Blandford Forum in Dorset County, England, United Kingdom
The Battle of Blandford
The Battle of Blandford: defences against a German invasion in World War II
“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets…” Winston Churchill 18th June 1940
Imagine it is July 1940. The German Army occupies France and most of Europe and is ready for its next invasion – England. Threatened with landings along the Dorset coast, we have only a few weeks to defend ourselves against the arrival of German tanks.
Blandford lies in the path of a possible blitzkrieg rapid advance by the Germans to capture the West Country and valuable ports such as Portland and Plymouth for landing many more troops. This puts England in real danger of defeat. Churchill has declared Blandford to be an anti-tank strategic island - a strong-point to be defended at all costs.
The Dorset Downs are a natural obstacle to German tanks, but the road alongside the River Stour through Blandford offers a gap through the hills, enabling a fast German advance from the south coast to the Bristol Channel.
Other routes could follow the River Frome at Maiden Newton and the River Avon at Fordingbridge, but the most easily negotiated would be to follow the Stour through Blandford.
To prevent a German advance across the flood plain, the Army will lay mine fields. Local builders have constructed pillboxes and lines of anti-tank blocks. There are similar defences at the railway bridge.
There will be road blocks at key road junctions.
Artillery-ranged ‘killing ground’ for tanks.
Any tank penetrating the minefield would be destroyed by artillery fire from the milldown.
Surviving pilbox on anti-tank ditch. Anti-tank blocks.
The deer park ha-ha has become an anti-tank ditch, with the flint ha-ha wall encased in concrete.
Both bridges may be blown up. The detonator box for the road bridge is in the 27 West St, and the householder may press the button on orders from the Army.
Southern Command defence area. Blandford Forum anti-tank island.
The railway’s 30’ – 40’ high embankments and cuttings are effective anti-tank obstacles and form part of the the anti-tank island.
Enemy planes may attack Blandford’s defences before an invasion. If the air raid warning sounds: Stay calm and take cover. Obey instructions from the air raid wardens (ARP) and the fire brigade.
Location. 50° 51.313′ N, 2° 10.013′ W. Marker is in Blandford Forum, England, in Dorset County. Marker is on West Street just from River Mews, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Blandford Forum, England DT11 7AW, United Kingdom.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 19 kilometers of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Trafalgar Way (about 120 meters away, measured in a direct line); Blandford Forum War Memorial (about 180 meters away); 1731 Fire (about 210 meters away); Jack Counter VC (about 210 meters away); The Bastards’ House (about 210 meters away); Fox Inn (approx. 12.1 kilometers away); Dewlish War Memorial (approx. 13.5 kilometers away); Centurion Mark 12 (approx. 18.5 kilometers away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Blandford Forum.
Categories. • War, World II •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 21, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 21, 2018, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 34 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 21, 2018, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.