Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Port-en-Bessin is a lovely little town and I have spent a lot of time there. It was defended by the Germans with four defence positions that circled the small port, set into a cleft between high cliffs/hills either side. The port was very important in the early days of the war as the different German garrisons could be re supplied by coasters running up and down the channel. With Allied air superiority, it became very dangerous for slow moving, lightly armed boats to sail. So the Kriegsmarine designed a small ship/boat called a Siebel ferries & Flak Lighters. A superstructure containing as many anti-aircraft guns on it as possible and three remained in the port after capture. StP57 was the western cliff, like the eastern feature not terribly well defended, but has a fire control post, a 2cm Flak position, a full set of trenches and a wire & mine field surrounding it.,

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Mines.

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Barbed wire.

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Defence.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Allied air photo of Port-en-Bessin

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The Navy's view. A reconnaissance mosaic of the mouth of the La Drôme river. The old semaphore is the start of Wm57.

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Photo reconnaissance Spitfire.

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Spitfire leaving RAF Benson.

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Changing a camera.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Geoportail

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Plan of the four defences of StP Port-en-Bessin, here we are covering Wn57.

1./Grenadier-Regiment 726,716. Infanterie-Division.
1 x Fire Control Post.
1 x 2cm Flak.
1 x SK bunker.
1 x 7.5cm F.K.235(b).

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2cm Flak

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7.5cm F.K.235(b).

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Observation.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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WO 205/1108

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The harbour and the barbed wire defence of Wn57.

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Screw picket post and wire.

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Coils of wire.

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Wiring in.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Geoportail

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Plan of the four defences of StP Port-en-Bessin, here we are covering Wn 57.
In the harbour are two Flak lighters and there may have been a third on the left side. These lighters fired on the Commandos as they were assaulting Wn57. They caused quite a lot of casualties.

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Flak lighter.

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Kriegsmarine sailor.

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Marine Flak badge.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Bigot Map

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest
Bigot Map

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The Bigot map showing lots of information. The red area is the mine field covering the rear of the defence and plenty of barbed wire.
Bigot, to be a Bigot you mostly had to be an officer and in the know of D-Day. Bigot was the code word for any body who was allowed into the secret of D-Day.
In September 1943, it was decided that all personnel granted access to top secret documents should be given an ID card stamped with a single word, BIGOT. Officers assumed no one would want to brag about being classified a bigot. 

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Plan of the attack from the web

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest
Assault plan

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A & B Companies, 47 Commando advanced into the town and were being helped by the local Gendarme, avoiding the houses that were being used by the Germans and leading them up the western hill towards Wn57.

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Gendarme, Officer Crabtree.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Before D-Day

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest
The town

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The town showing how narrow and hilly the west side of the town is.
The Commandos advanced into the town via the Rue de Bayeux to the Rue du Phare. Missing out houses that the Gendarme new to be occupied by the enemy.

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There was a wounded naval officer walking around the town. He was offered medical help from some towns people, but he brushed them aside. He was found later died, probably met some Commandos heading for the port.

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German sailors.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Google

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest
Rue Du Phare

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The steep hill of the Rue Du Phare. This is the slope that had to be assaulted by the Commandos.
They arrived here and then started the long climb to the top of the hill.

Getting to the top of the hill, A Troop attacked Wn57 and was soundly repulsed. A heavy coil of barbed wire obstructed their progress. They had been told that there was no wire across the road by Military Intelligence. A Bangalore torpedo was ordered up and that was passed under the wire. whilst two Ben gunners covered. Two Flak ships down in the port started to fire at the Marines as they advanced past the wire. They came under intense fire from these ships. Plus the fire from the defenders also with a few Potato Masher grenades thrown for good luck. Another withdrawal was orders. A second group of Marines had taken a sort of left hook attack at the hill and were not exposed to the Flak ships below. On hearing a load hailer from a ship out at sea shouting that there were Germans to their left advancing on them. A battle royal was being fought here with grenades being lobed back and forth. Until most of the Marines were wounded and retreated back out again. By now 11 Commandos were dead and about 17 wounded and that was out of only 65 men that started the battle. By now X troop had followed A Troop towards Wn57. One of the Commando's had been captured and as the night wore on, the defenders realised that although at an advantage in defence & weapons. They were at a moral low. They took the captured Commando with them and the 23 Germans, a white flag. Worked their way down a path to the port to surrender. The Marines on the hill were amazed and relieved at now not having to put in another attack.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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18 July 2019

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest
Rue Du Phare

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One of the houses in the Rue Du Phare as I was walking up the hill, I noticed the bullet marks in the wall..

