Sunday, 21 May 2017

Chipping away at history at Sorel A

Rough treatment damages historic bunker at Sorel Point.

The Jersey Kart & Motor Club are extending and modifying their track at the Loop Road, Ronez Point (A.K.A. "Sorel A" to those interested in the occupation). They say they are not removing or covering up the twin entrance twin bunker here, in fact they have uncovered it. It's interesting to see the top of the bunker and see its size from the outside, and how with two entrances it is in fact completely symmetrical.

The smaller structure (water tank? Generator housing?) to the side has been filled in. What concerned me more is the damage the diggger has caused to the edges of the concrete...
.. here very obvious on the east side entrance.
Looking west, we can finally see how this entrance is the exact mirror of the clear entrance on the other side.
Looking east-ish. More edges scraped. I'm quite disappointed with this damage! This is a historic, heritage structure, and the Club has failed to look after it. Shame on them.

Take a look inside and see how it used to be at

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Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Battery Moltke Flak Triangle

Near the end of the track to Batterie Moltke at Les Landes, lies a trio of Flak gun bunkers - forming the triangle of positions on the right side of this Google Maps shot. All three are similarly aligned, but not quite exactly.

Plan of the 3.7cm Flak 37 bunkers - steps each side lead down to a crew room.
The first one to visit (most easily found via the 'beaten track') has a view of St.Ouen's Bay...
.. looking back. Nice and clean, because so many people have a wander about.
The north steps are filled in...
.. but the south steps look promising after we'd cleared away some greenery...
.. going down...
.. ah. Who wants to crawl over this? My nimble assistant volunteered...

.. and turned right to find the crew room fairly clean of graffiti or trash - just a bit of rubble.
Looking back.
The north end...
.. and the rubble filling in those steps. A human chain could probably clear most of this in a couple of hours :)
And so, another crawl back to daylight.

Looking east from this first bunker, a grassy mound from where rifle enthusiasts shoot at...

.. targets 1000 yards away over the model aircraft site and a ringstand ("Tobruk") bunker. I'd be lucky to hit the target at all, let alone a bull's eye!

The second position is just off the north side of the road, a few more weeds to battle through to get here. No-one seems to wander around in this one, so it's getting slowly covered over by nature. Both sets of steps are well filled in.
The third bunker is just west of another grassy patch which is the 900 yards part of the shooting range. Mostly surrounded by gorse, you can reach this one from the model planes runway direction (just left of center in this shot). The two short walls giving a zig-zag access are free standing, not tied into the rest of the structure, and some of them are leaning a little. I speculate that they were built after the guns were put in place, sealing them in somewhat?

This one might be crawl-able too, but, you know, seen one and you've seen 'em all ;)
It was at this point that I finally noticed the groove in the gun mounting.

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

WN Fliquet and Batterie Haeseler

WN Fliquet/Flicquet

(never did work out whether the C is required or not, although recent roadsigns suggest no C)
This was located in the peaceful bay...

.. behind St.Catherine's breakwater.

The Resistance Nest was tasked with defending the island from a liberating invasion as always, and also to protect the building housing the Jersey end of a telegraph cable to France which was still operational and useful to the occupying forces.

The excellent WN Fliquet page (I can't compete without a drone!) tells us there were two machine guns, a mortar, a 10.5cm field gun and a small searchlight here.

A truncated Conway tower (1780s) was put into use by the Germans - spot the door a little stronger than the original 18th century ones!

.. and another doorway on the inland side.
Just to the left...

.. an entrance to a shelter.
And up on the bank there...
.. this.
A little way up the lane is the cable house. Someone doesn't want you to look inside.

On the other side of the tower is this small concrete structure...
.. but it's not worth borrowing their garden for a few moments, as there's nothing much to see up there.
Next, we headed up the hill.
"What an anchor", she mumbled. I may have misheard.

A little higher, we had a view of the sealed up top of the tower, that requires no drone to see :)

Batterie Haeseler

Again, do check out Batterie Haesler for information on"14./ HKAR 1265" and its 4 x 15cm K18 field guns with a 15.5 mile range, and the multi purpose defence gun now on display outside the Jersey War Tunnels.

The battery was situated in fields on the headland between Rue de La Coupe and Rue de La Perruque, to deal with any threat coming from the nearby French coast from the summer of 1944 onwards. Until August '44 the batterie had been in Guernsey (Batterie Scharnhorst). There were 2 heavy and 4 light machine guns to defend the battery, along with 3 x 5cm mortars and 2 x 2cm Flak 38 guns, also a 1.1m searchlight.
Locations of all the bits and pieces. The obs post looked like it might coincide with a structure I found on an old map, the site of a promising bulge in the hedge seen on aerial maps like this. We decided to pay a visit so that you don't have to...
.. and found just wooden ruins of an old shed! Didn't spot anything else of interest...
.. except nice views of the breakwater...
.. closer.

So, this is one of those batteries where there's no point 'trespassing' (we broke no laws) because there's not a lot to see!

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Willow Crapaud

It's like looking in the mirror, but I don't remember sitting for this portrait :)
It's in Waterworks Valley - Le Don Sinkins to be precise - and designed to be the climax of 1km trail featuring other willow works of art depicting the life cycle of the crapaud.
It was created by willow sculptor Michelle Caine and Alcindo Pinto, a local naturalist who also works with willow, in conjuction with National Trust for Jersey.
12ft high, and very impressive!

Find it here.

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 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!

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