Armageddon's Walls: British Pill Boxes and Bunkers 1914–1918 by Peter Oldham

By Peter Oldham

The British military and her commonwealth Allies went to struggle in 1914 with little wisdom and event of making everlasting, shell facts protecting constructions. a few masonry fortifications, corresponding to shielding blockhouses in South Africa, were outfitted however the Royal Engineers of the military have been extra versed in basic transitority defenses appropriate for cellular struggle. domestic defenses have been a restricted variety of forts round naval ports, and Martello Towers at the east coast. It used to be thought of that the military used to be fairly in a position to shield Britain’s coasts.

The Germans, nevertheless, as with the opposite continental nations corresponding to France, Belgium, Italy, Holland, Poland, Austria, and so forth. were consistently renewing and updating border forts for numerous centuries. they'd additionally maintained fortification and siege components in their armies, who have been skilled in designing and developing robust shelters. either German and French armies started the warfare with a level of workmanship in what used to be to turn into a static conflict with little flow. even though, by means of 1918 the British have been to surpass either enemy and her allies within the layout and building, with provide and logistics, of such shell facts disguise for troops and shielding positions.

This publication supplies the background of improvement and innovation of concrete bunkers, capsule bins, blockhouses and basic concrete structures throughout the First international warfare. lots of those constructions – a few displaying visible symptoms of conflict harm - nonetheless exist in France and Belgium today.

All the present constructions, with photo (except for a few that are impractical, as a result of dense vegetation,) are proven inside of. Many entries have modern maps exhibiting how they outfitted right into a shielding procedure, when for others the positioning will be pointed out from the textual content. GPS coordinates are given for every access, aside from a number of that are on deepest land and the place privateness has been requested.

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32, 36–7. The ‘Scouts’ movement was phenomenally successful in the pre-war period, attracting 128,397 boys to its ranks in 1912. Although the reasons for its popularity are debatable – many working-class boys were attracted to the movement because of the opportunity to undertake outdoor pursuits rather than because of its promotion of empire—the ‘Scouts’ undeniably encouraged militaristic ideals and routine. See Bernard Porter, The Absent-Minded Imperialists: Empire, Society, and Culture in Britain (Oxford, 2004), 188, 208.

The British, having gone from one major European war to another via a small war—or wars—on the way, had not had any breathing space to reflect, in contrast to their continental rivals. 53 The British interpretation of the ‘offensive à outrance’ was mixed. It certainly made some headway amongst higher levels of the army, but at a lower level was treated more circumspectly. On a doctrinal level, the South African conflict created few new ideas, and instead tended to reinforce existing concepts. The British retained their somewhat cautious and pragmatic approach to tactics, although at higher levels it was fashionable to ape continental thought.

Positive images of war and the army were prevalent in pre-1914 British society. The literate pre-war male generation had been brought up on the adventure stories of G. A. Henty, H. Rider Haggard, Boy’s Own magazine, and best-selling accounts of the South African War which promoted an image of war as both honourable and glorious. Amongst the middle and upper classes a military spirit was promoted in public schools. 40 Schoolboys idolized military heroes produced by contemporary imperial and colonial wars.

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