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Thread: Grain Fort, Tower Battery & Decoy Battery - Jan 2012

  1. #1
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    Default Grain Fort, Tower Battery & Decoy Battery - Jan 2012


    The Isle of Grains strategic importance for guarding the entrance to the River Medway had already been recognised with the construction of Grain Tower and in 1860 Royal Commission called for a casemated fort to be added around it. However this did not happen and Grain Fort was constructed as a separate site.
    The fort began as a large heptagonal earthwork surrounding a large semi-circular keep. At the front of the fort was a ditch defended by four caponiers. Another inner ditch surrounded the keep and was defended by three caponiers and two demi-caponiers.
    As with other forts of the time the upper gun emplacements were connected to the magazines below via shafts. Passages connected the magazines to the caponiers in the front ditch and the keep, which was also accessible via a bridge from the terreplein. The men garrisoned at Grain Fort were barracked in the keep.
    Modifications to the fort were made at the end of the 19th century with the addition of four guns with further alterations in the following years through to the end of the Second World War. Grain Fort remained in service until the disbandment of coastal artillery in 1956. The site was sold in 1961 with the subsequent demolition of the fort and other major features and the ditches were filled with rubbish.During World War Two the fort records show several interesting facts, firstly the firing data shows that the guns could traverse fully through 360 degrees to fire inland. This data shows the areas the fort was to destroy should an invasion take place in the area.

    Grain fort 19.6.41
    9.2 Battery Landwards Firing Data

    Serial Number Target Given Found Bearing
    H.5 High Halstow 2293 223938 264
    H.6 Cooling 1994 197946 288
    H.9 Great Chattenden Wood Area 1992 190920 259
    H.10 Ladys Close Cliffe 1892 180920 259
    H.11 Hoo 2290 226907 248
    S.1 Leysdown 4888 485885 110
    S.2 Eastchurch 4389 431897 118
    S.3 Eastchurch Aerodrome 4288 430881 125
    S.4 Minster 3991 399912 120
    S.5 Building Estate 3390 384909 130
    S.6 Road Junction 370889 370889 144


    In 1944 the role of Grain Fort was close defence of the Estuary using the 6 inch equipment, they were to destroy or drive away all enemy vessels which were in range including enemy aircraft landing in the water. Targets to be engaged in priority order are:

    Transports
    Boomsmashers
    Destroyers
    Submarines
    M.T.B's

    The standing orders in the event of an invasion were - "no gun will remain idle until all targets within range bearing have been disabled."



    Defence posts during the war are detailed below:

    1. S.M. Emplacement - L. front of B.O.P. - Home Guard - 4 men
    2. Bren gun post - 30 x front of B.O.P. - Reserve B.O.P. - 2 men
    3. Rifle post - Side of Bofors - No. 2 Gun Detachment - 4 men
    4. Bren Gun Post - L. front G.2. Gun - No.2 Gun Detachment - 2 men
    5. Rifle post - R. front G.1. gun - No.1 Gun Detachment - 4 men
    6. Bren Gun Post - R. of S.O.P. - No.1 Gun Detachment - 2 men
    7. Solothurn post - R. of S.O.P. - Gnrs Farley and Plumbley - 2 men
    8. Heavy M.G. post - Embankment above No.1 engine room - Home Guard - 2 men
    9. Bren Gun post - 20 x R. of No.8 - Employed - 2 men
    10. S.M. Emplacement - West wall of fort - Home Guard - 4 men
    11. Roof - West wall of fort - Employed - 10 men
    12. No.1 C.A.S.L. - River front - C.A.S.L. Res: - 4 men
    13. No.2 C.A.S.L. - River front - C.A.S.L. Res: - 4 men

    A list of armaments and small arms gives some idea of the size of the unit garrisoned there:

    Gun G.1. - CBL 6 inch Mk. VII - Manufactured 1900, refurbished 8/5/1941 - Erected 31/7/1941
    Gun G.2. - CBL 6 inch Mk. VII - Manufactured 1900, refurbished 8/5/1941 - Erected 30/9/1941

