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.

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