I was out at Corbière again today visiting another bunker. I had seen this one before but forgot the tripod, so I didn’t get many good photos. This bunker connects with another large one just up the hill, but that one is closed temporarily for renovation. I’ll go back and do that one as a follow-up post.
The “M19 Automatic Fortress Mortar Bunker”, as it is properly called, sits overlooking St Ouen’s Bay. Its purpose was to fire 5cm mortar rounds to defend the area from attack. An attack that never came. The Allied Forces attacked on the other side of the Cotentin peninsula, bypassing the Channel Islands and their massive fortifications. Like many others on the Island, it is largely undamaged and well maintained.
Walking around on the roof, you can see two main features. The covered turret where the mortar launcher fired from, and the open position in the photo above. You can climb up from below and have a commanding view of your field of fire from there. Not nearly as safe as inside the bunker, but nothing is perfect. Hooks line the inland edges of the bunker, from which camouflage nets would be hung.
From the sea, the easiest way to spot most bunkers are the large patches of rubble sloping down the hillsides below them. You can see big patches of gravel and small stones, with little or no vegetation. I guess if you were that close you would already be in range of the guns. Still, these must have been obvious to any aerial reconnaissance.
As you make your way inside you go down a small set of steps to the mustard gas decontamination area, turning 90° to the armored door. Telephones, helmets and many other pieces of memorabilia line the walls and tables. Like the other bunkers there are documents explaining wartime life and stories.
Further in, you come to the ammunition storage and finally to the automatic mortar room itself. There is an intricate model of the mortar, showing its inner workings. Rack after rack of mortars line the walls. There is some serious firepower here, it’s impressive.
To visit this bunker check the detail page on the Occupation Society’s website. The easiest way to get here from town is to take the bus. It’s stop #2545.