pillbox small

Several World War Two pillboxes survive on the beach at Roseisle Forest.  These small gun stations formed an important part of the coastal and inland defences and protected important military targets such as airfields.

Pillboxes are small concrete structures. Soldiers could stand inside the structures and open fire on the enemy at close range. During 1940, over 18,000 were constructed all over Britain.

In June 1940, branch FW3 of the War Office Directorate of Fortifications and Works issued twelve 'Standard Design Drawings' for building pillboxes. In practice, designs were often adapted to suit local tactical needs and availability of materials. The Roseisle pillboxes are Type 24, an irregular hexagonal shape.

Despite variations in design, all pillboxes are flat-roofed buildings, no more than 2m in height. A small concrete wall often protected the back entrance of the pillbox.

Small rectangular windows are called firing loops. The size and shape of these openings allowed the guns inside to cover the area between this pillbox and the next.  At the same time, they limited how much enemy gun fire could get in, protecting the soldiers.

Some pillboxes were cleverly camouflaged as buildings; others, like Roseisle, were painted and covered in netting.

It is thought that the concrete walls could not have withheld enemy fire for long, however, they would slow down an enemy invasion. During battle, this could have proven vital in allowing the Home Forces time to organise a counter-attack.

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