Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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I am having a difficult time here working out what was here and where they were. There seem to be several contradictory reports and also the site was bombed almost to oblivion and I think that has not helped. After D-Day and the brake out from the Cherbourg peninsular, the Americans went due west into Brittany and also headed east for Paris. The British were working their way up the channel coast towards Belgium and Holland. So that left Brest, Lorient, La Pallice and the Gironde still in German hands. Brest was eventually taken at great cost to the Americans and so they decided to bottle up the remaining Festungs on the west coast. The Americans brought in fresh troops directly from America and used them to bed down and get used to warfare by holding the Germans in their fortifications. As time went on, the Free French, mostly volunteers and ex resistance fighters. Decided they wanted the Gironde opened up and so with the Americans reluctant (my words) help. Battle commenced.

In all, according to the Air Force Historical Studies Office, "1,161 heavy bombers destroyed 22 defensive installations consisting of AA and arty positions and strong points covering the Gironde estuary"..

On a darker note, the bombing of Royan would be the Eighth Air Force's only use a new weapon in an attempt to kill Germans in their bunkers: napalm . Known as a Class-C Fire Bomb, each napalm bomb contained 108 Gallons of the petroleum substance, and they were only used in a few missions. A B-17 only carried 4 of them ...

As a result of the conventional and napalm bombing of the city of Royan, the city was totally destroyed, with one report citing that only nine houses remained standing . Among the destructive figures is cited that 1,700 French civilians were killed. Mission 25: April 15, 1945. Target: Royan, Fr. A 9-hour mission against troop concentration in Nazi pocket near Bordeaux. Formed over Laon, France. Flew over Paris. Bombed visually from 15,000 feet. No flak in our formation. Ship #807 with 6 - 600# gasoline-jelly P-51 tanks (leaked all over hell [in airplane]. Free French Navy shelling town while we bombed. [Note: "Mission 951. 1,348 unescorted bombers [B-17 and B-24] are dispatched to visually attack strong points on the French Atlantic coast; the first two forces [My father's was the first one.] below make the sole operational employment of napalm bombs by Eighth AF against German ground installations (pillboxes, gun pits, tank trenches, and heavy gun emplacements); the results are negligible and HQ recommends its discontinuance against this type of target: 1. 492 of 529 B-17s hit four strong points and flak batteries in the Royan area."
] From Axis History Forum.

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Free French.

Gi12 'Hamburg'

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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1937 Geoportail

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Gi12 'Hamburg'

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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1947 Geoportail

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
4 x 10.5cm guns firing south/south west.
2 x 7.62cm guns firing due west.
1 x 7.5cm Pak 40 firing due east.
The four 10.5cm originally were on their carriages and sat on four open emplacements to the west.

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Batterie HKAA 1282 7./MA.A284.
1 x R636 command post for a coastal batterie.
4 x R671 casemate for medium pivoting guns (120°)
1 x R607 ammunition bunker II.
3 x R669 casemate for a field gun (60°)
1 x R675 small water supply bunker.
1 x R680 casemate for a 7.5cm Pak 40.
6 x Vf58c Tobruks
1 x Vf/Skoda bunker.
4 x 10.5cm K331(f)
1 x 7.62cm Geb.K.307(r)
1 x FT17 MG331(f).
1 x 3.7cm S.K.C/30
1 x 3.7cm Pak35/36
1 x 2.5cm Pak 112(f)
1 x 7.5cm Pak 40
1 x 4.7cm Pak K.36(t)

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R636 Command post for coastal batterie.
1 - gas lock.
2 - Crew.
3 - computing room.
4 - observation.
5 - officers.
6 - communications.
7. wireless.
8 - close combat defence.

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R671 120° rotation for its gun.

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R669 with Tobruk defence.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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1937 Geoportail

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Gi12 'Hamburg'

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1937 air photo showing the French Fort Grande in place. It looks as though the German defenders obliterated the fort to build the gun site in around 1943/44.

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Pre war French Army.

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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11 June 1947 Geoportail

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Gi12 'Hamburg'

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A 1947 air photo showing how destructive the bombing was.

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The damage done.

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R671 with a Tobruk defence.

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R680 casemate.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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SHM

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
Batterie

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A much better image of the batterie post war.

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R671 T1.

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R680 casemate.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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SHM

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
T1 R671

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A close up of the first R671 casemate.

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R671 T1.

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R671 casemate with its 10.5cm K3331(f) gun in place of a turntable mounting.


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10.5cm K3331(f) gun in an open emplacement.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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MKB Bunkertour

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R671 plan

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Plan of an R671 casemate.

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MKB Bunkertour.

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R675 Wasser bunker..


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Trink wasser - drinking water.


Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'

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As you come into the car park you see some of the devastation rough on the defenders.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
Open emplacement

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Open emplacement for the gun inside casemate 13. That casemate has been removed. The guns could be used inside the casemates or wheeled out and placed on their open emplacements and an almost 360° radius of action, but not the concrete protection though. After the casemates were built, it looks like the ringstands were covered over by sand that was used to be pushed up onto the sides of the casemate as extra protection and also camouflage. 13 had a flak position on its roof, there seem as though there was no flack assigned to the batterie but I am sure they had at least a 2cm / 3.7cm Flak of some kind.

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Flak position on the roof of R669 13.

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3.7cm Flak.

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2cm Flak.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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This is the remaining bunker an R669 No.12, I am not sure which guns were in which casemates as they had several different types here.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
Plan

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As far as I see it.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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R669 casemate.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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Rear view.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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Steel door frames.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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The gun room with the two ammunition rooms either side.

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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The entrance into the defence Tobruk and FT turret.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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Unknown

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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I found this picture in my records and it seems to be the R669 No.12 casemate with the FT17 MG331(f) turret on the Tobruk. Something I have never see before?

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MG331(f) machine gun.

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FT17 turret.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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SHM

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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The SHM picture shows where the FT turret was fitted.

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FT17 turret.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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This is the open ringstand for the field gun like the last one. It seems this is where the field guns were originally mounted and then when the casemate was built (this one in 1943) that the ringstands were covered over with sand and not used.

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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The embrasure.

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R669 casemate.

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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SHM

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 & 13 casemates

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The two R669's one with the FT17 tank turret and the other with the Flak on its roof. Note the two open ringstands cannot be seen.

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FT17 tank turret.

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2cm Flak 30.

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R669 No.12 casemate

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The area the two guns covered.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
Four open emplacements

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These were the original emplacements for the 4 x 10.5cm K331(f) guns when on their carriages and later (1944) they were placed inside the four R671 casemates.

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
Four open emplacements

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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Unknown

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Gi12 'Hamburg'

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Anther picture in my archive showing the ringstands

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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SHM

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R680 for a 7.5cm Pak 40

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This R680 shows an interesting rear wall holding back the sand and a flanking wall to the seaward side. The Pak 40 & the 8.8cm Pak 43's were found to be uneconomical to use in the fast moving Russian front and Panzerfousts were becoming plentiful, cheaper, quicker and easier to be used. So a casemate was designed for the spare Pak 40 (R680) and an R677 for a Pak 43. This gun would have covered a long way down the beach and any landing craft or tank would have been systematically shot away by it.

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R680 casemate.

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7.5cm Pak 40.

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Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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MKB Bunkertour

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Gi12 'Hamburg'
R680 for a 7.5cm Pak 40

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Plan and dimensions of an R680.

Gi12 'Hamburg', Gironde Nord

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09 November 2012

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Gi12 'Hamburg'

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