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Thread: U-Boat Base at Saint Nazaire, France.

  1. #1
    Semper excretia Ryan's Avatar
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    U-Boat Base at Saint Nazaire, France.

    An associate is on travels across Europe and is currently in St. Nazaire visiting the old Kriegsmarine U boat pens, a place I've always wanted to visit. The reason it's still there is that it's simply too big and fortified to make destruction economically viable. The words and pictures from now on are his:

    In the footsteps of history, as close as you can ever be.

    I today visited the former U-Boat (Unterseeboot) base at Saint Nazaire on the Atlantic coast of France. It was one of those rare moments where you realise, and respect, that you are actually treading in the footsteps of history. It makes you pause and think. The U-Boat, probably the deadliest weapon facing Britain in WW2.


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    Inside one of the U-Boat pens (bunkers / hardened shelters) at Saint Nazaire

    I spent most of yesterday afternoon (Monday 17) walking around the port area at Saint Nazaire. There is much to see and absorb, then you need to put things into perspective ito how and where it fits into what took place here from 1941-1944, the years of German occupation in France.

    The port area is quite accessible (assuming you know how to go about matters) and more so the U-Boat base, wonderful to walk around and to take your time with no interference. I am going back today for another look around.

    To put scale to this huge construction:-

    Compare the cars and people to the construction. You are looking at the back wall of the base which now faces onto a supermarket and car park.


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    Taken from a walkway giving access to the roof of the base

    The roof of the base, re-enforced concrete some meters thick. There are a multitude of walkways and areas where gun emplacements must have been, now used as viewpoints across the port.

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    On the roof of the base

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    Former gun tower looking across the port area, bridge crossing the Loire in the background

    Below, entrance to the shelters which at 15 entrances x 2 boats could hold at least 30 U-Boats at a time. It is however obvious that various areas were used for storage, bunkering (oil and consumables) and habitation.

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    Entrance to the 15+/- shelters

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    Showing the inside of a shelter

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    From an information board at the base

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    Looking from east to west across the basin

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    Interior
    DAF, jakewire, Wildman and 8 others like this.
    "I would rather suffer under imperfect freedom, than languish under perfect control".

  2. #2
    Member Scouser's Avatar
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    Fark....no wonder we couldn't get the bastards at home base......'Das Boot' (The Boat) is one of the best war films ive ever seen, almost (!) felt sorry for the bastards....almost!......as the only good U-Boat is the one on the sea floor with dead nazi's in it......
    While I might not be as good as I once was, Im as good once as I ever was!

    Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt

  3. #3
    Semper excretia Ryan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouser View Post
    Fark....no wonder we couldn't get the bastards at home base......'Das Boot' (The Boat) is one of the best war films ive ever seen, almost (!) felt sorry for the bastards....almost!......as the only good U-Boat is the one on the sea floor with dead nazi's in it......
    Several parts of that movie were actually filmed in this base. As for u-boats on the sea floor, there are plenty of them. Most u-boats that put to sea were never seen again. The highest casualty rate of any arm of service, of any country during the war. Bomber Command a close second.
    "I would rather suffer under imperfect freedom, than languish under perfect control".

  4. #4
    Member Scouser's Avatar
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    Saw a History channel prog only last night about 'the second raid on Schweinfurt' biggest ever loss of American airmen on one raid.....60 Flying Fortresses lost, over 650 men......daylight raid as the yanks knew best!!!!!!!
    While I might not be as good as I once was, Im as good once as I ever was!

    Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt

  5. #5
    Semper excretia Ryan's Avatar
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    The town was occupied by the Germans from June 1940 up to the war's end. It was the last French town liberated and returned to French administration in May 1945.

    - It suffered 50 bombing raids destroying most of the town.

    - Work on the base / pens began in Jan 1941 and was completed in Dec 1942
    - Most of the labour force were brought in from occupied territories east of Germany
    - Walls between the bays are 1.5-3.0 meters thick and the roof 5.0m, all reinforced concrete
    - Length 300m, width 130m, height 18m
    - Covering a surface area of 40,000 Sq. meters
    - Requiring 480,000 Sq. meters of concrete (?)

    - Had 62 technical workshops
    - 97 warehouses
    - 150 offices
    - 92 crew bedrooms
    - 20 pump stations
    - 4 kitchens, 2 bakeries, 2 power generating plants, sick bays etc.
    "I would rather suffer under imperfect freedom, than languish under perfect control".

  6. #6
    Member Kaweka_Neil's Avatar
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    Not much chance of me getting there, but would be keen to take a look at it... The history of it all...
    If it's outdoors, it's all good!

  7. #7
    Sending it Gibo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
    The town was occupied by the Germans from June 1940 up to the war's end. It was the last French town liberated and returned to French administration in May 1945.

    - It suffered 50 bombing raids destroying most of the town.

    - Work on the base / pens began in Jan 1941 and was completed in Dec 1942
    - Most of the labour force were brought in from occupied territories east of Germany
    - Walls between the bays are 1.5-3.0 meters thick and the roof 5.0m, all reinforced concrete
    - Length 300m, width 130m, height 18m
    - Covering a surface area of 40,000 Sq. meters
    - Requiring 480,000 Sq. meters of concrete (?)

    - Had 62 technical workshops
    - 97 warehouses
    - 150 offices
    - 92 crew bedrooms
    - 20 pump stations
    - 4 kitchens, 2 bakeries, 2 power generating plants, sick bays etc.
    Bloody nora!

  8. #8
    Member Dynastar27's Avatar
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    FAR OUT thats one serious base
    OPCz

    If in doubt double tap

  9. #9
    Semper excretia Ryan's Avatar
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    Yeah the Germans certainly didn't do things by half measures. U-boat pens, Tiger tanks, shouting a lot, death...
    Scouser likes this.
    "I would rather suffer under imperfect freedom, than languish under perfect control".

  10. #10
    Member Scouser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
    Yeah the Germans certainly didn't do things by half measures. U-boat pens, Tiger tanks, shouting a lot, death...
    You left out, sexy uniforms.....oh come on, have you seen a fraulein in a SS uniform and stocking & suspenders?.......i wouldnt STOP talking!!!!!!!
    While I might not be as good as I once was, Im as good once as I ever was!

    Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt

  11. #11
    Load....Action....Instant ....Watch and Shoot! ishoot10s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouser View Post
    You left out, sexy uniforms.....oh come on, have you seen a fraulein in a SS uniform and stocking & suspenders?.......i wouldnt STOP talking!!!!!!!
    I saw Helga in hers at 'allo 'allo? Live at the St James in Queen St a few years back. She had great legs! Most of the actresses did actually
    10MRT shooters do it 60 times, in two directions and at two speeds.

  12. #12
    Member Kaweka_Neil's Avatar
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    If it's outdoors, it's all good!

  13. #13
    Member 199p's Avatar
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    Holly crap

  14. #14
    Caretaker jakewire's Avatar
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    Heck of a place Ryan, thanks for showing us that
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  15. #15
    Member Savage1's Avatar
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    That's on my bucket list now, along with Stalingrad/Volgograd, Murmansk. Never realised it was so close to the D-Day beaches otherwise I would've shot down.

 

 

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