Author Topic: South Foreland Battery  (Read 299 times)

Offline Alastair

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2021, 12:43:12 PM »
Tour of the South Foreland Battery Part 3
Carry on down the path past the Incinerator and Sceptic Tank through the Boundary Fence and on to the railway. Here there was a wooden Platform as at the Chalk Pit but this one was bigger. Whereas the Chalk Pit platform had to deal with mainly Ammunition for No 4 gun and fuel oil, this one dealt with both Ammunition for guns 1, 2 and 3, fuel oil, coal and provisions for the entire Battery.
Back up the path, turn right passing the Battery Office and then the Officer's Mass on the right hand side. All the buildings mentioned, with the Exceptionof the Nissen huts, were of the same design, just differing in size according to use. They were single storey with flat roofs, like the one remaining building that was the Galley.
A large expanse of ground comes next, which I suspect was a parade ground. Chalk, rather than concrete, due to camouflage. Opposite this on the left hand side were three Nissen huts to house those operating Number 1 Engine House, which stood to the right of the concrete path which leads off to the left. It was called 'the Concrete Path' because it was a path made of concrete. The fact that it was called that at all implies that it was not there originally, at least, not in that form.
Turning on to said Concrete Path, there is a cattle grid, about which, more later. On ther right the Engine House No 1 and opposite that, on the left a shooting range. The Marines had to keep up their shooting skills, no doubt. Two more Nissen huts on the left and beyond them the magazines for No 1 gun. Exactly the same as those for No 4 gun, set in the ground with their roofs flush with the surface. The ground here was clear in 1941 with no vegetation as there is now .On the left is a large mound which conceals the magazines for Nos 2 and 3 guns. These were built above ground and covered in earth but with a reinforced steel 'burster over themin the earth. The idea was that if a shell or bomb landed it would explode, or burst, before it hit the magazine itself.
The Concrete Path joins Sea View Road here and I will continue later.

Offline Alastair

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2021, 12:14:12 PM »
Thanks, Dave, I didn't know that. Presumably it would have been from the Low radar by the lighthouse.
Alastair

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2021, 02:31:13 PM »
Alastair. I just read that they were radar controlled from the official writing of the episode. Either Hi or Lo could have been used but I think Hi was more for aircraft.

Offline Alastair

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2021, 12:38:26 PM »
Dave, I'm not sure that the guns were radar controlled. There was an OP which was connected to the Plotting Room (haven't got there yet in my narrative travels) but there was a radar dish by South Foreland Lighthouse designated Chain Home Low. As opposed to Swingate Radar which was Chain Home High.
Alastair

Offline stuartwaters

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2021, 05:40:49 PM »
Tirpitz staying in port is classic naval "fleet in being" strategy. Simply put, once sunk it's no longer a threat. Sometimes it's more menacing just to be sat there looking threatening.
see tiny link below........

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleet_in_being


Now not so tiny  ;D
"I did not say the French would not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Admiral Sir John Jervis, 1st Earl St Vincent.

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2021, 02:02:37 PM »
Thanks Bill. That map was interesting. I wonder where the radar was to control the guns? One might assume that those very tall masts that were in the area ( I well remember the early ones by the side of the road near Sandwich) collected the images & they were relayed by telephone to the site?

Offline Bill Jones

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2021, 09:09:47 AM »
I asked John on the south east history site if I can post this map as it shows things there, very interesting and i will be visiting when I can leave the house http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?board=6.0

Offline Nemo

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2021, 10:34:22 PM »
A site visit report appears within https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/tags/dover/

Offline Cosmo Smallpiece

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2021, 06:13:07 PM »
Tirpitz staying in port is classic naval "fleet in being" strategy. Simply put, once sunk it's no longer a threat. Sometimes it's more menacing just to be sat there looking threatening.
see tiny link below........

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleet_in_being

Offline MartinR

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2021, 12:18:37 PM »
My late father used to say something similar: "to a continental power the seas are a barrier which has to be crossed whereas to a maritime power the seas connect us to our allies".  This attitude seems to play out will with the Spanish, French and Germans.  It also plays well with the EU vs UK.  Like all such sayings it is of course a simplification.
Continuing with the simplification: the Germans in both WWs (with the notable exception of the submarines) tended to "day cruise".  They came out, performed their mission and retired to port for safety and repairs.  The British on the other hand tended to try to keep a substantial part of the fleet at sea, returning to harbour only when necessary.  Like I said, a pretty gross simplification but I think justified as a trend in general if not in particular.

