Pillbox Books

Here are some of the books recommended by The Pillbox Study Group.

Most recent entries are at the bottom of the page.

If you are looking to buy any of these please consider using the link below the cover so that the PSG can earn a pittance from Amazon.

British Anti-Invasion Defences 1940-1945

British Anti-Invasion Defences 1940-1945

The Official Handbook Of The Pillbox Study Group
A Pocket Reference Guide
Despite the passing of sixty years, and the effects of development, erosion and even ignorance, many of these structures still survive. This book is intended to provide a brief and concise insight into the history of 'pillboxes' and other defences, their design and the reasons for their existence. This book is packed full of useful information and will be of enormous interest to local historians, students and military enthusiasts, those interested in the 'home Front' during the Second world War, as well as the generally curious members of the general public.
Pillboxes: A Study Of Uk Defences 1940
Pillboxes. A Study of the UK Defences 1940.

Pillboxes: A Study Of Uk Defences 1940

The late Henry Wills tracked down and photographed many WW2 defensive structures.
Although out of print, this book still remains `The Pillbox Bible`.
Look out for second hand copies on Ebay!

ISBN 0-436-57360-1
Ironside's Line
Ironsides Line: The Definitive Guide to the General Headquarters Line Planned for Great Britain in Response to the Threat of German Invasion 1940-1942

Ironside's Line

This unique publication is the result of 15 years of fieldwork research as a hobby by PSG member
Colin Alexander
At present Colin is a local government officer residing in Oxfordshire. Over an additional period of 2 years he also extracted information from official War Office and 1940-45 Home Army Records held by the Public Record Office in London. Other research included tracing Home Guard maps, examining aerial photographs and interviewing people associated with Ironside's Line. Without doubt this book will interest anyone whether professional military historians or merely persons regularly observing wartime defences whilst out travelling.
Historic Military Press, Green Arbour, Rectory Road, Storrington, West Sussex RH20 4ES
ISBN 1-901313-04-2
Resisting The Nazi Invader
Resisting the Nazi Invader

Resisting The Nazi Invader.

In this highly readable and lavishly illustrated book, Arthur Ward draws on exclusive interviews and a unique collection of memorabilia not only to provide a vivid picture of Britain on the eve of expected invasion but also to tell the full story of a little known and highly secret aspect of Britain`s defensive armoury - the Auxiliary forces.

Arthur Ward with Alexander Stiwell

Constable - London

ISBN 0-09-476750-5
20th Century Defences in Britain (Practical handbooks in archaeology)

20th Century Defences In Britain

Handbook of the Defence of Britain Project.
This illustrated practical handbook provides an introductory guide to the recognition and interpretation of Britains Wartime archaeology
Published by Council For British Archaeology, Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York YO1 2UA

Military Dorset Today: Second World War Scenes and Settings That Can Still Be Seen 50 Years on

Military Dorset Today

In this wide-ranging look at much of what is left within the county of Dorset from the Second World War, Colin Pomeroy visits the sites of airfields and harbours, radar stations and coastal gun positions, factories and pillboxes, hospitals and headquarters buildings, decoy sites and anti-aircraft positions, military cemeteries and memorials - and much else, including all of the county`s military museums.
Published by Colin A. Pomeroy in association with Silver Link Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 1-85794-077-6
British Airfield Buildings Of The Second World War.
British Airfield Buildings of the Second World War: v. 1: Pocket Guide

British Airfield Buildings Of The Second World War.

This book provides an ideal primer to a subject close to the hearts of all aviation enthusiasts and historians. It has been designed as a pictorial pocket guide to building recognition. It will not only interest those who those who spent time at wartime airfields but any member of the public who has gazed over the decaying airfield architecture and wondered ....what was that for? If you live near an old airfield, intend researching one or come across one on your travels, then take this handy guide with you, and gain an invaluable insight into the past.
Graham Buchan Innes
Midland Publishing Limited
ISBN 1 85780 026 5
Beaches, Fields, Streets and Hills
Beaches, Fields, Streets, and Hills: The Anti-Invasion Landscapes of England, 1940 (CBA Research Reports)

Beaches, Fields, Streets and Hills

... the anti-invasion landscapes of England, 1940.
The results of a 2 year detailed study funded by English Heritage.
by William Foot.
Council for British Archaeology, 2006 ISBN 1-902771-53-2.
The Battlefields That Nearly Were

The Battlefields That Nearly Were

Defended England 1940
A study of 31 defended areas in Eastern and South Eastern England
By William Foot.

