Stop Lines - Suffolk: Based on 11 Corps Papers TNA
Running through Suffolk were a number of Stop Lines defined by 11 Corps.
The map above shows:
Line C - The Eastern Command Line
Starting in Essex, runs from the River Colne to Wares Colne hence L.A.N.E.R to Bures hence River Stour to Long Melford hence L & N.E.R to Bury St Edmonds hence River lark to Mildenhall.
River Orwell to Ispwich hence River Gipping to Haughley hence approx Tostock hence river Llne to junction with Little Ouse NW of Euston.
River Deben to Debenham hence east side of road Debehham to Eye hence River Dove to junction with River Waveny.
Line E - F Switch
Runs L & N.E.R Camsea Ash to Saxmundham to Halesworth.
Runs River Blyth to Halesworth hence north side of road Halesworth to Harleston.
In addition to the above, local commanders were also expected to be prepared to hold the lines River Waveney and Benacre to Beccles (i.e the River Hundred).
These were not intended to be a series of defensive lines but rather as a defensive network to delay and impede enemy movement by road. This was to be achieved by defence posts at all nodal points. Some of the Stop Lines did however form natural lines. Of the above, only the Eastern Command Line was to be developed into a defensive line with a continuous anti-tank obstacle and defence in depth. The policy of the Stop Lines was:
1) To act as bounds for the forward movement of reserves;
2) To act as stop lines on which to hold up the advance of mechanised troops should the enemey succeed in pushing forward from a beach landing;
3) To act as defensive lines in the last resort.
Early in 1941, a new line, the "Back Line" was defined by 11 Corps, 10 miles inland with the purpose of preventing the enemy debouching from a successful beach landing. This line basically followed the railway line from Beccles to Ipswich and incorporated the E-F switch stop line. It was designated to be a continuous ant-tank obstacle, with embankments on parts of the railway and with road blocks on all crossing points of the line forming the obstacle, covered by defended localities and the crossings prepared for demolition. It was to be manned by the Home Guard. Of interest is the outcome of Home Guard Excercise No 1 held during May 10th and 11th 1941 which revealed a lack of training and experience in the Home Guard in explosives and demolition.
Finally, 11 Corps papers also show a number of "Pillbox Lines" along the Suffolk Coast: Felixstowe, Bawdsey, Shingle Street, Aldeburgh-Sizewell, Dunwich, Blythburgh-Southwold, Covehithe-Benacre and Lowestoft.
Back line and "Pillbox Lines", 11 Corps Papers,TNA
11 Corps papers, TNA
15th Div Papers, TNA