Welcome to this blog which is intended to accompany a website on how Suffolk was defended during the Second War. The blog will describe my trips out and about looking for the remains of the Second War defences while the Website will concentrate on putting these into context.

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Monday, 22 February 2010

German Defences - Part 1



A year or so ago I first learnt about Exercise Kruschen, held at Dunwich Common (including Westleton Walks) in 1943. It was the first serious attempt to practice an assault against the German 'Hedgehog' Defence. I am now aware that all the concrete structures, dugouts etc were constructed for this exercise based on a 'Hedgehog' or Igel and that a serious study is under way of this Exercise. Anyway it got me thinking about German Field Engineering and defence works. The German principal of defence was to group complimentary works, each work providing fire for its own defence as well as covering the dead ground of its neighbours.The strongpoints were in turn arranged in an irregular pattern of depth.The Allied Forces were well aware that any invasion of the Continent would involve assaulting such prepared positions, consisting of concrete and field works.
So do the features I have been recording at Westleton Walks resemble any German defences? Presumably the training works constructed at Dunwich/Westleton would be based on intelligence of German defences.  The destroyed concrete structure, with is wide embrasure, does have some vague resemblance to the so called Waasenaar Emplacement (found in the Waasenaar district of Holland) or the Cantilever type of emplacement (both Machine Gun emplacements)..
German Field Works, not surprisingly, strongly resembled those in the British Field Engineering Manuals ( weapons-pits, crawl trenches, slit trenches etc).
When the new study on this exercise is published it should make fascinating reading.
Top: Google sketcp reconstruction of destroyed concrete structure, Westleton Walks
Second down: Waasenaar Emplacement
Third down: Cantilever type of emplacement
Bottom: Hypothetical plan of German Beach defences showing strong points ('Hedgehogs') in depth



























2 comments:

  1. I have reason to believe that my father, who was an officer in the Royal Berkshire Regiment during the war, was involved in this exercise. I am afraid that I do not have any information that would assist in your project, but would be interested to know when, and where, the study on the exercise will be published. Regards, Charlotte Evans

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  2. Hello Charlotte
    I believe the study is due to be published in the autumn. I will hopefully be able to post details when its out. I became aware of the study from one of the researchers a few yrs ago, although not aware at the time that they were planning to publish! so in fairness to them am not posting any more details until their work is out. If you drop me an email (see home page of the website) I could if you want put you in touch with the researchers who I know would love to hear from you and could perhaps provide you with the information you require,
    Regards
    Dave

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