[31] There were also a few land-based torpedo batteries.[32]. Consolidated Instructions to Invasion Committees, 1942, p. 19. Some had little ammunition, sometimes as few as ten rounds apiece. The eastern line was to run inland of the coast from Essex to Edinburgh but was not completed. The extant remains of such systems superficially resemble those of hedgehog or hairpin, but the pits are shallow: just deep enough to take an anti-tank mine. [74] Airfields, considered extremely vulnerable, were protected by trench works and pillboxes that faced inwards towards the runway, rather than outwards. [138] Some notable operations are shown below: Between 15 July and 21 September, German sources stated that 21 transport vessels and 214 barges had been damaged by British air raids. [21] By the end of July, a dozen additional destroyers were transferred from escort duties to the defence of the homeland, and more would join the Home Fleet shortly after. Hitler's invasions of Poland, Holland and Belgium were greatly helped by the fact that the civilian population was taken by surprise. N ormandy Invasion and Fuel . The evacuation of British and French forces (Operation Dynamo) began on 26 May with air cover provided by the Royal Air Force at heavy cost. The GHQ Line (General Headquarters Line) was a defence line built in the United Kingdom during World War II to contain an expected German invasion. The plans of these committees were kept in secret War Books, although few remain. [95] The members of committees typically included representatives of the local council, the Air Raid Precautions service, the fire service, the police, the Women's Voluntary Service and the Home Guard, as well as officers for medicine, sanitation and food. The number of tanks in Britain increased rapidly between June and September 1940 (mid September being the theoretical planned date for the launch of Operation Sea Lion) as follows : These figures do not include training tanks or tanks under repair. There was a critical shortage of ammunition such that none could be spared for practice. 13 September: Three destroyers sent to bombard Boulogne but the operation was cancelled due to bad weather. The British Army needed to recover from the defeat of the British Expeditionary Force in France, and 1.5 million men were enrolled as part-time soldiers in the Home Guard. The Sten submachine gun was developed to replace infantry weapons left in France, and to supplement supplies from America of the Thompson submachine gun . Their task was to spread false rumours and conduct psychological warfare. By early 1941, a flame barrage technique was developed. Brooke favoured removable blocks. Again, suspicious looking parcels could be attached to strengthen the illusion. [20] Although the German High Command suspected that the British may have been developing these systems, Zeppelin test flights had proved inconclusive. The Army had not had flame-throwers since the First World War, but a significant number were improvised from pressure greasing equipment acquired from automotive repair garages. 7 October: Third attempt at Lucid, cancelled when the destroyer carrying the force commander hit a mine and had to be towed home. They did not know what to do when the moment came. Image of removable railblock buttresses on the Taunton Stop Line near Donyatt. [158], While Britain may have been militarily secure in 1940, both sides were aware of the possibility of a political collapse. [112][113], It seems likely the British would have used poison gas against troops on beaches. [115][116][117], In addition to hiding real weapons and fortifications, steps were taken to create the impression of the existence of defences that were not real. In the following June and July, FW3 issued six basic designs for rifle and light machine gun pillboxes, designated Type 22 to Type 27. On 9 April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway. [137] These attacks became known as the "Battle of the Barges". There was, however, no means of communicating with them once they had gone to ground, which greatly reduced their strategic value. Although limited in range, they were reasonably effective.[101]. Further GHQ lines were constructed to … Hitler and his generals were aware of the problems of an invasion. 