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  1. Studies in Military and Strategic History | William Philpott | Springer
  3. British Home Defences 1940-45 (Fortress)

German troops practicing landing techniques ā€” Northern France Summer 4. The construction of beach defences in Fife 6. The erection of scaffolding poles in addition to AT cubes and barbed wire 7. Though not an ECB the position has been modified to provide overhead protection and carries a shield 8. Differing AT ditches Beach AT cubes 11 AT cubes forming part of a stop line AT cube profiles Roadblock defences Roadblock in progress A pillbox under construction Hotchkiss AT gun deployed within a pillbox Boys AT Rifle Map detailing the route of SLG Map of case study area with SLG defences highlighted AT Ditch earthwork survey WWI practice trenches Pillbox camouflaged Far out 3D cartographic map detailing principal topographic features Moveable roadblock as probably used within the case study area Church sign detailing the use of the church bell LDV volunteers operating a church tower observation post GIS Viewshed analysis displaying the visibility afforded the church tower locations NB: This does not take into account the height of the tower, therefore greater visual ranges would have been achieved than what is demonstrated in the figure View southeast from Pillbox A 4.

View northeast from Pillbox A 5. View northwest from Pillbox B 7. View north from Pillbox B 8. View southeast from Pillbox C View west from Pillbox C View south from Pillbox D View northeast from Pillbox D View northeast from Pillbox H View east from Pillbox H View north from Pillbox I View northeast from Pillbox I View east from Pillbox J View northeast from Pillbox J View southwest from Pillbox N View northeast from Pillbox O View south from Pillbox Q View northeast from Pillbox R Slit trench by Pillbox R ā€” View northwest This was receded in by the Belgium Government who undertook a position of neutrality, stating they were unwilling to enter any defensive agreements with either Britain or France Lowry: Following the deployment of the BEF in September to continental Europe, the defensive plan was re-instated though this time it would be a Franco-British force that would counterattack any invasion, moving into Belgium only when invited!

Weak Point A B Fig. From this, myths were to grow, with Allcorn suggesting of its exaggeration by the French government, an illusion not taken in by the German military, who had by detailed intelligence regarding the line strengths, leading to the suggestion that its effective strategic positioning was one of the key reasons the Germany military chose the invasion route they did. This marked the start of an offensive that would end with the fall of France.

Despite heavy resistance, the ill-equipped BEF compared to the German Armed forces were quickly forced to withdrawal from Norway, though Whitehall deemed this as a minor military setback, focusing now on Western Europe and France. A factor that even at this stage still did not seem to worry all, with Belgium and Dutch forces, despite their apparent neutrality, taking what they thought were adequate precautions, constructing extensive defensive positions along their borders.

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Their Achilles heel was the Ardennes Forest area where, believing it to be inadequate ground for warfare, the military commanders proceeded to only lightly defend it, a mistake the German forces exploited. In response after official invitation! Breaking through the French lines in Belgium, the lead elements of the German offensive had, by mid May , reached parts of the Somme River cutting in half the Allied armies and pinning the BEF to northern France and the Dunkirk area Ward: We shall fight on the beaches; we shall fight on the landing grounds; we shall fight in the fields and in the streets; we shall fight in the hills.

Virtually unopposed, the Germans were able to attack the line from the rear though it must be noted that it was not until the total surrender of France by the 25th June that the line finally conquered. Suggesting at this stage, the invasion of Great Britain was not realistically considered by Hitler, preliminary plans were in the process of being drawn up by his commanders, with General Raeder, of the Naval High Command OKM , initiating the first draft of plans relating to the invasion of Britain.

Unwilling to go on record, no written evidence to support this view has, to date, been found. Britain can then be blockaded from western France at close quarters by the Luftwaffe, while the Navy with their submarines can extend. Intending to land the Wehrmacht along the East coast of England, between the Thames Estuary and the Tyne, the long sea crossing would, conversely, increase the chance of detection, so it was critical that the Kriegsmarine navy had Luftwaffe air support, only proceeding once the RAF and Royal Navy RN had been eliminated or sealed off from the North Sea.

Comprising of 19 divisions, the initial landings were to be made in East Anglia, with a diversionary landing north of the Humber. Commencing with an airborne assault upon Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, the main force would land at these ports, with further infantry landings occurring along the open Suffolk coast and on the beaches at Dunwich and Hollesley Bay. Linking up with the forces holding Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, once the beach head was secure, reinforcements were to follow, with a third wave of panzer divisions tasked explicitly with capturing London Alexander: Confident of victory, Hitler, on 21st May , requested to see the plans military strategists had previously drawn up.

Unimpressed by earlier proposals, by 27th May a memorandum had been drawn up requesting an assessment into the possibility of landings along the south and south-east coast of Britain, a change in direction that the navy favoured, providing the best opportunity of success due to the shorter sea crossing. Since England, despite its hopeless military situation, still gives no sign of any readiness to come to terms, I have decided to prepare for invasion of that country and, if necessary, to carry it through.

The aim of this operation will be to eliminate England as a base for carrying on the war against Germany and, should it be required, completely to occupy it. Army Group B sailing from Cherbourg, was to land in Lyme Bay Weymouth area and once the beach-head established, move north and eastwards, isolating Cornwall in the process and advancing on Taunton and Bristol ending at Gloucester, whilst in the east advancing on London. Airborne landings during this phase would be in support of the main assault forces, capturing airfields and areas of open countryside ideal for the vital re-supply of the main assault forces.