ISBN-10: 0752438492
ISBN-13: 978-0752438498

Defending Britain.

Twentieth-Century Military Structures In The Landscape
By PSG Member Mike Osborne.
Defending Britain explains both the form and purpose of structures such as anti-invasion defences, airfields, naval installations and barracks, munitions dumps and firing ranges, Cold War bunkers and radar sites, factories and stores, all of which are well illustrated. The final section provides the reader with a comprehensive gazetteer of surviving examples to visit throughout Britain.
Mike Osborne has been recording these structures for 30 years and, for the duration of the Defence of Britain Project, was its volunteer co-ordinator in the eastern counties.
ISBN-10: 075243134X
ISBN-13: 978-0752431345
Twentieth Century Defences In Warwickshire

Twentieth Century Defences In Warwickshire

By PSG Member, Steve Carvell.

ISBN 9780 752442686

Demolition of Second World War Defences began before the end of the war, when the risk of Nazi invasion had diminished, and until recent years the study and recording of structures associated with twentieth-century defences has received little attention although many examples of defence installations and structures survive throughout Great Britain.
While it was not as heavily defended as counties with coastal regions and those on the eastern side of Great Britain, within Warwickshire a wide variety of defence buildings and structures still survive.
This guide includes stop lines, pillboxes, anti-tank obstacles, RAF airfield buildings, RAF airfield defences, anti-aircraft defences, bombing decoy sites, air-raid shelters, army buildings and cold war defences.
Complementing his study with photographs and maps and a variety of suggested walks, Pillbox Study Group member Steve Carvell has compiled a detailed and important record of those often overlooked structures and defences across Warwickshire.
Wartime Defences On The Basingstoke Canal

Wartime Defences On The Basingstoke Canal

Tim Denton is well known to all of you who regularly view the PSG website.
As an enthusiastic contributor he has now produced an excellent booklet covering the defences of the Basingstoke Canal. Using his brilliant artistic talents he has illustrated this guide with both photographs and his own style sketch maps.
The Booklet is a Limited Edition
All proceeds from sales go towards the upkeep of the Basingstoke Canal
PSG members should order now to avoid disappointment
To purchase please make cheque for £3.95 payable to" S.H.C.S Ltd"
And send to…
Denise Smith, Sales Manager, 48 Maple Close, Avondale, Ash Vale, Surrey . GU12 5JZ
Silent Sentinels

Silent Sentinels

The Story of Norfolk's fixed defences during the twentieth century.
Christopher Bird.
Published By Larks Press, Ordnance Farmhouse, Guist Bottom, Dereham NR20 5PF.
ISBN 9780948400810
20th Century Defences In Britain - The London Area

20th Century Defences In Britain - The London Area

A compact yet comprehensive guide to the many and varied defence heritage sites in around London and the Thames Valley. Written for those wishing to explore the area by car, bicycle or on foot, the guide describes many well-known and other not so well-known features of military archaeology in the county.
By Mike Osborne.
ISBN 0-95403780-5
20th Century Defences in Britain - The London Area

20th Century Defences In Britain - Norfolk

A compact yet comprehensive guide to the many and varied defence heritage sites in Norfolk. Written for those wishing to explore the area by car, bicycle or on foot, the guide describes many well-known and other not so well-known features of military archaeology in the county.
By Mike Osborne with Alistair Graham Kerr.
ISBN 978 -0-9540378-3-3
20th Century Defences In Britain – Suffolk

20th Century Defences In Britain - Suffolk

A compact yet comprehensive guide to the many and varied defence heritage sites in Suffolk. Written for those wishing to explore the area by car, bicycle or on foot, the guide describes many well-known and other not so well-known features of military archaeology in the county.
By Mike Osborne with Alistair Graham Kerr.
ISBN 978-0-9540378-4-0
20th Century Defences In Britain – Cambridgeshire