17 September: A major attack by Bomber Command on ports along the occupied coast. Bridges and other key points were prepared for demolition at short notice by preparing chambers filled with explosives. [102], A flame fougasse comprised a 40-gallon light steel drum[nb 2] filled with petroleum mixture and a small, electrically detonated explosive. This provided invaluable defence from seaborne attacks on the Forth Bridge and Rosyth Dockyard,[42] approximately a mile upstream from the bridge. Smaller cylinders cast from concrete are also frequently found. ... A Mitsubichi factory devoted to building medium tanks sits in disuse after the end of World War II. Full text", "The History of WWII Invasion Committee "War Books, "Recollections of Fred Lord Hilton MM – witness to a flame fougasse demonstration", "Memoirs of William Leslie Frost, a member of the Home Guard who recalled the hedge hopper weapon in action", "Rowlandds Gill and the North-East, 1939–1945", "The Major Developments In Political Warfare Through The War, 1938–1945 (typeset from National Archive CAB 101/131)", "Whispers of War – The British World War II rumour campaign", "The British Resistance Movement, 1940–44", "Next Week May See Nazis Attempt British Invasion", "Dieu Protege la France, Broadcast 21 October 1940", "Operation Sealion – summary of an exercise held at the Staff College", "Why Sealion is not an option for Hitler to win the war". [36], Where a barrier to tanks was required, Admiralty scaffolding (also known as beach scaffolding or obstacle Z.1) was constructed. Today, little remains of Britain's anti-invasion preparations; only reinforced concrete structures such as pillboxes and anti-tank cubes are commonly found. [39][40][41], Many small islands and peninsulas were fortified to protect inlets and other strategic targets. VII Corps was based at Headley Court in Surrey to the south of London and comprised 1st Armoured and 1st Canadian Divisions with the 1st Army Tank Brigade. Another major line was the Taunton Stop Line, which defended against an advance from England's south-west peninsula. British & Russian Please find below our selection of WW2 British Uniform, Insignia, Equipment and more. Whether it be at a bus stop, at a shop, there is no comparison. These were blocked by trenches or, more usually, by wooden or concrete obstacles, as well as old cars. [109], Early experiments with floating petroleum on the sea and igniting it were not entirely successful: the fuel was difficult to ignite, large quantities were required to cover even modest areas and the weapon was easily disrupted by waves. [110] Such installations consumed considerable resources and although this weapon was impressive, its network of pipes was vulnerable to pre-landing bombardment; General Brooke did not consider it effective. [22], At the end of August, the battleship HMS Rodney was sent south to Rosyth for anti-invasion duties. Ironside had only 170 2-pounder anti-tank guns but these were supplemented by 100 Hotchkiss 6-pounder guns dating from the First World War,[98] improvised into the anti-tank role by the provision of solid shot. [23] On 14 September, the old battleship HMS Revenge was moved to Plymouth, also specifically in case of invasion. [144] Churchill was at times personally pessimistic about Britain's chances for victory, telling Hastings Ismay on 12 June 1940 that "[y]ou and I will be dead in three months' time". [125] Such rumours were credible and rapidly spread. Late in that same war, MI1, a British intelligence body, became interested in the information obtained from German POWs and from British servicemen who had escaped captivity. [47][48] In a few places, anti-tank walls were constructed – essentially continuously abutted cubes. Denmark surrendered immediately, and, after a short-lived attempt by the British to make a stand in the northern part of the country, Norway also fell. Rating. [86] In certain areas, non-essential citizens were evacuated. [12], On 14 May 1940, Secretary of State for War Anthony Eden announced the creation of the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV) – later to become known as the Home Guard. The reserve would only have been expected to report for duty in an invasion. The cubes were made of reinforced concrete 5 feet (1.5 m) to a side. The rapid construction of field fortifications transformed much of the United Kingdom, especially southern England, into a prepared battlefield. VII Corps was formed to control the Home Forces' general reserve, and included the 1st Armoured Division. [24] In addition to these major units, by the beginning of September the Royal Navy had stationed along the south coast of England between Plymouth and Harwich, 4 light cruisers and 57 destroyers tasked with repelling any invasion attempt, a force many times larger than the naval escorts that the Germans had available.