Sunday, 4 September 2016

RN Höhe 266

Time to publish some shots I've been sitting on for a while. RN Hohe 266 had confused me for a while, as all I had found was the easiest to find MG and shelter, and that was nowhere near being 266ft ASL! Time for a proper search, and then to share my findings with the ever grateful world :)

Traces of War Jersey tells us there was a field gun here, two MGs, two mortars, and a searchlight. How much evidence can we find?....

The origin of the name Höhe (Height) 266 is due to the location of the main point of this resistance nest (RN, or WN from Widerstandsnest), the field gun sited at/near the 266ft point marked on the most current OS map of the time (from 1914). Note - this part of the map also shows a 43ft point where RN Steps 43 can be found.

How to find all this? From below, it's not hard to find The Ossuary. This can be found at N49 11.892 W002 13.019 - these coordinates in are Geocaching format as that's an easy way to show them. Download a free geocaching app on you phone, type in the numbers and it will point you towards the location... easy! I will list other coordinates without the N49 and W002 parts, as all points in Jersey have this redundant part in common. You can put the coordinates into a Google search box and it will take you there on their map, converting to decimal degrees format if you prefer (in their URL).

From the Ossuary, look up straight ahead to the highest point - fancy a trek up there? Let's go... and you can even see a glimpse of concrete already, just below the top and a little to the left.
On the way up, a mystery object - any suggestions or knowledge welcomed!
And nearby that one, this. But anyway, onwards and upwards, stopping several times for a rest if you're as unfit as me. But it's really not too bad, honest!
Head left of the visible concrete to find yourself at this MG table...
.. with a protected passage to a shelter.
Jolly nice view at about 178ft up (fancy another 100ft climb soon?), at 11.866 / 12.830
Close up of the end of the passage, and a curious star shape.
Inside the shelter (only one way in/out of this one)
From above. Now head upwards, any way you like (over the bare rock or pass it), just keep going to the very highest point.
Near the summit, you may spot this, which I'm counting on being a mortar position, or I've learned nothing these last few years :)
The numbers are 11.779 on the N part, and 12.692 on the West, and it's about 240ft up.
Looking down at this position in the little 'valley'.
Close up detail. So if you reach the summit above this, you'll be around 290ft ASL, a bit knackered, but enjoying the all around views of the bay, the golf course, and the airport, etc.
Most easily spotted, a bunker in the direction of L'Etacq. We'll come to this later.
More towards the airport, something like a gathering of concrete fence posts. And on the left, some rusting metal. If you're really eagle-eyed, you may even spot a glimpse of some concrete. The rusty bit? We've found the main Hohe 266 field gun mounting!

A little history lesson, with a shot from forums, showing the field mounted 10.5cm K331(f) gun captured from the French in WW1. No concrete gun pit like you'd see at Batterie Moltke or Sorel Pt, just surrounded by sandbags and earth. Note the storage nearby at the top left of the top left photo...

.. those concrete posts were, I presume, supports for those storage areas normally in alcoves around the sides of the fully concrete gun pits. There are another two supports ahead in the bay direction.
(Bunker ahead to the right, btw, more in a moment).

Judging by the old photos, a little digging here would reveal a square concrete base.
Those supports. If you see this kind of thing anywhere else, do let us know!
Climb to the top of the little mound behind the gun mount, and... yes! An MG table to protect the main gun from any approaches from the playing fields direction...
.. and down a slope inside, a shelter I presume.
As is often the case, the shelter has another entrance, this one is even more blocked up. I'd suggest opening up the other one if you want to wriggle in, keep this location more hidden from anyone who doesn't make a point of exploring every single mound!

OK, so we've found the main gun position (and I had a reading of 265ft on my GPS, at 11.795 / 12.624), time to look at that bunker over there at 11.822 & 12.697 (247ft ASL).
A tiny opening in the door, for someone with a more suitable camera than mine. I can't get a lens AND a flash in there!
From a mound nearby, this bunker and the circular one in the distance (top left).

Time to head back down. Go to the valley over there below the mortar position, and...
.. some distance below, you may find this at 11.830 / 12.862 (same elevation as the first MG/shelter). Looks like it is subsiding a bit into the sand...
.. is this the second mortar position?
I think that's it for Hohe 266, but down at the lower level of the dunes (Blanches Banques if you prefer) there's this which I'd be keen to hear what it is...
11.752 and 13.021 on the GPS.
Oh, and a section of concrete wall at 11.816 12.986? This is quite a distance from the WW1 POW camp.

I've scribbled on a Google Maps 'satellite' shot to show the locations here, hope it helps.

If you want to get here without all the climbing and cardiac arrests, this top area of the dunes (a beautiful place well worth exploring, mostly fairly level apart from the mounds and dips easily navigated around, popular with dog walkers) can be reached from paths all around the Quennevais playing fields, and is just a short stroll from the railway walk. If you park at the rec centre (you're only supposed to if you're using the facilities) or at the roadside in the estates around the school, you can get here in less than 10 minutes without breaking a sweat.

I'm happy to share my findings with the world, and show you a little more than other websites have done, yet. If you appreciate what I do, please add a little message. And if someone would kindly share on Facebook please, so I get a few more visitors, that would be great, thanks!

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Bri said...

Very nice work, thx. Had no idea there was so much there! Cant wait to go for a walk there soon!! Gave u a mention on facebook Atlantic Wall. More please!

crapaudmatic said...

Thank you Bri, I was wondering if anyone would notice this posting! Great to hear that I've inspired you to pay a visit, if you pick a nice day I'm sure you'll really enjoy the wonderful area. It's quite an overlooked RN really, not getting much of a mention online on the whole, but there's enough to see that it really ought to get more appreciation. Many thanks for the the FB mention, the viewing stats haven't increased but maybe they will later? All the best, enjoy the walk!

Bri said...

Thanks! Malcolm Amy has said on facebook that It is a single room non-standard personnel shelter which was fitted with a 19P7 gas proof door. I am told there are 2 of these bunkers at Wn. Höhe 266 but the other one is buried by the sand.

Photo of the inside

crapaudmatic said...

Thanks again Bri, great to hear from the experts on FB. All we need now is a wartime RAF recon shot :)

Phil Marett- Jersey War Tours said...

Excellent work again, we need to update our page on Jersey War Tours (Traces of War Jersey) if you drop me an email I will reply back with the recon shot for you to post up. ( cheers Phil

crapaudmatic said...

Thank you very much Phil. I don't do email but if there's a link I can download from, please send it on a comment here that I won't publish. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Your concrete at 11.752 and 13.021 is marked as a Tank on an island survery map from 1965, perhaps there's a spring nearby? Looks like it was a nice flat base for a tank, when it used to be level. Thanks for the great blog, Mike

crapaudmatic said...

That sounds like a good explanation, I love it when a mystery is solved! There was a bit of a soggy dip nearby in the long grass. Many thanks Mike for visiting, commenting, helping!

Bri said...

You missed one apparently! See

I put a link on the Atlantic Wall group btw, hope that helps! Any more bunker pages in the pipeline? Thanks

crapaudmatic said...

Thanks Bri, looks like I'll have to go back and widen the search! That explains why I've had 60 hits on the page this week :)

And thanks for the mention on the Atlantic Wall, only had 4 hits on that one though - I do wonder why I bother sometimes!

Yes I've lots of photos queued up, just waiting for enough enthusiasm to create pages from them. More feedback would help, hint hint everyone :)