20th Century Defences In Britain - Cambridgeshire

A compact yet comprehensive guide to the many and varied defence heritage sites in Cambridgeshire. Written for those wishing to explore the area by car, bicycle or on foot, the guide describes many well-known and other not so well-known features of military archaeology in the county.
By Dr Mike Osborne.
ISBN 0-9540378-0-4
20th Century Defences In Britain - Kent

20th Century Defences In Britain - Kent

A compact yet comprehensive guide to the many and varied defence heritage sites in Kent. Written for those wishing to explore the area by car, bicycle or on foot, the guide describes many well-known and other not so well-known features of military archaeology in the county.
By David Burridge.
ISBN 1-85753-233-3
Defended England 1940, The South West, Midlands and North

Defended England 1940

The South West, Midlands and North.
By William Foot.
ISBN 978-0-7524-4786-5

Pillboxes Of Britain And Ireland

The pillboxes of Britain and Ireland are among the most important military structures employed in the history of the defence of these islands. This work presents the first thorough study and classification of pillboxes and related structures, including section posts, Seagull and concrete trenches, gun-houses and turrets, battle headquarters and spigot-mortar emplacements. The author traces the use of small, free-standing defence structures from ancient times to the present, placing the pillbox within a historical continuum and identifying its course of development. The work also presents a typology of British and Irish pillboxes through a catalogue of known types and individual examples, and examines their tactical employment in the landscape.
Mike Osborne has been involved in the recording of defence structures for over 30 years and was co-ordinator of the Defence of Britain Project in the eastern counties.
By Mike Osborne.
ISBN 978-0-7524-4329-4
Sussex Under Attack Cover

Sussex Under Attack

East Sussex Under Attack

By Chris Butler
The East Sussex coastline has always been Britain's frontline defence against invasion. From the forts of Henry VIII and the Napoleonic Martello Towers to the pillboxes, gun emplacements and civil defence sits of the two World Wars and the secret structures of the Cold War, the evidence of the defences can still be seen. Local author and archaeologist Chris Butler takes us to each of these sites (approximately 200 in total), describing what is to be seen today and their history. As well as a full range of illustrations there are full directions to the cites and details of access. Tempus Publishing. ᆪ15.99.
ISBN 9780752441702
Defending Hampshire Cover

Defending Hampshire

Defending Hampshire: The Military Landscape from Prehistory to the Present

By Mike Osborne
For 2000 years, Hampshire has been at the heart of the nation's defences against foreign invasion, as well as being heavily involved in civil conflict. Through Roman forts, medieval castles, fortified manors and moats, Victorian drill halls, military airfields, anti-invasion defences, radar sites, bunkers and nuclear attack monitoring posts, this book describes the structures put in place to defend Hampshire's inhabitants against enemies from both home and abroad.
ISBN-13: 978-0752459868 ᆪ18.99
War Walks Cover

War Walks: Stop Line Green

By Major Green
Stop Line Green (SLG) was a continuous linear defensive position some 100 mile long running in rough semi circle east of Bristol from Highbridge on the Bristol Channel in the south to Upper Framilode on the River Severn in the north. This book gives a guide to the walk of SLG.
West Sussex Under Attack Cover

West Sussex Under Attack

West Sussex Under Attack

By Chris Butler
West Sussex has always been part of Britain's frontline defence against invasion from Mainland Europe. From the nineteenth century forts to the pillboxes and gun emplacements of two world wars and the secret structures of the cold war, the evidence of these defences can still be seen. Local author and archaeologist Chris Butler takes us to each of these sites (over 100 in all), describing its history and what is to be seen today. As well as a range of illustrations there are full directions to the sites and details of access.
ISBN-13: 978-0752441719
Front-Line Kent cover

Front-Line Kent

Front-Line Kent

By Victor Smith
Kent has always been the front-line of defence of Britain from Roman times onwards. The white cliffs of Dover have become symbolic of a nation's determination to safeguard its freedom.
ISBN-13: 978-1901509649
Defending London cover

