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#279417 - 1st Jan 2009 11:42pm Burton Marsh WW2 060 OTU Practise Bombing Targets
w10694 Offline
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Registered: 31st Dec 2008
Posts: 240
Loc: cheshire
This is the low level bombing practise target for the "060" OTU (Operational Training Unit) which was based at High Ercall, Shropshire.

There is not a great deal left (not a lot there to start with !), but it has been an interesting year piecing it all together, which is difficult when you don't know what you are looking at, or looking for.

They were wooden targets, used to train RAF bombing crews, they dropped the small practise bombs at the targets, and were "scored" by observers who were in observation towers. The bombs contained something (phospherous ?) which generated smoke, to help the observers. The main aircraft were Mosquitos.

The original observation Quadrant Towers were wooden (plans below), the site was certified clear.

It is then believed that the site was re-opened sometime around the start of the Cold War (Suez / Hungarian crisis), and the towers were rebuilt of brick. One was near Burton Point (now a pile of bricks), and the other buried under the 1950's land fill. During this period, it was used by Meteors, and Vampires from Hooton (I have local verbal accounts of this, although specifing "the American twin tailed Lightning", presumed to be the Vampire / Venom aircraft).

Curiously, the site has never been taken off the books, and is still a "live" site, it is not used but comes under the control of the Altcar Ranges near Formby.

The area is literally covered in the small inert practise bombs. The area was also a Luftwaffe bombing decoy, and was laid out with overhead electric lights that reflected on water filled ponds, that were laid out in the shape of Garston Docks on the Mersey, to act as a decoy. It was very succesful, and there are local reports of "hundreds" of bombs being dropped overnight, over a period of a month.

The "normal" run in was picked up at the junction of the 1890's sea wall at the end of the Dee Estuary, and the river training wall that runs out to around Flint. There were some marker indicators on the run up, and a smoke generator for wind direction indication.

The remains of the main target:



And the previous target, which was probably destroyed by the nearby Luftwaffe stick of bombs:



And the stick of Luftwaffe bomb craters (they are much deeper than any other ponds on the marsh:



Both targets (excuse the horizon):



From a RAF Bombing Target Design Manual of the era (if anyone wants a copy, please PM), this was the "marshy ground" variation of the target:



Practise bombs, with small camera case for size:



I've included this, to show why it can be dangerous exploring out here, the targets are the posts sticking up in the middle of the water, shown at a high spring tide:



This the first run-in marker (1/4 distance, 2 railway sleepers on each side of the gap). I spotted this when looking for something else. It is under an electricty pylon near the new Dee Crossing Bridge:



The second (half way) marker will be buried under a load of late 1950 landfill.

The third run-in marker (3/4 distance, 4 railway sleepers on each side of the gap):



The burning barrel of tar, concreted in place, which would have been lit to show wind direction:



And a few new items from Airfield Exchange

Note confirming explosive clearance:



1941 Transfer from Coastal Command to RAF 15 Group



Location Amendment (nothing changes does it)





Maps:



Original Quadrant Towers (wooden)



And the last, arty-farty sunset picture:


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#279439 - 2nd Jan 2009 12:23am Re: Burton Marsh WW2 060 OTU Practise Bombing Targets [Re: w10694]
_jase_
Unregistered


excellent photos and info w10694.


thanks for Sharing thumbsup

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#279446 - 2nd Jan 2009 12:37am Re: Burton Marsh WW2 060 OTU Practise Bombing Targets [Re: ]
MGCraig Offline
AlfaHolic
Forum Veteran

Registered: 16th Apr 2006
Posts: 5488
Loc: Spital
That was amazing info, thanks happy happy

Never realised how much of an input here and surrounding areas actually had in WWI and WWII, really put things into perspective.
Funny as well, that they left the target area pretty much as it was, no attempt at clearing the area up raftl
_________________________


------------------------------------------------------------

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#279466 - 2nd Jan 2009 10:21am Re: Burton Marsh WW2 060 OTU Practise Bombing Targets [Re: MGCraig]
chriskay Offline
Forum Veteran

Registered: 25th Oct 2007
Posts: 4868
Loc: shropshire
w10694, Thanks for that contribution. I've known about this for some years, but not in any detail. Good to have the pics. Welcome to the site, BTW.

