Section Post

Back Burnt Hills, Cromer, Norfolk

In addition to small pillboxes, some larger concrete fortifications were also built in 1940 for use by infantrymen. These existed in much smaller numbers than their counterparts and very few of them survive today. Once such example is to be seen in Cromer and was part of the town’s anti-invasion defences.

This is known as a section post, because it could accommodate a full section of infantrymen (between 8-10 men). A standard pillbox was only ever intended to be used in action by two men; the remaining men of the section were supposed to be in trenches or other fieldworks that were either in close proximity or directly attached to the pillbox. All the men of the section were only to take cover in a pillbox during an air raid.

Section posts are part of a group of larger concrete infantry defences that tend to be orientated so that they have two main fields of fire and they tend to be elongated, rather than being built for all-round defence.

The example at Cromer comprises two narrow chambers arranged at a right angle, with the entrance at the join and protected by a blast wall. There are eleven embrasures for the defenders, one more than the maximum ten man section that was used by the British army at the time. The additional loop might have been envisaged for an extra man (possible the platoon commander or platoon sergeant), but it is perhaps more likely that it was added to provide a field of fire to the east. As there is no blast wall, however, which would have exposed the occupants to raking enemy fire.

Designs like the example at Cromer are rare, being found on the North Norfolk coast and also in southern England on the Hampshire section of the Avon Stop Line.

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