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Anti-Tank Pimples, Purbeck

Description: Anti-Tank Pimples

Grade: II
Date Listed: 30 November 2012
Building ID: 1411810

OS Grid Reference: SZ0354583013
OS Grid Coordinates: 403545, 83013
Latitude/Longitude: 50.6468, -1.9512

Locality: Purbeck
Local Authority: Purbeck District Council
County: Dorset
Postcode: BH19 3AX

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Listing Text


Anti-tank pimples, erected in c1940-1 as a component of the Studland Defence Area.

Reason for Listing

The line of anti-tank pimples, situated in a gully to the north-west of Middle Beach car park, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: they provide a visual reminder of the impact of world events on the area;
* Group value: they represent an integral part of a significant group of listed Second World War anti-invasion defences which could have been one of the front lines in the event of a German invasion.


Studland Bay was one of the two stretches of Dorset coastline where a German invasion was considered most likely. In 1940, the defence of the Dorset coast was the responsibility of V Corps whose 50th Division had its headquarters at Blandford Forum. Anti-tank islands were established in towns in the area and a number of stop lines were also constructed. Anti-invasion defences were constructed along Studland Bay in response to the threat of a German invasion. Forward defended localities were established along the line of the beach at Studland and a number of pillboxes and other defensive structures were constructed. Anti-tank cubes blocked possible exits from the beach at three locations and minefields were also situated amongst the sand dunes. Most of these defences were in place by early August 1940. In October 1940, the infantry battalion in the Studland Sub-Sector (Studland Defence Area) was the 7th Bn. Suffolk Regiment. By April 1941, it had been replaced by the 1st Bn. Coldstream Guards. The Dorset Home Guard unit also manning defences at Studland was No.2 (East Purbeck) Company, 7th (Wareham) Battalion was manned by No.2 (East Purbeck) Company, 7th (Wareham) Battalion of the Home Guard.

From the autumn of 1943, Studland Bay became an amphibious assault training area as part of the preparations for D-Day on 6 June 1944, one of the most significant dates in modern history, defining the start of the final phase of World War II in Europe. Six weeks prior to D-Day, Allied troops gathered in Studland Bay to undertake three full-scale training exercises to prepare themselves for the amphibious landings that were to take place on the beaches of Normandy. The rehearsal, codenamed Exercise Smash 1, was the largest live ammunition practice of the whole war period; battle training was also carried out using the anti-invasion pillboxes erected within the Defence Area. The bay was also the scene of a major experiment to test the effectiveness of burning oil as a defence against a German seaborne invasion, known as Project Fougasse, it involved piping oil to the sea and firing it by explosive charges.

To the south-east of Knoll House Hotel, and immediately north of Middle Beach car park are a line of anti-tank pimples that form part of the Second World War anti-invasion defences in Studland Bay. They are positioned to block the route inland from the beach. A similar line of blocks existed below the Middle Beach car park at SZ 037828 but they have now been removed and reused in the modern beach defences to the south-east.


MATERIAL: concrete

DESCRIPTION: a line of anti-tank pimples, orientated north-west to south-east, located across a small valley. Five of the pimples lie on the north side of the valley and fifteen to the south. Two are double cubes and a further two have fallen into the gully and are broken. Each cube is 1.2m wide and projects on average 1.5m from the ground, with a low pointed pyramid top.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.