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Author Topic: kent anti-aircraft batteries  (Read 51355 times)

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Offline peterchall

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2012, 20:11:23 »
Islesy, at £86.48 on Amazon the choice was buying the book or my wife starving for a month, and she didn't like that idea :) :) However, it is being re-published in paper back in September from about £11, so I'm saving up.

But in the meantime, is there any explanation for the duplicated references, because one point of confusion is that in the thread on the Dornier crash at Boundary Road, Chatham, there is a report of it approaching Chatham from the south after having been hit by S25, and that map ref is to the north! Click on P4 of the copied report: http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=6553.msg117626#msg117626
Also, is there any mention of a battery at Harp Farm?

Ta :)
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Offline Islesy

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2012, 19:03:03 »
Prior to the Gazetteer, Dobinson points out that any references given that differ by more than 100 metres are listed as sometimes sites were moved and swapped about. He makes the point that map references were critical in this period and highly accurate, a clerk that transposed a map reference incorrectly could face a period in the slammer as punishment!
The book is excellent peterchall, well worth the price.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2012, 17:24:45 »
 Thanks again :) :)

Note that the Ref for TS13 is duplicated at TS25, and that for TS14 is duplicated at TS26, but in the list at Reply#3, TS25 and TS26 are stated to be West Malling and Harp Farm respectively.

Number of HAA guns in Thames and Medway South, at the 1940 dates shown, from 'The Narrow Margin':
11 July = 70: 21 August, 11 September and 9 October = 72.
Assuming 4 guns per site - although not necessarily the case - that would mean 18 sites for most of the time, leaving several sites in the list unoccupied, as Otis mentions, or perhaps not yet built.

In addition the were 2 guns shown for the defence of West Malling airfield.













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Offline Islesy

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2012, 14:27:45 »
Here is the full list for you peterchall.

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Offline peterchall

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2012, 13:19:47 »
Thanks again, folks :).

When the sites are plotted on a map it becomes apparent that the numbers have no logical geographic pattern, so were probably allocated in chronological order, hence S26 not being on Otis’s August 1940 list – the list at Reply #3 is evidently later.

The Cassini Ref for S14 and the NG Ref in Islesy’s list correspond, and are very near to Lower Hope Point on the OS map, so evidently correct and Islesy’s ref for S26 must be a misprint.

There is a Harp Farm at TQ775600, which corresponds to Cassini R216785, so that is presumably the location. I can’t see any evidence on Google Earth of where it would have been in relation to the farm, but at the top of Boxley Hill it would have been an ideal location.

The references to ‘Wattisham’ remain a mystery.
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Offline Islesy

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2012, 12:03:27 »
That's great, Islesy. Many thanks :) :)
But you have S14 and S26 the same - can you check, please?

Have checked again and the refs are identical - have taken from Colin Dobinson's excellent book "AA Command" that uses both 1940 and 1942 data.
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Offline otis

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2012, 11:32:19 »
In August 1940, S14 is listed as Cassini ref R163965 four 3 inch guns,

There is no site after S25 in that 1940 list, sorry

S11 has four 3.7" mobiles

S13 and S20 have no guns.

S22 and S23 were also not gunned at that time.

Wattisham is also shown as 2 sites each of a pair in 3" guns in the same list following under the Thames and Medway South category.

Guns were moved about in a fluid way in this period as threats changed the dispositions. Was not unusual for a battery to be moved to a new location and be under the control of a new division, even though logistically it remained under the Regiment of the former Division.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2012, 23:03:35 »
That's great, Islesy. Many thanks :) :)
But you have S14 and S26 the same - can you check, please?

I suspect the guns were mobile 3.7's because all those sites were in the 1940 list (Reply #3) but missing from the 1942 list (Reply #8). Thames and Medway South sites were controlled from a Gun Operations Room (GOR) on Watling Street, Gillingham, and it looks as if another GOR had been opened at Maidstone by 1942.

I'm puzzled by the 2 Wattisham sites listed in Reply #3, because the only Wattisham that I know of was/is an RAF station in Norfolk! Any ideas?
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Offline Islesy

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2012, 22:52:49 »
S11 - Grain; TQ893754
S13 - Cooling; TQ765762
S14 - Lower Hope; TQ720779
S20 - Dartford By-pass; TQ572746 (listed as Littlebrook Farm)
S26 - Harp Farm. TQ720779

Don't know the gun types though I'm afraid peterchall
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Offline peterchall

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2012, 09:57:14 »
I am trying to locate the positions of all the Thames and Medway South AA batteries. Does anyone know the Cassini or National Grid References, (or any other locating system), for the following, please, and the type of gun, if possible?
S11 - Grain; S13 - Cooling; S14 - Lower Hope; S20 - Dartford By-pass; S26 - Harp Farm.
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Offline unfairytale

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2011, 19:12:21 »
There's more info on the Canadians at Dover, here...
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4864.0

Here...
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4863.0

And here, where there's also a mention of the Fordwich site; CN1.
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4862.0
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lornephillips

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2011, 17:59:05 »
Here's a list of the heavy anti V1 sites at Dover. All manned by U.S. forces:

D14, D15 & D24. Lydden Spout Four 90mm to each battery.
D 25 Fathingloe battery. Four 90mm.
D26 & D27 Langdon Four 90mm to each battery.
D28 &D29 Wanstone Four 90mm to each battery.


IfYou want me to bore you to death I'll post my list of light AA batteries in Dover!  ;D
       
May I add D1, D2 and DX. D1 and D2 were HAA RA batterys and Canadians operated the RADAR.
DX was the Eighth Search Light Bty, RA and the RADAR was operated by Canadians
D1 was manned by 296, 349 and 18 Bty, RA and overlooked Shakespeare Cliff.
Canadian RADAR operators were from 1st Canadian Radio Location Unit.

Another Kent AA site was CN1 built on the edge of a Golf Course, high above Canterbury. As we walked into Canterbury from our gun site the first to appear was the spire of Canterbury Cathedral. Since the Golf Course took a dim view of having to give up part of their Course to a HAA Unit I'm sure they wasted no time in making all signs of a Gun Site disappear once the war was over. This particular site was manned by mobile RA gunners and the Light Warning set was manned by Canadian RADAR operators from the 1st CRLU.

Offline unfairytale

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2011, 20:53:03 »
I heard this programme when it went out but neglected to post a link. Click to play, the relivent bit starts at 31mins.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b010mt2t/Womans_Hour_28_04_2011/
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Offline david

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2011, 19:26:29 »
Reference to Females on Ack- Ack sites, the battery at Sarre mill, on the isle of Thanet had female staff, the accomodation buildings which still exist, are marked up as for females.

According to Dobinson in 'AA Command'  on 21 August 1941 the first mixed battery became operational at ZS20 in Richmond Park. It was expected that all new HAA regiments passing through training would in future be exclusively mixed. Though they were termed 'mixed' women far outnumbered men in their establishments. A typical mixed battery of 388 personnel included 299 women. By 1941 it was expected that 40 mixed batteries would be fully formed, and in action, and to see the jobs of 15,000 men taken by 18,500 women. A year later it was planned no fewer than 170,000 of the 220,000  women due by then to be serving with the ATS  would be 'manning' AA Command's gunsites. However this was not realised and the ATS complement never exceeded 74,000 but by the end of 1944 there were more women serving with AA Command than men.
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Offline david

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2011, 17:46:46 »
On reflection, the 'Thames and Medway South  HAA Zone' was under the inner 'Fighter Zone', so I'm assuming that any reference by the GOR to 'divers' was to warn the guns off firing at them.

Having recently obtained a copy of Dobinson's book 'AA Command' I can now give some explanation of the use of term 'Diver' in connection with AA batteries.

Issued on March 4 1944 the Overlord/Diver concurrent plan anticipated a range of strategic scenarios over the following months. Overlord was a commitment with a definite time element. Diver however, the start of the V1 offensive, was an increasing posibility. It could have appeared at a late stage of preparations for the Normany invasion and certainly after the defences for the invasion embarkation points had been put in place.  The plan allowed for the Diver defences to be mobilised after those for Overlord. (It superceeded the earlier 'crossbow' scheme.)  The plan called for a solid air defence for any targets troubled by Diver (V1s). A careful allocation of guns for the three different commitments was needed using statics and mobiles as wisely as possible also drawing upon US units in the Uk. Overlord was allocated 1258 HAA guns and 950 LAA guns. This left a stock of guns for Diver. The guns were expected to be in place no later than D-30.  The Diver defence consisted of fighters, searchlights, guns and balloons. Fighters formed the front line with AA guns spanning the North Downs behind them. Balloons formed the final physical barrier against low flying V1s. The Diver North Downs gun belt comprised 50 sites with 8 HAA guns each, 400 guns manned by British units. Diver defences could be supplement by US  troops if needed.

The Diver element of the original Overlord/Diver plan had allocated  192 HAA and 246 LAA weapons to Diver. The HAA was to be split equally between  AA Command and American units and the LAA guns would include 108 guns from Home Forces. In the event the whole of the HAA requirement, 192 guns, was met by using six AA Command regiments, each equipped by four batteries of eight 3.7in mobiles.  Most were in postion by midday on 17 June.

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