Report - - Glen Fruin Hydro-Ballistic Research Tank - Scotland - Dec 2011 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Glen Fruin Hydro-Ballistic Research Tank - Scotland - Dec 2011


28DL Full Member
Visited with chiroptera & Teapot. The site also known as Garelochhead laboratory and is MOD property.

The interesting part of this site was the laboratory, consisting primarily of a 150ft x 30ft x 40ft (estimates are a bit varied on this) water tank with a capacity of 250,000 gallons (around ½ of an olympic swimming pool to use a clichéd comparison).

[1] Side of the tank with chiroptera and Teapot.


The tank was built soon after WW2 began by the Ministry of Supply, originally to investigate ways of attacking U-boats from the air. At the beginning of the war, submarines could easily evade aerial attacks as submerging was enough to escape the main munition used for the task, the 250lb anti-submarine bomb as that detonated upon impacting the water. Research and testing at Glen Fruin and at other hydro-ballistic testing facilities such as that at Coulport led to the development of aerial depth-charges and other munitions that could be used against underwater targets from the air.

[3] (Historic) The focus of the research was on the impact of projectiles onto the surface of the water, analysed using high-speed cameras.

[4] (Historic) Gantry on top of the tank. Munitions were propelled into the tank using rocket powered sleds to simulate being dropped from the air.

[5] One of the gantries now, a good deal rustier.

[6] View down into the tank.

We didn't climb down into the tank itself. There was a ladder down but it looked rather too rusty for our tastes.

[7] The other side houses the lab itself. Mostly stripped out rooms, interesting only due to the traces left from army training, with one exception...

[8] The observation room. 466 armoured glass panes up to 1¼ inches thick (I didn't count them myself).

[9] From the other side:

[10] view from lower down.

In addition to anti-submarine weaponry, the facility was also used to test the Barnes Wallis bouncing bombs as well as to test and improve ditching procedures for aircraft (including making ejector seats work underwater) and to explore designs for amphibious aircraft. The site closed in the 80s and is now a big playground for the military to work on their FIBUA.

For more on the site, check out:




[11] Tempted to start planning explores like this:

We also had a poke round the adjacent site:

[12] Strone Training Camp

[13] For me, the highlight of that had to be the guard tower.

Thanks for looking. I'm not going to be able to see this report again any time soon, but I'm sure chiroptera can answer any questions. Of course, feel free to pm me.