MKB Oye Plage
Leaning observation tower designed to look like church
MKB Oye Plage site overview
What to see
There are dozens of small strongpoints located along the dunes between Calais and Dunkirk and many were built rapidly following the occupation of France. These sites can give you an insight into the early types of bunkers the German’s built to protect their new lands but also the evolution of the sites as knowledge, technology, and construction methods advanced.
That means they often feature a mix of buildings with some unique bunkers too, and that’s true of the Kriegsmarine batterie MKB Oye Plage.
The standout building here is a remarkable special construction observation tower which was designed to look similar to the many church steeples which punctuate the landscape in this area.
Constructed in 1942 is stands over four storeys and acted as an observation and measuring post for the larger gun batteries towards Calais in the west and Dunkirk to the east.
Prior to the liberation of the area and capture of the site in September 1944, German forces tried to destroy the building with explosives, but the huge foundations stood up to the blasts and it now stands at a disturbing angle overlooking the beach.
Inside you can look up to see all four storeys - each with openings for observation and range finding. The internal steps have been removed for safety so only the ground floor is accessible now, and you need to be careful if venturing inside.
This site also features a R134 ammunition bunker just across the road from the tower while at the edge of the marshland is a R219 double embrasure gun casemate which now has been built upon with a wildlife watching hide.
The obligatory M272 casemates found at Kriegsmarine batteries were also here, although only the remains of one of the four built can be seen as they were all destroyed. Two of the M272s now lie underneath the nearby campsite.