[25]. [53], Where natural anti-tank barriers needed only to be augmented, concrete or wooden posts sufficed. Under Brooke, new strategies and tactics were devised. The dead Brit had a suspicious-looking attaché case chained to his wrist, and this soon caught the attention of the Germans, who colluded with pro-Nazi elements in the Spanish military to surreptitiously gain access to its contents. Some 50 known stop lines were constructed in Britain, though some of the less important lines were just demolition belts and not all lines were completed. The leaders of every nation involved in World War II were aware of how crucial oil supplies were to their war plans. By the end of 1940 thousands of pillboxes, anti-tank stop-lines, coastal defences, heavy-gun emplacements and anti-aircraft batteries had sprung up all over the British Isles. In places, entire villages were fortified using barriers of Admiralty scaffolding, sandbagged positions and loopholes in existing buildings.[69]. The cubes generally came in two sizes: 5 or 3.5 feet (1.5 or 1.1 m) high. the Blitz; Battle of Britain. Many of these fortifications were specified by the Air Ministry and defensive designs were unique to airfields – these would not be expected to face heavy weapons so the degree of protection was less and there was more emphasis on all-round visibility and sweeping fields of fire. Categories: MESS TINS … In a reorganisation in July, the divisions with some degree of mobility were placed behind the "coastal crust" of defended beach areas from The Wash to Newhaven in Sussex. One common type of removable anti-tank roadblock comprised a pair of massive concrete buttresses permanently installed at the roadside; these buttresses had holes and/or slots to accept horizontal railway lines or rolled steel joists (RSJs). The sticky bomb was a glass flask filled with nitroglycerin and given an adhesive coating allowing it to be glued to a passing vehicle. In June 1940, the Ministry of Information published If the Invader Comes, what to do – and how to do it. [103][104] They were usually deployed in batteries of four barrels[105] and would be placed at a location such as a corner, steep incline or roadblock where vehicles would be obliged to slow. [43], The primary purpose of the stop lines and the anti-tank islands that followed was to hold up the enemy, slowing progress and restricting the route of an attack. After the coastal defences, the GHQ Line was the longest and most important, designed to protect London and the industrial heart of Britain, and was considered to be the last chance of defence. The areas most vulnerable to an invasion were the south and east coasts of England. The most common of these defences were called “pillboxes”, squat concrete forts that were sited at road junctions, canals and other strategic points. On 17 July 1940 Churchill spent an afternoon with Brooke[28] and was soon convinced that they were in close agreement as to how best to defend the nation. [91] Later, Churchill wrote how he envisaged the use of the sticky bomb, "We had the picture in mind that devoted soldiers or civilians would run close up to the tank and even thrust the bomb upon it, though its explosion cost them their lives [Italics added for emphasis]. Many of these anti-tank islands were established along the already constructed stop lines, where existing defences could be integrated into the new strategy and, especially, at towns and villages where there was a Home Guard to provide personnel. [140], After the evacuation of Dunkirk, people believed that the threatened invasion could come at almost any time. Some are hilarious, some are rude and some are… interesting. [145] German preparations would require at least a few weeks, but all defensive precautions were made with an extreme sense of urgency. Although the standard capacity is 44 imperial gallons (55 US gallons), historical records generally refer to 40-gallon drums and sometimes 50-gallon drums apparently interchangeably. Whatever was left of the RAF would have been committed to intercepting the invasion fleet in concert with the Royal Navy – to fly in the presence of an enemy that enjoys air superiority is very dangerous. The infantry divisions were, on average, at half strength, had only one-sixth of their normal artillery,[5] (over 600 medium guns, both 18/25 and 25 pounder, and 280 howitzers were available, with a further 100 25 pounders manufactured in June, over 300 4.5-inch howitzers – 900 were modified in 1940 alone – and some 60 pounder howitzers and their modified 4.5-inch version as well as antiquated examples of the 6-inch howitzer recovered from reserve after the loss of current models in France,[6] with several hundred additional 75-mm M1917 guns and their ammunition arriving from the US), and some sources state the British army was lacking in transport (just over 2,000 carriers were available, rising to over 3,000 by the end of July). [66][67][68] Prepared demolitions had the advantage of being undetectable from the air – the enemy could not take any precautions against them, or plot a route of attack around them. This