Type 22 Pillbox

Key Facts

  • Official designation: fw3/22
  • Shape: hexagonal
  • Walls are around 12″- 24″  thick
  • Internal measurement between opposite walls is around 10ft
  • Usually (but not always) rifle loops in five of the six walls and an entrance in the sixth.
  • A small L shaped blast wall can some times be found protecting entrance.
loophole types

One of the areas for most variation will be found in the shape of the Loopholes and the internal provision of weapon rests.   There appears to be no hard and fast rules but the norm for the Type 22 Pillbox, essentially designed for use by riflemen, is to have Loops splayed to the outside. Some of these Loops are sometimes found to be complete pre-fabricated units anything up to two feet square (60 x 60cm) simply inserted into the framework. In other cases the splay is formed by bricks or by shuttering giving a concrete Loophole; often both will have a pre-formed concrete lintel, and some have projecting sills. A further example consists of a stepped splay where pre-formed concrete blocks are used as one-piece steps.   Loopholes were sometimes furnished with flip-up shutters of wood or asbestos, or with steel shutters pivoting vertically. The provision for the rifleman to rest his elbow and ammunition clip is usually a wooden shelf mounted on iron bars built into the wall a little below the Loophole. Some of these shelves were hinged.   However, many Type 22 Pillboxes are so crudely built that Loopholes are little more than holes in the wall, wider on the outside than on the inside.

Information obtained from pillbox typology part 1, Loopholes journal of the PSG.

With kind permission of Mike Osborne

FW3/22 Shellproof

A shell proof variation of the standard bullet proof type 22 was built by increasing the wall thickness. This type is often wrongly identified and recorded as its larger relative, the FW3/24 pillbox . Nineteen examples of this pure hexagonal pillbox can be found on GHQ Line A in Hampshire, the brick shuttered wall thickness varies from 42″ to 51″ , all examples have chamfered roof edges, two piece cast loophole embrasures and interior elongated X shape blastwall.

All have hinged  metal loophole flaps, variations can include no loophole in rear entrance wall and some have provision to attach camouflage to roof edge.

On GHQ Line Red and Blue in Berkshire, Wiltshire and Oxon dozens of FW3/22 Shellproof pillboxes can be found with a reduced thickness the rear wall, this gives an apppearance of an irregular hexagon shape with facing walls of up to 45″ and rear walls between 12″ and 24″