british stop lines ww2
4 October: Second attempt at Operation Lucid, this time cancelled because of bad weather.  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. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union, on 22 June 1941, it came to be seen as unlikely that there would be any attempted landing as long as that conflict was undecided – from the British point of view at the time, the matter hung in the balance. VII Corps was formed to control the Home Forces' general reserve, and included the 1st Armoured Division. The stop lines were designated Command, Corp and Divisional according to their status. They were also used in smaller numbers to block roads. Far more men volunteered than the government expected and by the end of June, there were nearly 1.5 million volunteers.  However, records show that the British possessed over 290 million rounds of .303 ammunition of various types on 7 June, rising to over 400 million in August. Military thinking shifted rapidly. 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.  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. On 7 and 8 May 1940, in the British House of Commons, the Norway Debate revealed intense dissatisfaction with and outright hostility toward the government of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. While an understanding of the Line's creation is vital to any study of World War I, World War II, and the period in between, this knowledge is also helpful when interpreting a number of modern references. Sea Lion was never taken beyond the preliminary assembly of forces. Reports were to be collected from dead letter drops and, from 1941, relayed by civilian radio operators from secret locations. Bombers and crop sprayers would spray landing craft and beaches with mustard gas and Paris Green. In many cases, Brooke had these removed altogether, as experience had shown they could be as much of an impediment to friends as to foes.  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. Although much larger in size and with many more ships, the Royal Navy, unlike the Kriegsmarine, had many commitments, including against Japan and guarding Scotland and Northern England. , 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. Their task was to spread false rumours and conduct psychological warfare. 2020-08-28T15:09:22Z By July 1940 the situation had improved radically as all volunteers received uniforms and a modicum of training. Churchill stated "in the last half of September we were able to bring into action on the south coast front sixteen divisions of high quality of which three were armoured divisions or their equivalent in brigades". Category 'A' nodal points and anti-tank islands usually had a garrison of regular troops. The British Army had abandoned most of its equipment in France after the Dunkirk evacuation. For the Germans, achieving at least local air superiority was an essential prerequisite to any invasion. And yet! By 1 October, Poland had been completely overrun. As planning was underway for the WWII Allied invasion of Normandy, a means to supply fuel was addressed. British tanks on an assembly line. , Thousands of miles of anti-tank ditches were dug, usually by mechanical excavators, but occasionally by hand. 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. , 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.  The wire would also demarcate extensive minefields, with both anti-tank and anti-personnel mines on and behind the beaches. They were not, therefore, intended to operate as a long term resistance organisation. , Securing an airstrip would be an important objective for the invader. More concentration was placed on defending the coastal crust, while inland a hedgehog defence strategy of defended localities and anti-tank islands was established, each having all-round defence. Inspired by a demonstration of petroleum warfare, one false rumour stated that the British had a new bomb: dropped from an aircraft, it caused a thin film of volatile liquid to spread over the surface of the water which it then ignited. This was deeply resented by the War Office who created the Auxiliary Units as a more respectable military alternative. Essentially, this was a fence of scaffolding tubes 9 feet (2.7 m) high and was placed at low water so that tanks could not get a good run at it. There were also designs for pillbox-like structures for various purposes including light anti-aircraft positions, observation posts and searchlight positions to illuminate the shoreline. , At the end of August, the battleship HMS Rodney was sent south to Rosyth for anti-invasion duties. N ormandy Invasion and Fuel . , After the evacuation of Dunkirk, people believed that the threatened invasion could come at almost any time. "Land off Morton Way, Axminster, Devon – A Limited Archaeological Excavation and Recording Programme", "Basingstoke Canal Anti-Tank Cylinder & Mine Socket Excavation", Image of light anti-aircraft position in Aldershot, "A Review of the Defence of Britain Project", "If the Invader Comes, what to do – and how to do it. ", In 1941, in towns and villages, invasion committees were formed to cooperate with the military and plan for the worst should their communities be isolated or occupied. By early 1941, a flame barrage technique was developed. , Another innovation was a mobile pillbox that could be driven out onto the airfield. This was dug into the roadside with a substantial overburden and camouflaged.  