Bury St Edmunds was a designated nodal point in 1940, later classified as a category A Defended Place. It was an important rail and road centre. With regards to railways, it was the junction of the Cambridge and Ipswich lines, branch lines to Thetford and Norwich and to the Colne Valley line and Ipswich-London line. With regards to roads, it lay on a direct line between Aldeburgh and London whilst lateral roads ran north and south through the town. Large food and petrol stocks were held in the town. Its capture by the enemy would give him an important communication centre as well as these stocks.
The expected threat from the enemy was that a main attack would develop from the east following a successful landing on the Suffolk coast, as the enemy pressed onto London. Bury was not expected to be a target for a large airborne force as it was considered there were more important targets, but infiltration attacks from any direction by airborne troops could be expected once the main attack developed.
A fairly detailed defence scheme exists for the town, dated October 1941, but unfortunately the maps showing the exact location of the defences is missing. The strength of the force available for the defence of Bury according to the 1942 Combined Civil and Military Defence scheme was: