WWII Defensive Pillboxes

I can remember years later when it became a really popular windsurfing spot and thinking back to my childhood ..."why have a nudist beach here?" just seemed mental, sand, wind and flappy about bits surely a good combo does not make?
 
Great Yarmouth has a ring of Pillboxes surrounding the old pre WW2 town. They all face into the town, a lot have been absorbed into the expanding town and industrial estates.
All have been stripped of their brick outer faces and a number still have their steel doors.
 

2000AD

Old-Salt
We were on a visit to our daughters place in Tongham and I spotted a brick built box at the side of the Hogsback road near Farnham in Surrey a few weeks back in what is now someones front garden. Looking at the lie of the land you can easily see how well sited it is to benefit from extensive arcs of fire over the ground as it falls away to the south.
The Dorset coastal path has loads as you walk from Weymouth to West Bay. Just look up the hills at almost any point to see how defence in depth was arranged to make life hard for any would be invaders.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
I mentioned this one earlier as being used as a toilet by every railway worker since 1945, managed to find a picture of it today, with the new buildings I couldn't quite place it
Capture.JPG


Just a thought, if any of you know of ones near railway lines I can get reasonable quality aerial shots using the work computer.
 

tiv

War Hero
I mentioned this one earlier as being used as a toilet by every railway worker since 1945, managed to find a picture of it today, with the new buildings I couldn't quite place it
View attachment 451009

Just a thought, if any of you know of ones near railway lines I can get reasonable quality aerial shots using the work computer.
There's a pillbox and some blocks at Broxbourne. This should help you find it, it's just to the right of the pin.

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 16.55.37.jpg
 

Attachments

Londo

LE
There's a pillbox and some blocks at Broxbourne. This should help you find it, it's just to the right of the pin.

View attachment 451016
Wish I could remember where now but used to see one from the train somewhere in South London in the back yard of a factory , a pillbox on concrete stilts sited to fire over the railway embankment . End wall of the yard was loop holed as well .
Edit : Side wall not end
 
I mentioned this one earlier as being used as a toilet by every railway worker since 1945, managed to find a picture of it today, with the new buildings I couldn't quite place it
View attachment 451009

Just a thought, if any of you know of ones near railway lines I can get reasonable quality aerial shots using the work computer.
This one might be right up your line (boom, boom...)
army hq pill box.jpg

Out the back of Army HQ, at the beginning of the Ludgershall branch line, didn't look as substantial as the hexagonal ones - temporary sentry post?
 
Wish I could remember where now but used to see one from the train somewhere in South London in the back yard of a factory , a pillbox on concrete stilts sited to fire over the railway embankment . End wall of the yard was loop holed as well .
Edit : Side wall not end
Was it a pillbox (not normally mounted on stilts) or an anti-aircraft platform (often mounted on stilts. Presumably to get closer to the German aircraft and give the Dropshorts a better chance).

South London, Surrey etc was a Gunnery Defended Area (rather than air defended as you couldn’t trust the Gunners not to shoot down their own aircraft).
 

overopensights

ADC
Book Reviewer
You need to consider the following.

the surroundings change. There may have been trees etc around.

speed was of the essence building these things so something quick is better than something slow to construct.

I can’t help but feel that some are built as deterrents, not useful defences. Aerial reconnaissance sees a pill box. It can’t tell you if there’s rifles, a bren or a vickers in there. You’re not really going to want to parachute troops into a LZ covered by vickers.

many pill boxes were merely hardened OPs. View of the terrain was more important.
If the General that sited the Pill Boxes on the treeless flooded Levels of Somerset, had done 'Junior Brecon' the Pill Boxes would have been far better sited!
 
You need to consider the following.

the surroundings change. There may have been trees etc around.

speed was of the essence building these things so something quick is better than something slow to construct.

I can’t help but feel that some are built as deterrents, not useful defences. Aerial reconnaissance sees a pill box. It can’t tell you if there’s rifles, a bren or a vickers in there. You’re not really going to want to parachute troops into a LZ covered by vickers.

many pill boxes were merely hardened OPs. View of the terrain was more important.
I agree with all that.

We can see lots of pillboxes standing out in field etc like a spare prick at a wedding.

I would have thought that whilst they were OK against enemy infantry doing the decent thing and advancing from one direction they were a bit stuffed when the first Panzer showed up.

Did they originally have connecting trenches the occupants could escape through?
 

Londo

LE
Was it a pillbox (not normally mounted on stilts) or an anti-aircraft platform (often mounted on stilts. Presumably to get closer to the German aircraft and give the Dropshorts a better chance).

South London, Surrey etc was a Gunnery Defended Area (rather than air defended as you couldn’t trust the Gunners not to shoot down their own aircraft).
This particular one was definitely a pillbox , of the hexagonal type if I remember correctly .
 

Londo

LE
I agree with all that.

We can see lots of pillboxes standing out in field etc like a spare prick at a wedding.

I would have thought that whilst they were OK against enemy infantry doing the decent thing and advancing from one direction they were a bit stuffed when the first Panzer showed up.

Did they originally have connecting trenches the occupants could escape through?
Have a look at the link that @tiv posted : Second World War Guidebooks - Suffolk Heritage Explorer .
Good reading . Kept me busy for hours
 

OneTenner

Old-Salt
This thread has reminded of my second home, we moved over to Lancashire when I was about eight, in the wooded valley there were several WWII era buildings cut into the hillside (the area was / is known as Healey Dell), most were unused and being reclaimed by nature. They were of concrete construction with some brickwork. Most were completely enclosed (stores?), some had embrasures. Rumour was that it was some sort of munitions depot, but I didn't live there long enough to be of an age to find out more - anyway, I clearly remember there being several pill boxes on either side of the valley, there were a couple of square brick structures with embrasures , a concrete roof, a brick wall obscuring the doorway and a brick 'lookout' built on the roof. The ladder had long gone (this was the 1970's) but we saw nothing wrong with dragging various bits of deadwood out of the Dell to make a ladder with...
OS ref is SD 87682 15598 , if you look on the Aerial view, you can see some of the remaining buildings around a round water feature, there is or was a single train line to the east, can't remember any spurs or sidings though. You can see one of the brick structures at the edge of the tree line, there was a small, squat pill box to the SW, there may be the remains of it approximately 100 metres away on the edge of the spur of trees but I can't be sure.

1582138986972.png
 

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