Ile de Ré – Best gun battery ever!

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by Tommygunn, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

    Here is selection of photos from my visit to the Ile de Ré on the 8th August 2008.
    The island is located just off the coast of La Rochelle, France, where the battery is located on the Northern tip, and covers the main inlet and surrounding area.
    I new there were some good bunkers at this site but I was truly amazed by what I found and I was quickly reduced to a giddy school boy.
    The name of the main site is Battery Karola which is where the range finder tower and 220mm open gun-pits are.
    Closer to the coast you have the installations for the large naval turrets and then on the edge of the beach there is the radar installation.
    It was a truly remarkable site with lots of original paint, fixtures and fittings and, as opposed to other places, and as someone else has said, has a much more human feel to it due to the sights to be seen.
    The first open gun pit you see in the photos, and the bunker with the artwork, is actually not part of the main battery but situated down the island close to the main access bridge. The same goes for the final photo of two beach covering casemates which are further up the beach from the main battery.
    Any questions you may have then I will be happy to entertain them.

    Edit: Having picture problems so back with pics later.
    James S likes this.
  2. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

  3. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

  4. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

  5. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

  6. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

  7. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

  8. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Tommygunn Member

  10. cash_13

    cash_13 Senior Member

    Wow loads of photos many thanks for that...

    My favorite subject.....would love to convert that to a museum and a nice home as well

  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Tommy,
    A beautiful part of France, here's some pics of the La Rochelle from a bike trip down the west coast of France




    A loverly place B)
  12. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    The battery observation tower is a type S497 fortification - only 1 of this design was built

  13. Lonewolf

    Lonewolf Junior Member

    Great Pics --Thanks
  14. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    A good representative selection of what is left of the Atlantic Wall.Very expensive to build and difficult to demolish.Vichy France had to meet all the German occupation costs and this would would include these works.Little wonder that the Germans bled France dry in 4 years of occupation

    The small towers are, I believe smaller versions of those built on Guernsey as Naval Towers.

    Been on the island many times but the bridge toll is expensive, (cheaper in winter).30 years ago,we used to sail from La Palice by side loading ferry and the trip took 20 minutes with backdrop to La Palice being the old Kreigsmarine submarine pens. I would think that the toll will soon be off as all French toll bridges usually are.

    Went swimming in the sea, late in the evening once and conditions were ideal (June) Generally speaking, the Charente-Maritine department has now been found as a venue for holidays especially in July and August.Get there in June and September and the crowds are less and still very enjoyable.

    German pows were held back after the war on clearing the Atlantic Wall of defences and minefields and many lost their lives in the dangerous work.Post war the concentrated German War Cemetery was created at Berneuil which is about 5 kms south of Saintes (a nice town to visit) on the N137. It does not get many visitors and this is where I deposIted my German Mark coins after the introduction of the Euro.

    Berneuil German War Cemetery and German POWs killed after the war.
  15. David Elgy

    David Elgy Junior Member

    The buildings seem to be in good condition,inside and out. I need to visit asap.
  16. Steve P.

    Steve P. New Member

    I understand this is an old thread but, I'm currently staying on the Ile de Re at Ars de Re and visited this site. It is now heavily overgrown and covered in graffiti or street art as you wish to call it. The entrance into the control tower has been effectively boarded up to prevent access.
    The site has also come under French military jurisdiction which sternly forbids entry. On my first visit I was able to roam freely but on my second visit there was actually a French soldier there to warn trespassers off. This is why I didn’t get more pictures. An incredibly interesting site but with little information pertaining to it. Understandably, I think the French people would prefer to forget about this reminder of their occupation unlike in the Normandy D-Day sites which mark the beginning of their liberation.

    Attached Files:

    Owen likes this.
  17. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for the pictures.

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