Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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To the defenders: it was three Wn - Widerstandsnest.
To the attackers:
it was a way off the beach.

Defender - The trouble was they both wanted the same section of beach. So a defence was in the making, not yet complete for action but getting very close. Building on placing their 5cm KwK guns under casemates was in progress with about four bunkers under construction. Another for an 8.8cm Pak & 7.5cm Field Gun was being built. Tank turrets were being installed on ringstands to allow 306° 7.5cm KwK guns to range all along this part of the coast. Many mortars, the best the 81mm a French captured ordnance. The 5cm, the Americans were more annoyed by them as nasty little things. Unless they were very close they were not too effective. And then there was their machine guns. MG.34, MG.42 but also French captured guns and even 1916 water cooled models. So when the battle started, yes they were not ready with all their new casemates but they did have quite an array of weapons as mentioned. First came the bombing and that disrupted and damaged a lot of telephone cables. Then the shelling, which was more direct and very heavy and filled in trenches and let of a lot of mines (by sympathetic explosions). When that was all over there was still enough weaponry to repel an attacker. IF the reserves and counter attack can get to them. Well that did not happen.

Attacker - the first landing craft did not have assault troops but engineers to blow the beach defence, they tried to do their work but mortars and machine guns harried their every move. Then the main infantry assault came on. They should have been behind the DD Sherman Tanks, but most of the tanks drowned. The Infantry came in on its own strait into a cross fire of machine guns now totally awake to what was happening. Mortars, artillery inland started to fire on target relaid to them by forward observers. The American artillery/Navy observers were either killed or their radios damaged beyond any use. A one sided battle. Now some Sherman DD's started to arrive and tank landing craft brought in wading Sherman´s. These managed to crawl up the beach and start taking out the casemates and machine gun nests. Infantry and Rangers started to advance on the flanks by using Bangalore Torpedoes to blow the wire. Then move across the flat behind the beach and cross minefields and up the grass cliff to the plateaux above. They the moved left and right and gradually took out each defence. It took all day and by evening a lot of the Wn's were captured and cleared (some were still holding but not for long). Bulldozers came ashore and cleared the beach obstacles and filled in the ant-tank ditch. Then the antitank walls were blown on the roads and tanks at last could move inland. That day if Google can be believed 34,250 Americans crossed Omaha Beach.

Defender - The average German defender did his duty but was let down by his commanders. The counter attack never materialised. Ammunition had been removed from inland gun batteries to save it from bombing. At one batterie the lorry re delivering its load was hit by a battle ships shell and blew up. So no ammunition resupply and gradually the artillery fell silent.

The rest is now History.

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Plan

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Plan

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1 x Vf/MG.
1 x Vf246 tank turret ringstand.
1 x Vf67 Tobruk.
1 x Pz.T. R35 turret.
1 x Vf58c Tobruk.
1 x VK3001 tank turret.
1 x Nr1694 type ringstand.
1 x 4.7cm Pak 181(f).
1 x 5cm KwK L/60.
1 x FT-MG.311(f).
1 x 7.5cm KwK 37 L/24.
1 x 5cm KwK L/40.

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Vf246 Tank Turret ringstand.

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5cm KwK L/40.

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Pz.T. R35 turret in a Vf58c Tobruk.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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German Plan

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
German Army plan

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Wn68 coloured red showing that the main defence originated on the beach front but with the intervention of Rommel, a stronger defence was being built up behind the anti tank ditch.

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Anti-tank ditch.

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5cm KwK L/60.

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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11 October 2018

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Les Braves

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Les Braves is a war memorial that is located on the shores of Omaha Beach in the village of St. Laurent-sur-Mer in Normandy, France and commemorates the fallen American soldiers, of World War ll who have lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy, June 6th 1944.

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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6 June 1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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This is how it looked on D-Day itself. 18 Tanks on the tide line and troops on the beach, none have penetrated inland yet. The very large anti-tank ditch running left and right can be seen.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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11 October 2018

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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The site of the 5cm KwK L/60 in an Nr1694 open emplacement.

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Nr1694 open emplacement.

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5cm KwK L/60.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Merville

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
5cm KwK L/60 in an Nr1694 ringstand

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Nr1694 type ringstand. The picture is an Nr1694 at Merville not here. But it gives an idea of what the Nr1694 would have looked like.
Inside it a 5cm KwK L/60 Pak gun. It was bolted down on a ring of hold fast bolts and could cover 360°. How this emplacement got on on D-Day I do not know. Its gun would have been very effective against the small landing craft and Sherman tanks coming ashore but would also be vulnerable to incoming fire from even light A/A guns on landing craft as it had only its thin shield to protect it.


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Plan.

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Villers-sur-mer 5cm KwK L/60.

