Witkop Blockhouse
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ossewa
S 26° 28.070 E 028° 04.175
35J E 606616 N 7072061
Quick Description: The Witkop Blockhouse was declared a national monument in 1948 and is one of the last fifty left in our country.
Location: Gauteng, South Africa
Date Posted: 5/24/2013 7:19:33 AM
Waymark Code: WMH52J
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Pensive Travellers
Views: 3

Long Description:
The Witkop Blockhouse is a very distinctive design which was found along the railway line from Vereeniging to Elandsfontein (Germiston) now represented solely by the Witkop Blockhouse. A most unusual feature of this type of blockhouse is a pair of angle bastions at diagonally opposite corners, which were designed to provide for the flanking fire along the walls, similar to the function of Machouli galleries on other patterns, but at ground level. This blockhouse was a two level structure with a lookout tower. The Witkop Blockhouse was declared a national monument in 1948 and is one of the last fifty left in our country.

In military science, a blockhouse is a small, isolated fort in the form of a single building. It serves as a defensive strong point against any enemy that does not possess siege equipment or, in modern times, artillery.

During the Second Boer War the British forces built a large number of fortifications in South Africa. Around 441 were solid masonry blockhouses, many of which stand today. A range of designs were used in the construction of these blockhouses, but most were either two or three story structures built using locally quarried stone.

However the vast scale of British strategy led the British to develop cheaper, double-skinned corrugated iron structures. These could be prefabricated, delivered to site by armoured train, and then have locally sourced rocks or rubble packed inside the double skin to provide improved protection.

A circular design developed by Major Rice in February 1901 had good all round visibility, and the lack of corners did away with the need for a substructure. Failure due to wood rot and splintering when hit by bullets or shrapnel were eliminated. The steel door to the blockhouse was sheltered by another piece of corrugated iron. The Major Rice blockhouse could be erected in six hours by six trained men. With the change from square gabled roofs to a circular design, they were given the nickname “Pepperpot" blockhouse. With mass production the cost to build a blockhouse dropped down to £16, compared to several hundred pounds for masonry ones.

These blockhouses played a vital role in the protection of the railway lines and bridges that were key to the British military supply lines.

More Info: (visit link)
Visit Rating:

Visit Instructions:
New photos of the memorial with or without you in it (Be tasteful and respectful). No pictures of your GPSr. A story of your visit and impression of the memorial is also welcome.
Search for...
Geocaching.com Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Boer Wars Memorials and Monuments
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log  
eksteen visited Witkop Blockhouse 3/18/2014 eksteen visited it
Tartan_Terror visited Witkop Blockhouse 10/12/2013 Tartan_Terror visited it
ossewa visited Witkop Blockhouse 5/31/2013 ossewa visited it

View all visits/logs