Built to last

Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by brucemillar, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    In 1940 these “pill boxes” were built in a 5 mile radius of Detling Airfield in Kent. The idea being that they would be used to defend the Airfield in the event that the Germans launched a land based attack.

    Sadly the Germans launched several air attacks and in one night a single raid saw 75 souls lose their lives. That really put an end to Detling being used as a “front line” fighter base. Although it still played a significant role in our defence.

    Most of the ring of pill boxes still survive remarkably intact. Some used by the local farmers for livestock/feed.

    The shed/hut next to the pill box was used to house the gunners. [​IMG][​IMG]


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  2. CaptainChaos

    CaptainChaos Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Interesting to see. There are such defences in all sorts of random places around the country. On a big bend in a canal, or next to a road bridge. Fascinating glimpses of history. We holiday in Brittany quite often and the whole coastline is dotted with blockhouses. If you are ever down that way, a trip to the U-Boat pens at Lorient makes you realise what Built to Last means!
    Keroman Submarine Base - Wikipedia
     
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  3. DrFeelgood

    DrFeelgood MB Club Veteran

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    I've seen the ones at St Nazaire, they are pretty cool.
     
  4. DrFeelgood

    DrFeelgood MB Club Veteran

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    I walk around some WW2 relics every morning with the dog.

    There's a bunker and the remains of some big guns, I wish that we Brits would preserve them like the French have, there's a lot of history out there being left to get overgrown.
     
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  5. James Copeland

    James Copeland Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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  6. OP
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    My dear uncle, survived being torpedoed and sunk by U-508 in December 1942. They were off the coast of Bermuda. He survived a few days in an open boat before making land in Bermuda. His best friend and many of the crew were not so lucky.

    He went back to sea and survived several U-Boat attacks in the North Atlantic. Most of which were surface attacks.

    City of Bath (British Steam merchant) - Ships hit by German U-boats during WWII - uboat.net

    He was a wonderful, brave generous man.

    His nemesis was not so lucky. U-508 was sunk by air attack in the Bay of Biscay. All her crew were killed.


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  8. BTB 500

    BTB 500 MB Club Veteran

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    Funnily enough we were at an event on the old airfield site (now Kent showground) only a week ago, and saw one of those pillboxes as we were leaving!
     
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  9. BTB 500

    BTB 500 MB Club Veteran

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    There were defensive lines (often called 'stop lines') in various parts of the UK, designed to slow down a German advance in the event of an invasion. These fortifications (principally anti-tank obstacles and bunkers) still exist in many places - there are quite a few in the Guildford area that formed part of the concentric lines set up around London:

    Outer London Defence Ring - Wikipedia
     
  10. DrFeelgood

    DrFeelgood MB Club Veteran

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    The guns nearby were in place to defend the harbour over the other side of the bay.
    Not necessarily to shoot planes down but to discourage low flying bombing raids.
    I'm not sure how effective they were as the town itself was bombed to shit.
     
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    I should have added (there is just so much) his ship was the SS CITY OF BATH. She suffered a mechanical failure meaning that the she lost ground on the main Convoy, which had of course to head on at maximum speed. They were very aware that they were being stalked by a “Wolf Pack”. In effect they just had to await their fate.

    What is of interest is that the Captain Staats surfaced his U-Boat and despite the “Doenitz order” came over to the lifeboats and offered assistance. My uncle never forgot Captain Staats “perfect English speech”. He actually apologised for the sinking and wished them well, offering directions and weather reports along with cigarettes and chocolates.


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  12. Chrishazle

    Chrishazle Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    If you like those Bruce, you'd like Guernsey. They have old fortifications of many different ages, from ancient castles through 100 years war ones, Napoleonic war ones to WW2 German additions and modifications - concrete additions to a 1000 year old castle look really odd!
     
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  13. zipdip

    zipdip Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    In Essex we have hundreds of these pill boxes years ago my property backed onto recreation ground and one was in there as I drive into Clacton on Sea you can see them just off the road I drive through Great Oakley a very nice little village that has a pill box right in the middle of it,for your information Bruce it seems that the pill box in the village is a TYPE FW3/22 it seems to be in good condition and so will soon be listed this pill box is in somebodies front garden I an sure he is very happy:wallbash:,not sure Bruce if I can get too worked up about these,I am sure they have got a following,a bit like the people who like electricity pylons it is a fringe addiction.but pleased you have posted and got us all contributing .
     
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    Chris

    Thank you. The ones in my pics are about a mile from my house. I just like the fact that here is real history on our doorstep. I hope it survives. Some sadly have fallen prey to vandalism. Some (as on Sheppey) have fallen into the sea under their own weight.


    I love reading history and am proud of my families part in in WWII.


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  15. Justintyme

    Justintyme Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Its quite surprising, just how many of the "Enemy" were human beings too....and despite the carnage of war never forgot their humanity, and when ever allowed to display it, did so. I have seen and heard of many instances of this.
     
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  16. DrFeelgood

    DrFeelgood MB Club Veteran

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    I might have posted this before but Bruce's post stirred a memory of a 'family' tale that I don't have the full details of.
    My 'uncle', not a real one but one of those old guys that your parents were friends with that you called uncle, was a surgeon and had served on some type of ship in WW2. The story is that during some famous sea battle one of the Italian personnel had his penis either shot off or suffered from shrapnel.
    The uncle formed him a prosthetic one and he went on to recover.

    Some years after the war the Italian feller tracked him down and wrote him a letter that he treasured which gave him the news that he had fathered several children following his, erm, discharge.
     
  17. E55BOF

    E55BOF MB Club Veteran

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    See Wikipedia for the Picket-Hamilton retractable pillbox. When I was at Biggin Hill in the late eighties, there were several on the airfield, though none were operational, and we still had one at RAF Manston in the mid-eighties as well.
     
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  18. Piff

    Piff Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    There is one less than half a mile from where I grew up on a road junction. Used to play in and around it’s kids and later did a bit of youthful courting there.
    Last time I went there it stunk of pi$$ & the girlfriend wasn’t keen on returning.
     
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  19. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

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    Should not be forgotten that many of these Submarine pens, in Germany at least- were built using slave labour from concentration camps or POWs. They worked 12 hour shifts 7 days a week on meagre rations and the death rate was high.
    Valentin submarine pens - Wikipedia
     
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  20. moonloops

    moonloops MB Club Veteran

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    Pill boxes are just as interesting as ROC posts..

    Please make sure you point your arm and make "dagga dagga dagga" shooting noises when near one. :D
     
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