Posted: 8 May 2009 21:11

Following my discovery of first one - then two - defended localities on the Downs, I did some searching amongst the digital photos of archive documents on my PC and turned up a 'treasure map' showing the battle positions in the area.

A representation of the map is seen below; contrary to what I thought previously, these are not just platoon localities; they're part of company localities and a battalion position. The boundaries of 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D' Companies are clearly marked.

A treasure map

Key:

  • Green cross - 2 pounder anti-tank gun
  • Yellow circle - Vickers MG Section
  • Red - troop of 25-pounder field guns
  • Flag - Company HQ (quarted flag in 'D' Coy is Battalion HQ)

This how one usually finds maps in war diaries; mostly you find dispositions and boundaries drawn on a sheet of translucent tracing paper, sometimes printed on normal opaque paper. The two large crosses are intersections of parts of the map grid to enable the trace to be lined up over the map.

By importing the image into Photoshop as a new layer on top of a scan of the actual map, you can adjust the transparency and see the map underneath. I create a third layer and trace the map trace onto it, leaving me with a completely transparent layer with the detail on it - better than the original trace!

So having discovered the magnitude of the area, how does this affect my assessment of the first locality I discovered? Essentially, nothing much has changed; we still have what appears to be a platoon locality laid out according to 1941 guidelines. What has changed is the HQ; in hindsight it perhaps is a bit elaborate for a platoon HQ and so is probably a company HQ.

The first buried HQ I found appears to be that of 'C' Coy, the second one being that of 'B' Coy. I unknowingly walked right through 'A' Coy's position some time ago without realising it; I did see some possible earthworks, but dismissed them as relating to known post-1942 activity. I also remember finding a couple of unexplained earthworks in the 'C' Coy area; there's a slight possibility these might be 2-pounder anti-tank gun positions.

My next step? Explore!

- Pete

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Hibbs, Peter A treasure map (2017) Available at: http://pillbox.org.uk/blog/216627/ Accessed: 22 September 2017

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