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‘We shall defend our island' - investigating a forgotten militarised landscape

‘We shall defend our island' - investigating a forgotten militarised landscape
‘We shall defend our island' - investigating a forgotten militarised landscape
The outmanoeuvring of Allied forces in May 1940 led to the eventual evacuation of the BEF from the continent in June 1940. Fearing an invasion, GHQ Home Forces set about the rapid re-militarisation of the UK to oppose, arguably, the first very real threat to this country’s sovereignty since the Norman conquest of 1066 AD. Constructing a series of anti-invasion defences throughout the countryside, a network of defensive fieldworks and concrete gun emplacements were erected, with linear stop lines forming part of the overall stratagem for a countrywide defence in depth. Examining one particular linear stop line, GHQ Line Green, despite previous research into its archaeological route through the landscape several questions still remain unanswered - Did the proposed wartime route for the stop line match the documented archaeology? Did the defensive fieldworks conform to 1940 WO specifications, or were they similar in design to the linear fieldworks of the First World War? Did GHQ Line Green dismiss the defensive ‘folly’ notion of the Maginot Line by being strategically sited in the Bristol hinterland? A prepared battlefield that never faced the unpredictable test of conflict, evidence offered by original cartographic, archaeological and GIS ‘Fields-of- Fire’ analysis concluded that the GHQ Line Green was strategically placed in the landscape. In ideal conditions GHQ Line Green could have had limited success in slowing down an invasion force. This dismisses the notion that the stop line was a defensive ‘folly’. With its origins found to lay in First World War fortifications, the research undertaken for this thesis will further our understanding of an often forgotten Second World War landscape.
Rowe, Philip
2c1f29d6-95f4-4e6c-af4f-c11d60579371
Rowe, Philip
2c1f29d6-95f4-4e6c-af4f-c11d60579371
Pollard, Carl
5080faff-bc2c-4d27-b702-e40a5eb40761

Rowe, Philip (2014) ‘We shall defend our island' - investigating a forgotten militarised landscape. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 543pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The outmanoeuvring of Allied forces in May 1940 led to the eventual evacuation of the BEF from the continent in June 1940. Fearing an invasion, GHQ Home Forces set about the rapid re-militarisation of the UK to oppose, arguably, the first very real threat to this country’s sovereignty since the Norman conquest of 1066 AD. Constructing a series of anti-invasion defences throughout the countryside, a network of defensive fieldworks and concrete gun emplacements were erected, with linear stop lines forming part of the overall stratagem for a countrywide defence in depth. Examining one particular linear stop line, GHQ Line Green, despite previous research into its archaeological route through the landscape several questions still remain unanswered - Did the proposed wartime route for the stop line match the documented archaeology? Did the defensive fieldworks conform to 1940 WO specifications, or were they similar in design to the linear fieldworks of the First World War? Did GHQ Line Green dismiss the defensive ‘folly’ notion of the Maginot Line by being strategically sited in the Bristol hinterland? A prepared battlefield that never faced the unpredictable test of conflict, evidence offered by original cartographic, archaeological and GIS ‘Fields-of- Fire’ analysis concluded that the GHQ Line Green was strategically placed in the landscape. In ideal conditions GHQ Line Green could have had limited success in slowing down an invasion force. This dismisses the notion that the stop line was a defensive ‘folly’. With its origins found to lay in First World War fortifications, the research undertaken for this thesis will further our understanding of an often forgotten Second World War landscape.

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More information

Published date: December 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 374724
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/374724
PURE UUID: c5f25dd7-5779-424f-979d-d4391e6ac7ed

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Date deposited: 10 Mar 2015 14:04
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 21:24

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Contributors

Author: Philip Rowe
Thesis advisor: Carl Pollard

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