Mystery Tank Traps

Reading the BBC website recently I was intrigued to see this article looking at Second World War structures, there are some wonderful pictures.

The remains of a network of pillboxes and gun emplacements can be found at various coastal locations around the country and a short trip across the English Channel will ensure you come face to face with the Nazi Atlantic Wall that was there to stop the Allied forces returning to mainland Europe, something it failed to achieve. more…

As a child walking with my parents we regularly use to pass a couple of huge concrete blocks that I was always told were tank traps. A couple of years ago visiting my folks I was at a loose end and decided to go visit the old tank traps to see if they were still there. Indeed they were more or less as I remembered, though now painted red, guarding the approaches to a bridge which crossed over the railway line to Stockton-on-Tees and the North East.

Since taking the picture what has been bothering me is what were these tank traps guarding?

The bridge that the concrete blocks protect the approaches to is not, (and probably never has been) strong enough to take a tank or armoured vehicle, and even if it were you would drive 20m to be confronted with a small beck with only wooden foot bridge for a crossing.

Which begs the question what was the thought process in the civil defence plan of Northallerton which decided for strategic reasons tank traps would be placed there?

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For a quick search on old civil defence sites in your area a good starting point is this google map over lay (to get it to work I had to use google Earth). There is a staggering amount of sites listed, unfortunately my site though listed has no new information!