Wn10 Hameau Mottet les Temples
Utah Beach's most extensive bunker complex
Wn10 site overview
What to see
The German bunkers at Wn10 Hameau Mottet les Temples on Utah Beach form one of the most complete strongpoints in the whole of Normandy.
The position still features over 20 accessible structures of around a dozen different types including three big gun casemates, mortar and machine gun Tobruks, personnel shelters, a garage, and ammunition stores, and all are accessible within a short walk along the dunes.
The area also has amazing beach views, a tank, military vehicles, a section of the original Gooseberry artificial port, and some hidden surprises too!
The largest casemate - a R612 - once housed a 7.5cm Feldkanone and covered the beach area to the north of this extensive position. Unusually for this type of construction it also has a high-level armoured embrasure for a defensive machine gun.
Inside the R612 you can see two niches for ammunition storage, the pipework where the air vent would have been to extract the gases created after firing, and also the ridges on the concrete floor which would have held the gun for different firing positions. Beneath some modern graffiti is some original German artwork too.
To the south you’ll find two bunkers for 47mm Czech-built Skoda guns to cover the southern end of the beach position. The original casemate is accessible and you can see inside where the gun would have been along with an observation slit to direct fire. In 1943, this bunker was superseded by a much stronger build just a few yards away. The new R676 casemate offered much thicker walls and roof with steel reinforcement to protect the crew from both aerial bombing and seaborn shelling.
The new casemate has a much lower profile, and the flanking wall is much more solidly built, plus there are armoured openings on the roof for communications.
On the inland side you can see an exposed ladder and opening – this was once a hidden escape tunnel and ladder and would have been covered over by brickwork. If the rear doors – now buried by the dunes – were inoperable, this would be the only means of escape, although the crew would have to dig their way out through the tunnel first!
This strongpoint boast a strong line of defence along the ridge of the dunes overlooking the beach. These include a 1694 RIngstand for a 5cm Kwk gun, and two U-shaped Panzer Drehturms for captured French tank turrets.
Walk inland from the R676 and you can access a wide variety of structures. From the top of the dunes at the southern end of Wn10 there are three Tobruks in close proximity and all three are different styles with a Vf8, Bf58c, and Ic116 for a 5cm mortar. As you make your way down the back of the dunes you come to a garage - this one made form a mix of local brick, stone, and concrete.
In the field behind the dunes you can find a cluster of builds, some accessible and some partially buried. If you don't mind a crawl then you can get inside the Vf personnel shelter where you'll find an original steel door and above it, cast into the concrete, the 1943 construction date.
Next is a damaged Vf shelter which would have been a facility for us to six soldiers and on the side you can see the space where a chimney would have featured on the original build.
Inside the Bf69 type mortar bunker you can still see the concrete and steel base plate for an 8cm mortar and original compass bearings marked on the wall so the mortar crew were able to pinpoint their firing on the surrounding area - both onto the beach and also behind the position should they need to defend an attack from the rear.
The second opening in the thick concrete structure is an observation position from where the firing could be directed.
There's a second BF69 mortar bunker at the northern section of the site although this one is mostly buried and overgrown.
This site was also noted for it's extensive, interconnecting trench system which linked the individual fighting positions, plus an extensive barbed wire perimeter punctuated with automatic flamethrowers which would protect the site from troop attack.
Parking for the Wn10 site is at the Leclerc Monument where you can get up close to a Free French Sherman tank plus two other vehicles. There's more metalwork on the beach too. In front of the monument at the high tide mark are the remains of a section of the Gooseberry Harbour which was briefly positioned on Utah Beach before being destroyed by strong storms. Just north of the R612 gun casemate you can also access a concrete beetle section from the artificial harbour - this was one of the floating pontoons which supported a section of roadway to the beach.