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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24 November 2008

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Around the middle of the beach was a Tobruk probably a bf58c

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Plan.

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Plan bf58c.

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Elevation bf58c.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Tobruk somewhere in France

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Tobruk

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The next was a Tobruk.
Now this would have been a devastating machine gun to the Americans coming out of the water. The gun in this one in the picture is an MG.34 but t could have been many different types.

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Plan.

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Capa.

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Capa.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Bundesarchiv

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
MG.

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The next position on the left flank was a machine gun nest, this is another position I have not seen any photos of it as just after D-Day the whole area was gradually bulldozed flat so that LST's could come in and disgorge their cargoes strait onto the beach.

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Plan.

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LST's.

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LST.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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11 October 2018

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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This is around where the Tobruk and Machine gun bunkers were placed with adjoining trench system. In the background to the right was where the rest of Wn68 was placed.

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Plan.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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19 May 1944 An American PRU photograph from AH

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Air photography

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This photo is was taken by an American flying his Lightening fighter fitted with cameras and no guns. The Rommel Asparagus has started to sprout but a lot more would be in place a month later.

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Nose cameras on a Lightening Photo Reconnaissance plane.

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Processing.

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Cameras.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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00-00-00

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Anti-Tank ditch

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This is the western run of the anti-tank ditch which covered the whole front of Wn68/67/66.

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Plan.

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German plan of how to build an anti-tank ditch.

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Another view along to the east.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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April/May 1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
VK3001 tank turret ringstand

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VK3001 tank turret ringstand with its 7.5cm KwK 37 L/24 tank turret fitted to a PzKpfw-IV-Ausf. These tanks were becoming redundant due t the heavier gunned and armoured Tiger and Panther. So the spare turrets were sat on Vf246 ringstand bunkers. Ready ammunition laid out around the turret space and an ammunition room. Also a small crew room.
This is possibly just after it had been constructed.

 

 

 

 

The second picture is after its capture and it had been camouflaged using a wall of Reeds. And can be seen better in the next series of photos.

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Plan

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Vf246 ringstand. Small crew room and ammunition room.

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PzKpfw-IV-Ausf.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
VK3001 tank turret ringstand

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Its a complete tank turret as in the original with the crew sitting in a cage (as in the tank) that turned 360°s and would have a very heavy punch for a 7.5cm 37 L/24 gun. Manually operated by a crew of two.

This emplacement was held by Gefreiter Gustav Winter, 726th Infantry Regiment, 716th Static Infantry Division.
An ex Panzer gunner who served in Russia and was invalided home with very bad frostbite. It was so bad on one hand that armourers had modified the turret mechanisms to help him use them.
Used to being in a Pzkpfw.II turret he was very qualified when transferred to Normandy to command and fire this style of tank turret.
At first light on the 6th June 1944, lights were seen flashing over the sea and then hundreds of naval shells came out of the sea throwing up tons of sand and earth making it very hard to see.
The 17year old Czech lad he had a a loader was so frightened he cowered in the bottom of the bunker. He had not seen any action and was terrified. Then bombers went over and we had quite a few near misses. The he managed to get the young lad to come around and get into a fighting position, but it was hard to see out of the periscope/gun site as there was quite a lot of smoke and dust about.
The gun position of the 5cm KwK on the beach flashed a green signal to me as we had no radio or land line communications. So at least we were not on our own.
He said he saw some rippled explosions (Bangalore torpedo clearing barbed wire) and then a tank (Sherman) started coming over the sea wall. He fired at the white star on the Sherman but the round just ricocheted of the steel. The Sherman then fired at me and hit the gun mantle. Another round from a Sherman came inside and hit his loader. I managed to slide out of the hatch and hide behind the turret. I could see the Sherman's firing at the Pak and in the end it stopped firing.
He was eventually captured and taken strait back to a POW camp in England.
This story comes from "D-Day Through German Eyes" Concrete Panzer. This may be a true story I but as this is the only Pzkpfw.II turret on Omaha Beach area that I know of (the other had not been installed at Wn67. Also he state the turret was grenaded and burnt. This turret does not look hit repeatedly by a Sherman and destroyed. But its the best story of the area that we have.
This is also in "Landing on the Edge" Google books.

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Vf246 ringstand with the turret on the top.

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A Gefreiter.

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MkIII tank turret inside.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
VK3001 tank turret ringstand

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A plan for a VK 3001 tank turret on a BF246 emplacement. An ex- Pzkpfw.II Flamingo 7.5 cm KwK 37.










 

 

7.5 cm KwK 37 ammunition.

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Vf246 ringstand with the turret on the top.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
VK3001 tank turret ringstand

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In the background is a wooden observation post.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Observation post.

