Roadblock Sockets

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Secret_Army, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. Secret_Army

    Secret_Army Junior Member

    I don't post on here very often, but I'd like to share this with you. I believe I've come across two adjacent sets of roadblock sockets. How I missed them I don't know, I've lived in the area most of my life and have passed the spot thousands of times. It was only while waiting for a bus the other, as I'd done many times before, that I looked down and realised what was there

    This is a small service road off Creek Road in East Molesey in Surrey. The building in the background is Hampton Court Station. The road surface is the original one, probably dating back to the 1930's. There are a number of similar remaining such sections locally. All the pictures have been enhanced a touch, so the sockets show up better

    This picture shows the two sets of sockets, either side of the entrance road[​IMG]

    Close up of the nearer set. Note the round plugs


    One of the plugs. It looks like its been filled with concrete


    The second set. These have been covered over more. I'd like to know whether the barrier carried across the adjacent road. That has been resurfaced over the years though


    There are some building on the other side of the road, old houses converted into offices. It has crossed my mind whether they could have been a strongpoint. None of this is listed on the DOB database, though two other sets across side roads about a mile away are, despite one site being tarmaced over a number of years ago
    CL1 likes this.
  2. CL1

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

  3. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Certainly looks like it. Great photos and good find.
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Well spotted. What a tribute to 1930s concrete. They don't make roads like that anymore. :)

    I'm surprised that the tar-sprayer has missed the area.
  5. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson Member

    Modern applications come in the form of Rated Crash Barrier Street Furniture such as a Bicycle Stands.
    These are commonly used to thwart smash and grab "artists" targeting Bank Machines and vaults.

    This is a British product created by APT Security Systems APT Controls Group - Car Park Barriers, Security Gates, Crash Rated Road Blockers, Parking and Traffic Control Equipment

    The pictures below give us a bit of a perspective on just how effective such "hairpin' shape" anti tank innovations would have been, even back in WW2!



  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Secret Army,

    Great post with lots of additional information by members.

  7. Secret_Army

    Secret_Army Junior Member

    Out of interest, here's a picture of the other set locally. This site is on the DOB database along with another one a bit further along that was covered over with tarmac some years back

  8. gaspirator

    gaspirator Member

    These are definitely sockets for rails - well spotted!

    Have you told your county archaeologist about them? They may already know, but it doesn't hurt to get them to enter the site into the Heritage Environment Record.

    I expect the adjacent road was also blocked; the side road blocks would otherwise be useless.

    The gap between the roads would probably have been blocked by concrete cubes (dragon's teeth) or smaller blocks known as pimples.

    There were two types of rail compatible with these sockets - straight vertical and bent hairpin. The hairpins each had two sockets, and it looks as though your sets were all for hairpins.

    Hairpins came in small and large sizes and could be staggered and reversed to create an uneven obstacle to help belly the tank or throw a track.

    There's some info and video on my website at: Roadblocks

    It's East Sussex related, but the same basic principles and obstacles.

    If you ever get the chance to measure the road, each individual socket and the distances between them, you could probably work out how the block might have looked.

    I did a 2-minute crude Photoshop mashup of your photo to give a vague idea - these are alternating large/small hairpins. I expect the other 3 pairs of sockets in this set were also hairpins, with perhaps at least one facing the other way - again, socket size and spacing may reveal this.

    All roadblocks were to be covered by fire, and so it's quite possible that nearby houses were sandbagged and shored up as defended buildings. An upstairs window from which you could drop Molotov cocktails onto the engine deck of a tank would be ideal.

    Hope this helps!

    - Pete

    Attached Files:

  9. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson Member

  10. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    The round one may have been a socket for a Mark IV anti-tank mine. Great to see them still surviving especially in a built up area. What ais the map reference of those not on the DOB survey?
  11. airborne medic

    airborne medic Very Senior Member

    Out of interest, here's a picture of the other set locally. This site is on the DOB database along with another one a bit further along that was covered over with tarmac some years back


    Excellent picture....from a tactical point of view given that it looks like a park in the background what else was here that would have been important to the Germans....
    ARPCDHG likes this.
  12. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Surviving hairpins on the old canal bridge at Elm on the Cambs/Norfolk border. It's fairly safe to assume these were permanent ones rather than socketed...
    ARPCDHG and CL1 like this.
  13. CL1

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

    there are two here either side of the road and in the road are mine sockets assumed to ensure the panzers would be encouraged to cross the hump back bridge therefore blowing the mines

    one of the hairpins with the sockets clearly showing in the road

    Tricky Dicky likes this.

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