Stp09 St Martin de Varreville Clos Duval
Utah Beach site with rare bunkers
Stp09 site overview
What to see
Stp09 St Martin de Varreville Clos Duval is one of the most extensive bunker sites on Utah Beach and a place where you can get up close to a huge variety of concrete constructions, including two rare bunker types.
The easiest one to spot from the beach is the unique emplacement for a 150cm searchlight positioned to scan the sea and sky off this strongpoint. This simple structure on the top of the dunes is one of the few remaining on the entire Atlantikwall and helped to protect the light during use. During the day the light was wheeled back down the dunes and stored along with its generator in a special garage.
The searchlight bunker is positioned next to one of two R677 casemates for 88mm Pak 43/41 guns at the site. This R677 covered the beach area south and was linked to an anti-tank wall which runs along the beach here.
Heading north along the top of the dunes brings you to a Bf67 type ringstand which was built for mounting a captured French tank turret on top and then the second R677 casemate which covered the beach area to the north.
Back from the dunes are two more large shelters. The R656 type is a twin-entrance, bomb-proof shelter for up to 15 soldiers who were protected in a large single room. There are two defensive embrasures at each entrance, leading to a gas lock room and then the crew room.
The jewel in the crown of this site though is the rare R633 type bunker. This six-room structure is set back from the beach and featured an armoured M19 automatic mortar turret which would rapid fire 5cm mortar bombs to cover the position from attack.
The electrically or manually operated turret could fire up to 120 mortars per minute via clips loaded with six bombs and caused a devastating amount of damage up to 750m away from the bunker.
Fewer than one hundred R633 bunkers were built, making this one of the rarest types on the Atlantikwall.
The turret was removed for its scrap value following the war and the bunker it now used to store farm machinery. You can access the inside but you'll need to be careful as there are many hidden ditches and holes.
Many of the structures which make up the complex are on private farmland behind the beach and permission must be sought before visiting as the area is used for livestock - if in doubt, stay out.
In 1944, the rear of this strongpoint was surrounded by criss-crossed anti-tank ditches, barbed wire and minefields, but also featured two Bf67 neu Tobruks with Renault 35 tank turrets attached.