Fleming suggests that a total of c. With preparations underway Fig. Occupying London, the final task for Army Group A was to mop up any remaining forces in Southern England, capturing the main industrial centres and principle seaports in the process Fig. Although not involved in the planned invasion, Army Group B was still held in reserve, charged with executing a landing in Lyme Bay, to occupy Weymouth and Lyme Regis before advancing towards Bristol Alexander: should the situation dictate it. One year from the outbreak of war, the campaign timetable was set, including the date for invasion.

It read Longmate: :- 1 The earliest date for a The departure of the transport fleets will be 20 September The order for the start of the operation will be given on S ā€”10 days, probably on 11 September The final decision on S day and S time beginning of the first landing will follow at the latest on Sā€”3 days at noon. All measures will be taken so that the operation can still be held in suspense 24 hours before S time. This first phase of defending Britain, the formation of the HG was soon followed by a report made to the War Cabinet on 25th June by General Ironside, the newly appointed Commander-In-Chief Home Forces 27th May outlining his intentions regarding the defence of Great Britain.

First, the RN had to deploy from bases in Scotland to interrupt the passage of the invasion forces as well as any subsequent supply lines and second, reinforcements located inland could move to the appropriate area to counterattack Osborne: On the beach, scaffolding poles, minefields, AT ditches and field gun positions Fig. The only formed armoured units were the 2nd Armoured Division, armed with c. A token force when considering that at the beginning of , the BEF had at its disposal c.

Though not an ECB the position has been modified to provide overhead protection and carries a shield Lowry: Strengthened by natural as well as purpose built artificial obstacles such as AT ditches, cubes and pillboxes, the backbone of this centrally co-ordinated defence plan was the General Headquarters Anti-tank Line GHQ Stop Line. Whilst it is accepted that both the Chiefs of Staff as well as Ironside were probably influenced by their previous experiences, especially between , and that blitzkrieg was a new form of warfare. Expanding in strategy, the next phase was securing the key industrial and urban centres of Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield by constructing the remainder of main GHQ line, whilst in Scotland; defences were constructed in an attempt to prevent any German columns reaching Glasgow and Edinburgh.

From there it proceeded to Pangbourne before dropping south, along the Sulham Valley before linking back up to the Blue Line km.

Studies in Military and Strategic History | William Philpott | Springer

Tasked to mark on the ground proposed positions of pillboxes etc, once chosen, the positions of said defences were to be accurately recorded on , maps, with notes made of work to be completed in order to create effective fields of fire as well as points of weakness Alexander: In many cases, the military planners who decided the routes of the stop line were often, in civilian life before the war, were surveyors and architects, a good example being that of Captain Stiles who built Stop Line Green, who prior to call up was an architect Brown: To this point, the GHQ line totals c.

Unsatisfactory on equal accounts, the line was planned generally to run parallel to the East coast, following, as seen previously, rivers and streams through Yorkshire and Northumberland before ending in central Scotland Alexander: Fig. Not well documented as to their locations, probable uses were roadblocks, where it could be quickly deployed across the road, gaps in hedge lines that formed part of a stop line or surrounding defensive slit trenches.

Found on both coastal sites and inland defence lines Fig. Brown et al suggests that AT cubes erected pre can be identified by their placing side-by-side of one another, usually spaced at 2.


Involving the blowing of bridges, cratering of roads, and the blocking of junctions, the policy was revised August , due to the risk of routes being hastily put out of action, hindering the movement of GHQ Mobile Reserve Forces instead of the Germans. Based on designs used by the BEF along the Franco Belgian border, the overall design pattern of the pillbox was relatively simple, a factor largely based on the weapons deployed and the constraints placed upon their building, chiefly time and materials or the lack of.

With contractors working 12 hour days, seven-days a week, weeks on end, by early July , so intense was this pace of construction, that concerns were raised by FW3 into the level of cement stocks, in a Fig. Wills: This intensity was not to last, with a change in defensive tactics seeing the mass pillbox-building programme scaled down by September Measuring 3.

Garrisoned by ten men Ruddy: , the standard Type 28 had two small arms loopholes set in opposing walls, whilst the Type 28A had an additional frontal small arms loophole. The Type 28A Twin was a double version of the 28A.

Detailed to operate the defences once built, additional luxuries were added to the pillboxes such as kitchens, sleeping quarters and inside toilets! Predicated to take c.

Home Defence (1940)

With delivery expected September onwards, delays in production resulted in the first shipment not being ready until March , six months after the planned German S-Day. To provide additional AT support, the 40mm Bofor AA guns, deployed in defence of airfields and key industrial sites, were issued with AP rounds, allowing the gun crews to engage enemy tanks should the need arise.

In support of the AT weapons,. To increase its effectiveness, the weapon would be used at shorter ranges to boost penetration. The weapons available summer were the Vickers Medium Machine Gun, effective at targets over yards and was able to undertake a miniature artillery role up to 4, yards. Enlarged July , to incorporate the newly formed VII Corps with its much-needed 1st Armoured Division and tanks, the operational remit for the GHQ Mobile Reserve changed, with no geographical restriction on their area of operations or time limit.

With temporary plans drawn up to counter an invasion, that of a skeleton force of Area HQ troops and HG detailed to hold the lines until relieved by the Field Army, the changes in defensive tactics were to last well into Autumn , past the German S-Day! Expecting a thrust northwards from the south coast, military planners decided upon a Bristol Outer Defence that encircled the city to a distance of c. Extending for c. Mindful of this, it was decided that the limited number of AT guns would be better deployed to the coastal defences and the GHQ Mobile Reserve, in an effort to defeat an invasion force before they gained a foothold inland.

Limited in its armament, the key to the SLG defence was the efficient use of available small arms effective range capabilities, drawing any advancing enemy formations into killing zones where competent engagement could take place. Pay for research Consider paying for research.

British Home Defences 1940-45 (Fortress)

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