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Thread: Monster hunting in Essex Aug 2010 (Pic Heavy)

  1. #1
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    Default Monster hunting in Essex Aug 2010 (Pic Heavy)


    Using the excuse of a family wedding in Southend I decided to take little jaunt around some of the more unusual WWII monsters this county has to offer. I was suffering from a rather severe hangover so forgive me if some of the pics are little wonky.

    I started my little hunt with this small Type 27 east of Burnham on Sea, it’s the first time I’ve seen one of these and I was surprised at quite how small the little version is.


    A low entrance with a stepped anti ricochet roof and embrasure above it.


    Standard Bren embrasures inside, on all eight faces.


    The door to the AA well is tiny, I barely fit through it.



    The view from the roof is fantastic and illustrates the need for all round defence.


    After a walk of a mile or two I found the first of the three rare beasties I’d come to see. Rather unassuming at first glance this critter can be mistaken for a Type 22 or 24.


    However climb up to the top of the seawall here and you get the full picture.



    This is one of a number of through the wall pillboxes sited on the banks of the Essex estuaries. For want of an official name I’ve called these Essex Lozenges in my overlay as the through the wall aspect is a bit misleading, since when they were built these sat atop the wall and have since been buried when the height was raised. This has blocked the original entrances and the side embrasures.

    Interior shots through the embrasures show a single large chamber with a lengthwise anti-ricochet wall.
    Left side


    Right side.


    The embrasures on the sea side have been bricked up for obvious reasons but aren’t weathering well.


    A better interior shot showing the entrance hatch on the left side by the Hula girls. I scared the crap out of the flying rats with the flash.


    And now for the second rare beastie, a bit of an elephant this one. (S0000442)


    This is the Crouch minefield XDO tower. Unfortunately this is almost impossible to access, either a swim in the ditch, or a mile long trespass over standing crops and 8ft deep drainage ditches is required, neither of which I fancied so thank god for zoom lenses.


    This odd bunny is a bit bonkers. The main observation slit faces the location of the offshore minefield allowing the controlling officer to trigger it or, I assume, disable it for friendlies to pass through. There is a ring of slits in the cupola for all round view that still have their metal shutters and closing wires.


    The ridiculous number of embrasures at ground level is partly due to the size of the thing but this would have been an essential target for an invading force to capture and disable the minefield so needed to be very well defended.


    The main obs slit is huge and may have had a window looking at that line of bolt holes. I’d love to get inside this thing one day.


    On to the Piece de Resistance
    What’s that coming over the hill is it a monster? Is it a monster?


    It’s the Southminster monster. Try saying that after 2 Pimms, 3 red wines a glass of champers and 4 hours sleep!


    This massive thing is utterly nuts. The guy who designed it had probably drunk at least 5 pints on top of the list above. But I really wouldn’t have wanted to go up against it. Its shape is basically two hexagonal pillboxes joined by a central gallery, with a large AA well at the entrance to the rear which doubles as a thick blast wall.


    The socket for the weapon mount is still there.


    The entrance is at the centre rear of the central gallery opposite the single rifle embrasure in the front wall.


    Each “pillbox” has a lateral anti-ricochet wall dividing it into a front Vickers MG section and a rear Bren section.


    The MG tables are triangular; I’m not sure what the square patches are, they may be filled in sockets which the rear leg of the tripod would have sat in to stop it recoiling off the table.


    There is a vent in the centre of each pillbox section.



    The rear sections have three normal Bren embrasures each.


    It’s hard to get across how big this thing is. Here’s a shot from one end to the other, with flash.


    and without flash to show the natural light.




    The small rifle embrasure in the centre of the gallery covers the dead zone between the pillbox ends.


    The view back out into the AA well.


    The entrance from inside the AA well.


    Metal plating and sockets for the shutter hinges are still present on the Bren embrasures.


    All in all I’d say it was practically impregnable and dominates a large swathe of countryside.
    So far I’d had a great day out and my hangover was no more so I decided to hunt down one last varmint. A very well concealed Cantilever Pillbox at Southend airport, my first of these too.



    The gun rail is still in place but no mount anymore


    It’s rather badly chavved due to being on a footpath.


    I hope you enjoyed this thread as much as I did making it.
    Last edited by cptpies; 9th Aug 10 at 08:51.
    It was me I ate all the pies.

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  2. Thanks given by: acen2006, celo, chizyramone, Earth Worm Jim, godzilla73, hydealfred, HypoBoy, krela, Munchh, night crawler, oldscrote, sheep21, sYnc_below, tigger2
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  4. #2
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    Thanks for a great report & great pics accompanied with superb detail.

    My only comment is to re-size the pics, especially on a 'pic heavy' report, as we are not all blessed with turbo internet. Thanks anyway and well done.
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    I hear you Pete but these are less than half the original size already. Any less wouldn't do these babies justice.:)
    It was me I ate all the pies.

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    That was a real treat cptpies and well worth the data usage. For me it's not the speed of the download but the size as I'm on fixed monthly data (mobile broadband).

    On the subject of "Essex Lozenges", do I take it that you're responsible for the 'citation needed' tag on the wikipedia page on the subject;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_hardened_field_defences_of_World_War_II
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    I am so jelous of what you have shown today it's put's my efforts to shame. Well done just a sham eyou could not get across the dike to visit that monster.
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    Well done CPT. Superb shots and an excellent detailed report.
    Last edited by hydealfred; 9th Aug 10 at 21:36.

  9. #7
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    Thanks for your comments guys. And yes Munchh I'm responsible for the Wikipedia entry.
    It was me I ate all the pies.

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    Ooh, great stuff. The mine tower is totally mad...never seen one before. Some cracking pillboxes there. :)
    "...If we lose our spiritual bond with the land they'll be nothing left of us as a nation..." Phil Rickman.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cptpies View Post
    Thanks for your comments guys. And yes Munchh I'm responsible for the Wikipedia entry.
    haha good on ya mate, only one way to end this post............:notworthy::notworthy::notworthy:
    .................................................. ............................................
    A diplomat is someone who can tell you to 'sod off' in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.
    .................................................. ............................................
    Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von Münchhausen

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    Whoooaaa! That minefield tower is huuuuge! Marvellous stuff captain. Thanks very much- I grew up in Essex so this reminded me that there used to be one of the same size as the Southminster one just outside Wickford. I wonder if its still there?
    GDZ
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