Topic categories:

Wartime defences

You need to be signed in to respond to this topic

First pagePrevious page

Displaying 46 to 60 of 77 posts

Page 4 of 6

1 2 3 4 5 6
Next pageLast page
77 posts:
Order:    

Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
All posts by this member
46 of 77  Sun 9th Jul 2017 2:39pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1699

Robin D Leach. This topic has only come to light recently so I missed your original request, I can pin-point exactly where the north of the city gun sites were, are you still interested?
Wartime defences
LesMac
Coventry
All posts by this member
47 of 77  Sun 9th Jul 2017 5:09pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:294

Kaga. Here is a map of gun placements in UK. Unfortunately it doesn't give proper names to the gun positions.
Wartime defences
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
All posts by this member
48 of 77  Mon 17th Jul 2017 11:04am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1699

LesMac. Thanks for the map. During 1939 the gov't passed a defence act that gave ministries drastic powers, no one owned anything anymore, the gov't did, Factory owners were told what to make and how much, farmers were told what to plant and how much, councils were told who they had to accommodate, and numbers, and given the power to do so. The council told my father we had to take in soldiers and my sister lost her room. The military told the agr. ministry they needed a field. The agr. told the farmer, the farmer moved his cattle into the football field and the footballers lost their pitch. A guy had a lovely garden, '39 was a sweltering summer, he watered his garden before leaving for work - when he came home it had disappeared, the council had to get to the water mains (for some reason under his garden) to connect to the new army barracks. On one side of the road they placed a big gun to defend Coventry and the power station, half a mile away they placed a smaller gun, to look after its big brother from low level attacks. A low raider came over, hit Sutton Stop, drained the canal, that in turn put the power station out of action till the canal was restored, and the military changed the small gun to one larger. (One darn thing after another.)
Wartime defences
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
All posts by this member
49 of 77  Thu 20th Jul 2017 7:00pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1699

I'm not sure if anyone is interested in the war anymore, but people since the war will never know how close they were to having no life at all, for had the Germans won, all British males would have been sterilized or worked in labour camps. Very few people before the war thought the German bombers would reach Coventry, and although we had a large AA gun outside our house and next to the power station, I have no idea of the placement of others - there was nothing within a mile of that gunsite, no barrage balloon, no defense at all to my knowledge. I don't recall anything near the Morris, Sterling Metals or Riley. But in those early days, the war was far afield and apart from the rationing and blackout did not effect Coventry directly. When suddenly France was getting overrun and we were getting pushed back to the sea, people as well as military realised, with Germany being able to use French airfields and ports, they would be only a step away from Britain. Fear swept through Britain, this was about May 1940. 9 months into the war, Dunkirk was about to happen, the gov't then called for volunteers to join a fighting force the LDV, later called the Home Guard. The phoney war was over. Within days of the fall of Paris, German troops were massed on the Channel coast, poised for invasion. People left the south coast in droves, southern towns were ghost towns. Invasion committees were set up. The Germans had sped through France at such speed, tension gripped England - it was easy to think it would propel them to invade. Signposts were removed, farmers were asked to move hayricks to the middle of fields to stop gliders from landing. Hundreds of posters were put up - 'Keep calm'. Large houses in the Midlands were made ready for the Cabinet, Churchill, and the Royal Family to move to. Church bells could only be rung by military or police. But for some reason Hitler turned to the east and left England to his bombers.
Wartime defences
flapdoodle
Coventry
All posts by this member
50 of 77  Fri 21st Jul 2017 11:01pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:825

Hitler was well known to admire Britain, so I doubt he would have done that. He turned 'east' because the Nazis lost. The Battle of Britain was their attempt to eliminate the RAF to facilitate an invasion. When they lost, Hitler abandoned any plans. He was always planning to invade Russia. They didn't have much of a chance of a successful invasion as they didn't have the equipment or the experience of an amphibious assault, and back then the Royal Navy ruled the waves.
Wartime defences
LesMac
Coventry
All posts by this member
51 of 77  Sat 22nd Jul 2017 10:03am  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:294

