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goldblum

Original Poster:

9,700 posts

53 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th September 2010 quote quote all
On hols recently spent time skulking around the docks in La Rochelle looking for U Boat related things.

Had been told U Boats were kept there as well as St Nazaire,Bordeaux and Brest during WWII.

Love to find out more about this subject,that is anything to do with the role of U Boats in France,

the Allied missions to destroy their pens etc..books, films whatever.Anyone help?

When I got as close as I could,I could see the pens were still in remarkable condition and still being used for this and that.

The whole complex seemed to hold a palpable air of menace.





Blue Meanie

73,668 posts

141 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th September 2010 quote quote all
Slightly off topic. I haven't been back to the UK for some time, but there used to be a German U Boat that had been raised that was on display in Birkenhead, in the RN museum thingy. I don't know if it is still there, but you could go inside, etc. Might be of interest to you.



Edited by Blue Meanie on Saturday 25th September 00:47

stevemiller

235 posts

51 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th September 2010 quote quote all
Watch Das Boot .Set from said location and I my opinion the best sub movie ever. 3hours long and the first time I watched it I dropped in 10 minutes in and never blinked for the next 160!!!

Steve




stevemiller

235 posts

51 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th September 2010 quote quote all
Watch Das Boot .Set from said location and I my opinion the best sub movie ever. 3hours long and the first time I watched it I dropped in 10 minutes in and never blinked for the next 160!!!

Steve




tank slapper

7,929 posts

169 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th September 2010 quote quote all
U boats also operated from Lorient, where there are some surviving pens.

There is quite a lot of information about uboat operations here: http://www.uboataces.com/ and also here: http://www.uboat.net/index.html

Here is a copy of the uboat commander's handbook from early in WW2.


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jmorgan

20,598 posts

170 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th September 2010 quote quote all
Tried many years ago to get into Brest but told you had to be a French national as it was part of the French Navy (that is still in use so restricted)??

Allied missions. Look up 617 and a small bomb Barnes Wallis put together. They attacked a few and there were losses.
http://www.uboat.net/flotillas/bases/brest.htm

Tsippy

6,334 posts

55 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th September 2010 quote quote all
I think that the ones in |Saint Nazaire are still in use, I remember visiting about 10years ago on a school trip and they had one of their new subs docked there.

joncon

1,172 posts

109 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th September 2010 quote quote all
i stayed in la rochelle on a school exchange , way back in 1980, we spent half a day at the u boat base. there was a u-boat in one of the pens, they had just finished a film there.
they were bombed heavilly but never stopped operating .
a friend went there last year , he said he wasnt allowed in to visit !

dr_gn

8,843 posts

70 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th September 2010 quote quote all
Slightly O/T, but when I went to Airbus in Hamburg a few years ago they'd just uncovered a load of U-Boat pens when extending the runway for the Airbus Finkenwerder plant. Here are some pics:

http://www.uboat.net/gallery/index.html?gallery=Fi...

Clearly visible from quite a few vantage points.

Also in Hamburg (obviously among much more wartime history!) is the Flack tower:



I'd been to Hamburg many times previously, but never knew it was there until recently when my Dad told me about it after watching a documentary. I decided to look for it this May, and was momentarily stunned by its size when confronted with it after emerging from a nearby U-Bahn station. It's also now a sobering sight for me when seen on approach to Hamburg airport...

Edited by dr_gn on Saturday 25th September 22:04

goldblum

Original Poster:

9,700 posts

53 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th September 2010 quote quote all
Thanks to all of you for posting,got lots of stuff to read up on now.

One last comment..until I saw the pens upfront I'd not really seen part of any industrial sized war making paraphernalia

and,if I may paraphrase dr gn 'it's a sobering sight.' On the way to pick up a hire car the bus drove through the centre of La Rochelle,

past the main square and Town Hall.Which 55 years ago was adorned with two massive swastika's,and the square rang out with the sound

of the occupying Nazis jackboots.

My budget flight took a mere hour and a half back to Manchester.

dr_gn

8,843 posts

70 months

[news] 
Sunday 26th September 2010 quote quote all
goldblum said:
My budget flight took a mere hour and a half back to Manchester.
Yeah, wierd: an hour and a half back to Manchester...after raving the night away in the nightclub that now occupies the once deadly Hamburg Flackturm IV G-tower.

