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Report - - Citadel Battery, Dover. November 2020 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Urban Ginger Hog

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The Western Heights of Dover have many great aspects filled with wonderful historical locations. The Citadel Battery itself is one of those gems which explorers and dog walkers alike pass on a daily basis and is somewhat undermined by the neighbouring larger and more exciting locations. My first solo visit here was many years ago, and despite the steep and muddy walk up to it I instantly loved this place. Now, in the present day with the dreaded 2nd lockdown looming over us, it was time for a revisit and to take some newer shots. Knowing the area much better now I parked up and off I went on a far less steep walk to the site. As with my first visit, the Battery had various families and dog walkers passing by, some sitting by the gun emplacements stopping to have a spot of lunch or a chat. A few heads turned when I smiled then quickly dropped out of view straight into the underground shell magazines. Waiting for a moment in the dark with the lovely cave spiders to see if any of the folks above were gonna pop in (after hearing them with voices of concern) after me, it was out with the Nitecore torch and D3200 camera. A quick check to make sure there were no bats hibernating and I started to take in the atmosphere. As with many locations, I noticed markings which were totally missed during my first visit. A few photo shots later and it was time to crawl back out and move onto the rest of the compound. Without further ado, here's some history with accompanying photo's on the Battery.

History:
Manned by the 520th Coast Regiment Royal Artillery (TA), Citadel Battery situated immediately west of the Western Outworks, an extension to the Citadel made in the late 1850s and 1860s, on the prominent east-west ridge of Upper Chalk which dominates the western side of the port and town. It was constructed between 1898 and 1900, to house three 9.2-inch Mark X breech-loading guns, with a primary role of counter bombardment of enemy shipping in the Channel, threatening to shell the port of Dover. Commands an extensive view of the seaward approaches to both east and west. To the east, the battery overlooks the port as far as Langdon Cliff. With a range of almost 10 miles, these guns were an important element in the defence of the port and seaway and remained in use until 1956.

By the time the citadel battery was constructed warfare had demonstrated the futility of massive artillery forts with casemates and heavy armour, which had become vulnerable to accurate long range bombardment. The military engineers of the day had realised that protection could be better afforded to a small battery with a low profile, protected by a concrete barbette and a sloping earth and sand glacis. The battery comprised three emplacements for 9.2-inch BL mark X guns, installed between 1901 and 1902, on barbette mountings. The Report of the Committee on the Armament of Home Ports, dated 1905, severely criticised Citadel Batter. It considered, first of all, that the 9.2-inch guns did not provide sufficient cover against bombarding cruisers, especially with the position-finding (PF) equipment in use. Secondly, it was the view of the Committee that the location of the battery was too retired, leaving dead water south and south-west of Shakespeare Cliff. In 1908, probably in response to its findings concerning the PF equipment, a new Battery Command (BC) post was established behind the battery. It had two floors comprising a telephone room below an open Depression Range Finding (DRF) position. In February 1910, the three 9.2-inch guns were still in place, with close defence provided by two parapet-mounted Maxim machine guns which were in place by December 1907. Later, in 1910, the parapet carriages for the machine guns were replaced by tripod mountings, and in December of the same year one of the 9.2-inch guns (no II) was removed to Woolwich and the emplacement remained empty thereafter. The battery was fully operational during the Second World War, for some of that time manned by 295 Battery Royal Artillery. Aerial photographs taken in 1945 show the guns in emplacements I and III, complete with metal turrets and loading platforms to the rear. High walls protected the rear of the guns in both emplacements. Several other buildings, including pillboxes, were established in and around the battery. During the 1960s, the ditch around the Western Outworks was infilled. Structures between it and the battery were partially levelled, a process which removed surface traces of many of the buildings associated with this battery

Command Post

Command Post.jpg


Command Post 2.jpg


Command Post 3.jpg


Two command posts were constructed at the Citadel Battery, the second replacing the first in 1908. It is situated behind the battery close to the northern edge of the ridge, in a position midway between emplacements I and II. It is a concrete structure protected by an earth mound shielding the eastern, western and southern sides and revetted on the north by a ramped retaining wall. The mound is now severely slighted on the south and east. It was originally of two floors but a third was added very shortly after completion. The new upper floor carried out the same function as the second floor. The enclosed ground floor formed a telephone room while the second and upper floors housed the Depression Range Finding (DRF) equipment. The present remains comprise the lower floor and the middle floor, though the latter has several alterations and the upper floor has gone. The ground floor telephone room, 3.17m by 2.59m by 2.40m high, was originally of cavity-wall construction with a concrete core and brick skin. The middle floor forms a three-sided platform open to the rear (north), with partly ramped side walls; it was originally reached via a steel ladder attached to the northern wall. The upper floor was originally open, with only a steel railing around the perimeter. By 1914 a simple concrete roof had been added.


Gun Emplacement and Small Pillbox (non standard design)

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Machine gun post 2.jpg


Machine gun Post 3.jpg


Machine gun Post 4.jpg


Machine gun post 5.jpg


A number of pillboxes were constructed across the Western Heights in the 20th century, to cover the approaches to the heights and are generally inter-visible. This pillbox is a two phased structure with standard Type A Quad (of which there are three other examples) attached to a rectangular brick building and is situated on the northern side of Citadel Battery. The Earlier rectangular structure measures 2.41m by 1.84m set within a concrete cavity. It has a flat concrete roof and is entered through a doorway, 0.72m wide in the east side with two windows in the northern wall. The pillbox itself is constructed in concrete with brick facings inside and out, a concrete floor and flat overhanging reinforced concrete roof. It has embrasures in the east, north and west walls and there are three recesses, two in the east and one in the west walls.


