UK WWII Defence Locations

It is by no accident that the majority of defence structures are located where they are. With the emergency evacuation of the BEF from the beaches of Dunkirk there was an obvious and urgent need to build defences against the threat of Nazi Invasion.

The result was the construction of Stop – Lines, consisting of man made objects located to enhance the natural ‘lay of the land’.

The basic concept was detailed in a Southern Command memo dated 22nd June 1940 (public Records Office WO 199/1800) covering the construction of GHQ Zones, which stated:

“The immediate object is to divide England into several small fields surrounded by a hedge of anti-tank obstacles which is strong defensively, using natural accidents of the ground where possible. Should Armoured Fighting Vehicles attack or airborne attacks break into the enclosures the policy will be to close the gate by blocking the crossing over the obstacles and to let the ‘dogs’ in the shape of armoured formations, or other troops, to round up the cattle”

This indicates that the stop-lines were constructed to block the progress of German armoured columns, setting them up for a counter attack by our defending forces. A Stop-Line would be a continuous anti-tank obstacle, natural if possible, covered by Pillboxes and other prepared positions.

On 25th June 1940, General Paget, Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief Home Forces submitted General Ironside`s anti-invasion plan to the War Cabinet in the form of Home Forces Operation Instruction No.3.

SECTION 13 of the Instruction stated: “The general plan of defence is a combination of mobile columns and static defences by means of strong-points and stops. As static defence only provides limited protection of the most vulnerable points, it must be supplemented by the action of mobile columns. However mobile such columns may be they cannot be expected to operate immediately over the whole area in which it is possible for the enemy to attempt invasion by sea or air. It is therefore necessary to adopt measures for confining his actions until such time as mobile columns can arrive to deal with him. This will be done by means of stops and strong-points prepared for all round defence at aerodromes which are necessary to prevent the enemy obtaining air superiority, at the main centres of communications and distributed in depth over a wide area covering London and the centres of production and supply. This system of stops and strong-points will prevent the enemy from running riot and tearing the guts out of the country as had happend in France and Belgium.”

Map of the proposed UK Stopline Defences

Map of the proposed UK Stopline Defences

0 comments on “UK WWII Defence Locations
2 Pings/Trackbacks for "UK WWII Defence Locations"
  1. […] one, were made of concrete that was sufficiently thick to be bullet proof.   My thanks to the Pillbox Study Group for this excerpt, which explains the thinking behind pillboxes and other defence structures that […]

  2. […] UK’s armed forces to protect London and Britain’s industrial heartlands behind the so-called General Headquarters (GHQ) Line. But large swaths of eastern England would have essentially been sacrificed to the invaders, […]

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Facebook

Join Online

We welcome new members to the PSG. We currently have over 300 members in six countries. Members receive the journal Loopholes three times a year which details recent finds and sites of particular interest.
Clicking the Subscribe button will take you to PayPal. Subscriptions will auto- renew until cancelled.
UK Membership - £11.00 - PayPal

Overseas Membership - £16.00 - PayPal

For more details about PSG, membership, Pillboxes or Defence Structure related topics contact our Co-ordinator Roger Thomas


Defence Structures and sites of all types both above and below ground can be very dangerous. Serious injury or even death can arise from unauthorised entry into such sites and structures. Join a responsible club, group or society who can arrange official visits. The Pillbox Study Group accepts no responsibility for any damages or injuries caused by ignoring this advice. The PSG does not encourage members to undertake the ad hoc clearance of vegetation from pillboxes, as it can expose them to physical damage and inappropriate use, it may also contravene a variety of statutory regulations including, listed buildings and SSSI designations. Vegetation clearance should only ever be undertaken as part of a formal arrangement, having sought and obtained permission from the land owner and other necessary authorities. Damaging a listed or scheduled monument can be considered as a Heritage Crime.

Top 100 Military Sites

Animated Social Media Icons by Acurax Responsive Web Designing Company