Red Sand Sea Forts

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Njaco, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    The Thames Estuary Army Forts were constructed in 1942 to a design by Guy Maunsell, following the successful construction and deployment of the Naval Sea Forts. Their purpose was to provide anti-aircraft fire within the Thames Estuary area. Each fort consisted of a group of seven towers with a walkway connecting them all to the central control tower. The fort, when viewed as a whole, comprised one Bofors tower, a control tower, four gun towers and a searchlight tower. They were arranged in a very specific way, with the control tower at the centre, the Bofors and gun towers arranged in a semi-circular fashion around it and the searchlight tower positioned further away, but still linked directly to the control tower via a walkway. All the forts followed this plan and, in order of grounding, were called the Nore Army Fort, the Red Sands Army Fort and finally the Shivering Sands Army Fort. All three forts were in place by late 1943, but Nore is no longer standing. Construction of the towers was relatively quick, and they were easily floated out to sea and grounded in water no more than 30m (100ft) deep.

    Access for the men posted to these forts was via an entrance at the base of the platform. Parts of the ladders that the men would have used are still visible today, but are in a very poor condition. Indeed, attempting to access these forts is extremely hazardous, and they are best viewed from a boat and a safe distance. All 3 forts saw action during the Second World War, and there is no doubt that they proved their worth. So much so in fact that anti-aircraft command called for the construction of more sea forts on the Thames in the immediate post-war period, and various new fort designs were put forward. However, none of them came to fruition and in 1952 the government decided not to pursue the sea fort construction programme any further. Nore Army Fort sustained damage during a storm in 1953, and tragedy struck the same fort again 2 months later when a ship hit and destroyed the Bofors and one of the gun towers. Four civilian caretakers were killed in this incident. In 1955, the War Office decided that the Army Sea Forts had no further operational value. The Nore Army Fort was dismantled in 1959, but the Red Sands and Shivering Sands Forts are still standing today. They have been used as pirate radio stations during the 60's and 70's, but since then have remained abandoned.

    Maunsell Sea Forts

    Maunsell Forts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Maunsell abandoned Army Sea Forts, Red Sands Shivering Sands, Thames estuary, UK
     

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  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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  3. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Very impressive, it would seem, to me at least, that these would be very vulnerable to low-level fighter attack. knock out one or two legs and the whole thing comes down
     
  4. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I saw a short docu on them on Russian TV this morning and checked them out. The guy who runs Sealand is still there, living in them.
     
  5. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm, never torpedoed a country before :evil4:
     
  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Yeah, they are cool. You would think they would be pretty easy to destroy though. They are in fairly shallow water though.

    Sealand was for sale at some point, not sure what happened to it though.
     
  7. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Interesting. Great post Njaco, I never knew these existed. I would bet those pylons would with stand virtually anything except a direct hit with what I imagine are some very deep footings. Certainly they are almost immune to machine gun/small cannon fire.

    I just question how effective they really were. Fixed positions, hard to reinforce (men equipment), navigational hazards, etc. Wouldn't a few cruisers outfitted with extra AAA serve a more expedient and mobile platform?
     
  8. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    I hadn't heard of these, either! Thanks for posting! My guess would be that these were put up to give the civilians a concrete example of how the military was working to defend them (something visible), and free up a couple of destroyers for escort or anti-submarine duties. Fixed positions like this, they could probably staff with a couple of regular army guys, and fill out the rest with volunteers or reserves. Heh. Just thinkin out loud.
     
  9. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Best guess that I might have. :dontknow: At this time of the war, a proactive govt was likely a significant boost to morale that one cannot comprehend wrt equating enemy war machines destroyed or operations stymied.

    Good post.
     
  10. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Matt, excellent thought, I recall all the NIKE batteries the US put up around big cities. there were several along the chicago lake front I used to visit as a young kid. Pretty much useless as a nuclear defense but impressive to look at. Like our "Duck and Cover" drills in school, my desk vs a nuclear bomb
     
  11. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Thanks for the post. Best photos I've seen of them.
     
  12. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Yeah I remember doing duck and cover drills when I was wee lad in Kalifornia. Also remember folks talking about Nike sites in Seattle when I arrived their after they were gone.

    Remembering the Gulf War with Patriots, makes one wonder if such batteries were nothing more than fireworks.
     
  13. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Definately remember the air raid siren tests and duck-n-cover drills as a kid. We also had a Nike base over-looking Orange County in the Brea Hills (near where the 57 freeway heads into the canyon).

    It would be interesting to see what the Germans thought of those AAA forts and if they ever worked up a solution/plan for taking them out...
     
  14. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Could a German Battle Cruiser get in range, or is the water shallow for miles?

    This would make a GREAT Christmas gift:

    The Principality of Sealand - Become a Lord, Lady, Baron or Baroness
     
  15. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    NIKE bases - got three around here: One the SWAT uses for practice drills, second is renting to businesses (construction companies, etc. ) and the third is now for sale for residential units.

    I remember Safety class showing the 50s video for "Duck Cover" - reminds me of that MaryJane video and drugs are bad for you that they also showed!
     
  16. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Some of them are close to the shipping lanes so I would assume that they are within range of surface ships. Pretty sure they are on a sandbank though so not sure how close they could get but certainly close enough to destroy them.

    Found these other interesting links whilst looking for more info.

    Thames Maunsell Forts::The Journey Out

    Maunsell Forts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    [​IMG]
     
  17. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Nice, thanks Gnomey
     
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