Quite correct flapdoodle, Germany couldn't invade Britain and Hitler knew it. Kaga is correct that plenty of people left rural areas but it was not because they were afraid it was because they wanted to work in Britain's industrial heartlands, the Midlands. There are two myths about Britain in 1940. First, that the result of the Battle of Britain saved England from invasion. The second is that with fighter command destroyed Germany could just walk into England. Not counting William of Orange who was invited to England the only invasion to succeed was the invasion of 1066. At that time Harold was in Yorkshire fighting his brother. Hitler would not have that luxury of having two and a half million British armed men being in Yorkshire. Invading England is incredibly difficult. Everything has to be in place. First a full moon would be useful as departure from France and Norway would need to take place in the evening prior to landing. Landing at dawn is a must because the Germans would need as many hours of daylight as possible to secure a good foothold. Those barges further north would need to start away first so everything came together nicely. A high tide is also useful as landing as high up the beach as possible is a must. During 1940 there was only a few days when all these conditions were in place. Landing by glider would not be a viable because farmers left machinery in open fields. Hitler's invasion fleet consisted of barges made for river work that for the most part had no engines and would have to be towed across the channel by fishing boats. Some from as far away as Norway. With a maximum speed of about four mph some of the barges would have to be at sea for at least four tides, some a lot more. Would the soldiers be battle ready when they reached England's south coast? Doubtful. Adolf had a lot of faith in the use of horses in 1940. Perhaps he was right as no vehicles would be available on landing. British troops, perhaps three or four regiments would be waiting with heavy artillery to repel the invaders who may not be in condition to fight. That is of course if Operation Sealion ever reached our shores. One can only guess at the condition of the horses after several days at sea. In 1940 the Royal Navy was massive with over 750 fighting ships with 150 in home waters Churchill had stationed 40 destroyers around the south coast in case Sealion was ever launched. The bow wave from a destroyer would swamp Hitler's barges and Hitler knew it. Keeping river and canal craft ready for invasion created other problems. The barges were a vital form of transport, keeping them in various ports made transport of coal etc very difficult. Bomber Harris wanted to destroy these vast rafts of barges at their moorings but Churchill wanted Adolf to launch Sealion as he knew that the Royal Navy could easily destroy the barges and everything they contained. Hitler as usual lied about the reason that Sealion was never launched, he blamed the weather. Not true. Hitler knew that an invasion would be to costly in men and equipment. Operation Sealion would have been a disaster for Adolf. Hitler may have been insane, launching Barbarossa and declaring war on the USA within a very short time of each other was the act of a madman.
Wartime defences
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
All posts by this member
52 of 77  Sat 22nd Jul 2017 4:15pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1699

LesMac, Flapdoodle. We didn't believe there would be a Belsen but it happened. Well, in a few days people will see the film Dunkirk, if it is realistic then we shall see what army is the victors on that date, first let's get the date right, end of May, early June. We were an island, in 1939 we produced less than 40% of our food. The navy did not rule the seas, the u-boats did, Hitler wanted us to submit through lack of food and morale, so many merchant boats and supplies were sunk. Bacon, the traditional English breakfast, was rationed to 4oz if it was available, along with butter and sugar in the depths of a freezing winter. Britain needed to dig for victory, rations were cut again. Restaurants were restricted to so much they could sell. Community feeding centres were set up, new laws, boys of twelve could drive tractors and plough the land. Hundreds of little things were going on. The face of English farming was transformed. Meat was rationed by weight about 1 shilling's worth each person. Bread was not rationed but bakers were asked to keep it on the shelves for a day, so it was not so tasty (when they could get flour). Les Mac, it was not factory workers that left the south, it was the well to do people. May/June 1940. The Battle of Britain officially claimed as Sept, had not happened at the time of Dunkirk. When we feared invasion. Forecasts of German airpower in the thirties were widely inaccurate, the gov't and most people thought the bombing would be confined to the south and London. The Home Guard was formed, the man given the job to train them into a fighting force was Ian Fleming's elder brother Peter. The Luftwaffe bombed all the sea ports in the channel, I believe it was the summer before they attacked London and the cities, I also believe it was in the summer before he said he would invade because 'he did not want war with Britain', but as it had ignored his last plea for reason. The Luftwaffe carried out numerous raids on channel convoys with success. It wasn't till Sept when fighter command won the Battle of Britain. A few days later Hitler shelved the invasion and turned to Russia. The Luftwaffe had turned to night raids on English cities.
Wartime defences
LesMac
Coventry
All posts by this member
53 of 77  Sat 22nd Jul 2017 6:17pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:294

Fortunately there was not a defeatist attitude in the UK in 1940. This makes interesting reading.
Wartime defences
Earlsdon Kid
Argyll & Bute, Scotland
All posts by this member
54 of 77  Sat 22nd Jul 2017 10:09pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2017  Total posts:13

Your comments have reminded me of some of the sights I remember from my school days. I am far too young to have the insights into the war years, but I do remember some of the remaining prefabs around Coventry. The few at the bottom of Glendower Avenue immediately come to mind. There was also a row of large houses to the NW of Coventry station that were left bomb damaged well into the 1960's and I think were on the route of the inner ring road. I forget the name of the road without referring to old street maps but I'm pretty sure it ran parallel to Park Road. When I first started at KHVIII the quad area was still housing temporary wooden classrooms and the top corner of Spencer Park, nearest the school, had a small brick and concrete guard post that was one of our regular haunts on the way home from classes. I'm not sure when that was demolished but I suspect it may have lasted into the 1970's. Regarding the German riverboats constructed between WW1 and WW2, I spent a holiday in Puerto Banus, Spain aboard one of these riverboats. It was a beautifully constructed craft, but what I found interesting were the dimensions. It was about 80ft long with a comparatively narrow width which indicated the capabilities of a fast craft. The engines were two very large diesels which would have been more suited to an offshore powerboat racer. On further investigation it was revealed that the wooden external hull was concealing a lighter steel hull, so it was quite possible to remove much of the wooden cladding and superstructure to convert it to a much faster craft. Southern Spain was quite an eye opener when you started to look below the surface even during the late 1980's and early 1990's while I was there. However, this is a much longer story!
Wartime defences
Midland Red
Cherwell
All posts by this member
55 of 77  Sun 23rd Jul 2017 7:50am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4407