Offline Alastair

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2021, 11:24:53 AM »
Dave, thank you for your reply. I've often wondered about the Germans naval strategy. It had some incredibly powerful ships but made very little use of them. Tirpitz sat in a Norwegian fiord and only came out to attack. Surely the best use of such a vessel would be to keep it at sea where it could be better employed? Scharnhorst and Gneisnau were much the same and Prinz Eugen didn't shine at all, except to beat a hasty retreat from the Bismark's demise. It came to an ignominious end, being used by the American Navy for target practice.
My late mother said that the Germans were not good at marine warfare, unlike the British, who, being an island, were rather good at it.
Alastair

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2021, 11:40:30 AM »
Alastair. Interesting reading , your travel through the site. One can almost be there at the time that it was active. I've recently read the official discourse on the infamous " Channel dash". In that it does mention that South Foreland Battery did fire, as they had radar controlled 9.2" guns. Didn't sink anything though! So for the radar, they would have needed a fair amount of electricity from the diesel generators. I'm sure that someone will tell us whether radar works on ac or dc, I suspect the latter? Having read, absorbed & pondered that report, I wonder whether the War Cabinet- probably Churchill- had done a Military Appreciation of the Situation? "Why do the Germans want to go West? To protect Norway from us invading. But we don't intend to invade Norway! Would we be better off if those deadly ships were in those waters rather than in the Atlantic, where they pose a considerable threat to the Atlantic convoys from the USA? Ponder, not for long! Let them through but try to sink them on the way"! I wonder?

Offline Alastair

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2021, 03:13:03 PM »
Tour of South Foreland Battery Part 2
Coming back out of the gate (there was no gate in 1941. Vehicles had to get through) to your right across the road is the line of bushes by the Engine House. Immediately to the left of that was a ruined cottage. What it looked like I don't know but if it was fit for use then the military would have used it. To the left of that is a circular gun pit. This originally held an anti-aircraft gun which was moved somewhere more strategic for Operation Diver, the defence against V1s. It was replaced by a Spigot Mortar. The shelves were lined with wooden slats to store the shells.
The ground here is open grass up to the flat-roofed farther up. On this ground were originally three, later increased to eight Nissen huts. There were paths in the chalk crossing it, one from the Engine House depression, which led up the bank opposite the cottage and across to the Mess. To the right of this path were urinals.
On the left hand side of the road a Workshop was set back from the road. I believe it was an existing building converted to military use. Like all the other buildings, Nissens, Accomodation, etc there was a of bank of earth piled in neat rectangles exactly matching the building but set out from it by a few feet. This was to attempt to lessen any blast from incoming shells or bombs.
Coming to the surviving flat-roofed building on the right, this was the kitchen. Or Galley, since the battery was manned by Marines and they used Royal Navy parlance. In front of that, almost up to the road, was the Dining Room, or Mess. To its right is the entrance to the Underground Shelter which stretched from the immediate right of the Workshop to level with the Mess.
Directly opposite the Mess across the road, slightly set back, was he Converter House. A smallish concrete structure slightly higher than the Mess which was, basically,a transformer. The Engines in the Engine House produced electricity in DC. The guns operated on DC but the Converter House was needed to convert the DC to Ac current for lighting,telephones,etc.
Up the front of the Converter House was a vertical iron ladder. At the top there was an unnecessarily large retaining rail running round the whole top of the building. It is my opinion, and only my opinion, that this was used as a lookout and Air Raid Warning Post.
Turn right down the concrete path by the Mess and the Galley and on the right of it was the Coal Store. This was for cooking and heating.
On the left were Regimental Offices and slightly further along was a toilet block. Next on the right was the Sergeant's Mess then the path turns left . On the left was the Ablutions and Showers and lastly the First Aid Post .The Soakaway was opposite the Ablutions - to the right of that the Incinerator and to the right of that the Sceptic Tank.
All for now, more later
Alastair


Offline grandarog

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2021, 11:43:42 AM »
Account  of the Fleet Air Arm operation Fuller against the Channel Dash.
https://www.fleetairarm.com/history-of-channel-dash.aspx
The 6 Swordfish A/C all took off from Manston.

Much more detailed account here,
https://www.manstonhistory.org.uk/channel-dash-bravest-brave/


Offline Alastair

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2021, 11:42:48 AM »
You're probably right Howard - I just recall that it was an air attack.