Huge site and home to the 'big guns' of Omaha
Wn62 site overview
What to see
Anyone visiting the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer will also be close to this once huge complex of casemates and firing positions that helped to give rise to the term 'bloody Omaha' following the devastation which took place on the sands in front of the Widerstandsnest on D-Day.
The site was one of the most heavily defended of the entire Omaha landing area and is spread over two tiers. At the top level, where the US 1st Infantry Division Memorial now stands, you can explore an underground Wellblech - a two room personnel shelter - plus a short section of trench leading to a comunications position and a Bf69 type Tobruk which housed a 8cm mortar.
A short walk downhill takes you along a line of zig zag trenches - now more depressions in the field rather than full trenches - and on to the next level of defence.
The first position you see is one of the two R669 casemates at the site, this one built for a 7.5cm field cannon. On top there's a memorial to and you can access the casemate below from the open embrasure where you can get up close to the large flanking wall positioned to the sea side of the casemate or enter through the protect rear entrance which features two anti-blast walls behind the opening where two armourplated doors once stood.
Just a few yards below is a second R669 casemate for a field gun. Inside both you can see deep markings in the concrete walls. On the outside they look similar to the camouflage patterns found on other large gun casemates but inside they probably had the function of dispersing the sound created from firing the gun - one can only imagine what that would have been like for the soldiers manning the gun in the confined space inside the casemate.
To the east of the two R669 casemates are a number of positions, all linked by a network of connecting trenches. Here you can still see a large platform for a mounted cannon and field posts for machine guns and observation. A R667 casemate - facing to the east - was planned for this area but was never constructed by the time of the Allied landings.
The beach here is wide and sandy worth a walk along and look back to the bluff and casemates above. On the beach there's a memorial to the Combat Medics of the 1st Infantry Division. It was here that SSGT Arnold ‘Ray’ Lambert set up the first casualty collection point on Omaha during the bloodiest battle on the morning of June 6, 1944.
This is the site made popular by the Wn62 book written by Heinrich Severloh, a young German soldier who was positioned in one of the machine gun posts, who reveals some incredible stories of D-Day and his battle with the Allies. It's an action-packed read...