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20th Century
[British] [Fort Benghisa] [Fort Campbell] [Pillboxes] [Batteries]

The 20th Century

As result of the failure of the Victoria Lines during the 1900 military exercise, the British in 1907 changed their strategy and reverted to the Knight’s policy of blocking an enemy before landing. During the 1st World War, Malta was not in the Front and it served mainly in its Hospitaller role i.e. the Nurse of the Mediterranean. In the 1930, the rise of Fascism expansionism was viewed as a threat to the security of the Maltese Islands. The result was that a re-examination of the re-armament policy for Malta. The loss of Malta to an enemy was viewed as a blow to the British prestige and a weakening of the strategic situation, as the navy would have been denied of operating freely in the Mediterranean. Fort Campbell was built at Selmun prior to the 2nd World War and the main difference from other fortifications was that it is built on an irregular pattern so to blend with the surroundings.  The Barracks are found outside the boundary wall in order to keep the buildings with in to the barest minimum. The Boundary wall was camouflaged similar to rubble walls to make it less conspicuous from the sea. Underground crew accommodation was provided near the gun emplacements.

The building of Pillboxes and Field Defences was commenced in the late 1930s to defend coastal areas and runways.  A Pillbox is a concrete machine gun emplacement that took various shapes.  The earliest examples in Malta date August 1938.  Most of these Pillboxes are found north of the Victoria Lines and on the South Eastern Coast of Malta were most of the accessible beaches are found.  However, the British also took the possibility of aerial bombardment into consideration. In Malta, the 2nd World War started in June 1940.  For the Maltese it was the involvement in a War since the times of the insurrection against the French in the period 1798-1800.  It was also the first experience of an Aerial Bombardment and to counter aerial bombardment and apart from fighters, new guns Anti-Aircraft Guns were placed on various strategic locations. To further stiffen aerial defences a number of Batteries equipped with Anti-Aircraft Guns were constructed in strategic locations around Malta. A number of these still survive the onslaught of war, time and men.


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