Sunday, 26 March 2017

Spring Quiz

OK then bunker experts, where where we and what did we uncover after lots of battling with ivy and brambles here? Steps up to square-ish position with lots of little storage alcoves (some original wood remaining) and a trapezoid (like the base of a long triangle where well over half has been chopped off the top pointy end)  weapon mounting position in the middle. Looks like nobody had been here for many years. Yeah private land, but that doesn't seem to stop us.

I'll tell you where when I'm sufficiently convinced anyone cares :)

Monday, 26 December 2016

Resistance Nest Kempt Tower

A WWII resistance nest was created by the occupying German forces in and around the 1834 Martello Tower in Jersey's St.Ouen's Bay which (the tower) was named after Sir James Kempt, the Master-General of the Ordnance from 1830-34. The tower, of the same design as some English ones (as is the case at La Collette too), has concrete in evidence at the ground level entrance (to the floor housing the kitchen and toilets) and up on top there were MG positions.

The excellent resource which is Jersey War Tours has some great shots of the bunkers here (including aerial ones) but I'll also chip in, as I do things slightly differently and have something new to offer :)

The most noticeable hulk of a bunker is at the end of one of the sea-side car parks along the bay. Notice there's something concrete (with metal plate?) near the car park entrance.
Closer, and I find it interesting how the wooden shuttering was arranged for the concrete pour. It's almost as if a vertical section here was a gap originally, which was filled in later!
Not sure what the slightly sloping construction was here, it looks like it may have been open originally and filled in post war?
Left a bit.. the entrance to the Jäger type casemate, and on the right some rungs led up to an open position (or tank turret?) which has been filled in.
Up the grassy slope and it's easy to hop up onto the roof, looking south. Note the summer house in front of the Martello tower - more on this later.
In the other direction, north, showing the car park and the filled in position up top.
Strange outline here, what's this all about?
The business end of the Jäger type casemate, where a 10.5cm field gun would be providing flanking fire along the bay.

Bit of a problem with the invasive species "Hottentot Fig" (or pigface!) here.

Some convenient steps here allow us to trot down to the beach and look back at this bunker - note the two MG positions built into the anti-tank wall.
The bunker taken from a summer house inside a fenced area. I won't bore you with my interpretation of "private land" too much, but I invaded no-one's privacy nor caused any damage. One side of the fence is pretty much the same as the other. If it was more of a garden then I probably wouldn't have gone in.
The summer house door sports a sign that says "Please do not force this door. It is not a German bunker but a weekend bungalow and there are no German relics inside."
From the tiny bungalow, the owner can count themselves very fortunate to enjoy a view like this, which also shows the old cannon platform in front of the tower.
A German track from the bungalow (which was a search light position) runs down to...
(note corner of some more concrete, more in a moment)
.. the 606 type bunker where the light was kept.
Entrance well secured.

If the land owner here wants any help with the weeds, I'd be one of the volunteers in return for a look inside his bunkers.
The other end of the other concrete building seen from the searchlight track, storage/shelter for what?...
.. looking inside at a load of post war rubbish I presume.
Behind, the top of another bunker, up a little mound, and an escape shaft from...
.. another secured bunker, a type 646 water supply bunker. I hadn't noticed that they had escape shafts before, so that was a new one for me.
A plan of the 646 from an interesting thread at axishistory.com. Type 646 bunkers in Jersey are the "Brunnenstand" type, built over a well, with water pumped
into a small watertank - the "Wasservorratsstand" version just housed a larger watertank for storage only. The external recess to the left of the door is a "Zapfstelle", a dispensing station for filling containers from a tap.

The forum thread tells us there are/were 8 in Jersey :
1 - at Wn. Lewis Tower, within the old Chateau Plaisir, now demolished.
2 - at Wn. La Crabiere, sealed.
3 - at Wn. Kempt Tower, locked up (this one).
4 - at Wn. High Tower, locked up with grill gate.
5 - at Wn. Steps 43, locked up (El Tico parking).
6 - at Wn Düne, buried (near second car park along, up to Mont a la Brune).
7 - at the Kernwerk, still in use.
8 - believed to be at Wn. La Carriere, as some former soldiers remember collecting water from a bunker in this area and a corner of a bunker was 'discovered' while water mains were being laid there.

OK, back to public land and a car park over the road from the tower, here we see parts of a U/WaKoFest shelter...
.. and one entrance looks like it may be possible to crawl into. Not me, thanks!
However, along the main road towards the end of Chemin de L'Ouziere, and there's another U/WaKoFest shelter (see my blog posting about some other U/WaKoFest shelters for more details) where there's a bit of a hump in the roadside path.
The open position at the southern end of this one...
.. and when we took a look down there we were astonished to find it open for a crawling entry - had no idea this was possible!
First time I've ever got down and dirty to crawl into a bunker, I have to admit :)  Some nice webs to brush out of the way, suggests not many people venture in here very often.
The other entrance has been blocked (literally) up. Lots of broken glass here, wear sturdy footwear. Note the original camo paint still present.
Just before the gas lock, drain quite obvious. In we go, turning left...
.. and here's the gas lock. A 180 to look back...
.. where we came from..
.. and a sidestep to the left leads us into the crew room, also facing north. Note the weird compressed paper boards they used to make the crew rooms more homely with (other rooms left with bare painted concrete). Ahead to see the storage area..

.. and to the right, the escape shaft looks like it's had its load of bricks removed...
.. well, not all of them.
Looking back (messed up shot out of focus, sorry). Mind your step here, there's a square drain hole in the middle of the floor you could twist your ankle in.
Back into the standby room, the "orbs" reveal we'd kicked up some dust caught in the camera flash. Strange to be deep in a bunker and hear traffic going past for a change! Another ankle trap drain in the middle of the floor here.


