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WWII pill boxes in France

#1
Whilst on leave in France I did a tour de battle field as is my want and in addition to the usual concrete bunkers that adorn the French coast line in Bretagne I found these pill boxes in and around St Malo, one had a date stamp of 1941 on the top. It would appear that somebody took a distinct disliking to these things and fired any thing and every thing at them from 50cal upwards. Not all rounds actually fully penetrated the approx 4 to 5" of steel, would not have liked to have been in them any way.
 

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#2
What you are seeing is the handiwork of the Breton Resistance, of which my late father was a member. Another of their little games was to hurl German sentrys down wells and count the number of seconds before the splash!! The record for the number of Germans disposed of in this way is held by a lady from Karaez-Plougêr with a total of 37. Much of the damage caused to the German war machine was inflicted with improvised weapons by untrained paysants. Next time you come to visit us you should visit Musée de la Résistance Bretonne at Saint Marcel you will be intrigued by our ingenuity. The other advantage we had at that time was the Germans could not understand us - we do not speak French - confused the hell out of them. Their other problem was they could not comprehend our savage ferocity - to find out more about that visit the submarine pens at Señ Neñseir and see the damage we inflicted on them.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
Are you saying the Bretons put up rather a better show than the rest of France? I can well believe it if my Cornish granny was anything to go by.
 
#7
Bloody impressive, looks like someone's fired buckshot at a block of plasticene. Is that a lone pillbox or part of some sort of complex?
 
#9
Are you saying the Bretons put up rather a better show than the rest of France? I can well believe it if my Cornish granny was anything to go by.
Very much so, please do not confuse us with the rest of France we are a totally different race. We understand the "Cornish" language, many of us have close relations in Cornwall as we do in Wales and the Basque Country. Possibly that is why successive French governments have been very wary of us and try not to upset us. To say we are volatile would be an understatement, if we want something we get it - nothing stands in our way. The port at Rosko and the TGV service to St.Malou are cases in point, we wanted them and the government would not provide them, so we built our own port, bought our own trains and told the government to operate them.

Christ on a ******* bike! How dead did they want them Jerries?
Very dead...........

Bloody impressive, looks like someone's fired buckshot at a block of plasticene. Is that a lone pillbox or part of some sort of complex?
That is one of hundreds along the northern coast, they are all in a similar condition - some in an even worse state - blasted clean out the ground whilst the occupants were still in them. A particularly good example is the one on the cliff at Erquy.
 
#10
Very much so, please do not confuse us with the rest of France we are a totally different race. We understand the "Cornish" language, many of us have close relations in Cornwall as we do in Wales and the Basque Country. Possibly that is why successive French governments have been very wary of us and try not to upset us. To say we are volatile would be an understatement, if we want something we get it - nothing stands in our way. The port at Rosko and the TGV service to St.Malou are cases in point, we wanted them and the government would not provide them, so we built our own port, bought our own trains and told the government to operate them.



Very dead...........



That is one of hundreds along the northern coast, they are all in a similar condition - some in an even worse state - blasted clean out the ground whilst the occupants were still in them. A particularly good example is the one on the cliff at Erquy.
What caliber guns did you use for this? and where did you get those guns from.
 
#12
What caliber guns did you use for this? and where did you get those guns from.
I will try to answer your question but you must respect the fact I was not around at the time and can only relay the stories told by my father and grandfather. The Bretons in the form of the "Sao Breiz"
were the first to heed the call by Charles de Gaulle, sailing from small ports in Breizh to Plymouth to be trained by the British forces. On our forebearers return they brought with them weapons supplied by the UK forces, plus they manufactured improvised weaponary, much of which can be seen at the museum at Saint Marcel. Add to that the weaponary that was captured when they overran German positions and you will see that the weaponary was very varied. The improvisation we adopted would be described as "crazy" but it had the desired effect - home-made explosives were the order of the day, some of which were very unstable - we lost good men and women because of that problem. That is the best I can tell you without taking you on a guided tour of the museum.

