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Thread: Anti tank Island - Axminster – Apr/June 2011

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    Arrow Anti tank Island - Axminster – Apr/June 2011


    Anti tank Island - Axminster – Apr/June 2011 - Lower west side

    History

    “A World War 2 anti-invasion stop line, facing west, built between July and November 1940.
    The stop line runs for approximately 50 miles from the mouth of River Brue to the mouth of the River Axe in Devon (with some infrastructure in Dorset). Some rear positions were prepared to the E of line. It connected to the ‘GHQ Line Green’ running East along River Brue.

    The line followed the River Parrett to Bridgwater where it joined the Bridgwater to Taunton Canal. From Creech St Michael it followed the old Chard Canal until SW of Ilton where it joined the Great Western Railway. The line left the GWR to the north of Chard Junction from where it followed the Southern Railway and River Axe running south into Devon.

    The planned infrastructure (most of which was built) included 233 pillboxes, 61 medium machine gun emplacements, 21 anti-tank gun emplacements, 83 road blocks, 22 railway blocks and 46 demolitions.

    The anti-tank obstacle consisted of about 24 miles of waterways, 7 miles of improved water obstacles, 11 miles of anti-tank ditches and 8 miles of artificial obstacles (eg cubes).



    From autumn 1940, twelve locations were prepared for all-round defence as ‘anti-tank islands’ of which 9 were in Somerset - Bridgwater, Durston, Creech St Michael, Wrantage and Crimson Hill, Ilton, Ilminster, Chard, Forton and Perry Street.”

    The defences in this report are from the Axminster ATI in Devon. The headings contain the original 1940/41 serial numbers for each PB along with its type and GPS fixed location. DOB numbers are also given for reference where available.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    I’m still just mad enough to tackle pillboxes ‘out of season’ so to speak. I went back to re visit some defences that I looked at in April. What were easy paths then are jungles now. I’m used to this and actually got to more than I initially expected. I was thwarted on occasion but still managed to return home with 130 photos.

    It’s only when you view an ATI as a whole that you can fully appreciate it. The perimeter of this ATI forms a complete enclosure and incorporates the Taunton stopline on its western side.

    A massive thanks to krela for providing me with photos of the original construction plans and other documentation some of which is included in this report. The man’s a gent, what can I say.

    These are the defences I’ve plotted so far from the original engineers plans. There may be others to be included later and obviously not all sites are extant.


    GE map shots legend

    Orange – AT ditches
    Yellow – Scarping
    White – AT posts
    Blue – Barbed wire
    Brown – AT Cubes
    Magenta – possible firing lines




    Overview north and south







    Lower west side



    S 47 – Type 24 - 50°46'36.80"N, 3° 0'28.70"W







    S 46 – Type 26 - 50°46'39.19"N, 3° 0'23.32"W

    It’s given as removed on the DOB database but it’s definitely there. And yes, the painted ‘window’ over the embrasure is the original attempt at camouflage (source; David Hunt).















    AT Posts – 217 yards running from 50°46'38.01"N, 3° 0'27.64"W to 50°46'32.13"N, 3° 0'30.90"W









    S AT 601 – Gun emplacement, 6 pounder - 50°46'43.20"N, 3° 0'30.00"W

    With roadblock S RD B 60 to the right at 50°46'44.81"N, 3° 0'30.33"W












    South west corner to follow. :)
    Last edited by Munchh; 1st Jul 11 at 20:44.
    .................................................. ............................................
    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

  2. Thanks given by: crickleymal, fluffy5518, Foxylady, gingrove, jonney, karltrowitz, krela, night crawler, oldscrote, RichCooper, sYnc_below, tank2020, TeeJF, tigger2, tommo, Wallsey, Winch It In
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  4. #2
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    Great pics and love all the info!!
    I used to live in Creech St Michael as a child in the late 80's / early 90's and I can remember playing in the pill-boxes along the railway line with my friends. If I remember rightly there was one situated near the paper mill and one further along the canal.
    There's no such thing as bad weather......only the wrong type of clothes

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    Quote Originally Posted by bilbo View Post
    Great pics and love all the info!!
    I used to live in Creech St Michael as a child in the late 80's / early 90's and I can remember playing in the pill-boxes along the railway line with my friends. If I remember rightly there was one situated near the paper mill and one further along the canal.
    Creech St Michael has the best WW2 stuff ever imo, both the ones you mentioned are still there.

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    Awsome report as usual Munchh and information overload to boot.
    kerla you need to vist the Sullham Valley most Type 28's you'll see.:)
    May the shadow of Murphy never darken your door."
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    Lovely info and shots - thanks for that!
    Godzy
    "You never planned on the bombs in the sand/Or sleeping in your dress blues."

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    Quote Originally Posted by night crawler View Post
    Awsome report as usual Munchh and information overload to boot.
    kerla you need to vist the Sullham Valley most Type 28's you'll see.:)
    Standard type pillboxes are so passé. ;)

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    Munchh, great work as usual I'm loving this. Cracking post and info mate

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    Quality report and photo's, Munchh. Well like the old correspondence letters.

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    Good stuff as usual Munchh, love the idea that they had to get them built before the cement vouchers ran out.....
    To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain always a child....Cicero

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    Thanks to one and all for your responses. :)

    The original correspondence and maps give an insight into what was planned, but not always exactly what happened. The overriding factor when reading through is the intensity and urgency of the time and how incredibly fluid the whole process was as a result.

    More to be added from this visit as soon as Photobucket stops dicking me about. Can't complain though as they've just upgraded my account to unlimited storage for no apparent reason. :)
    .................................................. ............................................
    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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