The entrance, closer. The metal doors were taken by the scrap dealers in the 1950s.
And so, back out we go. Bit of a struggle on a mound of soft earth, to get up through the partially blocked up gap, if you're as old and "carrying excess weight" and creaky as me!
Well that was a highlight of the trip for sure, wasn't expecting that at all. Well worth putting the dirty clothes in the wash for.

Finally, down to the seafront for one last bunker, an MG position..

.. with a firing position to the south here (as well as another to the north) ...
.. and a metal roof plate which escaped the attention of the scrap metal men.
Great to see the pebble camo still present after all these years.

So that's my look at WN Kempt Tower, hope you enjoyed the tour - commenting is easy if you have time to bother :)
All the best for 2017 from this crapaud, have a fun bunker hunting new year!

Return to bunkers index page

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

U/WaKoFest Shelters and Double Ringstand at WN Lewis Tower

Between the Scouts center and Jersey Gold on the 5 Mile Road is an area of land that may as well be like the rest of the public space around it, despite being private land. There's a ruin here but I've no idea what its story is.

Now, I'm not recommending you venture onto private land, that's entirely your decision. For what it's worth, my view on "trespassing" (there is no such offence in Jersey) is - if it's not invading anyone's privacy and you're not causing any damage, then land that isn't obviously a garden is fair game for exploration if no-one is using it or making any serious attempts to secure it. Where's the harm?

It's an easy open walk southwards from the ruin to an area adjacent to the scouts center, and look what we have here... looks like a bunker!
Actually, if you approach from the left you'll find yourself standing on another one! More of this later, let's look at the big one first.
Might as well have a spoiler right now, because a quick study of the plan will help you follow my photos...
Here's an entrance next to a sloping flanking wall... let's have a quick scamper up there...
.. looking back, this is how close to the scouts center it is. It's also very close to the main road, but hidden from view from that direction.
Open observer's position at the top of the steep ramp. If there's one on the other side of the bunker, it was too deep in the greenery for me to find this time.
Back down below, nice to see an open door...
.. it would be rude not to go in :)
Somebody likes their Danger stickers.
Ahead, the other entrance is blocked up.
Roughly centrally on the left, a space which has a drain and a Guernsey example of this type of shelter still features shower pipework.
Left again, another door, another warning. Nothing much worse than a damp smell and lots of moths though!
Before going through this door, the area directly behind, or, if you prefer, the view as you exit through this door.
So, through the door into the gas lock room, then right into the main room, and right again to show the opening to the storage area and escape shaft. At this point we'd had enough with the pathetic lighting we had available, so we decided to leave without snapping the storage area.


And so, back to the outside...
.. and we set to work on tackling a lot of nasty green stuff to make a way into the double ringstand (or Tobruk). Quite unusual to have one with two firing positions, apparently, especially when you consider the point of a ringstand being a 360 degree coverage from a rotating gun!


Looking North (away from the scouts)...
.. closer...
.. and turning around (it's cramped in here with not enough height to allow an average adult to stand up)...
.. the south end.
Both positions are capped with concrete to make them safe.
Having heard there were actually two shelters here, we made our way along the mounds and found the other one...
.. with two open observers positions easily found.
Directly over the road is a luxury house on the site that used to sport a Chateau of Pleasure, and 646 water bunker that has been demolished too.

This bunker's entrances were too hard to reach when we were there, so there are no photos, I don't know if it's open, but I'm familiar with these shelters now so I'm not all that bothered about going in.

If you need a map, I'm happy to oblige. All the bunkers here made up Resistance Nest Lewis Tower.


For a good shot of the kind of storage room that I didn't photograph, see a Guernsey example at http://bunkersite.com/locations/ci/guernsey/uwako-langenberg-1.php and do have a look around that website for other examples of this type of bunker - there are at least 3 in Guernsey by the looks of it (the other 2 being at uwako-krossen and uwako-rundbucht) with some fascinating differences.

The term U/WaKoFest is a bit of a mouthful, isn't it? The U/ means Unterstand, or shelter, and you might come across the terms Gruppenunterstande (for a Group of 10 men) or Doppelgruppenunterstande (double size for 2 groups of 10). A plan of the 20 man version of this shelter can be seen in a forum thread here http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=146786

That thread also discusses how a range of bunkers were designed between the 500 and 600 series by Waffen Prüfung Fest and this particular type of shelter may be better described as their number 44 type Gruppenunterstande.

Waffen = Weapons
Kommission = (have a guess!)
Festungen = Fortification

The contraction "WaKoFest" is made up from these words, as these bunkers were first known from a 1941 Progress Report of the Commission for Weapons and Fortifications. There are a number of different types of WaKoFest bunkers (see that forum thread) hence the U/ to refer to the Unterstand type.

There are 11 of these shelters in Jersey.
2 here on the private side of the road at WN Lewis Tower
2 not far away at Kempt Tower (one under the mound between the car park and the tower)
1 at "High Tower" (now used as a teaching room at the St.Ouen's Pond bird hide)
2 at RN Steps 43 (i.e. the beachguards / El Tico area) - I don't know where yet.
1 buried at La Carriere (no idea where exactly!)
1 at Strongpoint Corbiere (with adjacent ringstand) on the inside corner just above the main road, sealed but explored in the 1990s and found to be rather flooded. Not joined internally to the ringstand.
1 out at Elizabeth Castle "Nord"
1 at Sorel B (near the end of the road before the parking / turning area overlooking the west side of the quarry), sealed with concrete at each entrance.

Return to bunkers index page