Posted: 22 April 2007 21:55
On 15 April, I drove out to Battle to see what, if anything, was left of the nodal point defences.
On the way, I drove past this impressive line of 47 roadblock cylinders blocking off an old lay-by near Catsfield. This is the largest number of cylinders I've ever seen together, but unfortunately, this indicates that they're probably all ex-situ. Cylinders were intended to be placed in clusters of three, but the narrow road would not need this many to block it, and so the local authority has probably removed them all from their original locations to here.
Parking up in Battle, and armed with printouts from the Defence of Britain Project database, I wandered along the High Street and found what I was looking for - evidence of the anti-tank perimeter of the nodal point in the form of cubes.
There's quite a few here; a good line still survives alongside a public footpath, but the undergrowth is such that few are still visible.
Another line on the other side of the road and a few hundred metres to the west has unfortunately disappeared under a housing estate; I did, however, find a sole survivor in a hedge adjoining the development, so at least a small trace remains.
Anti-tanks blocks, popularly known as dragon's teeth. Not to be confused with smaller blocks known as pimples, cubes can be upwards of 1m square. Many examples in Sussex have apexes or chamfered edges, leading to them being incorrectly recorded as coffins.
Reinforced concrete cylindrical obstacles with a shaft down the centre in which could be inserted a crowbar for manhandling, or a picket for barbed wire. Cylinders were 90cm high and 60cm wide and deployed in groups of three as a more effective alternative for buoys.
A large project run by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) 1995-2002, collecting data on 20th century military structures submitted by a team of some 600 volunteers. The result was a database of nearly 20,000 records which is available online. The anti-invasion section of the database contains nearly 500 entries for East Sussex.
Defended road junction(s), usually within a village/town with a Home Guard garrison intended to deny enemy use of the roads. Nodal Points were not to defend the village, but solely the road network. Category 'A' Nodal Points were to hold out for 7 days after invasion without outside assistance.
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Hibbs, Peter Battle nodal point (2020) Available at: http://www.pillbox.org.uk/blog/216528/ Accessed: 13 July 2020
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