Coastal Artillery

A muzzle-loading gun and stack of cannon balls was the badge of Coastal Artillery Fire Commands and Batteries.

At the outbreak of the war, the only coastal artillery covering Suffolk’s coast was situated in Beacon Hill Fort, Harwich. Landguard Fort was quickly provided with guns, a battery of two pairs of six pounders and an emergency battery of two six inch guns. During 1940 other emergency batteries were quickly established along the Suffolk Coast. Guns for these batteries were old naval six inch guns bought out of storage (with the exception of Dunwich which had four inch guns). The principal role of Coastal Defence batteries was to engage enemy ships and landing barges. Some also had a secondary beach anti-tank role. Operational control of the batteries seems to have been either under the direct command of Eastern Command or under the command of the front line Division. For batteries under Divisional control (and presumably also the others) if for any reason the batteries could no longer perform their coastal defence role, their personnel came under the operational command of the Battalion in that area. The fire of the Lowestoft Batteries was co-ordinated by a Fire Command post at Corton.Some of the emergency batteries layout was obviously determined by local conditions/constraints, especially those in towns. For example, Aldeburgh battery comprised of seperate structures for both guns and the observation tower was added onto the old windmill.

Batteries would have been defended with the provision of pillboxes (e.g Bawdsey), wire entaglments, anti-tank cubes, earthworks and spigot mortar emplacements. In most cases they would have functioned as seperate 'Defended Localities'.

Some field artillery batteries also had an inshore defensive task against landing bardges and seaplanes - for example a 4" gun at Bawdsey RDF station fire task was to engage any craft, seaplanes or tanks within its arc of fire. A battery of 6" Howitzers, in support of 11th Highland Light Infantry , task included 'defensive fire in sea 300 yds E of Fort Sproule' (Fort Sproule is a Martello Tower).

Coastal Batteries were established at (from north to south):

225 Coast Battery - North Lowestoft
177 Coast Battery - Grand Hotel, Lowestoft
215 Coast Battery - Lowestoft South Pier (12 pdrs)
326 Coast Battery - Pakefield
231 Coast Battery - Kessingland
354 Coast Battery - Covehithe
382 Coast battery - Easton Wood (just south of Covehithe)
327 Coast Battery - Southwold
371 Coast battery - Dingle (Dunwich)
232 Coast Battery - Minsmere
355 Coast Battery - Sizewell
328 Coast Battery - Aldeburgh
332 Coast Battery - Bawdsey
279 Coast battery - Manor House, Felixstowe
280 Coast Battery - Darrell's, Landguard Fort

References:

UKFC Data Base, PSG Website
15th Div papers, NRA
11 HLI papers, NRA
Heraldry In War, Formation Badges 1939-45, Lt.Colonel H.N.Cole, O.B.E, Gale & Polden 1946

coastal art

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