Huge bunker site on the cliffs west of Dieppe
Die06 Dieppe site overview
What to see
On the high chalk cliffs to the west of the port of Dieppe is one of the most famous landmarks of the town, the 15th Century Chateau de Dieppe, a castle which is now a superb museum and offers incredible views across the town and beach it stands above.
In its shadow is a large complex of heavily fortified bunkers, observation posts, and gun emplacements built by German forces following the occupation of France in 1940.
Unlike many clifftop strongpoints along this coast, this site was a Battalion/Regimental Headquarters rather than a location for casemated guns and via its many observation posts instead provided the fire control and range finding for gun batteries situated further inland.
The most obvious structure you can see on the cliffs is the small, double room special construction observation post at the edge of the cliff to the north of the castle. This rectangular building still has its type 89P9 armoured cupola in place. This steel cupola – smaller than those combat cupolas which feature gun embrasures for example - was purely for observation purposes and features four viewing slits.
East along the Boulevard de la Mer road at the edge of the cliff you can miss the special construction Peilstand observation bunker, and its interesting camouflage pattern adopted to break up the flat side of the concrete of its rear.
Behind the room with the open embrasure for observation and range finding would have been a series of map, communication, and personnel rooms where any ship movements would have been plotted and radioed to the surrounding gun batteries.
Around 70 metres to the east of the observation bunker is a second post, this one of a Kommandostand infantry observation post design but still with a large aperture for observation.
Just 60 metres to the east again is a R636 command post for an army coastal batterie and this building, along with its observation slit and room, would have supported a large, dome-like rangefinder on its roof. While the rangefinder has long since been removed, you can see the two armoured arial ports at the rear of the roof, one of which still has its protective cover over. This bunker is heavily overgrown, but you can access the inside if you’re careful.
Behind it stands a R134 ammunition storage bunker but this is completely overgrown and no longer accessible.
In 2023 these bunkers were close to meeting the eroding cliff face and, at some point, will overhang and eventually be lost to the beach below. Although that may prove to be many years away, all the bunkers along the cliff top here are fenced off with danger signs warning visitors not to venture near them. The safest routes to visit are via the private gardens behind and this is with permission only.
The housing estate itself hides the R608 regimental HQ bunker and only small glimpses of its outline can be seen in the gardens of two properties near the road which leads to the cupola bunker.
Die06 wasn’t without its defensive weapons though and the walls of the castle were adapted to house Czech-build Skoda fortress guns of 4.7cm along with emplacements set into the lower levels of the cliff for 7.5cm field cannons of French origin. These weapons faced to the northeast and were able to cover the length of the pebble beach in front of the town.
Running through the cliffs themselves is a network of tunnels, carved into the soft material to link up underground storage, observation posts, and troop facilities. These tunnels are sealed off for safety.