Posted: 29 December 2008 22:36
My roadblock site visits have now hit the 150 mark following a trip to Boreham Street, Ninfield and Catsfield. I found a pair of pimples embedded in a wall as well as a slit trench.
Quickly moving through Boreham Street I continued on to Ninfield which I visited twice in April 2007 when I first found evidence of the dragon's teeth perimeter and then discovered some grafitti shortly afterwards. There were several roadblocks here, as the village was a nodal point, but one with a difference.
My first encounter with roadblocks at Ninfield was towards the end of 2006, when I found a list of 107 roadblocks in a Sub-area defence scheme. Plotting all of these on the map I quickly realised the importance of knowing roadblock locations plays in understanding the defences; roadblocks can effectively highlight the perimeter of nodal points. Imagine my joy at finding the roadblock report that listed 473 blocks!
The interesting point is that not long after the list of 107 blocks was compiled, the Ninfield nodal point was actually extended. The original list of 107 roadblocks gives me the extent of the small perimeter, but the later full report also supplies an extra set of blocks that show how the nodal point was extended. Unfortunately, no evidence remains of the Ninfield blocks.
I then went looking for evidence of roadblocks at Catsfield; a handful were proposed to be sited here according to the Sub-area scheme, but it seems they were never constructed. There was one block, however, situated within a defended locality and I struck gold by finding a slit trench in the roadside undergrowth.
Thanks to my experience in researching Downsforce trenches, I took a second glance at this indentation in the ground situated about 30m away from where I believe the roadblock was; the dimensions fitted and it was angled towards the block, convincing me it was a trench.
I've now passed the 150 mark on my Roadblock project; I'm nearly a third of the way through it since I began back in July. At this rate, it'll take me another year to visit all the sites, but looking back at the number of unrecorded sites/defence works this project has yielded, 2009 will be an interesting year...
A military plan of defence for a specified area. Defence Schemes were issued at numerous levels. Defence Schemes were later known as Plans to Defeat Invasion on the orders of General Montgomery.
An area defended by a force (e.g. a platoon) occupying a series of defence works, normally within a barbed wire perimeter. Localities were designed for all-round defence and usually fitted in with a coordinated scheme of neighbouring localities.
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.
Small anti-tank block in the form of a truncated pyramid. Pimples were used to extend anti-tank obstacles and roadblocks and were intended for use on soft ground.
Small, narrow trench designed to provide protection against shrapnel and other battlefield hazards. Technically distinct from a weapon pit (which was intended soley as a defensive position) slit trenches were also used as defence works.
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Hibbs, Peter Roadblock recce (18) Boreham Street - Ninfield - Catsfield (2017) Available at: http://pillbox.org.uk/blog/216595/ Accessed: 22 September 2017
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