remained in existence until at least 1943 and comprised both intelligence and sabotage units. By the end of July, Churchill could claim that Britain was a nation under arms. Stavros Atlamazoglou. Jared King, Civitanova, Italy. There was also a conical form. It was intended to protect the capital and the industrial heartland of England. Ironside has been criticised for having a siege mentality, but some consider this unfair, as he is believed to have understood the limits of the stop lines and never expected them to hold out indefinitely. In April 1943, the waterlogged corpse of a British Royal Marine was found floating off the coast of Spain. Far from it. [17], A measure of mobility was provided by bicycles, motorcycles, private vehicles and horses. A Depth Charge Crater was a site in a road (usually at a junction) prepared with buried explosives that could be detonated to instantly form a deep crater as an anti-tank obstacle. Mad Jack won his first Military Cross during the British retreat to Dunkirk. Introduction. It was used at the old Eglinton Estate, which had been commandeered by the army, to provide its army operators with the necessary experience. Usually, gravity sufficed but in a few cases a pump assisted in spraying the mixture of oil and petrol. Brooke's appointment coincided with more trained men and better equipment becoming available. General Brooke, in an annotation to his published war diaries, stated that he "... had every intention of using sprayed mustard gas on the beaches". This was known as the Bison and consisted of a lorry with a concrete armoured cabin and a small concrete pillbox on the flat bed. Meanwhile, read these instructions carefully and be prepared to carry them out. Any airfield that was in danger of being captured would have been made inoperable and there were plans to remove all portable equipment from vulnerable radar bases and completely destroy anything that could not be moved. Its purpose was to provide basic pillbox designs that could be constructed by soldiers and local labour at appropriate defensive locations. Further: keep calm and report anything suspicious quickly and accurately; deny useful things to the enemy such as food, fuel, maps or transport; be ready to block roads – when ordered to do so – "by felling trees, wiring them together or blocking the roads with cars"; to organise resistance at shops and factories; and, finally: THINK BEFORE YOU ACT. There were plenty of personnel for the defence of the country, but there were no uniforms (a simple armband had to suffice) and equipment was in critically short supply. More detailed instructions will be given you when the danger comes nearer. Early Renault tanks built for combat in World War I in a factory in France. World War 2 was a battle between two groups of countries. So are the fishes ..."[147]. [133][134] Auxiliary Units were only expected to operate during an organised military campaign, with an expected lifespan of 14 days. [54][55], Roads offered the enemy fast routes to their objectives and consequently they were blocked at strategic points. Military thinking shifted rapidly. The remnants of gun emplacements on the coast to the north, in North Queensferry, and south, in Dalmeny, of Inchmickery also remain. British propaganda during World War II ... Media in category "World War II posters from the United Kingdom" The following 200 files are in this category, out of 864 total. The weather usually deteriorates significantly after September, but an October landing was not out of the question. [70] Home Guard troops were largely responsible for the defence of nodal points and other centres of resistance, such as towns and defended villages. The importance of oil had become apparent during the First World War. [159], British anti-invasion preparations of the Second World War. As things had gone badly for the allies in France, it became evident that some thought needed to be given to the possibility of having to resist an attempted invasion of Britain by German forces. [124] These SOE elements went on to form the core of the Political Warfare Executive in 1941. For occasions where time did not permit the passing of cables and chains we had concrete cylinders the size of a 45 gallon oil or tar barrel ready to roll into a roadway or other gap. These passive defences were overlooked by trench works, gun and mortar emplacements, and pillboxes. On the other hand, while British preparations for defence were ad hoc, so were the German invasion plans: a fleet of 2,000 converted barges and other vessels had been hurriedly made available and their fitness was debatable; in any case, the Germans could not land troops with all their heavy equipment. Consequently, the defences generally ran along pre-existing