German Bunker at Val de la Mare

I visit a unique heavy machine gun 6-turret bunker at Val de la Mare. Posted 24 June 2012
The 'Sechsschartenturm' or six-loopholed turret

The 'Sechsschartenturm' or six-loopholed turret

You will have to work a bit harder to find this bunker compared to the others I photographed, but it is well worth the effort. Situated below the Val de la Mare Reservoir, it isn’t on or near any bus routes. You’ll have to drive or walk from St Peter or St Ouen’s Bay.

Look for the sign just below Val de la Mare Reservoir

Look for the sign just below Val de la Mare Reservoir

Sechsschartenturm

This one is a machine gun turret bunker or “Sechsschartenturm”, meaning six-loophole turret. It is very secluded. You walk up a path around a few sharp bends, then come to the spot shown above. From here, you can continue to the bunker entrance or follow a narrow path on the left to walk up above it.

Is that an Unseen Jersey shirt?

Is that an Unseen Jersey shirt?

You might think “Where is it?” at this point since there is not much to see above ground. This is one of the more camouflaged ones I have seen. Like the German Bunkers At Noirmont Point, it is almost entirely underground. Set deep in the Jersey granite and built to fortress standard of two-metre thick reinforced concrete, it is invisible from the roadway.

Sechsschartenturm

A bit hard to see but this is the searchlight

A bit hard to see but this is the searchlight

Sechsschartenturm

Back down and through the entrance, you can see this is much like the other fortifications. There is a defensive machine gun position watching the narrow entranceway, then the usual gas lock and steps down inside. It is brightly lit and cool, with signs here and there to guide you and tell you its story. My first impression was that it is much larger than I expected. This is the last of the CIOS bunkers that I have explored, mostly because I thought it was just a small turret. When you go in, you can see several rooms on either side, and a circular room at the end with a ladder.

Sechsschartenturm

Stove and ventilation equipment with escape shaft lit at the rear

Stove and ventilation equipment with escape shaft lit at the rear

Communications and command area

Communications and command area

Ventilation room

Ventilation room

Ammunition storage room

Ammunition storage room

Walk through the middle part through the rooms and you are looking up through a metal grate at the machine gun turret. This is by far the most interesting part of the bunker. Ductwork below supplies fresh air to the gunners and a special secondary system of ducts collect the spent shell casings below. It’s brilliant. If you’ve ever been shooting you know how easy it is to slip on spent shell casings. Typical German engineering, they thought of this and came up with a solution.

Burlap sacks left and right collect the spent shells

Burlap sacks left and right collect the spent shells

Sechsschartenturm

One of the six turret holes in the closed position

One of the six turret holes in the closed position

Deactivated MG 34 machine gun in its turret mount

Deactivated MG 34 machine gun in its turret mount

Spent shells drop down the tube and spare barrels sit in the rack below

Spent shells drop down the tube and spare barrels sit in the rack below

Colour-coded roof with fields of fire, an Atlantikwall standard

Colour-coded roof with fields of fire, an Atlantikwall standard

As I said at the beginning, this is well worth the effort to visit. The next scheduled opening is in two weeks on July 7th. Admission is free. Look for the sign along La Route du Moulin.