History KS3 / GCSE: How did Britain prepare for a German invasion in World War Two?

Presenter and historian Neil Oliver examines the plans made by Britain to prepare for a possible German invasion, with the creation of secret auxiliary units to be a last line of defence.

Between 2,000 and 2.500 troops were trained at Coleshill House from 1940 to 1944.

They signed the official secrets act and were taught how to carry out acts of sabotage against German invaders.

They were also trained to use secret bunkers from where they could carry out their attacks.

The auxiliary units were disbanded in 1944, but many of the men went on to join the newly formed SAS.

This short film is from the BBC series, Second World War with Dan Snow.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 3

After studying the home front, students could be asked, before watching this short film, about how prepared they think Britain was for an invasion - thinking about the effectiveness of the Home Guard.

They could be asked to explain how the defence of the country could be improved with a last line of defence.

After watching the clip, students could be asked to evaluate how effective they think the auxiliary forces would be in the event of a German invasion.

Key Stage 4 / GCSE

Students studying Warfare and British Society in the Modern Era could use this short film to evaluate measures taken by the British government to defend the country.

They could compare the role of the auxiliary units with the Home Guard and Dig for Victory campaigns to evaluate which were most significant in the defence of Britain during World War Two.

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching KS3 and KS4/GCSE history in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 history in Scotland.

More from World War Two with Dan Snow:

Treatment of immigrants in Britain during World War Two
How did RAF tactics defeat Germany in the Battle of Britain?
How did Britain use fake news in World War Two?