Whenever I read books that have their story take place during WW2, they often talk about Nissen huts. And I never knew exactly what it was. Until I went to the Imperial War Museum Duxford (England) earlier this year and as well as all the old aeroplanes, there was this hut. And it turned out to be a Nissen hut.
So, what is a Nissen hut exactly? Well, it is a hut invented and built for housing troops during WW1. Due to its semicircular shape, the hut deflected shrapnel and bomb blast, making it a perfect bomb shelter. It is the first pre-fab building and it would fit on the back of a three-ton truck. It's built up of a metal frame, covered with corrugated iron. The door is made of wood and the windows are not glass, but oiled cloth. Six men could have it standing within two hours!
They were used for housing troops, kitchens, Mess rooms, storage rooms, bathrooms, small hospitals, stables and of course bomb shelters.
The hut was invented in 1916 by Peter Nissen, a Norwegian American who joined the Royal Engineers during WW1.
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Update: the Quonset (USA) and the Romney (UK) hut are both derived from the Nissen hut.