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Defence Of Britain Project

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The Defence of Britain Project (DoB) is a valuable resource that was researched over the period of April 1995 to March 2002. Some six hundred researchers identified 20,000 British military sites dating from the 20th century.

Funded by the National Heritage, the Heritage Lottery fund, and others, the DoB project was a one-off undertaking, and is therefore is complete, and not a live project subject to update, or seeking new input. Its records have been distributed to national and local monument records around the country, and made available through the External Links given below.

A number of Google Earth kmz files are available online, containing the original DoB locations, and are still being updated with new information, even though the original DoB project ended in 2002. The Google Earth Community thread containing the relevant link is given below in the External Links section.

Scottish content

By definition, the DoB Data Archive (DoBDA) contains mainly English data, the major threat to the country was perceived as being direct towards the south east coast across the English Channel, and the coast to the Channel's north. Numerous defences and stop lines were installed on the route north from the coast, intended not to stop the advance of the enemy, but to delay, and gives Britain's land forces time to assemble in the south, and confront the attacker, who would have been allowed to penetrate far enough inland to be running out of the supplies needed to continue the attack. The British would have been paying a heavy price for implementing this delay, but it would have given the Royal Navy time to steam down from its safe anchorage in the north at Scapa Flow, and wipe out the lesser German fleet in the Channel. This would have isolated the invading troops that had been allowed on the mainland, starving them of resources, support, fuel, and ammunition. The strategy would undoubtedly have been costly in terms of lives lost amongst those defenders creating the delay, many of them volunteers of the Home Guard, but would have virtually guaranteed victory for the British.

While not on the same scale, a similar scenario was foreseen on the east coast of Scotland, with the threat of attack from occupied Norway, and studies have revealed that the north east coast of the country had similar defences and stop lines constructed, with the same intention of delaying the enemy's penetration inland, and allowing the country's forces to mass and launch a counter-offensive from a position of strength. An example of one of the largest of these being the Rattray Head Anti-Tank Line, still recognisable in many places.

The table below summarises the number of sites recorded by the project, which can be found on the project's own web site, or within the Canmore databases maintained by RCAHMS, all listed in the following External Links section:

Scottish DefencesWWII sitesOther sitesTotal
Aberdeen11112
Aberdeenshire90595
Angus461056
Argyll and Bute2377100
Ayrshire East033
Ayrshire North51115
Ayrshire South224
Clackmannanshire011
Dumfries and Galloway74047
Dunbartonshire East033
Dunbartonshire West077
Dundee303
Edinburgh352156
Falkirk101
Fife13530165
Glasgow022
Highland13282214
Inverclyde1910
Lanarkshire North033
Lanarkshire South044
Lothian East8027107
Lothian West000
Midlothian325
Moray34438
Orkney Islands494089
Perth and Kinross191029
Renfrewshire178
Renfrewshire East066
Scottish Borders221436
Shetland Islands306494
Stirling369
Western Isles11819
Totals7335091241

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