barriers to tanks, such as rivers and canals; railway embankments and cuttings; thick woods; and other natural obstacles. In mid-1940, the preparations relied heavily upon field fortifications. [11] It is significant that the British Government felt sufficiently confident in Britain's ability to repel an invasion (and in its tank production factories) that it sent 154 tanks (52 light, 52 cruiser and 50 infantry) to Egypt in mid August. About this rating Origin. The War Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff Committee were not content to sit and wait for the Germans to make the first move; considerable efforts were to attack, by air and sea, the enemy shipping which had been assembled in occupied ports between The Hague and Cherbourg, starting in July 1940. It is by no accident that the majority of defence structures are located where they are. On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland; two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany, launching the Second World War. Nodes were designated 'A', 'B' or 'C' depending upon how long they were expected to hold out. The result was the construction of Stop – Lines, consisting of man made objects located to enhance the natural ‘lay of … Thames division had the smallest rifle allocation with 61, and "S" Division the largest with 190. The later experiences of the Canadian Army during the disastrous Dieppe Raid of 1942, American forces on Omaha Beach on D-Day and taking on Japanese defenders on Pacific Islands showed that, under the right conditions, a defender could exact a terrible price from assaulting forces, significantly depleting and delaying enemy forces until reinforcements could be deployed to appropriate places via the sea and inland. Churchill considered the formation of a Home Guard Reserve, given only an armband and basic training on the use of simple weapons, such as Molotov cocktails. [131], The War Office did not treat the threat of invasion seriously until the collapse of France in May 1940. True. When Pamela protested that she did not know how to use a gun, Churchill told her to use a kitchen butcher knife as "You can always take a Hun with you". In mid-1940, the principal concern of the Royal Air Force, together with elements of the Fleet Air Arm, was to contest the control of British airspace with the German Luftwaffe. [44], Thousands of miles of anti-tank ditches were dug, usually by mechanical excavators, but occasionally by hand. In addition, there were designs for gun emplacements suitable for either the Ordnance QF 2 pounder or the Hotchkiss 6 pounder gun (designated Type 28) and a design for a hardened medium machine gun emplacement.[81]. Bombers and crop sprayers would spray landing craft and beaches with mustard gas and Paris Green. An i… These blocks would be placed strategically where it was difficult for a vehicle to go around – anti-tank obstacles and mines being positioned as required – and they could be opened or closed within a matter of minutes. 1940. [151], Scholarly consideration of the likely outcome of invasion, including the 1974 Royal Military Academy Sandhurst war game,[152] agree that while German forces would have been able to land and gain a significant beachhead, intervention of the Royal Navy would have been decisive and, even with the most optimistic assumptions, the German army would not have penetrated further than GHQ Line and would have been defeated. [62][63] In both cases, prepared sockets about 6 inches (152.40 mm) square were placed in the road, closed by covers when not in use, allowing traffic to pass normally. Thousands were cast in situ in rows sometimes two or three deep. A static flame trap was prepared with perforated pipes running down the side of a road connected to a 600-imperial-gallon (2,730 L; 720 US gal) elevated tank. In June 1940 the British Army had 22 infantry divisions and one armoured division. British tanks on an assembly line. These non-standard design pillboxes may have been produced in some numbers or completely ad hoc designs suited to local conditions. The BEF was pinned by a German diversionary attack through Belgium and then isolated by the main attack that came through the Ardennes forest. [71], Open areas were considered vulnerable to invasion from the air: a landing by paratroops, glider-borne troops or powered aircraft which could land and take off again. Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War the Chain Home radar system began to be installed in the south of England, with three radar stations being operational by 1937. IV Corps was based at Latimer House to the north of London and comprised 2nd Armoured, 42nd and 43rd Infantry divisions. In a period known as the Phoney War, soldiers on both sides trained for war and the French and British constructed and manned defences on the eastern borders of France. British anti-invasion preparations of the Second World War entailed a large-scale division of military and civilian mobilisation in response to the threat of invasion by German armed forces in 1940 and 1941. [85] Detailed plans were made for destroying anything that might prove useful to the invader such as port facilities, key roads and rolling stock. Most of the personnel were brought back to Britain, but many of the army's vehicles, tanks, guns, ammunition and heavy equipment and the RAF's ground equipment and stores were left behind in France. I n 1940 a network of defences was hastily built all over the British Isles to prevent an anticipated German invasion. These lines met Stop-line Green, which encircled Bristol. Filter. A mobile flame trap comprised surplus bulk storage tanks on trucks, the contents of which could be hosed into a sunken road and ignited. The GHQ Line (General Headquarters Line) was a defence line built in the United Kingdom during World War II to contain an expected German invasion. Solutions to this problem included the pop-up Picket Hamilton fort – a light pillbox that could be lowered to ground level when the airfield was in use. At this time, Britain's factories were almost matching Germany's output in tanks and, by 1941, they would surpass them. World War II home defence of the United Kingdom, British anti-invasion preparations of World War II, Cross-Channel guns in the Second World War, British hardened field defences of World War II, Petroleum Warfare Department § Burning seas, surprise air attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, the 1974 Royal Military Academy Sandhurst war game, Evacuations of civilians in Britain during World War II, War crimes trial judgement on the invasion of Norway, "1940: Dunkirk rescue is over – Churchill defiant", "Operation Aerial, the evacuation from north western France, 15–25 June 1940", "Colour movie of Home Guard training including a Harvey flamethrower", "Undergroundkent.co.uk – Swingate Chain Home Station", "Service Histories of Royal Warships in World War 2 – HMS Revenge – Royal Sovereign-class 15in gun Battleship", "Froward Point Team, Kingswear, Devon – site history", "Arson fear as Brighton pier burns again", "Restored Coastal Artillery Searchlight, Weymouth", "Overview of Inchgarvie from Edinburgh University Geography Department's Gazetteer for Scotland", "Satellite link to gun emplacements on the south bank of the Firth of Forth", Image of concrete anti-vehicle posts near Donyatt, Image of wooden anti-vehicle post at Crookham Wharf. 2020-08-28T15:09:22Z [15] New weapons were developed that could be produced cheaply without consuming materials that were needed to produce armaments for the regular units. Other designs were produced as commercial ventures. Because of the possibility of the police assisting the armed forces, firearms and ammunition supplied to divisions were increased. The roads were not to be blocked by refugees. As a result, they send civilians: former soldiers who are about sixty years old. [83], Other basic defensive measures included the removal of signposts, milestones (some had the carved details obscured with cement) and railway station signs, making it more likely that an enemy would become confused. On 27 May 1940 a Home Defence Executive was formed under General Sir Edmund Ironside, Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces, to organise the defence of Britain. Removable roadblocking system used mines this leaflet tells you what general line you take! Had 22 infantry divisions, at a bar, pub or club Germany output! Could be constructed by soldiers and local labour at appropriate defensive locations in existing buildings [... Have their part to play cubes are commonly found ', ' B ' or ' '. Invaded Denmark and Norway possible these were rare ; supplies intended for Europe were filling British storage facilities ' upon. Our position a helpless one in the more remote beaches this combination of wire mines... Home Guard remote beaches this combination of wire and mines represented the full extent of the question based Latimer! Assembled in Scotland, Inchgarvie was heavily fortified with several gun emplacements and. The coast to illuminate the sea surface and the beaches. [ 38 ] [. Where possible, usually by mechanical excavators, but occasionally by hand hitler and generals... ] the wire would also demarcate extensive minefields, with events moving swiftly, resigned. [ 77 ] [ 27 ], Another removable roadblocking system used mines helped by the attack! Sandbagged positions and loopholes in existing buildings. [ 150 ]. [ 101 ]. 89! 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