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Author Topic: kent anti-aircraft batteries  (Read 52902 times)

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Offline doug

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2011, 18:56:08 »
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.

Offline Alastair

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2011, 12:36:17 »
Peterchall's drawing looks exactly as the plotting rooms for the RAF would have looked. My Mother was in one in Orkney. She started on the plotting table and moved up to 'Ops B' on the balcony where instructions were telephoned to the fighter stations, or, in this case, guns.

Offline peterchall

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2010, 20:05:02 »
The ATS served on gun-sites from quite early in the war, but were only allowed to do non-combatant jobs. This meant that in practice they operated rangefinders and predictors, so in effect aimed the guns, but were not allowed to actually fire them!

The V1s were coded 'diver' because they dived at the end of their run. The V1 defences went through a number of phases before they eventually became a 'Fighter Zone' over the Channel; an 'AA Zone' over the coast and for a few miles inland; another 'Fighter Zone'; then balloons west of the Medway. Once that system was organised there weren't too many left for the London guns (always called the 'Inner Artillery Zone') to deal with. The coast guns were mainly LAA 40mm Bofors, and it was there that the US operated 37mm guns were on loan.

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.
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Offline Paul

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2010, 19:26:16 »
The prefix "Diver" could refer to the Diver Bateries that were set up to combat the V1?
I think they were known as Diver Box Battery and were mobile AA units.

Designed to put as much fragmentation into the air as possible.

Their locations can be found on http://pastscape.english-heritage.org.uk/textpage.aspx

Its suprising how many there were.
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Offline Maid of Kent

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2010, 19:18:08 »
Some where in this section I think the question of Women came up as possibly being on these AA Battery sites. I can remember walking up Featherby Rd with my Mother and I am sure there were ATS girls up there by the battery and I think there was some sort of encampment of tents and wooden huts and camoflage netting. I dont think it is my imagination but I could be wrong.

Offline peterchall

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2010, 18:29:24 »
Thanks again David,
So far as I can remember the GOR layout was as shown (it was 66 years ago!!). There was an electrical panel of some sort just outside the door that we had to work on a couple of times - or my 'mate' Bert Poole did; as a 15-year old boy I was too busy gawping through the doorway!

                                      

Aircraft were plotted on the table by ATS girls, and controllers on the balcony spoke to the gun-sites (hence the code 'Sugar 3' etc). I don't imagine the guns were physically controlled from the GOR, of course, but told of the movements of aircraft etc, and allocated targets. Messages re V1s were prefaced "diver, diver, diver". I don't know how far they were involved with actually firing on V1s, because they were normally too low for HAA to be effective; perhaps they also controlled light AA as well, but I can't remember. Nor do I remember just how far the remit of that particular GOR extended, but I think they also had communication with RAF Fighter Command.

Opposite the balcony was a wall map showing the gun-sites, with lights indicating their status.

For some reason, searchlights were controlled from a separate Ops Room located at an army camp on Hoath Lane, just above where Tesco's is now, but I never managed to get a look in there.

When I took the job with the REs I signed the Official Secrets Act, and never 'unsigned' it, so if you don't hear from me for some time it's because I'm in the Tower of London for posting this info :)
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Offline david

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2010, 10:33:14 »
Quote
As a result of your list I now remember they were coded 'Sugar 1', 'Sugar 2', etc. I can?t remember whether it covered beyond 'S' numbered sites.
My lists show AA sites with the following prefixes:

AD = Ashford
CN = Canterbury
D = Dover
FO = Folkstone
F = Foreland (F1 F2 F10 FX) with Ramsgate (F3 to F8) and Manston (F6)
R = Rye
C = Colchester (5 to 9) or Clacton (1 to 4)
H = Harwich
N = Thames and Medway North with Foulness
A = Bradwell
S = Thames and Medway South
M = Maidstone
TW = Tunbridge Wells




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Offline david

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2010, 10:19:21 »
Quote
Is there any way of converting the Cassini references to OS ones?