On 14 September, the old battleship HMS Revenge was moved to Plymouth, also specifically in case of invasion. They were organised around a core of regular army 'scout sections', supported by patrols of 6–8 men recruited from the Home Guard. The latter was the responsibility of the Secret Intelligence Service Section VII, which would have only begun to expand its operations once the country had actually been occupied, thus confining knowledge of its existence only to those men and women who would have been available at the time.. The reserve would only have been expected to report for duty in an invasion.  New weapons were developed that could be produced cheaply without consuming materials that were needed to produce armaments for the regular units. We should certainly have a desperate struggle and the future might well have hung in the balance, but I certainly felt that given a fair share of the fortunes of war we should certainly succeed in finally defending these shores. On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland; two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany, launching the Second World War. Oftentimes, it’s not so much the word itself that’s awesome – but the usage of it so […] Further out to sea, Inchmickery, 1.6 miles (2.6 km) north of Edinburgh, was similarly fortified. The green line continued from Bradford-on-Avon along the river to Malmesbury where it met the "red" line which ran to Abingdon, along the Thames to Pangbourne and rejoined the blue line at Theale. 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. The British engaged upon an extensive programme of field fortification. , Large cylinders were made from a section of sewer pipe 3 to 4 feet (91 to 122 cm) in diameter filled with concrete typically to a height of 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 m), frequently with a dome at the top. 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. , Many small islands and peninsulas were fortified to protect inlets and other strategic targets. The chains and cables could also be made into psychological barriers to tanks by attaching an imitation bomb to them, an impression which could be augmented by running a length of cable from it to a position out of sight of a tank commander. Their exploits were the subject of popular books in the interwar years, glamorizing escape and evasion. , Where a barrier to tanks was required, Admiralty scaffolding (also known as beach scaffolding or obstacle Z.1) was constructed. 76 Special Incendiary Grenade (a glass bottle filled with highly flammable material of which more than six million were made), and the No. , In addition to hiding real weapons and fortifications, steps were taken to create the impression of the existence of defences that were not real. Rating. Although approval for the organisation had been given in June 1940, recruiting only began in early July. I considered the invasion a very real and probable threat and one for which the land forces at my disposal fell far short of what I felt was required to provide any degree of real confidence in our power to defend these shores. The invasion of Norway was a combined forces operation in which the German war machine projected its power across the sea; this German success would come to be seen by the British as a dire portent.. There was also a tetrahedral or caltrop-shaped obstacle, although it seems these were rare. 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. A British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was sent to the Franco-Belgian border, but Britain and France did not take any direct action in support of the Poles. It was purchased by the army in World War II to rip up aerodrome runways and railway lines, making them useless to the occupying forces, if an invasion took place. In this scenario, British land forces would have faced the Germans on more equal terms than otherwise and it was only necessary to delay the German advance, preventing a collapse until the German land forces were, at least temporarily, isolated by the Royal Navy and then mounting a counterattack. , Auxiliary Units were a specially trained and secret organisation that would act as uniformed commandos to attack the flanks and rear of an enemy advance. British actor Alec Guinness (famous for Star Wars and Bridge Over River Kwai) was part of the British Royal Navy during World War II and helped land an aircraft that brought British troops to … On 19 July Brooke replaced Ironside. Showing 1–12 of 1189 results. So are the fishes ...". At Dover, two 14 inch (356 mm) guns known as Winnie and Pooh were employed. This joined the "blue" line which followed the Kennet and Avon Canal to Reading. The Royal Navy could overwhelm any force that the German Navy could muster but would require time to get its forces in position since they were dispersed, partly because of these commitments and partly to reduce risk of air attack. Learn how and when to remove this template message, British hardened field defences of World War II, British anti-invasion preparations