Wn55 and Wn56 Port-en-Bessin
Port town with Hollywood movie fame
Wn55 and Wn56 site overview
What to see
Wn55 and Wn56 were Widerstandsnests based around the fishing port town of Port-en-Bessin - Wn56 was the port itself and Wn55 the high cliff area to the east of the town.
Wn56 - the port and jetty area - wasn't as heavily defended with concrete as other strategic sites but there were gun bunkers under construction still when the Allied attacked the area on D-Day June 6, 1944. Inside the jetty were a series of flak barges moored to the sea wall - these featured anti-aircraft guns - and a Tobruk for a captured French tank turret stood near the mouth of the river.
Wn55 was a much larger complex or shelters and trenches, but not a site one with lots of firepower. On the cliffs to the east of the port - behind the much older Vauban tower - was a network of positions including mortar Tobruks, observations posts, and the foundations for a R612 casemate which was never to be built.
In 2020 the path to the top of the cliffs was closed to the public due to the crumbling cliffs becoming too dangerous.
Port-en-Bessin was also the site where the PLUTO - PipeLine Under The Ocean - fuel lines from the south coast of England were landed and connected, bringing much-needed fuel to the Allied forces in Normandy.
The town was also one of the locations for filming the Hollywood movie The Longest Day and the port area doubled for the port of Ouistreham. The Ouistreham name can be seen painted onto the side of the building to the west of the small bridge over the entrance to the dock area, although it has been painted over a few times with the name Port-en-Bessin since.
Port-en-Bessin has some amazing seafood cafes but don't forget to check out the small beach to the right of the eastern jetty and car park areas as it's entirely made up of scallop shells brought back by the fishermen based at the port.