6202 by félixlechat
6202 a photo by félixlechat on Flickr.

GRAMASA, the local bunker association in the south west of France has uncovered a fantastic 622 with all the camouflage paint still on the walls. The same paint was used to draw this man smoking a pipe. Must be original?

Seen on Axis History.

Festung Guernsey has completed another very successful dig at Stp. Langenberg. This time we were at the Type 633 M19 bunker to see what was buried in the extensively damaged turret room.

Once all of the backfill and blown up concrete had been removed we were pleasantly surprised with large parts of the turret floor, chunks of the turret and a large section of original equipment from between the two floors in the turret room.

Inside some of the original storage racks were still in good condition.

Below you will find a small selection of photos, for more please have a look at http://www.steve-powell.co.uk/festung/Type%20633%20-%20Stp.Langenberg/index.html

Festung Guernsey

Inspecting remains dug up from the 633 mortar bunker at Stp Langenberg. (Photo: Steve Powell)

Inspecting remains dug up from the 633 mortar bunker at Stp Langenberg. (Photo: Steve Powell)

Ok, the story appeared on an engineers website but still it’s an alarming message. Without mentioning any historical value of the bunkers, Poul Erik Faurholm of CMP Demolition A/S makes a cold calculation on how the bunkers could be demolished. The only question is: “Who’s going to pay for this all”.

I hope Danish government officials have some historical vision and will not begin to think about removing these bunkers because they are so very dangerous to tourists as Faurholm states. Nonsense of course. If you’ve ever seen the coast of Jutland you’ll know it’s huge, and the places where bunkers lurk under the ocean “like sharks” are minimal. The article states that in 2003 “it was estimated that it would cost a total of 130 million crowns to remove a total of 593 German bunkers on the coast”. Faurholm already has Danish Crown signs in his eyes. Luckily there are engineers who have some feeling with history, instead of a pure technical view.

Karl Kaas Laursen states it very right on the same website:

The bunkers are a huge part of our heritage, and for us who have grown up with them, they are simply a part of the west coast. Let them be! Are they a danger, because you might get a bruise, if care is not taken? I once got a sore big toe, because I kicked to the curb. I think we should start to tear up all the curbs, and it can not go fast enough. (Irony may occur)

Watch your toes! Or hey, tourists actually use it. 628, Skagen. (Photo: Henk Adriaanse 2007)

Watch your toes! Or hey, tourists actually use it. 628, Skagen. (Photo: Henk Adriaanse 2007)

Two years ago we mentioned the renovation of an anti-tank bunker in the south west of France. In May of 2012 the plans were finally put into action.

The bunker’s armoured plate was behind bricks but still there including the protecting lifting plate in front. The ball mount for the 4.7cm Festungspak 36 (t) is present too. Some relics were found in the spent shell pit in front of the bunker too.

Sunlight on the bunker again. (Photo: Marc Mentel, GRAMASA)

Sunlight on the bunker again. (Photo: Marc Mentel, GRAMASA)

Festung Guernsey excavated a Unterstand WaKoFest last week. The bunker at Wn Garen near L’Ancresse Bay was closed for many years.

For more info and photos see http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=188901 and http://www.steve-powell.co.uk/Festung/Wn.Garen%20-%20Personnel%20Shelter/index.html

Opening up the personnel bunker at Wn Garen. (Photo: Steve Powell)

Opening up the personnel bunker at Wn Garen. (Photo: Steve Powell)

Some weeks ago we came into contact with a Marineflak veteran which was stationed at Trégastel, south of Brest in Bretagne, France.

Wolfgang Weber came in from the Flakschule at Misdroy at the Baltic Coast at the age of 19. His story combined with our fieldwork can be found here.

I must say, you do know a lot more about MFlak 811 than I ever had the opportunity to gather while I was there. And that is now long ago. Memories fade. [..] Perhaps I can shed a little light here or there.

