In the bowels of the Grand Blockhaus!
In Batz-sur-Mer, explore inside an original Atlantic Wall command post, built by the Germans during the Second World War. The 300 m2 Grand Blockhaus is showcased over five specially designed levels...
One of the Atlantic Wall's largest bunkers
Just the sight of it is almost enough to send a chill up your spine. Perched on a promontory, a concrete monster has glowered down at the waves since 1943, representing one of the largest bunkers of the infamous Atlantic Wall. One need only explore its five levels to be convinced, with the tour displaying period scenes skilfully recreated with the use of mannequins in various stagings. These give an idea of the daily life of the occupant, including inside the commanding officer's bedroom, the armoury and the PC radio, for example. A total of twenty German soldiers would be shut away in the bowels of the Grand Blockhaus to direct shots and control Estuary traffic.
Discovering the secrets of the Grand Blockhaus
At the time, the grey mass was camouflaged as a villa, decorated with false windows painted on the walls and a fake roof. Sealed doors and filtered air meant those inside could be self-sufficient and enjoy the rudimentary comfort afforded by these very close quarters, as shown by the specially adapted furniture. Faithfully reproduced, this takes the visitor back in time, allowing us to peep through the telemeter used to precisely locate ships, infiltrate the anti-aircraft fire post or inspect the engine room!
The original German surrender table
Further on, we can discover a scene showing the French soldiers who managed to get into the fortress and conquer it, or watch the signing of the surrender of the Saint-Nazaire pocket, the last region in France to be liberated. Just recently, the museum acquired the table used for the ratification of the famous protocol on 8 May 1945. Other original objects repatriated here tell of this dark period in history, while outside sits the 24-tonne barrel of the huge cannon once mounted on rails, near to the site. Impressive!