See our new page on the decoy sites of the Cuckmere Valley that were planned and to some extant implemented during the early years of the second world war. The idea was ingenious to say the least, build feint targets to lure German bomber into bombing them rather than the real towns and cities. A large number were constructed and though many didn't work at all some were fantastically successful with the Portsmouth site on Hayling Island being particularly so. Read the full story on our new page "The Decoy Sites of the Cuckmere Valley just published here on Blighty-at-war.net.
Further to our recent trip to France we are finally in a position to begin a more detailed synopsis of the Cross Channel Guns facing each other across the Dover Straight; Having located what is left of Batterie Lindemann in France and now having a clearer picture of the British counter batteries the true story can be written up. The imagination does run riot in many ways and based on some truth one can barely imagine what it must have been like to witness these massive guns dueling at each other across twenty miles of open sea.
The British were of course outgunned with two 14 inch and two 15inch guns facing four 15 inch and three 16 inch guns of the German Kriegsmarine. Not to mention the further six lesser calibre guns that could also put shells firmly onto British soil at a push. So for every four massive shells we sent their way the Germans sent thirteen massive shells back. One of the reasons Dover was called "Hellfire Corner".
The Drive along the D940 from Calais to Boulogne is a military historians dream trip; bunkers abound both inland and on the coast. At Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Gris Nez in addition to gun batteries the Germans mounted two powerful Radar Stations that kept watch across the Straight; much of what they built is still there in one form or another today albeit used in some cases as Bat Sanctuaries.
German ingenuity saw no bounds and on our last trip we set ourselves the goal of finding "Breslau". The massive bunkers built along the Atlantic wall required vast quantities of concrete, just looking at what remains today really makes one appreciate what a task this must have been; Vast amounts of concrete require vast amounts of water and though coastal, seawater just cannot be used to mix concrete. So the Germans thought this problem out and solved it by building a vast underground rain water collection cistern and from this supplied ample fresh water to the concrete mixers building the numerous bunkers. The site of this large cistern has never been fully appreciated for what it was and took the German code word of "Breslau". We are pleased to say that we have now located and photographed what remains of Breslau and can report that much of it is still used today as a French water authority reservoir.
As our work continues new pages will be added over the winter along with updates here and there: Steve Sullivan
...... with new material and more mystery's to solve. More photo survey work done on the Cross Channel Gun Batteries, a welcome preservation by the French for Fort De la Creche near Boulogne, the location of Batterie Lindemann BCP and the location of the German Breslau Site; more follows in the coming weeks.
Steve is a retired photography teacher and now works as a military historian while living in East Sussex, England.