Small complex with amazing hidden gems
Stp Gabriel site overview
What to see
Although now largely covered by a camping site and scrubland, strongpoint Stp Gabriel to the south of Sainte Cecile is worth spending time at as there are a number of hidden gems if you look carefully.
Direct access to the beach has been stopped here as the roadway has been destroyed by the sea and the site has received a lot of old building materials and added sea defence structures in a bid to shore up the coastline.
Those with a keen eye will spot the barbed wire fences around the modern sea defences are heavily reliant on a large number of original WW2 German Eisenpfahl spiked fence posts. With their base plates buried in the ground they still perform the same task they did over 80 years ago when first put in.
Mixed in with the sea defences at the edge of the small cliffs are a number of WW2 concrete blocks - with T-shaped cut-outs - and we wonder how many thousands of tourists have walked past these blocks and not realised their deadly secret.
These blocks are part of WW2 German Nutcracker mines, devices packed with explosives which would sit on the seabed waiting for allied boats to pass over. Located in the T-shaped slot on a hinge was a length of steel railway line or wooden post which would point towards the surface and if moved by a craft passing overhead would trigger the mine and destroy the bottom of the ship.
We've spotted 13 of them along a short stretch and these concrete bases are helping to protect the beach and dunes area in a different way.
Just before you get to the roadblock to stop you reaching the beach at Stp Gabriel, look left into the entrance to the campsite where you can see the remains of a R134 ammunition storage bunker. A few yards away, up into the dunes, you can see a small storage shelter too.
North of the campsite are two personnel shelters, both now at alarming angles in the dunes, and these both feature attempts to break up the flat surfaces of the concrete with an undulating outer layer we've only previously seen on the walls of the sea mine and torpedo storage tunnels at nearby Stp Hasso - maybe they were built by the same group.