In Britain, after the fall of France, there was the fear that the Germans may attempt a channel crossing and invade in 1940. If the Wehrmacht got shore in the south of England, facing them would have been a series of ‘Stop Lines’.
These were defensives which comprised a series of pillboxes and anti-tank obstacles. They hoped these static defences would hold up any German advance long enough for the British to bring forward a mobile reserve.
During WWII this network of fortifications was spread across the country.
Protecting Britain from an invasion in Devon and Cornwall was the Taunton Stop line in the South West of the country.
To tell me all about Stop Lines is Andrew Powell-Thomas. Andrew is a military historian specialising in the military history of the West Country. He is also the author of The West Country’s Last Line of Defence: Taunton Stop Line.
On the heavy bombers the role of the crew members was symbiotic. The pilot needed the flight engineer to fly; the navigator got the plane to the target, and it was the bomb aimer that delivered the ordinance.
Wartime films give the impression of the bomb aimer's job being simply to look through the bombsight and press the button to release the bombs at the right time. In actual fact, their job is much more sophisticated. They aided the navigator, took readings to be dialled into their computer connected bomb sight, and often they might also be expected to man a machine gun in the plane's nose.
In this episode I’m joined by Colin Pateman. If you recall in episode 76 I talked to Colin about Flight Engineers. Well, he’s been busy since then and has just completed a new book Aiming for Accuracy which focuses on bomb aimers in the RAF.
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