No, unfortunately. It has no relation to NG references and was used only on military maps.
More information here:
http://www.pillbox.org.uk/methodology/maps.asp
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Offline david

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2010, 10:13:17 »
Quote
The comparison with the previous list shows S2 as having 5.25? guns. I Never thought there was such an AA gun, so was that an error?
The 5.25inch AA gun was quite rare. By the end of 1943 sixteeen had been emplaced. It had automatic loading and was fully enclosed, fully shielded and the powered gun could fire a 80 pound weight shell, up to an effective height of 43,000 feet, at a rate of 12 rounds per minute.
A site for one at Stallingborough can been seen here:
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=stallingborough&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=14.828519,46.582031&ie=UTF8&ll=53.588181,-0.212635&spn=0.00363,0.011373&t=h&z=17

More details with photos here:
http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?2995-Stallinbrough-%28Lincs%29-5-inch-AA-Site
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Offline david

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2010, 09:53:20 »
This is not my area of expertise so I am open to correction:

The Static AA gun was transported to the site on a 'Platform Transporting'. The site was prepared with a ring of bolts set in concrete and the platform was driven over the ring. It was then lowered and the bolts tightened. The Platform Transporting was completely removed.  The Mobile AA gun came on a travelling carriage. Its outriggers were lowered but the gun remained on its carriage, the wheels still in place, although they could be raised for increased stability. Looking again at the list some sites  perhaps I am wrong that mobile guns needed holdfasts as some sites have mobile guns but no holdfasts emplaced. (I assumed that these holdfasts were simple rings set in concrete rather than the complete holding down ring of bolts required for static guns, but I now think that the sites with holdfasts emplaced meant that the site was prepared for a static gun).

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=3374.0

Yes, I saw the posting on how to format the table using TD but I would have needed to place over a hundred of them individually, so I gave up.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2010, 17:08:58 »
Hi david, thanks for the wealth of information, but as is so often the case, you have opened up more questions.

Am I right in thinking that a holdfast is a metal ring concreted into the ground, to which the gun is bolted?

If so, what is the difference between a mobile and a static 3.7" gun? If a 3.7"M is bolted to a holdfast, doesn't it make it a 3.7'S? I thought the mobile version had a 4-wheeled carriage and had jacks to steady it for firing, and the 2 front wheels were left in place.

I imagine that the sites with no guns in your list are where the guns have moved away leaving the holdfasts in place. But what a
bout accommodation huts, emplacements, etc? Does it mean that there is an empty site ready for rapid re-occupation?

Besides West Malling, 'The Narrow Margin' lists HAA guns in 1940 at Biggin Hill, Hawkinge, Manston, Rochford ,N Weald, Martlesham, and Ipswich airfields. Would these have been removed by 1940, or were they taken over by the RAF Regiment by 1942?

The TA Drill Hall on Watling Street, Gillingham was the Gun Operations Room (GOR) for all the batteries in the area in 1944. I was fortunate enough to do some electrical maintenance work in there on a couple of occasions. It was at the height of the V1 period and it was fascinating to watch the plotting on the table. There was a big wall map of the AA sites with lights showing their status. As a result of your list I now remember they were coded 'Sugar 1', 'Sugar 2', etc. I can't remember whether it covered beyond 'S' numbered sites. The V1s were coded 'Diver', and a warning message would be pre-faced 'diver, diver, diver'.

The comparison with the previous list shows S2 as having 5.25? guns. I Never thought there was such an AA gun, so was that an error?

Is there any way of converting the Cassini references to OS ones?

I agree that posting tables is a problem, but this link might be helpful:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=5204.0

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Offline david

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2010, 12:23:06 »
We all like lists so here we go:
WO166 7338
6AA Division HAA Sites 20 Sept 1942
THAMES &  MEDWAY (NORTH)



AA BDE      No.   GUN POSITION   MAP R
EF  GUNS DEPLOYED    HOLDFASTS
37      NAME   (CASSINI)                                              EMPLACED
   
   N1   THORPE BAY           M363035   4 x 3.7? S           4
   N2   BUTLERS FARM           M343073   4 x 3.7? S           4   
   N3                              M29513   ---------   
   N4   RAYLEIGH                   M241109   ---------           4
   N5   BELFAIRS                   M277055   4 x 3.7? S           4
   N7   FURTHERWICK           M231023   4 x 4.5?           4
   N8   NORTHWICK           M204027   ---------           4
   N9   HADLEIGH           M244050   4 x 4.5?           4
   NI0   VANGE                   M163152   ---------           4
   N11   ABBOTS HALL           M134015   4- x 3.7?S           4
   N13   BUCKLANDS           R121957   ---------           4
   N14   ORSETT                   M085980   ---------           4
   N15   CHADWELL           R055950   4 x 4.5?           4
   N16   BUCKLES                   R041002   ---------           4
   N19   AYLETTS                   L994016   4 x 4.5?   
   N21   CROUCHMANS           M384053   ---------           4
   N23   BELMONT                  R051982   ---------           4
      
