German Bunkers at Corbière: 10.5cm Coastal Defence Gun

I visit a big gun bunker guarding the south end of St Ouen's Bay. Part of Strongpoint Corbière. Posted 10 June 2012

Next to the road leading to Corbière Lighthouse is a medium-sized bunker overlooking St Ouen’s Bay, one of several clustered nearby. This particular one houses a large gun looking north. It is a 10.5cm Coastal Defense Gun Bunker. It’s easy to miss if you are looking at the lighthouse, or even the other bunkers along the road. Park at the top car park (or take the bus, stop # 2545). It’s just down the hill straight below you to the north.

Bunker layout with the entrance on the right

Bunker layout with the entrance on the right

As you walk down through the path to the bunker, you can see smoke coming from the chimney and hear the generator running. A hot kettle sits on a stove inside, the generator outside providing electricity for the lights in the different rooms.

A machine gun position guards the entranceway

A machine gun position guards the entranceway

As you enter, you see a rack of water bottles and food stores, along with the heavy doors with seals. I just learned today that Hitler was gassed in WW1 (should have known that already), and he was obsessed with defending against chemical attacks. This bunker is no exception, with seals on everything and an elaborate ventilation system that still functions today, over seven decades later. The term ‘bomb-proof’ gets thrown around too loosely I think, but these are pretty close to meeting the definition.

The ventilation equipment still works, but it's hand-crank only now.

The ventilation equipment still works, but it's hand-crank only now.

The cat usually plays the guitar but was resting when I came through

The cat usually plays the guitar but was resting when I came through

Inside are mementos from wartime, including German propaganda posters and ‘pinup girls’ next to the bunk beds. It’s a reminder that these were homesick young men a long way from their families. Life inside a bunker could not have been very pleasant. Especially with beautiful sunny Jersey beaches right outside. It really makes you appreciate how good things are now in comparison.

German military uniforms through the ages

German military uniforms through the ages

JEP front page from 9th May, 1945 (Now celebrated as Liberation Day)

JEP front page from 9th May, 1945 (Now celebrated as Liberation Day)

This is primarily a gun bunker, and there is a huge 10.5cm K331(f) weapon of French origin, captured by the Germans in 1940. It’s 10-12km range easily covered the entire bay. Rooms full of shells on racks were just off the main hallway leading to the gun.

The business end

The business end

Inside, the opened breech and aiming & range-finding visual aids

Inside, the opened breech and aiming & range-finding visual aids

This bunker is scheduled to be open next Sunday from 11am-2pm. As with many of the bunkers, you can try contacting the Occupation Society to arrange a private viewing with a group. Just visit their website and look up the bunker you want to visit.