Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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Wn68 Les Moulins ouest

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

Defender -To not allow an attacker access to the valley and exit from the beach. So a defence was in the making, not yet complete but getting very close. Building work to place all 5cm KwK guns under casemates was in progress (The 5cm KwK was a very good gun and did devastating work on landing craft and tanks). Other bunkers for 8.8cm Pak & 7.5cm Field Guns were also being built. Tank turrets installed on Ringstands with a 7.5cmKwK or a 4.7cm KwK Pak. Many mortars, the best the 81mm and smaller 5cm French captured ordnance.
And then there were their machine guns. MG.34, MG.42, 1916 water cooled models, but also many French captured machine guns. So when the battle started. First came the bombing and that disrupted and damaged a lot of telephone cables but missed the beach. Then the shelling, which was a little more direct (mostly Destroyers and LSG’s).   When that was all over the infantry man looked out over his trench/bunker and was astonished with what he saw.
The next part of the plan was to bring up the reserves and a counter attack. These were Infantrymen either on bicycles or on foot. The Panzers further to the rear started their advances.



Attacker - The first landing craft arriving at low tide on a very quiet beach, almost a walk over. Set out on the beach defences there were markers, these were the effective range of the rifle/machine guns. As the Americans started to leave their landing craft they crossed this line and the machine guns and mortars opened fire. The DD Sherman Tanks should have swum ashore in front of the infantry, but they were either sunk or late to arrive. The Infantry came in on their own straight into a cross fire of machine guns, mortar fire. A one very sided battle.
Their instinct was to stop and hide behind any of the beach obstacles they coul reach. This is exactly what the defenders wanted. Now the artillery start and plastered their pre registered targets.
Gradually some Sherman DD's and wading tanks started to land. These managed to crawl up the beach and start taking on the casemates and machine gun nests. Infantry and Rangers moved across the beach away from the Wn's. By using Bangalore Torpedoes to blow the barbed wire and up the grass covered cliffs through mine fields. They then moved left and right and gradually took out each defence. It took all day and by evening literally all the defences were captured. Bulldozers came ashore and started to clear the beach obstacles and fill in the ant-tank ditches. Then the antitank walls were blown on the exit roads allowing the tanks to finally move inland.

That day 34,250 Americans crossed Omaha Beach.

Back to the defender -The average German Landser did his duty but was let down by his commanders. The armoured counter attack never materialized. The cycle infantry gradually arrived but by then the Americans had advanced to the first east/west highway. The Panzers never made it at all until much later in the week.
Half the ammunition loads had been removed from inland batteries to save it from bombing. Lorries delivering its load was hit by a fighter bomber and destroyed. So with no ammunition resupply arriving, gradually the artillery slowed and in some cases fell silent.

The rest is now History.


LSG - Landing Ship Gun, 3 x 4.7inch Destroyer type gun turrets.
LST - Landing Ship Tank.
DD - Duplex Drive.

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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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Wn62's 5cm KwK

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

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The picture is an Nr1694 at Wn65, not here. But it gives an idea of what the Nr1694 would have looked like with
inside 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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Brand 31

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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 to 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 completion.

 

 

 

 

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 KwK 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 as 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. Then 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 was the only VK3001 turret on Omaha Beach (there was other but the turret installed at Wn67).
This is also in "Landing on the Edge" Google books.
Also "VK30.01(H) (Panzerkampfwagen VI)"

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VK3001 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 with an ex- Pzkpfw.II Flamingo 7.5 cm KwK 37.










 

 

7.5 cm KwK 37 ammunition.

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VK3001 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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These are my words, “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”.
Since writing this, I have been told that this observation tower, may have been made by the American Beach Party, who could see and order the landing craft into the beach. Post D-Day. Probably when the shelling of the beach had stopped.

The Luftwaffe also had units of about three strong, just coast watching for any 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 or maybe it has not been placed on its Tobruk.

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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 Tobruk.

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 Wn67

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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 GI s, 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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Capa

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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 29

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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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