Saturday, August 26, 2017

Today's Wikihole: Blockhouses...

One of the British stratagems to defeat their guerilla Boer opponents was to construct chains of blockhouses, sometimes connected by barbed wire fencing, covering rail lines, bridges, and other important supply lines.

Originally imposing multistory masonry affairs, by the end of the conflict they had these prefab "Rice blockhouses", designed by one Major Rice, that were double-walled corrugated iron cylinders that could have local rubble poured between the two layers of sheet metal to provide bullet resistance. There was a gabled roof that could be sat atop it, and the whole thing would act as a sort of mini FOB for a squad of infantry. Space these things a thousand yards apart along a railway and no part of it is out of rifle-shot of two blockhouses.

Seems ghastly manpower-intensive, but securing rear areas from roving Boer commandos must have seemed like nailing jello to a wall.