Essex’s Hardened Field Defences of World War II

Essex pill box

Essex coastal pill boxDuring the throes of World War II the UK was braced for attack. As the war progressed Essex’s hardened field defences became key to how the UK protected itself. There are many pill boxes in Essex, far too many to discuss on one page, so here we’ll look at some of our favourites. Feel free to add your own in the comments below!

Essex’s essential contribution

It was once stated that during World War II there was a weapons shortage on the home front, but nobody could ever say that there wasn’t a shortage of concrete.

Considered to be a key point of the British defence plan during World War II, the Essex Lozenge is unique to region’s seawalls. The wall features several pillboxes, which are large octagon constructions that have three faces, offering an unparalleled view of the surrounding area.

These days the majority of the Essex Lozenge pillboxes are inaccessible, as the seawall has sadly buried them overtime. The Essex Lozenge was undoubtedly a key point of defence along the coast, but it didn’t stand-alone.

The countryside region near the Essex coast was well-known for its flat nature and thus if you visit the region to today you are likely to see triple pillboxes, single pillboxes, sea wall pillboxes, through seawall pillboxes, corner sea pillboxes, and even type 22 pillboxes, some of which even have their periscopes intact.

The largest and most visible reinforced concrete construction Essex is the submarine control tower. The structure stands three stories tall and was used to control the Submarine Minefield. Entered through a heavily enforced and lip protected steel door, those who were given access had use of an observation slit and a suspended gallery.

The perfect trap

Essex pill box
World War Two Pillbox and Anti Tank Traps on the Marshes at Lee-Over-Sands.

Without advanced technology at hand, the UK defence board had to come up with alternative plans to stop tanks arriving on the mainland. One of such plans was an anti-tank ditch that would be dug in Essex.

The large ditch started near in Nazeing near the River Lea and reached all the way to Perry Hill at Bumbles Green, before dropping south to Copped Hall and Epping Upland. Today the famous anti-tank ditch is marked by its pillboxes, many of which offer reinforced concrete construction Essex and have walls that are 6 inches thick.

Accommodating 10 men at a time, these pillboxes were designed to capitalise on any tanks that would be snared by the large anti-tank ditch. While it may not have been advanced from a technical standpoint, the anti-tank ditch still proved to be a powerful deterrent.

World War II was the most trying time the history of the United Kingdom, but the country proved that it was made it was made of tough stuff. Reinforced concrete construction Essex was key in deterring the enemy. When you recount the history of this great nation and you address the events of World War II, don’t forget how Essex and its hardened field defences protected the population. 

Reinforced Concrete Solutions carries on tradition

Essex and concrete have gone hand in hand throughout some of the important moments in history. Proving to be a sturdy deterrent and perfect for the construction of buildings that will last the test of time, reinforced concrete construction Essex is as relevant as it has every been.

Today, Essex is still producing some of the country’s most innovative concrete buildings. For example, at Reinforced Concrete Solutions in Orsett, Grays, a team of experienced craftsmen are still building reinforced concrete buildings in Essex and beyond.

Further reading

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