GB, pillboxes. In the middle of nowhere.

In the name of God, why there?
Because a lot of pillboxes were built by the local councils - doing their bit - without any knowledge of military strategy.

The surviving pillboxes are those that were well-designed and well-built (albeit in the wrong place or facing the wrong direction. A hell of a lot more weren't fit for purpose and dissolved in the weather or would have collapsed at the sound of a loud bang. You won't find much of them.
 
I hear you.

I'm from Norfolk: as a young boy, when 'helping' the Granfa' bring in cattle from the Acle marshes, it used to surprise me to find, in what was the biggest not-quite-dried-out puddle on the East Coast of GB, pillboxes. In the middle of nowhere.

In the name of God, why there?
Because we all forget that EA has sandy sloping shores Ideal for a landing and the Germans weren't just in France. Rotterdam is just over the water about 100m. Beyond that is the mouth of the Rhine, and originally they tried to use Rhine barges. Point is the Norwegian campaign put paid to the German navy but the planning carried on. It would never have worked there, but the "Eagle has landed" is based in EA. Don't forget the the Pill boxes also doubled for AA obs work too.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
I didn't want to start another "My Favourite" thread - but this is similar. I've started to clock the amount of pillboxes still around and their locations and the unusual things people do with them. One of them sold recently for £55,000!

Down near me still eagerly guarding the entrance to the Severn Estuary is this one

Beachley Point Pillbox

This type 26 prefabricated pillbox has 4 loopholes and stands on a cliff at Beachley Point looking over the Severn Estuary. The pillbox formed part of the Western Command Stop Line No 27 which followed the line of the River Wye from its mouth, via Hereford, to Hay-on-Wye




There are websites dedicated to them.....

http://www.pillbox-study-group.org.uk/types-of-pillbox/
That's a very interesting site.
 
I suppose the same could be said for Normandy...

Now, if I'd been preparing to invade Britain, I'd see two choices, Northumberland or East Anglia, these having beaches generally remote from centres of population and therefore less likely to be densely defended. I'd avoid cliffs, so that's the south coast and Yorkshire ruled out.

Invading East Anglia would involve a lot of mileage before achieving anything notable whereas rolling down from Northumberland would take out Vickers, shipbuilding and repair, coal mines, steel manufacturing and a host of other war effort manufacturing sites, all within a 60 mile push.
Invading East Anglia would though cut the Army off from valuable mustard supplies!
 
I hear you.

I'm from Norfolk: as a young boy, when 'helping' the Granfa' bring in cattle from the Acle marshes, it used to surprise me to find, in what was the biggest not-quite-dried-out puddle on the East Coast of GB, pillboxes. In the middle of nowhere.

In the name of God, why there?
I remember one in Acle on the way into the village.
 
There is a now bricked-up pillbox on the corner of Woodland Road and St Michael's Park on the Bristol University campus.

Google Maps

It is orientated towards covering where Elton Road and Tyndall Avenue meet Woodland Road i.e. due south.
 

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