    Small Arms

    .22 Rifles - 4
    .303 Rifles - 101
    Bayonets - 101
    Revolvers - 2
    Bren Guns - 4
    Lewis Guns - Nil
    Sten Sub-Machine Guns - 4
    Solothurn Guns - 1 pr
    Signal Pistol - 2

    Fort Plans:

    Blockwork



    Ground Floor



    First Floor



    Full Site



    Grain Tower Battery

    Built in 1855, the original tower was based on the same Martello Towers that were first constructed as a defence against Napoleon in the early 19th century. The tower stands some 500 meters off shore on what is known as Grain Spit in the Medway and the original tower was built of brick covered in granite. The towers fire would compliment that from Garrison Point and would defend both the entrance to the River Medway and the sea front of Sheerness. The guns of the 1855 Tower were mounted on the roof and fired over the wall rather than through an embrasure.
    Early in the 20th century a raised concrete and stone structure was added to the towers roof to all the addition of two 4.7in BLs. This also provided shelter that could be used for stores and fire control. The ammunition storage was upgraded at the same time to allow safer storage within the main body of the tower to supply these new guns.
    Soon after a boom defence was constructed across the River Medway towards Sheerness. The tower became an anchor point for this boom, connecting it to Grain beach, the chains can still be seen wrapped around the towers base roughly 6 feet from the estuary bed.
    The Second World War saw further additions and modifications, in particular the large roofed emplacement that supported a twin 6pdr quick firing gun. Behind this was a directing tower and a light emplacement. The addition of a barrack block was the biggest addition at this stage was; it was made of concrete and stands on stilts with access to and from the main tower via a concrete walkway.


    Grain Fort Pics













    Group Silohette (Left to Right TeeJF, Tonto, Covert Urbex & Me)







    Grain Tower Battery























    The Decoy Site



    Finally a little timelapse

    http://youtu.be/OwhGFO2ZI-w



    Thanks to TeeJF, Tonto and Covert Urbex for the company on this little trip a great day out in Kent.

  2. Thanks given by: alex76, Chris34, godzilla73, KBDollar, KingRat, krela, lilli, mersonwhoopie, nelly, night crawler, Ninja Kitten, oldscrote, sYnc_below, T4toria, Tarron, TeeJF, UrbanX, vixil
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  4. #2
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    Nice photos dude! They still blow me away every report!
    Top tour guide 2012, I'll give tripadvisor your details!
    Oh and top notch history too!
    www.urbanXphotography.co.uk
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  5. Thanks given by: Priority 7
  6. #3
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    Was a great day out missing an element of X though :)

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    Glad you made the fort, did you get in both ends, one is pretty tight, I ain't managed it yet! Top pics.

  8. #5
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    Nah mate only realised when I got in that there was another end :( still I have a few forts that I want to see down your way so will add the revisit to it

  9. #6
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    Great work there guy's , do lik ethe drawings you had , as for the tunnles ther are somthing else.
    May the shadow of Murphy never darken your door."
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  10. #7
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    Very nice, this is going on the list of places for when I get paid. Great report
    Go to work. Get married. Have some kids. Pay your taxes. Pay your bills. Watch your TV. Follow fashion. Act normal. Obey the Law. And repeat after me: I AM FREE

  11. #8
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    Let me know when you go Merson, I need to check another tunnel at Grain :) I also have a few other sites nearby that would make for a good day out. :)

  12. Thanks given by: mersonwhoopie
  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Priority 7 View Post
    Let me know when you go Merson, I need to check another tunnel at Grain :) I also have a few other sites nearby that would make for a good day out. :)
    Will do mate. I think Green Giant & Madaxe are thinking of heading Kent way soon so I'll run it past them and let you no. :)
    Go to work. Get married. Have some kids. Pay your taxes. Pay your bills. Watch your TV. Follow fashion. Act normal. Obey the Law. And repeat after me: I AM FREE

  14. Thanks given by: Priority 7
  15. #10
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    What a really interesting report, and blimey you take some outstanding photos:)

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