Item description for Beaches, Fields, Streets, And Hills...: The Anti-invasion Landscapes of England, 1940 (CBA Research Reports) by Richard Holmes William Foot...
Beaches, Fields, Streets, And Hills...: The Anti-invasion Landscapes of England, 1940 (CBA Research Reports) by Richard Holmes William Foot
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.53" Width: 7.4" Height: 1.81" Weight: 3.79 lbs.
Release Date May 30, 2006
Publisher Council for British Archaeology(GB)
ISBN 1902771532 ISBN13 9781902771533
Reviews - What do customers think about Beaches, Fields, Streets, And Hills...: The Anti-invasion Landscapes of England, 1940 (CBA Research Reports)?
The alpha and omega on 1940 British invasion defences Nov 22, 2006
After the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from France in Late May and early June of 1940, there was a very real possibility that an invasion of the United Kingdom was both likely and imminent, In response to the threat, a construction program was initiated to build defensive works. The program consisted of both beach and inland defenses consisting of pillboxes, trenches, and road-barriers amongst other positions.
The invasion of the UK never took place. Instead, the invasion of France occurred in 1944. By then, most of the fixed defenses that had been built in the UK were, for the most part abandoned and forgotten. In a few cases, some of the structures were utilized for more peaceful purposes, ranging from farm storage to public shelters.
In the early 1980s, an enterprising amateur historian named Henry Will brought to the attention of the general public the historical significance and the place in history of these structures. After all, it is not facetious to say that their importance and need for notation can rival that of Dover Castle or the Tower of London. Both of these fortifications were also built to protect the UK, but were never actually tested. In 1985, he published a small volume entitled Pillboxes - A Study of UK Defenses, 1940, which provided an historical context for the defensive structures as well as a rudimentary attempt to catalog the extant remains. Mr. Wills' efforts stimulated interest in the subject and additional privates and government sponsored surveys were undertaken.
This culminated with the English Heritage funded Defence of Britain Project which between 1995 and 2002 attempted to record all known military defense sites. From this and other surveys, it is estimated that some 28,000 pillboxes and other hardened field fortifications were constructed in the United Kingdom of which about 6,500 still exist.
Beaches, Fields, Streets, And Hills...: The Anti-invasion Landscapes of England, 1940 published by English Heritage provides an overview of a number of sites and scores of remains in southern and eastern England. After providing a context for the construction programs and a brief overview of the types of structures built, this 658 page volumes becomes a site gazetteer, showing then and now photos of the structures themselves, directions and how to find the items and comment as to their status. Local maps are included with the various defensive works marked and annotated with grid coordinates.
It is in this aspect that the one fault in the book exists. While there are two or three maps at the beginning that show the locations of the surviving works on a national map, this is not done for the more detailed itemization by location. Instead, one is presented with local maps of areas of a few square miles or less.
This is a significant failing. I have to believe that few Britons would be able to recognize where a majority of these sites are based on the descriptions given. Someone coming to try and find these sites from another country would have to be prepared to ask directions repeatedly.
But, for those students of fortifications and of the summer of 1940, this is the premier source of information.