Defending London

Defending London

By Mike Osborne.
For two thousand years London has been at the heart of Britain's development as a nation, providing a focus for its political life. The military element is now usually visible only through the pageantry which attends royal occasions, but this masks a more serious underlying intent. Frequently the target for both foreign invaders and domestic factions, it has been required to defend itself against everything from seaborne raiders to aerial bombardment and the threat of nuclear war. At the same time, the direction of military affairs has been centred on London, along with the military infrastructure of barracks, depots, magazines, dockyards and munitions factories. The evidence for much of this can be seen in the landscape, from the mediaeval Tower of London and the underground nuclear citadels in the urban centre, to the royal palaces, moated sites, airfields and anti-invasion defences in the suburbs and the green belt. This book describes the various elements of London's military heritage, and places them in their historical and social context. From the castles and strong-houses of the mediaeval and Tudor monarchs and statesmen, to the pseudo-fortresses of the Victorian militia and rifle volunteers; the airfields of the anti-Zeppelin fighters of the Royal Flying Corps, and the Battle of Britain bases of the RAF, to the pillboxes of the defences against invasion in 1940, and the anti-nuclear defences of the Cold War and beyond.
ISBN-13: 978-0752464657
Fields Of Deception
Fields of Deception: Britain's Bombing Decoys of WWII

Fields Of Deception

by Colin Dobinson
During World War II, a secret department was formed within Britain's Air Ministry. It co-ordinated a strategy to defeat German bombing using deception. With the help of leading technicians from the film industry, ingeniously designed decoy towns, airfields and military bases were built throughout the UK. This work presents a detailed study of these bombing decoys, both at war - through their design, patterning and operations - and at peace - through their fragmentory survival as enigmatic features of the modern landscape. The book has been compiled in support of English Heritage's initiatives to study and preserve Britain's wartime remains.

Building Radar: Forging Britain's Early-warning Chain,1939-45

Building Radar

Many things helped the Allies win the Second World War, but none was more important than radar. Radar's decisive role in 1940 is widely known - the tall towers of the Chain Home stations stand beside the hurricanes and Spitfires, beside Churchill, Dowding and the men and women of Fighter Command as enduring symbols of Britain's `finest hour'. Yet the Battle of Britain was just one episode in the story of British radar. Already by 1940 the system had a long history: five years in the building, the Chain Home layout was shaped by strategic thinking extending back to the First World War. And victory in 1940 secured radar's future in every domestic campaign over the next five years. By 1941 radar stations were controlling night fighters in the Blitz. A year later they were scanning the sea approaches, sentinels against Hitler's navy and invasion fleets. By 1943 radar was preparing to meet the V-weapons - a threat barely conceived when research began, just eight years before. Diversity fostered growth. Many more radar stations were commissioned in the five years after 1940 than in the same period before.
Radar was many things: a triumph of applied science, certainly and a strategic miracle, too; but it was also a pattern of places - a growing network of sites and stations, large and small, temporary and permanent. BUILDING RADAR is the first attempt to reconstruct the growth of that network in detail. With numerous maps and structural studies, it presents the history of British ground radar through its fabric and evolving geography, showing how the system was shaped by the march of war and, as it grew, provided a new focus for the talents of engineers, designers and builders. As the third volume in the English Heritage series Monuments of War, it also assesses the survival of wartime radar stations in today's landscape, showing how protection of these remains is being assured by statutory means.
AA Command

AA Command

AA Command: Britain's Anti-aircraft Defences of the Second World War (Monuments of War)

AA Command

Drawing upon original documents and first-hand accounts, this text tells the story of Britain's anti-aircraft defences on the home front during World War II: in the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, and the Luftwaffe's cruel campaigns against cathedral cities and coastal resorts. Commissioned to support English Heritage's initiatives to preserve England's wartime remains, this book is also a study of the everyday places where the battle was fought. Thousands of gun batteries were built during the war and by exploring their design and patterning, the book offers a new perspective of Britain's defence geography and rediscovers the sites which were home to hundreds of thousands of men and, controversially, women. As the second volume in the series "Monuments of War" it makes a powerful case for selected examples to be preserved as historical monuments.
Ack Ack cover

Ack Ack

Ack Ack - Britain's Defence Against Air Attack During the 2nd World War.

