Defence Structures used during the 1939 - 1945 conflict
Eastern Command Line
In 1940, accepting that the over-stretched defences along our coast may not be able to withstand a German landing, serious thought had to be given how to improve the situation. Throughout the country hundreds of miles of inland defence lines were initiated. They made use of the natural contours of the land such as rivers, woods, marshes etc. Where no ready barrier was evident a ditch was dug often many miles long. To be affective against tanks or armour the criteria laid down was for the ditch to be at least twenty feet wide and eleven feet deep. Fortified by infantry and artillery pillboxes, concrete anti-tank obstacles, barbed wire and gun emplacements this project was mostly completed by the autumn of 1940.
"Operation Sealion" was the codename used by the Germans for the invasion of England. When this was apparent Churchill would issue the codename "Cromwell" to all our UK forces indicating "Invasion Imminent"
map above shows the four major defence lines in Essex.
Coastal Defence Line:- many of the areas behind the coastline were heavily fortified to prevent an invading force pushing inland. Very little remains today of these fortifications as the local councils, soon after the war were keen to clear up their holiday coastlines.
Command Line:- this defensive position originated
at the mouth of the River Colne at Mersea Island, on the Essex coast,
Command Line followed the river through the town from Rowhedge to Lexden. In the
four and a half miles of its path around the town, 56 defense structures were
Here it left the river and headed north following the line of the Marks Tey to Sudbury railtrack. The track alternates from deep cuttings to high embankments, between Chappel and Bures, an ideal man made obstacle.
The armourment consisted of:-
Structure 5-In 1942 two 29mm spigot mortars (Gun Pedestal) added beneath the arches.
6 -North end of viaduct, Pillbox with anti-aircraft gun to prevent attacks
from the air. No picture available.
Today, as you can see most of these defenses still survive, the three Pillboxes, the concrete cubes, the concrete cylinders together with the spigot mortar gun pedestals.
continued it`s path to Bures using the rail track as we said before.
At Bures, the Command Line once again diverted away from the rail track
back to the River Stour where it continued on towards Sudbury and finally
to stopping somewhere near to Bury.
available on what happened to the line at Sudbury)