Saltcoats Tank Traps
Saltcoats provides one of the few surviving examples of World War II Tank Traps installed in public roads. Examples can be found in the town's Ardrossan Road, in the footpath adjacent to the car park of council offices, and in the footpath outside the house opposite the offices.
The road mounted traps are similar to examples seen in Ardrossan.
Formerly reaching across the full width of the road and footpath, the roads have been resurfaced, resulting in the loss of most of the traps installed there, but those located in the adjacent footpath still remain, and have the appearance of a group of small metal covers, similar to those over the water toby (road mounted shut-off valve) found outside most buildings. In the event of an attack, the covers would have been removed, and steel girders fixed into the holes, blocking the width of the road. Although simple, such measures were particularly effective against tracked vehicles such as tanks, as they could become trapped by even a single vertical post if they attempted to drive over it and it lodged in their underside while their tracks were not in contact with the ground. Unable to move and effectively disabled, the trapped tank was not only halted, but was a dead weight of up to 50 tons, so would delay or halt others, unless engineers could move it, or call in lifting gear.
During the war, it was believed that the area would make an ideal landing point, due to its wide expanse and shallow run in from the beach.
Recalled by a resident:
I remember my grandfather spinning me a yarn about these things, he said metal poles were put in the holes and it would stop German gliders from landing safely. Considering the age of the surrounding houses, it would have to be a damned good glider pilot that could have set down there. It would be interesting to know if there are any more examples of these in the area, or indeed in Stevenston, with the Nobel Explosives Factory having been situated there.
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