Tuesday, August 05, 2014

I have been to.. (part of) Hitlers Atlantic Wall..

Bit of a conundrum this one... left me with a number of questions...

Anyway - here it is...  the northern and western coasts of France are littered with these (they were definitely built to last) but on our recent chevauchee to the Vendee this one was on our favoured beach so I had the opportunity to look at it closely a couple of times (as you do...  and much to the bemusement of my girls who still don't get it even after all these years.. )

Location is as follows..


...and it's pretty lonely - looking north along the beach on Googlemaps (assuming they haven't been either removed/destroyed or buried in sand) I can't see another within 10 miles, and to the south I couldn't see any either...  so the first question would be "why"?

It does protect the headland of St Gilles Croix de Vie which does have a deep water harbour - that would be my closest guess....

Close up from the front - I can't imagine that this would originally have been open to the elements but the concrete on top appears to be either a later addition or a different type??


...some fitting that has since been removed - range finder?? Machine gun for anti aircraft? Access from inside now sealed off?


Wings/buttresses at the front provide cover to the sides but give a wide angle of fire...


This is the southern side - the left of the picture above...  it's not immediately clear, but I think there was an opening on this side as there seems to be a lintel under the eyes of the (excellent) graffiti- just to the left of that hole... clearly it may have been closed off for safety reasons....   built like a brick sh*t house though - even though it has now tilted off horizontal it's still sound...


This puzzled me - exhaust vent for gun smoke and the like??


Close up of the construction material - the metal reinforcing rods are still pretty good even after 70 odd years in a marine environment... the screws on my boat don't last two years!


The back - the detail of the shuttering they used when pouring the concrete is very clear...


...and the north side - deflection glacis or just exposed foundations - probably the latter. I think there was another entry on this side as well - a lintel was visible...


So...  my understanding is that there are basically three types of bunker in the Atlantic wall, gun/machine gun type, ammunition store type, and observation tower....  the observation towers are tall, thinnish structures which doesn't match this one, and I couldn't think why they would build an ammunition bunker, without another (gun type) bunker close by so the type is pretty much a no brainer...  as to what was in it, some kind of field gun I think as it's a bit overkill for a machine gun. I'd guess some type of captured French artillery?? One of their soixante quinzes? Any input gratefully received...

That was a really interesting half hour - tracing those shuttering marks on the side and you are touching history, not much imagination required to picture what it must have been like at the time building this monster......

....for all the difference it made though, this kind of sums it all up really.... 

2 comments:

  1. Pretty sad to see it there abandoned with all the graffiti all over it, but at least its still there.

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    1. Ray - kind of, but on the other hand it's a handy reminder of how things can go opear shaped very quickly if you don't watch what's going on... and I quite liked the grafitti, the face on the north side was outstanding, definitely a work of art... :o)

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