   FOULNESS      
   N25   BARGE PIER                   M375028   ---------   
   N26    NEW BURWOOD           M443089   4 x 3.7? M           4
   N27    FISHERMANS HEAD           M476113   ---------   
   N28    RIDGEMARSH FM            M465126   4 x 3.7? M           4

   BRADWELL
   A10    EASTLAND                   M476264   4 x 3.7? M
   All    BRADWELL                   M423237   4 x 3.7? M

   CLACTON
   CI    EAST MERSEA            M299319   ---------
   C2    ST OSYTH                    M554308   ---------
   C3    JAYWICK                    M595321   4 x 3.7? M
   C4   LITTLE HOLLAND            M662351   4 x 3.7? M
C AA
 DIVISION HAA SITES .   20 SEPT 1942.
   THAMES & MEDWAY (SOUTH)

AA BDE      No.   GUN POSITION   MAP REF  GUNS DEPLOYED    HOLDFASTS
28      NAME                      (CASSINI)                      EMPLACED
   S1    SCRAPSGATE           R385918   4 x 3.7? M            4
   S2   IWADE                   R342875   4 x 4.5?            4
   S3    WETHAM GREEN   R287868   4 x 3.7? M            4
   S4   RAINHAM                   R252837   ------------    4
   S5   TWYDALL                   R236863   4 x 3.7? M            4
   S6   GIBRALTAR FARM    R226818   4 x 4.5?            4
   S7   FORT BORSTAL           R175850   4 x 4.5?            4
   S8    TOWER HILL           R196887   4 x 3.7? S            4
   S9   OAK STREET           R169898   4 x 4.5?            4
   S10   FENN STREET           R244941   4 x 3.7? S            4
   S12    ALLHALLOWS           R284964   2 x 3.7? M            4
   S15    COBHAM                   R118869   4 x 4.5?            4
   S16    DENTON                   R110926   4 x 4.5?            4
   S17    NORTHUMBERLAND BTM   R080987   4 x 3.7? S            4
   S18   GREEN ST GREEN            R033895   ------------    4
   S21    BELL FARM                   R417911   4 x 3.7? S            4
   S22    WHITEHALL FARM           R327958   4 x 4.5?            4
   S23    DECOY FARM                   R234959    ------------    4
   S24    BURHAM                           R162803   4 x 4.5?            4
      
   MAIDSTONE
   M1   BOXLEY GRANGE            R225787   ------------    4
   M2   BEARSTED                   R258750   4 x 3.7? S            4
   M3    BOUGHTON GRN           R216692   4 x 3.7? S            4
   M4   WEST MALLING            R136748   ------------    4
   M5    :              :                   R102726   ------------
   M6    :              :                   R109755   ------------

   TUNBRIDGE WELLS
   TW1   WINDMILL FM             R039563   4 x 3.7? M
   TW2   SPELDHURST            R989599   4 x 3.7? M
    
(Sorry about the table, It defied all my attempts to format it!)

Compare this with the previous lists:
i.e. some changes such as S2 IWADE .


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Offline unfairytale

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2009, 20:51:08 »
Other light batteries around Dover:

Lydden Spout: Fourty 40mm AA.
Lydden Spout: Twenty-four 20mm AA.
Hougham: Four unspecified batteries + Eight 20mm & 40mm AA.
River Minnis 40mm AA.
Langdon Hole: Eight 20mm AA.

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Offline unfairytale

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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2009, 20:44:23 »
Lydden Spout: Two 40mm Bofors.
Hougham: Two 40mm Bofors.
Citadel battery: Unspecified on 2 type 23 pillboxes.
Western Heights battery  Unspecified on 2 type 23 pillboxes & one 40mm Bofors.
Pier Turret battery: Two 40mm Bofors.
Dover Castle: Four 40mm Bofors.
Breakwater battery: Two 40mm Bofors.
Swingate CH: Unspecified on type 22 pillbox.
Langdon battery: Two 40mm Bofors.
Fan Bay battery: Two 40mm Bofors.
South Foreland battery: Two 40mm Bofors.
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Re: kent anti-aircraft batteries
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 20:30:19 »
Well I might as well bore everybody with my 1940 Dover list, anyway  ;D

D1 Citadel                         3.7"
D2 Langdon Bay                 3.7"
D3 Frith Farm                     ?
D4 Buckland                       ?
D5 Harbour                         3"
D8 Manston                       3"

D9 Manston                       3"
D10 Manston                      ?
D11 Folkestone                   3"
D13 Folkestone                    ?
D14 Folkestone                    ?
D15 Lympne                        ?
D16 Arpinge Farm                 3"


 

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