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Where in the World are You?...Maunsell Sea Forts; The United Kingdom

Updated on March 23, 2014
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Where in the World are You?

I know personally when I first came across these monstrosities they reminded me of something from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Backs, I believe they were called At-Ats. Except these are not some futuristic means of mobile combat, no these were actually built in the 1940’s for an entirely different reason. After putting down an attack from a Sea Lion, the nation where these were installed opted for a much more static option for their defense.

These structures were constructed of steel and concrete in dry-dock then floated out and sunk on sandbanks in two major river estuaries. Seven of these maritime facilities were constructed to serve the Empire; surprisingly they served their purpose quite effectively. I say surprisingly because about two years earlier a different example of the static defense method was mockingly overrun, making those that put their faith in it look ridiculous (as if they needed any help).

When these fortifications were no longer needed they were decommissioned and have since gone on to serve many other purposes than the one for which they were intended. A few of the originals have since been destroyed one meeting its end at the hands of Baalbeck, others having been hit by ships, and one succumbing to a storm in 1996.

In the 1960’s these former fortifications served an all-together different purpose, acting as the staging platforms for several illegally broadcast radio stations. They were perfect for this purpose, they are the tallest structures in the area and when an antenna is attached to the top of one of the towers it serves as an excellent antenna tower.

Finally, one of the former fortifications serves as an unrecognized sovereign state, a very small nation. The family that established and populates this “nation” has gone so far as to mint coins, sell postage stamps, issued passports, and been “represented” by athletes participating in sporting events. The “nation” was offered for sale from 2007-2010 for around $1 billion USD. So…Where in the World are You?


The Maunsell Sea Forts were developed for Great Britain during World War Two by Guy Maunsell, placed in the estuaries of the Thames and the Mersey rivers they served as observation and anti-aircraft fixtures. Built in dry-dock and then floated out and sank on sand bars, they were fitted with 3.75-inch guns and 40mm Bofors guns; they were credited with shooting down 22 aircraft and over 30 of Hitler’s flying bombs. The forts were decommissioned in the 1950’s and have since been repurposed, some as installations for pirate radio stations in the 1960’s and one has even been established as an unrecognized sovereign nation called the Principality of Sealand.

The Principality of Sealand was established by a former British Major Paddy Roy Bates and has been officially been recognized as a sovereign nation by a legitimate nation, which evidently is a requirement for legitimacy. Still, the Principality of Sealand has soldiered on since, coining its own money, producing postage stamps, issuing passports, and even hosted an offshore internet hosting site. Sealand frequently sponsors athletes and athletic teams that participate in legitimate sporting events, participating in events such as mini-golf, football (soccer for us Americans), fencing, and something called table football (I’m thinking something similar to foosball); Sealand’s fencing squad is evidently based at UC Irvine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principality_of_Sealand

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunsell_Forts

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    • blessedp profile image

      blessedp 5 years ago

      Ryan could it be England's 1940 Seawall. Please see the link below.

      Seawalls.http://www.britishpathe.com/video/englands-1940-se...

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      I believe these were some kind of lookout/anti-aircraft platforms placed in the Thames Estuary? Don't know where else they were placed. The Humber?

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 5 years ago from New York

      These are the The Maunsell Sea Forts in the UK. I love abandoned places.

    • profile image

      mours sshields 5 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

      These are very interesting structures. I've seen them somewhere,but I don't know where. Interesting and unique,

      though.

    • rlbert00 profile image
      Author

      rlbert00 5 years ago from USA

      I thought they were very interesting too, even more so when I found out what purpose they served. Thank you again for taking the time to read and comment, I appreciate your continued participation.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 5 years ago from New York

      Pretty sure I commented on this

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      rlbert00, I thought I submitted a comment earlier on this saying I thought they were anti-aircraft platforms in the Thames Estuary. But I would understand if you withheld my comment in order to not give it away if A) I indeed did comment and B) I was right. :)

    • rlbert00 profile image
      Author

      rlbert00 5 years ago from USA

      You did indeed, I'm withholding comments so as to not give away the answer just yet.

    • rlbert00 profile image
      Author

      rlbert00 5 years ago from USA

      @UnnamedHarald...you did indeed already comment and your comment was correct but I was sitting on it.

    • rlbert00 profile image
      Author

      rlbert00 5 years ago from USA

      @Melissa A Smith...your answer was correct as well, I will post the comments with the answer here shortly. Thank you for participating and sorry for the confusion.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Johnson 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I of course do not know the answer to this one either. I await the answer to add it to my cannon of information

    • rlbert00 profile image
      Author

      rlbert00 5 years ago from USA

      @UnnamedHarald...They are indeed lookout and anti-aircraft platforms used during World War Two. They were placed in the Thames Estuary and the Mersey Estuary. Nicely Done.

    • rlbert00 profile image
      Author

      rlbert00 5 years ago from USA

      @Melissa A Smith...Yes they are the Maunsell Sea Forts, used by Great Britain during World War Two for lookout towers and as anti-aircraft installations. Nicely Done.

    • rlbert00 profile image
      Author

      rlbert00 5 years ago from USA

      @Rodric29...They are Maunsell Sea Forts, used by Great Britain during World War Two as lookout and anti-aircraft installations.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Actually, I think it's a good idea to withhold correct answers. That way, the fun's not over if, say, the first comment nails it.

    • rlbert00 profile image
      Author

      rlbert00 5 years ago from USA

      That is indeed the thought process behind withholding them for awhile. I appreciate the insight.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Just a suggestion re withholding any correct answers: you might want to state that somewhere in the text so hubbers (such as myself) don't pester you with "I could have sworn I commented on this".

    • rlbert00 profile image
      Author

      rlbert00 5 years ago from USA

      I have prepared #20 and am going to publish it here shortly, at the bottom I have put a disclaimer stating that correct answers may be withheld for awhile. Always evolving.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      These are a lot of fun, although I have to admit most of them result in serious jolts to my ego. Guess I don't kow nearly as much as I think I do. :)

    • rlbert00 profile image
      Author

      rlbert00 5 years ago from USA

      phdast7...I'm glad that you enjoy them but I wouldn't be hard on myself if I were you. I only found these by complete accident otherwise I would never have known what they were. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

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