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