Stp272 Les Couplets
Big gun batterie surrounded by Cherbourg housing
Stp272 site overview
What to see
This bunker site to the west of Cherbourg was one of the largest in the area and was built to defend the highly prized port area - a location which proved a fallback site for German troops following the D-Day landings in June 1944.
Strongpoint 272 Les Couplets is split over two sites, the lower batterie and upper fort area. The lower batterie features six open emplacements and four huge H679 type casemates built for 155mm captured French cannons, giving the site a huge amount of firepower. At the heart of the batterie is a H636 type Fire Control Post bunker, but there is also a second fire control post to the east of this which would have been the main observation post for the open emplacements while the site was being developed and the H679 casemates were constructed.
The batterie stands within a park area and is surrounded by Cherbourg housing estates with some of the concrete builds actually in gardens. All of the large casemates are sealed up and so you are unable to go inside.
There's plenty of interest on the outside though as they all feature unique camouflage patterns in the outer skins of the concrete. The depressions in the outer skins were formed while the concrete was setting by the addition of rolled up paper - possibly from the cement sacks - and once removed helped to break up the profile of the slabs of grey concrete. They also allowed the troops to plant vegetation directly on to the walls to further help camouflage the casemates.
Just a few hundred yards behind the batterie is Stp271 Fort des Couplets which is now an activity park but you can still see why it was chosen as a fort site and during the war the location of several gun and observation bunkers due to its commanding view over the area. Most of the constructions are fenced off and inaccessible now.