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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18 July 2019

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The town is on the left and Wn57 is on the top right shown by the small fags fluttering above.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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10 October 2018

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The view across from StP55 to Wn57.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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10 March 2013

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Peilstand - Fire Control Post - Beobachtung, made in Vf.
Vf. For V (Verstärkt) f (feldmäßig (er). V (Reinforced) f (field type).

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Google

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Parking place on the top of the where you can continue to the trees in the distance and turn right. This is probably where the first row of barbed wire had been strung across the road and baring the Marines access to the defenders. A Bangalore Torpedo was passed under the wire and the wire blown.

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Barbed wire entanglement.

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Bangalore Torpedo.

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Model of two Marines using a Bangalore Torpedo.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The golf course and the path towards the observation post. Behind that mound which may be post war and built up for the golf course.

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Firing a Bangalore Torpedo.

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Infantry advance through the blown barbed wire.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The nice gates placed to the memories of the Commandos. The attacks never quite got this far.

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47 Commando Vetrans.

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Commando Vetrans.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The view of the port from outside the Observation post. Ailed intelligence had told the Commandos that there were no Flak boats in the harbour, but a a later reconnaissance plan spotted some in the harbour. But the message never quite got to the Commando. When they attacked the Flak boats saw what was happening and opened fir on them.

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Flak boat in the harbour.

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Flak boat in the harbour.

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Flak boat in the harbour.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The memorial and the steps down into the bunker.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Looking down into the rear entrance.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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One of the rooms behind the observation.
These were probably one for an office and maybe the other for a canteen and sleeping area for the troops on guard.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Another view of the room. I cannot see any bunk bed hooks so there may not have been beds here and the men slept in a commandeered house in the town.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The second room with a passage to the observation post.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Passage to the observation.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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10 March 2013

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Off to one side is this stone and brick room. This room may have been used to keep Marine Amos in with the wounded Germans. He was asked to treat the wounded as it was thought he was a medic. He did his best with the small knowledge gained from lectures from the medical officer in England when they were training.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Stone and brick room that maybe part of an earlier house. Possibly a window or an escape tunnel.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Observation. There would have been some rudimentary observation instruments, binoculars, and small basic range finding computers. All manual no electronics. And their job was observation of the port and to watch the fall of shot from inland artillery, Pointe-du-Hoc and Longues-sur-Mer batteries.

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Longues-sur-Mer.

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Pointe-du-Hoc.

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Local artillery.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Observation the other way east.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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A niche in the wall maybe for a field telephone and the tunnel back out.

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Wehrmacht Feldfernsprecher Ff33 1935 in Bakelite.

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Bunker phone.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The tunnel towards the two rooms.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Memorial. This is a memorial for the 47 Royal Marine Commando, which liberated Port-en-Bessin in 1944.

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47 Commando Vetrans.

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Commando Vetrans.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The Port.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest
2cm Flak position

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2cm Flak position. There is no mention of this gun coming into action, so whether it was damaged or not even there on that day of the 7th June 1944??

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2cm Flak.

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2cm ammunition.

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2cm flak in the high position.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Internet

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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2cm Flak 30 fired a 120-g (4.23 oz) 2 cm HE projectile with a contact detonating fuse. A pyrotechnic relay detonated the projectile after a set time as a safety measure, limiting the effective ceiling to 2,200 m (7,200 ft).. This is how it may have looked here before D-Day in a moment of pleasure.

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Ammunition.

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2cm magazines.

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Tool kit for the gun.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest
2cm Flak position t

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A concrete position probably made by the troops stationed here as its not a standard Flak design.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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10 March 2013

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest
Trench

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A trench further along. The area was full of inter locking trenches and the defenders could move around freely between positions, without being seen by the Commandos.

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Rifle fire.

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Observation.

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Machine gun.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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10 March 2013

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The view back towards the port and the observation. There would have been linking trenches all the way along the cliff edge.

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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10 March 2013

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Memorial.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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23 March 2015

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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The memorials showing up in the late evening light.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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IWM

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Commandos with an dispatch rider and Brengun carrier and some German prisoners. This may be a scene further east of here but gives an idea of what was going on inland away from the fighting. The Germans, a mix of German, Polish, Russian, etc. The Brengun carriers were used to bring up ammunition and take away wounded. This Brengun carrier is a 3" mortar crew, you can see the mortar barrel strapped on the rear plate.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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IWM

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Marines getting ready for an attack.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Internet

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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Running into a smoke screen. This is how the first attack on Wn57 would have looked from behind.

Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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11 November 2016

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Wn57 Port-en-Bessin ouest

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