by General Sir Frederick Pile.
A detailed account of Britain's Anti Aircraft defences during WWII by the man who was in charge. Published in 1949 and out of print, copies do surface now and then on Ebay and other places. Well worth buying and reading from cover to cover. 410 pages.
Operation Cuckmere Haven

"Operation Cuckmere Haven": Investigation into Military Aspects of the Cuckmere Valley, East Sussex

By Peter Longstaff-Tyrrell.
Contents Cuckmere Haven defences. Attack and deterrence. Activity at Ewe Down Hill. Decoy site policy and planning. Cable station operations. Alfriston during two world wars. Berwick downland village. Seaford served and suffered. The RAF at Friston. Wartime RAF Deanland. Wilmington Airfield. 20th Sussex Home Guard. Cuckmere Valley people. Allied aircraft incidents. Willingdon Hill radio station. Tank Roads in Sussex. RAF Air/Sea Rescue. Newhaven Fortifications. Ghost villages of East Sussex. Napoleonic defences. Glossary of technical terms.
Published by Gote House Publishing.
ISBN 0 9521297 1 X
Sussex Wartime Relics and Memorials: Wrecks, Relics and Memorials from Sussex at War, 1939-1945

Sussex Wartime Relics and Memorials: Wrecks, Relics and Memorials from Sussex at War, 1939-1945 .

by Martin F Mace
An illustrated guide to many of the wrecks, relics and memorials that remain in Sussex from WWII. Over 180 locations include the buildings at pevensey Radar Station; the remains of a buried Churchill tank; a sunken Mulberry harbour and even the memorial to a Girl Guide killed during an air-raid.
Published by Historic Military Press.
ISBN 1-901313-01-8

Frontline Sussex: Defence Lines of West Sussex, 1939-1945.

Published by the Historic Military Press.
ISBN 1-901313-00-X
Defending Sussex Beaches: From Selsey Bill to the Kent Border

Defending Sussex Beaches: From Selsey Bill to the Kent Border .

By John Goodwin
Sussex in the early 1940s stood ready to repel an air and sea-borne invasion by a successful German army. John Goodwin, who was there at the time, describes what happened when the military took over the beaches and countryside and set about making the county impregnable, despite huge logistical problems. He explains what forces were available, their shortcomings and how tactics changed under different army commanders. Regiments, artillery, tanks, weapons, coast batteries, armoured trains, plus Naval and Army communications are covered in detail. Chapters on army radar, harbour booms, nets, also land and sea minefields, deal with little known aspects of the Sussex defences. This book is illustrated with over 120 contemporary maps and photographs.
Published by Middleton Press.
ISBN 9-781906-008796
Operation Sea Lion

Operation Sea Lion

By Peter Fleming
With the fall of France, Hitler's attention turned to Britain. The invasion and conquest of these islands was essential. Only with Western Europe totally in Nazi hands could the push Eastward to Russia go ahead. Thus operation sealion...
Publisher: Macmillan

Bunker Archaeology

by Paul Virilio
Out of print for almost a decade, we are thrilled to bring back one of our most requested hard-to-find titlesphilosopher and cultural theorist Paul Virilio's Bunker Archeology. In 1994 we published the first English-language translation of the classic French edition of 1975, which accompanied an exhibition of Virilio's photographs at the Centre Pompidou. In Bunker Archeology, urbanist Paul Virilio turns his attentionand camerato the ominous yet strangely compelling German bunkers that lie abandoned along the coast of France. These ghostly reminders of destruction and oppression prompted Virilio to consider the nature of war and existence, in relation to both World War II and contemporary times. Virilio discusses fortresses and military space in general as well as the bunkers themselves, including an examination of the role of Albert Speer, Hitler's architect, in the rise of the Third Reich.
ISBN-10: 1568980159
British Airfield Buildings 2

British Airfield Buildings: Expansion and Inter War Periods v. 2

by Graham Buchan Innes
Primarily focuses on the period 1935-39, but also includes some First World War and post First World War buildings, as well as some wartime temporary designs for comparison. Buildings include hangars, barrack blocks, maintenance buildings, guardhouses, mess buildings and latrines.
Publisher: Midland Publishing
ISBN-10: 1857801016
Uniforms Of The Home Guard

