Concrete Block Mats help army tanks access the beaches during WWII
Concrete block mats, also known as “chocolate blocks,” were used on the beaches of eastern United Kingdom during World War II to provide a stable surface for tanks and other vehicles to land. The mats were laid out in long rows, creating a road that led from the water’s edge to the top of the beach.
The blocks were designed to interlock with each other and create a barrier that would be difficult for enemy forces to penetrate. They were used to create anti-tank barriers, coastal defenses, and other fortifications.
The use of chocolate blocks was pioneered by the British military engineer, Guy Maunsell, who designed a system of interlocking blocks that could be easily assembled on the beach. The blocks were manufactured off-site and transported to the beach, where they were assembled by teams of soldiers.
The mats were designed to provide a stable surface that could support the weight of heavy vehicles, even on sandy or uneven terrain. This allowed allied forces to quickly land tanks and other vehicles on the beaches, enabling them to mount a quick counter-attack against any invading enemy forces. The use of concrete mats on the beaches of eastern United Kingdom was a critical part of the country’s defense strategy during World War II, and played a key role in repelling the German invasion.
The blocks were made of reinforced concrete and weighed several tons each. They were designed to be resistant to erosion and to withstand the force of waves and tidal currents. They were also designed to be easily removed after the war, which was important as many of the beaches that were fortified were popular holiday destinations.
Today, many of the chocolate blocks can still be seen on the beaches of Eastern England, although they are now often covered in sand and other debris. They serve as a reminder of the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the British people during one of the most challenging periods in their history.
Today Australian Concrete Mats Pty Ltd make a similar product to the chocolate blocks – called Articulated Concrete Block Mats that are suitable for driving on and help to stabilise and protect from erosion. For more info visit www.ConcreteMats.com.au .
Historical pictures and info has been gathered from various sources across “Spitfires of the Sea” and “Friends of Stokes Bay” facebook pages.
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