Stp Douvres I Distelfink radar station
Radar station behind Juno and Sword beach areas
Stp Douvres I site overview
What to see
Strongpoint Douvres Distelfink I was a large radar facility south west of the village of Douvres-le-Delivrande behind Juno and Sword landing beach areas.
It was an early-warning radar site which covered the area of the Bay of the Seine towards Le Havre and featured two radar types, a L486 radar generator and crew bunker, a L479 bunker for 'Anton' night fighter control systems, two R622 personnel shelters, a workshop, searchlight emplacement, and a trio of anti-aircraft gun positions.
The two Freya radars at the site had a range of detection of 200km/120miles so were able to spot allied aircraft a long range. Coupled with these was a Wurzburg Reise, or Giant Wurzburg, a huge dish-shaped radar to which the Freyas would hand over the aircraft for tracking by this shorter range device. Wurzburg Reise radars had a range of 43 miles.70km.
The L479 bunker was the crew and data centre for the 'Anton' night fighter system - a guidance system which directed German aircraft to be able to intercept incoming Allied bombers entering the Bay of the Seine area.
To the North east of the main site are three anti-aircraft gun positions - two L409A types and a larger, two-storey L410A bunker, each supporting 2cm Flak guns. These are on private farmland and are not accessible.
Distelfink I site is now a superb museum - www.musee-radar.fr - which is run by an amazing group of volunteers and you get to walk around the site and go inside one of the R622 shelters and L479 bunker where there are lots of informative displays on radars from the era to the modern day.
Perhaps the stand out item at the museum though is the Wurzburg Reise radar which is on display - one of the few remining of its type left in the world. The 24ft wide radar dish has currently been detached from it's mounting and rear operators cabin and is undergoing restoration but you can see how the whole system attaches to a tiny concrete base. Nearby is a simple looking Freya radar which was one of the most frequently used detection systems in WW2.