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A Photographic Guide to the
The Taunton Stop Line
by Bob Osborn

It was early June 1940 and Nazi Germany had stormed across Europe. There were no more British allies on the continent - Poland, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and France had all fallen under the relentless war machine that was the German Blitzkrieg. Only Britain remained, alone and awaiting the Nazi onslaught with the rag-tag remains of its defeated army. Of course Hitler would invade Britain and finish his conquest of Europe. Why on earth wouldn't he? But how was Britain to defend herself?

The Taunton Stop Line, one of many stop lines planned throughout Britain in 1940, was a system of interlocking defences of pillboxes, gun emplacements, road blocks and suchlike that ran for some 50 miles across the waist of the Southwest Peninsular from the Somerset coast, near Highbridge, passing through Somerset, Dorset and Devon, to Seaton on the Devon coast. Its purpose was to delay a German invading force that might land on the beaches of Cornwall, Devon or Somerset and slow down any advance further east towards Bristol and into the heartland of southern England so that troops from the Home Forces central reserve could be mobilised to meet the invading force.

Today, of the total 401 hardened field defences (pillboxes and gun emplacements) planned, 221 survive and of a total of 189 road and rail blocks 63 remain. Additionally hundreds of anti-tank cubes, anti-tank posts, anti-tank tetrahedra survive and many scarcer items are extant. The vast majority of these defences are included in this electronic book.

Containing over 1,500 full colour photographs and over 120 maps and illustrations, this enlightening book contains a wealth of information in an authoritative text to create a complete interpretive photographic record of all the surviving Second World War defences of the Taunton Stop Line and the twelve associated anti-tank islands. The book investigates the background story to the building of the stop line, who built it and how it was built. It also offers a strategic and tactical understanding of the siting of the different elements that combined to form a complete defensive system. The book follows the demise of the static stop line strategy and the rise of the more fluid anti-tank island concept. Also included are in-depth sections covering associated subjects such as camouflage, hardened field defences, anti-tank obstacles, other obstacles and the weapons used.

The book includes a unique collection of some three dozen contemporary pencil sketches of individual camouflage schemes, however altogether details are known for a staggering 96 schemes for camouflaging pillboxes and gun emplacements,  - probably the highest number for any stop line in the country - and all of these are illustrated or described in this book, many for the first time.

Available formats: compiled EXE file on CD - £7.99 with FREE UK P+P


The following review is by John Hellis, Coordinator of the Pillbox Study Group -


"This book is really excellent, from the front page through the detailed introduction Mr Osborn has made the book straightforward and understandable, yet covers an amazing amount of detail.

The Taunton Stop Line is arguably the most important, and certainly the most complete line in the UK outside of Kent. Unfortunately, this vital defence line has been badly neglected over the years, so many of the structures have been destroyed by the expansion and development of the towns and villages through which it passed. A study of the line is long overdue.

Bob Osborn has put together a detailed explanation of the line using 39 maps, each map is numbered and itemised. By clicking on any extant pillbox in each page link you are taken immediately to the details of that pillbox with a selection of “thumb nail” pictures. Clicking on any thumbnail takes you to the full size picture.

The plans are excellent, colourful and very simple to understand; the author has colour coded the defence works, splitting the TSL into four basic parts. The original stop line and the added defences to make up the Anti-Tank islands, he then subdivides these into extant and destroyed. The result is that looking at each map shows instantly which of the two phases each pillbox is and whether it is still there. One particularly useful feature, so often missing from other works, is the repeating of the map symbols on each page. There is no need to keep referring back to a previous page because you have forgotten what a particular symbol or colour means. A very nice feature."



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THE SMALL PRINT - please read!                                      

This electronic book, suitable for Windows XP and Vista, comes on an auto loading CD and requires Internet Explorer version 4 or above to be installed on your computer. This eBook is NOT suitable for Macs or hand-held devices.


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