Posted: 15 March 2009 09:52

Following my discovery of an observation post on Windover Hill, I moved down to Exceat Bridge to the site of a roadblock.

Roadblock recce

The bridge crosses the Cuckmere River, making it important for both defender and invader.

At 10.15 on 17 May 1940, nine officers of the Royal Engineers made a reconnaissance of the bridge; nine hours later a report on the bridge was sent by Dispatch Rider to the Divisional Engineer.

The RE actually rebuilt the bridge in 1941 in order for it to be able to bear the weight of tanks.

As the bridge was the only local crossing of the Cuckmere, which was a stop line forming part of the Grid System, it was vital. To this end, the Golden Galleon pub was a defended building and probably covered the roadblock that consisted of cylinders, sockets and buoys.

The bridge was scheduled as a demolition with the added insurance that the gun battery whose OP I had just found could also bring down fire upon it if necessary.

Nothing remains of the roadblock, but a bridge with an interesting history nonetheless.

- Pete

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Buoys

Small concrete roadblock obstacle comprising a truncated cone with domed base. A hollow shaft down the centre allowed the buoy to be manhandled using a crowbar. Buoys were deemed of little value by 1941 and cylinders seen as a better solution.


Cylinders

Reinforced concrete cylindrical obstacles with a shaft down the centre in which could be inserted a crowbar for manhandling, or a picket for barbed wire. Cylinders were 90cm high and 60cm wide and deployed in groups of three as a more effective alternative for buoys.


Defended building

An existing building occupied as a fighting position, usually incorporating some form of fortification such as sandbagging, shoring up of ceilings or cutting of loopholes in external walls.


Demolition

Term applied to a structure scheduled for demolition or already demolished. Walls and small buildings might be taken down to clear fields of fire or impede enemy passage by destroying a bridge. Some demolitions were not intended to be carried out until after invasion had begun, for example, certain bridges or road craters (pipe mines).


Sockets

Concrete-lined shafts dug into road surfaces into which rails or RSJs (hairpin or straight) could be inserted to form a roadblock. When not in use, a wooden cover was placed over each socket.


Stop line

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.



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Hibbs, Peter Roadblock recce (22) Exceat Bridge (2017) Available at: http://pillbox.org.uk/blog/216615/ Accessed: 22 September 2017

The information on this website is intended solely to describe the ongoing research activity of The Defence of East Sussex Project; it is not comprehensive or properly presented. It is therefore NOT suitable as a basis for producing derivative works or surveys!