I arrived  at 396 in about March of 44 coming from the Flak Training Center near Misdroy at the German Baltic Sea coast. During that short span of time until the Allied invasion and subsequent advances, there really wasn’t much time getting acquainted with the area and location of units. I knew that the heavy guns were of the 10.5 double barrel type. There were 2cm positions in the area but not in our immediate vicinity, to my knowledge.

About 5./MFlak (my unit), I don’t know of any other guns of that caliber in the area besides the 3 at BR 396. [..] There were no bunkers at our location. However, close to one of the guns a natural rock formation had created a small low ceiling cave that was utilized as storage place for non-military items of sorts. Each of the guns was positioned on top of three rock plateaus with a low concrete wall around it with storage space for the ammo.

The location of the Bt staff of 5./MFlak 811 was at the western limit of Plougastel proper near the water tower. As I was told, French labor was used building a defense trench system around the position. To no surprise, when enemy troops arrived in the area, well targeted artillerie barrages created havoc. The water tower received a direct hit. I have no knowledge of the number of 2 cm guns as well as the location the Bt staff.

The Abteilungsstaff was positioned at Plougastel. I was transferred there from 396 to help establish a unit to use forward observer reports about enemy troop advances converting those into coordinates and transmitting them to the batteries for ground defensive fire. After the enemy artillery succesfully destroyed that unit, we were relocated to an empty cinder block building south of Plougastel in an open field area to continue our work. Soon after, a targeted bombing raid leveled this building putting us out of business. With the enemy now advancing south towards the tip of the peninsula, the batteries were ordered to fire at will, we were attached to a small infantry unit which a few short days later had to surrender. I do remember the small Fortress Corbeau. I was there only once for a few hours of work detail.

After staying at POW camps in Landerneau, Morlaix, Rennes, and Tourlaville (Cherbourg) I was sent to the US and was at POW Camp Howze in Gainesville, near Dallas, TX until Feb 1946 when the POW’s were transferred to England, where I stayed at a POW Camp near Cockermouth in the Lake District until discharge to Germany in August of 1947.

I really don’t know if my notes are of any value or use to you. However, I had fun doing it.

Best wishes for now.
Wolfgang W.

Wolfgang Weber off duty in March 1944. (Private collection of Mr Weber)

Wolfgang Weber off duty in March 1944. (Private collection of Mr Weber)

In Audresselles, on the sea wall, a 612 casemate is for sale. Attached is a house.


612 Audresselles. (Photo: bunkersite.com)

612 Audresselles. (Photo: bunkersite.com)

The Dutch prize for the best initiative in our field of interest was awarded again this year. The winner is Stichting WO2 Goeree-Overflakkee (Association for the preservation of World War 2 heritage on the former island of Goeree-Overflakkee). Volunteers of the group unearthed a complete German Widerstandsnest.

I think it’s encouraging to see that this was a cooperation between local authorities, an environmental organization and the abovementioned association. Official organizations begin to acknowledge that German bunkers are part of history and can be of great value, both environmentally and touristically.

The award will be handed over on April 7. We will meet at 12.15 at Bezoekerscentrum De Punt. (3253 MC, Ouddorp, the Netherlands). Foreign visitors are very welcome!

The Gouden Betonmolen is an initiative by the Dutch fortificatieforum to award people or groups who are doing a special thing for fortifications in Holland. It was quickly baptised National Golden Concrete mixer by local media back then.

The first winner of the price was Stichting Bunkerbehoud for the complete renovation of the artillery observation bunker type 143 at the Oranjemolen in Vlissingen. Later winners were Bunkermuseum IJmuiden and Leo den Dulk.

Written instructions inside an unearther Tobruk. (Photo: Arthur van Beveren)

Written instructions inside an unearther Tobruk. (Photo: Arthur van Beveren)

French rescue teams use the tunnels of Margival to practise on emergency cases.


Rescue training in the tunnels. (Photo: l'union)

What does a bunker sound like when it’s being demolished? At Péristyle near Lorient Kriegsmarine shelters are being demolished to make place for a new residential area.