Blacker Bombard (Spigot Mortar) site, Old Amersham, Buckinghamshire

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by CL1, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Blacker Bombard ,Spigot Mortar site,Old Amersham,Buckinghamshire

    upload_2018-6-13_18-23-48.png upload_2018-6-13_18-24-5.png upload_2018-6-13_18-24-14.png upload_2018-6-13_18-24-26.png upload_2018-6-13_18-24-41.png upload_2018-6-13_18-24-54.png upload_2018-6-13_18-25-10.png upload_2018-6-13_18-25-20.png upload_2018-6-13_18-25-31.png upload_2018-6-13_18-25-44.png upload_2018-6-13_18-25-54.png upload_2018-6-13_18-26-5.png upload_2018-6-13_18-26-16.png upload_2018-6-13_18-26-26.png upload_2018-6-13_18-26-36.png upload_2018-6-13_18-26-47.png upload_2018-6-13_18-26-56.png upload_2018-6-13_18-27-4.png upload_2018-6-13_18-27-15.png upload_2018-6-13_18-27-27.png
     
    ARPCDHG, ozzy16, Tolbooth and 2 others like this.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Are you ever at home - or is that the plan ??

    Nice photos - miss the herons though

    TD
     
    CL1 likes this.
  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    ha ha

    just applied for it to be listed
     
    ARPCDHG likes this.
  4. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    So it should. This is what is left of one I dug out of the undergrowth in Derbyshire three years ago.

    Spigot mortar.png
     
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  5. Vintage Wargaming

    Vintage Wargaming Well-Known Member

    The Sealion episode of Time Team showed a good one at Shooters Hill
     
  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Received

    Thank you for your application to add the above structure to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. If you have any further contact details for the owner or owners of the building, I would be grateful if you could provided me with them.


    We are now beginning our assessment of the spigot mortar emplacement. Once we have carried out this preliminary assessment we will send you a copy of our consultation report. This report will set out the factual information on which we will base our recommendation. At that stage you will be invited to make any comments you wish to about the spigot mortar emplacement. We will consider all representations made before finalising our assessment and making our recommendation to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We will notify you of the Secretary of State’s decision in due course.
     
  7. ARPCDHG

    ARPCDHG Member

    Well done CL1 - this is a rare good condition 'proper' version of the spiggy mortar emplacement.
     
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    I received details this morning that Historic England are sending off for it to be included as a listed WW2 structure.
    I await to see if this is successful.
     
  9. jeffbubble

    jeffbubble Senior Member

    well done
     
  10. jeffbubble

    jeffbubble Senior Member

    West Cumberland at War 042.JPG
     
    CL1 likes this.
  11. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    From the documentation submitted for listing

    History
    Following the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk in 1940, Britain’s
    defences were strengthened against the very real threat of a German invasion. Diverse types
    of defensive structures were built in large numbers across the whole country, some of the
    most common including road and rail blocks, earthwork gun emplacements, barbed wire
    entanglements, anti-tank defences and pillboxes. These defensive structures were generally
    grouped, either at vulnerable or strategically important nodal points, around vital installations
    such as airfields, or arranged in linear defensive systems called stop lines, which were
    intended to obstruct the enemy advance.
    One particular weakness identified in Britain’s defences was a grave shortage of anti-tank
    guns; 840 had been left behind in France following the Dunkirk evacuation and only 167 were
    available in Britain. Besides a lack of weaponry, the required ammunition was in such short
    supply that regulations prohibited the firing of even a single round for training purposes. A
    relatively cheap and portable solution to this problem was designed by Lieutenant Colonel
    Stewart Blacker of the Territorial Army. Unlike conventional mortars, a spigot mortar does not
    possess a barrel, rather a steel rod, or spigot, is fixed to a base, with the projectile itself
    housing the propellant charge in its tail. When the mortar is fired, the projectile is pushed
    down onto the spigot, which explodes the charge and fires the round. The 29mm spigot
    mortar, or Blacker Bombard, was based on this premise, but with an inclined, swivel-mounted
    spigot and trigger firing mechanism. It was also fitted with a portable mounting consisting of
    four folding legs.
    The design for the Blacker Bombard dates back to 1939, although it was not accepted by the
    War Office until after the events of Dunkirk. The plan was submitted to the head of the Military
    Intelligence Research department, Major Millis Jefferis, who was receptive to the idea,
    although other government officials initially opposed. Prime Minister Winston Churchill
    attended a demonstration of the weapon on 18 August 1940, and on his orders the weapon
    was put into full production. By mid-December c8000 of an initial order of 16,000 had been
    issued, and the initial order was increased to 28,000. Eventually nearly 29,000 were made. On
    14 September 1941, the Directorate of Fortifications and Works (DFW) published drawing
    number 55280. This was an important development which introduced the designs for a
    pedestal mounting for the weapon, replacing the heavy folding legs with a fixed emplacement.
    By using these pre-prepared emplacements, the weapon could benefit from enhanced
    portability and stability, whilst still offering sufficient accuracy and protection for the crew. The
    type site would comprise a concrete thimble of approximately 1m diameter and 1m in height,
    with a central steel pin which would engage the underside of the weapon and form a swivel
    mounting. The thimble was to be centred in a pit c1.2m deep giving access all around, with
    four concrete ammunition lockers recessed into the walls. A deeper approach trench was also
    included in the plan, and a separate store building was often included for storage of the
    weapon and mounting when not in use.
    Amersham does not appear to have formed part of any General Headquarters (GHQ)
    anti-tank line or any other stop line, nor was the town a nodal point or designated strong point.
    The River Misbourne seems to be key to understanding the context of this emplacement,
    acting as a natural barrier which was complemented by the mortar emplacement. The
    Amersham Company of the 5th Buckinghamshire Battalion Home Guard were likely to have
    been responsible for this emplacement, and in the absence of any firm evidence to the
    contrary, it is likely that this was an ambush position.
    Details
    Principle Elements
    This is an emplacement for a 29mm spigot mortar, also known as the Blacker Bombard, likely
    dating from 1941-2.
    Description
    This example consists of a circular pit finished with a concrete floor and walls. The pit has
    openings for two square ammunition lockers to the south side, which are set back into the wall
    of the pit. In the centre of the pit is the large circular concrete thimble, which has a curved top
    capped by a circular iron plate in the centre. This holds the steel pin or pivot. This design
    would appear to be a variation on the Directorate of Fortifications and Works plan, adjusted
    according to its context and the topography of the site.

    upload_2019-2-23_11-24-45.png
     
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  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Still waiting for an update after chasing up

    Amersham does not appear to have formed part of any General Headquarters (GHQ) anti-tank line or any other stop line, nor was the town a nodal point or designated strong point. The River Misbourne seems to be key to understanding the context of this emplacement, acting as a natural barrier which was complemented by the mortar emplacement. The Amersham Company of the 5th Buckinghamshire Battalion Home Guard were likely to have been responsible for this emplacement, and in the absence of any firm evidence to the contrary, it is likely that this was an ambush position.
     
    ARPCDHG and timuk like this.

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