7th Borders

7th Border Regt. was part of the 198th Brigade holding No 1 Sub-sector (which extended from Kessingland to Lowestoft) and was the left forward battalion with its primary role of the protection of the Naval base in Lowestoft.

The defence was based around:

(a) Perimeter defences
(b) Anti-infiltration perimeter
(c) Reconnaissance area
(d) Outpost line on the anti-tank ditch running from Corton Church to Flixton Decoy
(e) Oulton which was a defended Place

The perimeter defences consisted of mutually supported posts. These were to hold to the last. In the Reconnaissance area, outside the perimeter defences, the Battalion would recce, delay or destroy the enemy. The role of the Outpost Line was also to delay the enemy progress towards the main defensive line. Tactics in the Outpost and Recce areas were designed to lure the enemy into fire traps and create situations suitable for counter attacks to destroy the enemy in advance of the main posts. Infiltration of the perimeter defences and beach posts was expected early on in any action especially at night. It was important that these enemy forces be mopped up as soon as possible. Anti-infiltration measures included posts in the rear of the beach posts to prevent infiltration landwards and an anti-infiltration line. The line was to be held by the Home Guard and personnel from the Naval base. Oulton was to be held by a Home Guard garrison.

The Anti-Infiltration measures were established as a result of Brig A.C.T Evanson’s concern that the defence of the perimeter defences, which although would cause casualties on the enemy, would not aid the defence of the naval base. He noted that in many places the anti-tank ditch was out of observation and in many places not covered by fire, many suitable landing grounds for gliders were not covered and in some places platoon localities were 1000 yards apart.

  Above: Sketch map showing platoon localities -7th Border Defence Scheme

There are some detailed notes for the state of readiness in the defence scheme. By day sentry posts would be established at post W1, W4 and at TM546970. By night the instructions were as follows:

B Coy: billeted in the North parade are. Post W1 to be manned with a minimum strength of 1 officer and 20 other ranks. A double sentry to be posted at W1 and the billets. In fog a standing patrol to be placed at post W2.

A Coy: billeted in Linkside, Corton Road. A duty platoon to be established each night which would establish a standing patrol of 1 N.C.O and 6 other ranks at post W4 and a double sentry at TM548955.

C Coy: billeted at Civil Service Holiday Camp, Corton. A standing patrol of 1 N.C.O and 6 other ranks on the cliff at post W6 and a double sentry at the billets.

D Coy: billeted at Corton Holiday Camp. A standing patrol of 1 N.C.O and 6 other ranks at a fortified house, TM542980. A double sentry at the billets. A bicycle patrol of 3 men to operate on nights suitable for paratroop landings.

Carrier section: one section to be detailed night duty and be ready to move at 20 minutes.

The duty platoons were to sleep in clothes but were allowed to sleep in rubber shoes instead of boots. Equipment, arms and ammunition were to be kept by the bed. Night duty was from 2200 hrs to half hour after the Blackout ended. The alarm was to be raised by beating a gong at each post/sentry location. The rest of the Battalion was to be ready to turn out at 20 minutes notice.

On ‘stand To’ defence posts were to be manned and companies were to carry out patrols in their areas. The carriers (less one section) were to patrol the area forward of the static posts.

On ‘Action Stations’ Naval personnel and Home Guard would man the Anti-infiltration Line. The Naval ratings would form a Naval battalion of approx 600 men armed with rifles. The Home Guard would man defences at Oulton. The Outpost line was to be manned by the carrier platoon (less 1 section) and ‘D’ Coy at Corton lane End by day and at night by ‘B’Coy with the carriers at Corton lane End. The force was to withdraw through Oulton if compelled to do so.

Immediate reserve was one section of carriers under the command of 7th Border while the Brigade Reserve was ‘C’ Coy, 6th Border and would come under command of 7th Border on instructions from the Brigade Commander.

Other supporting troops were AA gun and search light detachments in the area which would form strong points when enemy action made it impossible to perform their AA role.

Artillery support was to be called as follows:

SOS: Calls for SOS Fire tasks were to made with Golden Rain rockets – SOS Fire Task was 10 rounds HE per gun

Defensive Fire: Calls to be made through Brigade HQ unless an artillery observer can see the enemy in the area when the artillery would then engage without further orders. Support was 5 rounds HE per gun.

Further naval support was provided by three Thornycroft Motor Launches, equipped with wireless and a Vickers machine gun, which would proceed to the junction of the River Waveney and Oulton Dyke where they would watch for enemy parachutists landing on the marshes.

As well as full scale invasion, there was also the possibility of raids. The code word for raids was ‘Bandit’. It was not considered possible to man all defences on a ‘Bandit’ warning – only vital places were to be protected (in 7th Border area these were the coastal batteries, the harbor and swing bridge). Defence posts W1, W2 and W3 were to be manned and one company from Corton was to move by motor transport to north of the harbor to assist the Navy or undertake counter attacks.

As outlined above, the role of the Home Guard in 7th Border area was to man defences on the Anti-Infiltration line and at Oulton. This was a departure from their role in previous Defence Schemes. Brig A.C.T Evanson noted that previously they had been detailed to hold a line of pillboxes behind a western perimeter, all facing west and few wired in. The Home Guard had also been allocated a number of road blocks which they could never hope man or even erect. He considered that in this role they would be of little use.

References:
7th Border papers, TNA
198 Brigade papers, TNA

7thborderplatton

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