Uniforms of the Home Guard

by Richard J. Hunt
This lavishly illustrated book has used a combination of of contemporary Army Council, L.D.V. or Home Guard instructions, archive photographs and modern re-enactments to show how the uniforms of the Home Guard in WWII changed.
Publisher: Historic Military Press
ISBN-10: 1901313166
Vehicles of the Home Guard

Vehicles of the Home Guard

by by Richard J. Hunt
Vehicles of the Home Guard is not intended as a complete reference source but provides an informative glimpse of a part of the history of the Home Guard that has been ignored in most other publications.
Publisher: Historic Military Press.
ISBN-10: 1901313085

H.M. Army Fort "Red Sands"

H.M. Army Fort "Red Sands"

by Frank R Turner
is part of a new series explaining the full history of the individual Maunsell sea forts placed in the Thames estuary during WWII. It covers their war time activities and the period when the forts were used by pirate radio stations and their use to the present time.
Publisher: Frank R Turner
ISBN 1901132-43-9

Military Archaeology: A Collector's Guide to 20th Century War Relics.

By Terry Gander.
WWII ended over 30 yrs ago, but the relics of both wars arenow dissapearing. The author feels they should be preserved, he outlines how to conduct research and gives some valuble advice. He covers the renovation of military architectture, restoring vehicles, badges, insignia and uniforms, books, photographs and emhemera.
Publisher: Patrick Stephens Library Limited
ISBN-10: 0850593026
Coast Defences

Coast Defences of England and Wales, 1856-1956

By Ian V. Hogg.
The story of Coastal defences from 1856 to 1956.
ISBN 0 7153 6353 0
Britains Air Defences

Britain's Air Defences 1939 - 1945

by Dr. Alfred Price
German daylight raids on Britain began in the summer of 1940. They were expected and the country had been preparing for quite some time. Searchlights were in place, Fighter Command had been expanded, and anti-aircraft guns were being manufactured. It was from these first preparations that Britain developed tactics to counter the many air raids over the following years. This book shows how Britain prepared for air raids in the run up to the war and details all the tactics that were developed during the war to counter the many aerial attacks. Among the defence systems included are anti-aircraft guns, barrage balloons and the Meacon system.
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-1841767109
British Home Defences 1940-45

Britain's Home Defences 1940 - 1945

In the summer of 1940, the question Britain asked itself was not 'will Hitler invade?' but 'when?' Sealion, the German invasion plan, provoked the construction of pillboxes, anti-tank stop-lines and islands, coastal defences, heavy-gun emplacements and anti-aircraft batteries, as well as the formation of the Home Guard and covert groups. New threats replaced Sealion: radar detection systems were expanded during the Blitz years, as were intelligence-gathering systems and listening posts. In 1944 and 1945, Britain was once again faced with a new and deadly threat, Hitler's 'Vengeance' weapons. This title provides a concise assessment of Britain's defensive systems, and presents a vivid picture of war on the home front.
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
ISBN-10: 1841767670
Relics of War Cover

Relics of War Cover

Relics of War; A Guide to the 20th Century Military Remains in the Northumberland Landscape

Describes the main types of military remains that can be found in Northumberland, together with their historical context. Covers the periods of WW1, WW2 and the Cold War. 40 pages with 27 photos (16 in colour) and 2 maps.

Priced £4.50 with free p&p in the UK. Order online from www.wildsofwanney.co.uk

ISBN 978 0 9927324 0 0
Pillboxes & Tank Traps

Pillboxes and Tank Traps

By Bernard Lowry
With invasion a very real threat, in 1940 Great Britain began a huge military construction programme designed to stop an invading army in its tracks. Around vulnerable coastlines, and inland, thousands of pillboxes, anti-tank barriers and other obstacles were erected to defend against attacks from sea and sky. Though many of these structures were dismantled in the wake of the Second World War, the coast and even some inland areas still boast a wealth of fascinating remains; in this fully illustrated introduction, fortifications authority Bernard Lowry guides the inquiring reader in identifying these remaining defensive structures and explains their seemingly 'random' placement across the British landscape.
Priced at £7.95 from http://www.shirebooks.co.uk/store/Pillboxes-and-Tank-Traps_9780747813569
Paperback; September 2014; 64 pages; ISBN: 9780747813569