Osprey's Defenses of Bermuda 1612-1995


Terrance McGovern & Edward Harris


Osprey Publishing


$19.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 64 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softbound
ISBN: 978-1-4728-2596-4

Bermuda lies a bit over 600 miles east of the Carolinas and until 1783, was the second most important British colony in North America. Situated atop a volcano that was part of the Mid-Atlantic ridge, the island itself is made of limestone formed from the compression of sand and other materials atop the extinct volcano.

Due to its strategic location, the British built fortresses all over the island, beginning with simple earth works and increasing the complexity and number of these emplacements until it became one of the most protected islands ever. The loss of the American colonies increased the importance of Bermuda and it became a major base of the Royal Navy that included drydocks. This meant its gun emplacements continued to be upgraded as time went on. It was also a base for British submarines in WWI and WWII.

It was the Second World War that really saw an increase in facilities, particularly airfields. It was from here that long range patrol aircraft ranged over the Atlantic, a task that was continued by the US Navy until the closing of bases there in 1995. In fact, most of the real buildup was due to WWII where existing fortresses were retasked and the island's main airfield was constructed.

The end of the Cold War saw the last of these facilities closed and turned over to the government of Bermuda or sold to private citizens.

Many of these fortresses are still extant and there has bee a move in the last few decades to restore many of them. Some of those on private property are as they were left and many are decaying as the rebar corrodes and expands, causing huge sections of concrete to spall off walls and ceilings.

 In this book, the author undertakes the rather daunting task of cataloging these facilities and takes us through the history of each of the major forts. This provides us with a look at how they started and what was done to modernize them as time went on. It is a superb book full of great photos, illustrations and drawings of how these places were and what they look like now. A great read and very interesting to boot. I can easily recommend this one to you and it may well give you a reason to visit Bermuda for a vacation.

March 2018

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