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These things are dotted all over the coast

WWII pillboxes. Looks like this one was vandalized last Fall. They blew up some cans of spray paint inside it. Given that it’s a giant hunk of cement intended to survive artillery, it’s fine.

We run across them all along our familiar routes. And anti-tank obstacles – mostly row upon row of big cement structures with fanciful names like coffins and dragons teeth.

Nearly all these things are under protection orders now, so they won’t be dug up. Very jarring to find in the English countryside, but a constant reminder of how bad things got here and how very, very nearly there was a German invasion that the South coast was expected to fend off.

Naturally, there’s a study group, if you’d like to learn more.

Fun fact: cans of spray paint explode in the color of the paint inside.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: April 25, 2024, 7:36 pm

Are there different methods of blowing up spray paint cans depending on whether you want a fire or not? Asking for a friend.

The closest thing to anti-tank obstacles we have around here are alligators trying to cross the roadway. Not quite the same — they’re more anti-personnel obstacles.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: April 25, 2024, 7:36 pm

Pity the poor devils who might have been ordered to man one of these against invading tanks… and flame throwers. It was a guaranteed death sentence. They just had to hold out for as long as they could.

Comment from Crowhouse
Time: April 25, 2024, 9:21 pm

Too bad that TPTB are now unconcerned with invasion!

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: April 25, 2024, 11:25 pm

Uncle B: Actually, Operation “SEA LION” would have been a suicide mission for the invaders. The Germans had no landing craft, so the troops were to be ferried over in towed river barges with only few feet of freeboard. (Therefore likely to founder if a destroyer just steamed past at high speed.) And it would be just about impossible to bring over reinforcements and supplies. The plan to bring a tank over was to crane it into a barge, drift the barge ashore in England, and then blow one end off the barge with explosives.

Even if the Germans got ashore, it would still be hopeless. The chaps at Sandhurst did a really thorough wargame study. They tried giving the Germans every conceivable break, but the invasion was always crushed in at most a few days.

Even some of the German commanders realized this. They referred to “SEA LION” as a himmelfahrtskommando (“trip-to-heaven command”).

Of course no one could be sure of this at the time, least of all the British. The men who manned those bunkers were very brave.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: April 26, 2024, 1:56 am

I assume they have cleaned up the “foo gas” obstacles though.

An effort considerable since they made 50,000 of the anti- tank barrels deployed, according to Wiki, in 7000 “batteries”.

Desperate efforts which saw the birth of weapons like the Sten gun, which could be made mostly in any competent bicycle shop.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 26, 2024, 5:54 pm

Looks like this one once had electricity. Unusual.

Comment from Smash Karts
Time: July 1, 2024, 4:19 am

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Time: July 17, 2024, 7:27 am

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