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From here any of the Fire Control Officers could call down artillery/mortar fire onto the beach. Also the Nebelwerfer batterie just in land at Wn89. The Luftwaffe had units of about three strong just coast watching for an aircraft coming in mostly very low and trying to get under the radar.

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Vf67 Tobruk for a Pz.T. R35 turret.

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10.5cm.

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15.5cm.


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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Bundesarchiv

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Pz.T. R35 turret

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Vf67 Tobruk for a Pz.T. R35 turret Its tucked down below the larger tank turret almost making it redundant..

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Vf67 Tobruk for a Pz.T. R35 turret.

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Vf67 Tobruk for a Pz.T. R35 turret.

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R35 Reibel MG.311(f).

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Turret ring in a Tobruks.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Construction

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Two pictures of the R667 casemate under construction.

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R667 casemate under construction.

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R667 casemate for a 5cm KwK and here it was an L/60 type.

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R667 casemate for a 5cm KwK and here it was an L/60 type.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Google

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Top of the hill

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Looking back on the trenched area along the crest of the cliff, machine guns would have been firing all along the beach, well those that survived the bombing, shelling and rocket fire.

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Yellow are the trenches and the arrows the machine gun positions and the red arrow a 4.7cm Pak A/T gun..

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4.7cm Pak 181(f)..

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Google

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Doppel MG. Stand

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The road coming up from the village takes you past the Doppel MG. Stand. Drive past and park safely and walk back.

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Plan.

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Yellow route on the plan.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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19 March 2006

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Doppel MG. Stand

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The view up from the road. One embrasure can clearly be seen.

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Plan.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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19 March 2006

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Doppel MG. Stand

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First you find from the top a Tobruk covering the southern flank of the bunker.

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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19 March 2006

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Doppel MG. Stand

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Looking at the Tobruk inside.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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19 March 2006

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Doppel MG. Stand

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One part of the Doppel MG. Stand with its embrasure and bolts for a 48P8 close combat defence embrasure.

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48P8 close combat defence embrasure.

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48P8 close combat defence embrasure.

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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19 March 2006

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Doppel MG. Stand

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Looking the other way and another close combat embrasure also showing the bolts in the wall and angle iron supports for a table to sit a machine gun.

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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19 March 2006

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Doppel MG. Stand

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The six threads to secure the close combat embrasure to the wall. The window could be closed off in bad weather or if being shot at to protect the gunner.

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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19 March 2006

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Doppel MG. Stand

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The entrance/exit and a small storage space.

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Machine gunner crew.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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19 March 2006

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Doppel MG. Stand

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The entrance/exit now almost filled in.

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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19 March 2006

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Doppel MG. Stand

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Two very keen looking bunker hunters, I think waiting for the bar to open for a quick beer and off again.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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11 October 2018

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Attack

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    On 6th June 1944, the 1st and 29th U.S. Infantry Divisions were responsible for establishing a bridgehead here on Omaha Beach. The 6km (4miles) long beachhead been decided into three large sectors, code-named from west to east : "Dog" facing Vierville, "Easy", facing Saint-Laurent, and "Fox", facing Colleville.
    The Germans had fortified the cliff with concrete bunkers, installed numerous obstacles on the beach, and built anti-tank ditches and walls at the entrances to the valleys leading to the three villages.
    The GIs, who had been landed here since 6.30am, had to take cover from German fire, first behind the pebble bank, then at the foot of the cliffs on either side of the small valley.
    Finally, between 8am and 9am, several groups succeeded in scaling the cliffs and managed to regroup on the plateau. After a fierce battle, the village of Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer was liberated on 7th June at around 9am.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Attack

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I think Capa who took this photo landed slightly to the east of Wn68.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Sherman Tank

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Sherman drowned tank, odd as it has no breather and exhaust vents on the engine deck.

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A Sherman with the vents on the rear end. They were welded on and had to be cut off after landing.

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Fitting the vents.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Sherman DD

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These two pictures of a DD Sherman look the same tank taken from either direction.

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Plan.

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DD Sherman launching.

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DD Sherman’s in better conditions, on exorcise in England.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
LST

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On the top deck of an over loaded LST. Landing Ship Tank.

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
LST

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LST unloading on Omaha Beach.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
LST

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LST's drying out. They came in on a high tide and as the tide went out, they bottomed and have to stay until the next tide. Made from a British specification in America.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest
Anti-Tank wall

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The first looks an earlier picture
The anti-tank wall covering the draw. It should have been a steel reinforced wall but the builders omitted to add steel and that way it was easier for the Americans to break through it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this one slightly later when the roadway was clear

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Where the steels should go in an anti-tank wall.

Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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1944

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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LST's and landing craft queuing up to unload at D-3 Draw. One of only five ways off this beach. Note the area has been scoured over by bulldozers and cleared of any old defences.

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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11 October 2018

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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