Spigot Mortar

Spigot Mortar.jpg


During the early part of the Second World War, the Battery was provided with additional close defence: this included two Blacker Bombard (spigot mortar) emplacements.


Type 23 Pillbox

No 23 Pillbox.jpg


No 23 Pillbox 3.jpg


A number of pillboxes were constructed across the Western Heights in the 20th century to cover the approaches to the heights, these are generally inter-visible. This example is a type 23 pillbox comprising two cells; an open Anti aircraft pit at the western end with a central concrete pillar for a light machine gun, is located close to the western flank of Citadel Battery. The AA pit measures 2.35m by 1.84m with walls 1.65m high. There is no doorway into the pit so that the walls must be scaled to gain access. The pillbox, 2.30m square internally, is entered through a doorway 0.49m wide by 1.61m high; it has a flat concrete roof. Immediately inside, a concrete ricochet wall, 1.35m long by 0.23m wide, partially divides the pillbox


Gun Emplacements (3 in total)

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Gun emplacement 5.jpg


gun emplacement 4.jpg


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Stairs.jpg


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Three gun emplacements were constructed and armed at the Citadel Battery between 1901 and 1902, these were for 9.2-inch BL mark X guns on barbette mountings. A Report of the Committee on the Armament of Home Ports, dated 1905, severely criticised Citadel Battery: it considered, first of all, that the 9.2-inch guns did not provide sufficient cover against bombarding cruisers, especially with the position-finding equipment in use. In 1910, the parapet carriages for the machine guns were replaced by tripod mountings, and in December of the same year one of the 9.2-inch guns (no II or B gun) was removed to Woolwich and the emplacement remained empty thereafter. The two 9.2-inch guns and two machine guns remained as mounted armament until 1916, when the machine guns were withdrawn. In 1919, two 6-pdr sub-calibre guns (for practice) were mounted on the 9.2-inch weapons. The three emplacements are arranged in series, each one comprises a gun pitdefined by a barbette, 2.2m high, which splays to the rear and joins with parapet walls which run between the emplacements. Each emplacement is essentially identical, with only slight variation in the positioning of particular features. Construction is of concrete and steel throughout. At Gun Emplacement 1 the centre of the gun pit floor is occupied by the gun hold-fast, comprising two rings each of 26 steel bolts, each bolt 5cm in diameter by 17cm high. The rings measure 4.10m and 3.56m in diameter respectively. A gulley, rebated for metal inspection covers, runs a dog-leg course across the gun floor from the western flank of the barbette, this was to carry hydraulic pipes from the accumulator to the gun, providing power for the gun to traverse and elevate. The gulley joins a rectangular pit, 1.35m by 1.03m by at least 1.43m deep, with a ladder built into one corner. The flanks of the barbette contain three ready-use ammunition lockers, each 1.83m wide by 1.02m deep by 1.09m high, and a shallow shell recess is moulded into the base of the barbette around its curved seaward side. The battery remained in use throughout the Second World War but the guns' shields was adapted such that the guns could be traversed 360 degrees. This was so that they could fire in any direction if needed


Shell Magazine

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May be wrong but I thought the above shot resembled the main magazine at the Drop Redoubt, where Soldiers would have had to change their foot wear, etc., in order not to emit a spark.


Shell magazine 3.jpg


Shell magazine 4.jpg


Shell magazine 5.jpg


Shell magazine 2.jpg


Bit of a cheeky overlay shot
Shell magazine 8.jpg


Between the emplacements and located underground are the magazines, shelters and associated stores, which were reached by steps from the covered way. The entrances are now blocked with rubble and concrete, but the original record plan, however, shows them in great detail. There are two complexes: the first, between emplacements I and II, comprises a magazine, shelter, lamp room and group store; the second, between emplacements II and III, comprises two magazines, shelter, lamp room, telephone room and artillery store. Each magazine comprised a shell store and cartridge store; the former has a doorway leading directly to the passage with the ammunition lift at the end, while access to the cartridge store was restricted through a controlled shifting lobby. Cartridges were passed out of the store through an issue hatch into the passage, and illumination was achieved through lamp recesses in the passage wall with permanent glazing on the internal wall preventing sparks from entering the stores. At the foot of the steps leading down to the magazine complexes were ablution benches, with extra latrines being provided along the covered way to the Western Outworks


Being so engrossed with all the finer details, it wasn't long till I realised that 3 hours had passed, it was now getting dark and was time to head back to the car. For those of you who have walked past this location without giving it much attention, I humbly suggest a revisit to check out the finer to this Battery.

Till next time people, stay safe out there.
 

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Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Nice images. I had to laugh at the write up re the dog walkers etc, imagine if some had followed. But goes to show, we general ignore people, and dont get involved even if we think they could be in danger.
 

Urban Ginger Hog

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nice images. I had to laugh at the write up re the dog walkers etc, imagine if some had followed. But goes to show, we general ignore people, and dont get involved even if we think they could be in danger.
I was worried that some one might crawl down but I suspect they took one look at the entry point and said "no thanks"
 

obscurity

Flaxenation of the G!!!
Regular User
Lovely little spot this. I take the dogs up there all the time. Good place to pick some nice apples too a few months ago :thumb
 

Urban Ginger Hog

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Lovely little spot this. I take the dogs up there all the time. Good place to pick some nice apples too a few months ago :thumb
A great location and definitely doesn't get the respect it deserves. Hadn't realised there were so.e apple trees up there, noted for next year
 

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