Damage was done by M5 3" antitank guns of the 802 Tank Destroyer Bn., and the M10's of Co. B 705th TD Bn.
Very strange!! The photograph is of an emplacement at St.Servan, very close to St.Malou, unfortunately the Americans did not liberate the town although they did lay siege, leaving the "free-French" to accept the surrender of the mad German commander (von Auchit)
 
#13
Bloody impressive, looks like someone's fired buckshot at a block of plasticene. Is that a lone pillbox or part of some sort of complex?
They were all parts of different complexes, the best bit is to the west of the river/harbour in St Malo. In some cases the shots were obviously fired from the land side and that would appear to be someone having a bit of target practice
 
#14
What you are seeing is the handiwork of the Breton Resistance, of which my late father was a member. Another of their little games was to hurl German sentrys down wells and count the number of seconds before the splash!! The record for the number of Germans disposed of in this way is held by a lady from Karaez-Plougêr with a total of 37. Much of the damage caused to the German war machine was inflicted with improvised weapons by untrained paysants. Next time you come to visit us you should visit Musée de la Résistance Bretonne at Saint Marcel you will be intrigued by our ingenuity. The other advantage we had at that time was the Germans could not understand us - we do not speak French - confused the hell out of them. Their other problem was they could not comprehend our savage ferocity - to find out more about that visit the submarine pens at Señ Neñseir and see the damage we inflicted on them.
Do us a favour and please give me the positions of those pens and the museum, otherwise I will be spending hours poring over my maps!
 
#16
Do us a favour and please give me the positions of those pens and the museum, otherwise I will be spending hours poring over my maps!
Only too pleased to assist you and my apologises for using my natural language in the spelling of towns.

St.Nazaire is the location of the submarine pens and museum, entry fee is 12.50 Euros (UK military personnel serving or retired 7 Euros). This includes a tour of the submarine Espadon (S637) and a guided tour of the pens + the old ocean liner terminal.

St. Marcel is 3km south west of Malestroit, about 30 kilometres from Vannes. Entry is 5 Euros with similar reductions as above. The nearest reasonable sized town is Ploermel (12 kms away to the north) Can recommend a hotel if needs be.

Send me a PM with your e-mail address if you would like more details.
 
#17
The best thing about St Nazaire, is it has the good fortune to be near St Marc-sur-mer where M. Hulot's holiday was filmed. I like France.

Back on thread those pill boxes are metal jobbies, in Italy spare Panther turrets were mounted on portacabin type structures and caused no end of problems. Were they deployed elsewhere? On the Channel Islands, old French tank turrets were used in a similar manner, Renault FT 17 turrets I remember.
 
#18
I will try to answer your question but you must respect the fact I was not around at the time and can only relay the stories told by my father and grandfather. The Bretons in the form of the "Sao Breiz"
were the first to heed the call by Charles de Gaulle, sailing from small ports in Breizh to Plymouth to be trained by the British forces. On our forebearers return they brought with them weapons supplied by the UK forces, plus they manufactured improvised weaponary, much of which can be seen at the museum at Saint Marcel. Add to that the weaponary that was captured when they overran German positions and you will see that the weaponary was very varied. The improvisation we adopted would be described as "crazy" but it had the desired effect - home-made explosives were the order of the day, some of which were very unstable - we lost good men and women because of that problem. That is the best I can tell you without taking you on a guided tour of the museum.



Very strange!! The photograph is of an emplacement at St.Servan, very close to St.Malou, unfortunately the Americans did not liberate the town although they did lay siege, leaving the "free-French" to accept the surrender of the mad German commander (von Auchit)
Very Strange as it's a US 3" M79 AP shot stuck in the steel and the FF werent issued the M5 Anti Tank Gun
 
#19
I may have misunderstood your post but is that not what she said? The Amis besieged the town (possibly accounting for your comments about the weapons used) but the FF accepted the surrender. After all, all French males were all FF or Maquis...
 
#20
I used to know a Breton family from Brest. Mad as a box of frogs, good fighters (one's now an Aikido master with his own Dojo in Lubeck), hated the French. A bit like Scots Nationalists on speed, and fuelled by cider.
 

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