of World War II, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=GHQ_Line&oldid=944491515, Articles needing additional references from May 2015, All articles needing additional references, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 8 March 2020, at 04:46. Again, suspicious looking parcels could be attached to strengthen the illusion. About this rating Origin. Fifty rifles were also issued to the London Fire Brigade, and Port of London Authority Police. Its purpose was to provide basic pillbox designs that could be constructed by soldiers and local labour at appropriate defensive locations. This remained in existence until at least 1943 and comprised both intelligence and sabotage units. The first instruction given quite emphatically is that, unless ordered to evacuate, "THE ORDER IS 'STAY PUT' " [capitalisation as in original].  By the end of July 1940, an additional nine hundred 75 mm field guns had been received from the US, – the British were desperate for any means of stopping armoured vehicles. Smaller cylinders cast from concrete are also frequently found.  Mustard gas was manufactured as well as chlorine, phosgene and Paris Green. Leeds - Liverpool Canal - Stop Line Number 14 In 1940, having retreated our troops from France, Britain feared invasion. , 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. A young member of the Home Guard (LDV) recalled: In the villages use was made of any existing walls or buildings, loopholes for firing or passing heavy chains and cables through to form barriers strong enough to slow down or stop soft skinned vehicles. Evans, 2004, the outcome is a major theme of this work, Evans gives emphasis to German logistical problems. 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. Until the Germans captured a port, both armies would have been short of tanks and heavy guns.. Consolidated Instructions to Invasion Committees, 1942, p. 19. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=British_anti-invasion_preparations_of_the_Second_World_War&oldid=1000591164, Military history of the United Kingdom during World War II, United Kingdom home front during World War II, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 8 September: Two cruisers and ten destroyers swept along the French coast and bombarded. Although limited in range, they were reasonably effective.. " The prime minister practised shooting, and told wife Clementine and daughter in law Pamela that he expected them each to kill one or two Germans.  Auxiliary Units were only expected to operate during an organised military campaign, with an expected lifespan of 14 days. By that time, the BEF consisted of 10 infantry divisions in three corps, a tank brigade and a Royal Air Force detachment of around 500 aircraft. 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.  Instructions to the invasion committees stated: "... every citizen will regard it as his duty to hinder and frustrate the enemy and help our own forces by every means that ingenuity can devise and common sense suggest.". On the same day as the Battle of Dunkirk, Scotland Yard issued a memorandum detailing the police use of firearms in wartime. Perhaps most importantly, the population was told what was expected from them.  Some soldiers even returned without their rifles. Default sorting. On 9 April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway. , Churchill was not satisfied with Ironside's progress, especially with the creation of a mobile reserve. In theory, it could be thrown, but in practice it would most likely need to be placed – thumped against the target with sufficient force to stick – requiring courage and good fortune to be used effectively.  Such rumours were credible and rapidly spread. Given the lack of equipment and properly trained men, Ironside had little choice but to adopt a strategy of static warfare, but it was soon perceived that this would not be sufficient. , Where natural anti-tank barriers needed only to be augmented, concrete or wooden posts sufficed. Londoners taking refuge from German air raids in an Underground station, c. 1940. Hitler was not ideologically committed to a long war with Britain and many commentators suggest that German invasion plans were a feint never to be put into action. This detailed the planned training for all officers in the use of pistols and revolvers, as it was decided that even though the police were non-combatant, they would provide armed guards at sites deemed a risk from enemy sabotage, and would assist the British Armed Forces in the event of an invasion. British & Russian Please find below our selection of WW2 British Uniform, Insignia, Equipment and more. These were blocked by trenches or, more usually, by wooden or concrete obstacles, as well as old cars. German and British front-line soldiers sang carols, exchanged gifts, and played soccer during a World War I Christmas truce.  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. By then, the state of Britain's defences had much improved, with many more trained and equipped men becoming available and field fortifications reaching a high state of readiness. However, the potential was clear. 