Today we take a look at beach defence casemate bunkers of type 631 and "Jäger", following a trip to L'Oeillère headland (between La Pulente and Petit Port) where one of each is open to explore - which is unusual (and why West Is Best for bunkers - sorry JB!) - so make the most of it while you can because it's inevitable that some killjoy will eventually come along and seal them up like so many others.
L'Oeillère is French for Blinker - as in horse blinkers - as you'll see from any official map there's no second i - despite it being so tempting to add one and make it L'Oeilliere. Considering other nearby names Corbiere, Carriere, Ouziere, Crabiere and Rosiere, it's an understandable mistake which I've made myself, before now :)
Looking at the RN from the other side of Petit Port, the 631 bunker faces this way. The Jäger bunker faces La Rocco Tower in the big bay.
I hope you enjoyed this visit to these casemate bunkers, which I found educational. These 631 and Jäger design bunkers account for the majority of beach defence bunkers in the island.
More details required? OK... 631 bunkers were designed to house anti-tank guns, built into rocky headlands, and are characterised by having a side entrances and 3 or 4 main rooms - crew standby room, ammunition store, gun room, and ventilation room. Two other left-handed (firing South or East) 631's are found at La Carriere (between Le Braye and La Pulente) and Le Grouin (St.B/Ouaisne).
The 631b versions are sited behind sea walls, have rear entrances and the 4 main rooms arranged in quadrants. Left-handed versions were sited at High Tower (L'Ouziere - Big Vern's) and La Crabiere (pair of left/right handed 631b's built into seawall south of the Barge Aground). Other right-handed (firing North or West) examples are at RN Lewis Tower (half demolished at Les Laveurs slipway), High Tower again (another pair, the north right-handed one being mostly demolished as it blocked the slip), Bel Royal (toilets side of slip, used as store for cafes), Grand Charriere (toilets at Greve d'Azette slip), Grand Hotel (West Park), First Tower, Le Braye, and Millbrook.
Jäger type casemates are named after the Organisation Todt official who designed them, as they never had an official Standard Construction Number. They were designed for the 10.5cm K331(f) field guns of 1913 vintage, captured from the French in large quantities with many installed in the Channel Islands (34 in Jersey).
Left-handed and right-handed versions of the Jäger swap the sides of the standby rooms and ammo rooms either side of the corridor, but the smaller rooms near the gun room are always arranged on the same sides.
You can find other right-handed Jägers at Strongpoint Corbiere, and RNs Aubin Fort, La Carriere, Elizabeth Castle South, Le Fret (east side of St.Brelade's Bay), Steps 43 (El Tico), and a fishy example at L'Etacq combined with extra rooms and a 6 direction MG turret.
Lefty (South/East) examples are found at the other side of Strongpoint Corbiere, and RNs Elizabeth Catle North, High Tower (L'Ouziere), Kempt Tower, and Lewis Tower (home to the military museum).
Types 670 and 680 can wait for another blog posting!
As for Tobruks, having just watched the movie Tobruk (1967 with Rock Hudson and George "A-Team Hannibal" Peppard) it is apparently pronounced "toe brook". But I'm going to refer to them as Ringstands from now on, as the Germans knew them officially as Ringstände; the Allies only called them "Tobruks" because they had first encountered the structures during the fighting in North Africa (including the port of Tobruk in Libya).
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