The bomb damaged houses you refer to would be those on St Patrick's Road Thumbs up
Wartime defences
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
All posts by this member
56 of 77  Sun 23rd Jul 2017 12:40pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1699

LesMac. In May/June 1940 the cream of our fighting force were being fished from the sea. I don't think the fear in Coventry was defeatist talk, or sea battles, more not knowing what was going to happen, the only talk I remember was of German parachutists landing, and how we were going to cope. Every day that went by we got easier, the soldiers were recuperating and regrouping, the Home Guard were getting more proficient, and this was before Hitler really considered an invasion. It was the middle of July before he prepared operation Sea Lion and the general to rule England. Meanwhile his bombers were hitting convoys in the channel, and bombing our channel ports, and his bombers could use French airfields and travel farther, as we and other cities found out in Sept. In 1942 over 6000 troops, mainly Canadians, set out across the Channel to try invasion on Dieppe, backed up by 8 destroyers. Everything went wrong, one was the destroyers didn't lay a strong enough barrage down. 1944. A little farther down the Channel. Slapton Sands, Devon, over a thousand troops taking part in a beach exercise. German E-Boats opened fire, almost 900 killed or wounded. Newsreel people were banned from saying a word. At the outbreak of war the Royal Navy took over a number of buildings, renamed them HMS So and So, swell the lists to deceive the Germans. One was the famous Roedean Girls School, HMS Vernon. Another a swimming pool complex (Dickie Attenborough?? stationed there).
Wartime defences
Earlsdon Kid
Argyll & Bute, Scotland
All posts by this member
57 of 77  Sun 23rd Jul 2017 3:44pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2017  Total posts:13

Thanks MR, that's helped to revive the memory, I see part of St Patricks Road still survives alongside the ring road!
Wartime defences
Midland Red
Cherwell
All posts by this member
58 of 77  Sun 23rd Jul 2017 4:06pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4407

Yes EK - link Thumbs up
Wartime defences
LesMac
Coventry
All posts by this member
59 of 77  Mon 24th Jul 2017 12:35pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:294

Yes Kaga, only the English could turn the incidents at Dunkirk from retreat to a victory. Suppose that the masses of little ships that got involved gripped peoples imagination. The fact that thousands of British troops were plucked off the beaches is something that the little ships crews could be proud of. It also shows how inefficient the Luftwaffe was in only being able to hit three of those hundreds of largely stationary, unprotected ships. From September or perhaps before that, the RAF showed that they ruled the sky over England. A daylight parachute or glider attack would have been a disaster for the Germans and that is the reason that it never happened. Slapton, in fact the whole of Tor Bay has been one of my favourite holiday destinations in England for a long time. There is a very good book written by Ken Small, a hotelier at Slapton who witnessed the whole debacle of American forces attempting a landing at Slapton. Half of the American defence of the landing had been withdrawn but those in charge decided to carry on with the exercise. A chance patrol by enemy E-Boats took advantage of the situation and inflicted a lot of damage to the US landing craft. There was some dispute about what happened to the dead Americans. It is claimed that the bodies were not returned to America and as there are no local graves. one can only guess what happened to them. After the war Ken wanted to drag one of the US tanks ashore but as they technically belonged to the States there was a lot of red tape that had to be sorted out. Eventually Ken got permission to claim one tank.
Wartime defences
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
All posts by this member
60 of 77  Mon 24th Jul 2017 6:59pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1699

LesMac. Better still, you can Google several reports, but however you look at it that was an awful lot of lives, seems the E-boats had the run of the Channel, at Dieppe they ran into a German convoy - makes you think just how safe were we?
Wartime defences

You need to be signed in to respond to this topic

First pagePrevious page

Displaying 46 to 60 of 77 posts

Page 4 of 6

1 2 3 4 5 6
Next pageLast page

Previous (older) topic

Hales Street
|

Next (newer) topic

Shops of yore
View similar topics in the Wartime and the Blitz category
 
Home | Forum index | Forum stats | Forum help | Log out | About me | My music
Top of the page
HTML5
1,336,064
Counter by Rob Orland

This page last updated 21st April 2017  (Load time: 60ms)