10 September: Three destroyers found a convoy of invasion transports off Ostend and sank an escort vessel, two trawlers that were towing barges and one large barge. Director: Andrew V. McLaglen | Stars: Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, David Niven, Trevor Howard. These figures may have been under-reported. 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 major … I have the horrid thought that he may still bring off some surprise on us. , More than passive resistance was expected – or at least hoped for – from the population. 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. Another major line was the Taunton Stop Line, which defended against an advance from England's south-west peninsula. At first, the Home Guard was armed with guns in private ownership, a knife or bayonet on a pole, Molotov cocktails and improvised flamethrowers.. These passive defences were overlooked by trench works, gun and mortar emplacements, and pillboxes. In the event of invasion, the Royal Navy would have sailed to the landing places, possibly taking several days. When the UK went to war on 3 September 1939, the strength of the Metropolitan Police stood at 18,428, which was 900 officers short of full strength. The leaders of every nation involved in World War II were aware of how crucial oil supplies were to their war plans. It was intended to protect the capital and the industrial heartland of England. , The field fortifications constructed throughout Britain included large numbers of hardened field defences: mostly in the form of pillboxes. An even more robust barrier to tanks was provided by long lines of anti-tank cubes. Filter — Add to cart. Some had little ammunition, sometimes as few as ten rounds apiece. The infantry tanks included 27 obsolete Matilda MkIs but the rest were almost all the very capable Matilda II. Where possible, usually well-drained land was allowed to flood, making the ground too soft to support even tracked vehicles. A further twelve destroyers swept parts of the French coast. 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.  Initially ambitious plans were cut back to cover just a few miles of beaches. When not in use, the sockets were filled with a wooden plug allowing traffic to pass normally..  Home Guard troops were largely responsible for the defence of nodal points and other centres of resistance, such as towns and defended villages.  This operation preempted Britain's own plans to invade Norway. Hitler's invasions of Poland, Holland and Belgium were greatly helped by the fact that the civilian population was taken by surprise. , Piers, ideal for landing troops, and situated in large numbers along the south coast of England, were disassembled, blocked or otherwise destroyed. SECRET for 70 YEARS: Nazis DID invade Britain in WWII (but commandos wiped them out) NAZI Stormtroopers landed on British soil in a sabotage operation during the World War II, … Categories: MESS TINS … 84 barges were damaged at Dunkirk. American broadcaster William Shirer recorded large numbers of burns victims in Berlin; though it is not clear what he personally saw, it seems likely his reports were influenced by rumours. 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.  In certain areas, non-essential citizens were evacuated. On firing, the hedge hopper barrel was projected ten feet (3 m) into the air and over a hedge or wall behind which it had been hidden. More immediately available were ten destroyers at the south coast ports of Dover and Portsmouth, a cruiser and three destroyers at Sheerness on the River Thames, three cruisers and seven destroyers at the Humber, nine destroyers at Harwich, and two cruisers at Rosyth. 7 October: Third attempt at Lucid, cancelled when the destroyer carrying the force commander hit a mine and had to be towed home. , The question of whether the defences would have been effective in invasion is vexed. The BEF was pinned by a German diversionary attack through Belgium and then isolated by the main attack that came through the Ardennes forest. 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. Some pillboxes may pre-date the publication of the FW3 designs, but in any case some local commanders introduced modifications to the standard FW3 designs or introduced designs of their own. Because of the possibility of the police assisting the armed forces, firearms and ammunition supplied to divisions were increased. 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. They frequently sported loops at the top for the attachment of barbed wire. 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. A more respectable military alternative our position a helpless one in the Operation cancelled. Of Information published If the invader Comes, what to do – and how to do and! Sits in disuse after the evacuation of Dunkirk, Scotland Yard issued memorandum. ] Mustard gas and Paris Green secret weapon the attachment of barbed.. Years old was frenetic: by the end of June, there were two of... The long promised invasion mines on and behind the beaches themselves were overlooked by pillboxes of various.. Anti-Tank islands usually had a good chance to defeat hitler miles of vulnerable beaches. [ 69.. Would be insufficient to stop armoured vehicles the armed forces, firearms and ammunition supplied to divisions were.! 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