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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Sunday, 5 January 2014

Diver Gun Strip Site T18

Finally got round to recording Diver Battery T18 today. Not much remains - just a few concrete bases for huts and perhaps three out of the four gun pits. T18 was a HAA battery, i.e. 4 x 3.7" guns. 

 Above: 1945 aerial of T18 - the huts can still be clearly seen. 

I could only find the remains of four concrete bases for the huts, although others may still remain buried under the leaf litter or covered over by gorse scrub.

Above: Remains of a concrete base for a hut.

Something I had not picked up before on my previous visits to this site was that the course of the Sommerfield track laid around the perimeter of the site can still be followed in places.  Sommerfield track consisted of 2 inch or three inch mesh netting reinforced with 3/4 inch mild steel rods at 8 inch centers. The track is joined longitudinally by buckles and transversely by linking bars held down by special angle iron pickets. It was supplied in rolls 25 yards long by 10ft 7ins wide. 

Above: Top image clearly shows where Sommerfield track was once laid. Note the circled angle iron picket used to hold down the track.
Middle two images shows a pile of the angle iron pickets used to hold down Sommerfield track.
The second image shows the  group of pickets a couple of years back when the ground was much more open (following some heathland restoration work). 
Bottom image shows Sommerfield track being laid for it's original intended purpose - a temporary runway for an airfield. Note the angle iron pickets. 

The gun pits provide a bit of a problem. Although they match the dimensions and spacing you would expect for the depression in which a Pile mattress would have been constructed to mount the guns on, they are not orientated in the direction you would expect given the Bonzo engagement arc for this battery was 30 deg to 170 deg (Bonzo was the code word for  proximity fused shells). The guns should be placed at right angles to a line bisecting the Bonzo engagement arc i.e. aligned along a line  10 deg to 190 deg. Despite much searching there was no sign of a fourth pit. 

Above: GPS data calibrated onto the aerial photo of the battery. The remains of the four huts are shown in black, the course of the Sommerfield track in red and the three possible gun pits are the red circles. They are clearly no where near aligned along the line 10 deg to 190 deg. (Remember the layout for Diver guns was an inverted bow - see main website).

Above: An image of each of the three pits. The diameter of the pits was approx 18-21 ft i.e. what you would expect for a pile mattress. 

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