Posted: 28 July 2008 21:38
I spent some time investigating sites in Uckfield today; I managed 10 out of the 12 listed, with the outstanding two requiring a bit more map work before I can locate them. There are no remains of any of the blocks I visited.
The photo below shows the key crossroads in the centre of Uckfield; all four arms were blocked, with another block further south (to the right, out of shot) by the cinema.
Uckfield was a nodal point and I can only presume this crossroads was part of it, along with the level crossing and bridge over the River Uck about 450m south.
The photo at right shows where the level crossing was, effectively between the wooden fences on both sides of the road. Uckfield station is off to the right and is now a terminus; it was originally on the other side of the road when the line ran out to Lewes.
In 1941, the nodal point perimeter was drastically shrunk to cover just the station, level crossing and an area of ground to the north due to an insufficient garrison for the original perimeter.
The reason the level crossing became more important than the crossroads was probably because it was a stop line crossing. The GHQ Line was following the River Uck until it reached Uckfield Station, whereupon the railway became the stop line, defended by a series of Type 24 pillboxes.
Not only this, but the 12 Corps (later 4 Corps) stop line came in from Sheffield Park Station to the west via the River Ouse and a minor stream and converged with the GHQ Line, again at Uckfield Station, following the same route until they parted company just north of Buxted.
When the revision of the nodal point occurred it was originally intended that if extra troops were available they would man the crossroads, but the later roadblock report states that all of these blocks were deemed to be redundant.
This is one reason why roadblock locations are so important; they indicate sites of defensive activity and, (as we'll see at Ninfield later on) help indicate where cube perimeters of nodal points crossed roads; my knowledge of Uckfield's defences has doubled as a result of analysing the report and this afternoon's fieldwork.
A series of arterial stop lines designed to prevent German forces advancing on London and the industrial Midlands.
Defended road junction(s), usually within a village/town with a Home Guard garrison intended to deny enemy use of the roads. Nodal Points were not to defend the village, but solely the road network. Category 'A' Nodal Points were to hold out for 7 days after invasion without outside assistance.
Generic term for a hardened field defensive structure usually constructed from concrete and/or masonry. Pillboxes were built in numerous types and variants depending on location and role.
A physical continuous anti-tank barrier, normally a river and/or railway line, often defended by pillboxes. Stop line crossings (roads, railways and bridges) were to be made impassable.
A six-sided (but not a regular hexagon) pillbox. The Type 24 is the most frequently seen pillbox in East Sussex, mostly along stop lines. It can be found in thin wall (30cm) or thick wall (1m) variants.
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Hibbs, Peter Roadblock recce (5) - Uckfield (2017) Available at: http://pillbox.org.uk/blog/216560/ Accessed: 25 September 2017
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