Cheers, Chris.
_________________________
Carpe diem.

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#279467 - 2nd Jan 2009 10:23am Re: Burton Marsh WW2 060 OTU Practise Bombing Targets [Re: chriskay]
jonno40 Offline
Forum Addict

Registered: 7th Jan 2008
Posts: 1234
Loc: wirral
Is this now sealand ranges ?
_________________________
It all makes perfect sense expressed in dollars and cents ,pound shillings and pence

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#279476 - 2nd Jan 2009 10:57am Re: Burton Marsh WW2 060 OTU Practise Bombing Targets [Re: jonno40]
w10694 Offline
Addict

Registered: 31st Dec 2008
Posts: 240
Loc: cheshire
Originally Posted By: jonno40
Is this now sealand ranges ?


No, it's really out on the marsh.

The Army shooting range (known as Sealand Ranges and administered from Chester Dale Camp - and which is still very active) is on the other side of the sea wall, about half a mile away. I've had assurances that any unexploded remains have been removed. I am told that it is still an "official" bombing target range, and comes under Altcar, but has not been used for many many years. I'm sure that if a Eurofighter came along practising and dropped some practise bombs there, then most of Connahs Quay & Flint would soon complain. Some locals remember it being used by Meteors from Hooton, which (sort of) dates it's last use.

I've noticed that this year, it has been significantly reduced in size.

It can be dangerous to visit, especially regarding tides, and obviously when the Sealand Ranges are in use and displaying red flags.

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#279490 - 2nd Jan 2009 11:36am Re: Burton Marsh WW2 060 OTU Practise Bombing Targets [Re: w10694]
Dava2479 Offline

Forum Addict

Registered: 10th Feb 2008
Posts: 1924
Loc: Wirral
Great info,thanks for sharing bud. happy

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#279493 - 2nd Jan 2009 11:54am Re: Burton Marsh WW2 060 OTU Practise Bombing Targets [Re: Dava2479]
w10694 Offline
Addict

Registered: 31st Dec 2008
Posts: 240
Loc: cheshire
The bit of WW2 History that is not often realised, is that one event that we planned for was a "limited" German airborne invasion, with paratroops and gliders landing at RAF Sealand and RAF Hooton.

Presumable the two forces would then join together (The Wirral is only a matter of miles wide between Hooton / Sealand), and advance up the Wirral towards Birkenhead, obviously seizing control of the Mersey west bank, and Birkenhead docks, which would also not be a good situation for Liverpool Docks and the convoys.

Birkenhead was designated as an "anti-tank island", with defensive lines around it, explaining the lines of pillboxes across the Wirral.

However, it never happened, but was planned for, so we obviously believed it to be within the axis capabilities.

There is a good explanation of the A41 / Bromborough Bridge pillboxes and Port Sunlight defensive lines in the English Heritage Book "beaches fields streets and hills".

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#497599 - 4th Apr 2011 11:17pm Re: Burton Marsh WW2 060 OTU Practise Bombing Targets [Re: w10694]
uptoncx Offline
Veteran

Registered: 24th May 2008
Posts: 683
Loc: Wirral
At the request of w10694, additional maps, messages and photos have been added to the first post in this thread.

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#870074 - 13th Apr 2014 10:58am Re: Burton Marsh WW2 060 OTU Practise Bombing Targets [Re: w10694]
joney Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 29th Apr 2012
Posts: 138
Loc: france
I remember farmers fields which might have been suitable for airborne landings being dotted with scrap cars to stop planes landing. A great idea, cheap and easy to put into place. I suppose the farmers just had to work round them.

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