These things are awesome: It's as if Hitler thought "Right. Time to get Medieval on the RAF's ass" :

|http://thumbsnap.com/xSVeuK3a[/url]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flak_tower#Flakturm_I...

Many of them are too chuffing strong to demolish by any normal means FFS! Like I said, that thing stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it.

goldblum

Original Poster:

9,700 posts

53 months

[news] 
Sunday 26th September 2010 quote quote all
dr_gn said:
goldblum said:
My budget flight took a mere hour and a half back to Manchester.
Yeah, wierd: an hour and a half back to Manchester...after raving the night away in the nightclub that now occupies the once deadly Hamburg Flackturm IV G-tower.

These things are awesome: It's as if Hitler thought "Right. Time to get Medieval on the RAF's ass" :

|http://thumbsnap.com/xSVeuK3a[/url]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flak_tower#Flakturm_I...

Many of them are too chuffing strong to demolish by any normal means FFS! Like I said, that thing stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it.
Just as well they got stopped really!

jmorgan

20,598 posts

170 months

[news] 
Sunday 26th September 2010 quote quote all
Chuffin hell. Never come across them before. How far would you have to avoid them? And would a grand slam do the trick with the obvious danger.

Globulator

13,131 posts

117 months

[news] 
Sunday 26th September 2010 quote quote all
joncon said:
i stayed in la rochelle on a school exchange , way back in 1980, we spent half a day at the u boat base. there was a u-boat in one of the pens, they had just finished a film there.
they were bombed heavilly but never stopped operating .
a friend went there last year , he said he wasnt allowed in to visit !
You were very lucky, I passed by there a couple of years ago but also was not allowed even close. Because of 'security'. FFS, I guess the cheese eating surrender monkeys worried I may damage their German concrete or steal their recipe for Brie? Retards.

They were knocking down some of the repair huts then, that I could get to. By 'huts' I mean warehouse sized buildings with 3m thick solid concrete walls.


dr_gn

8,843 posts

70 months

[news] 
Sunday 26th September 2010 quote quote all
jmorgan said:
Chuffin hell. Never come across them before. How far would you have to avoid them? And would a grand slam do the trick with the obvious danger.
According to the Wikipedia link:

"With concrete walls up to 3.5 metres thick, flak towers were considered to be invulnerable to attack with the usual ordnance carried by Allied bombers, though it is unlikely that they would have withstood Grand Slam bombs which successfully penetrated much thicker reinforced concrete. Aircraft generally appeared to have avoided the flak towers. The towers were able to sustain a rate of fire of 8000 rounds per minute from their multi-level guns, with a range of up to 14 km in a full 360-degree field of fire. However only the 128 mm guns had effective range to defend against the RAF heavy bombers. The 3 flak towers around the outskirts of Berlin created a triangle of formidable anti-aircraft fire that covered the centre of Berlin."

The Berlin Flack tower was IIRC the last enclave to surrender: they turned the AA guns downwards onto the tanks below. I *think* they ran out of food or water and that's why they had to give up.

goldblum

Original Poster:

9,700 posts

53 months

[news] 
Sunday 26th September 2010 quote quote all
dr_gn said:
jmorgan said:
Chuffin hell. Never come across them before. How far would you have to avoid them? And would a grand slam do the trick with the obvious danger.
According to the Wikipedia link:

"With concrete walls up to 3.5 metres thick, flak towers were considered to be invulnerable to attack with the usual ordnance carried by Allied bombers, though it is unlikely that they would have withstood Grand Slam bombs which successfully penetrated much thicker reinforced concrete. Aircraft generally appeared to have avoided the flak towers. The towers were able to sustain a rate of fire of 8000 rounds per minute from their multi-level guns, with a range of up to 14 km in a full 360-degree field of fire. However only the 128 mm guns had effective range to defend against the RAF heavy bombers. The 3 flak towers around the outskirts of Berlin created a triangle of formidable anti-aircraft fire that covered the centre of Berlin."

The Berlin Flack tower was IIRC the last enclave to surrender: they turned the AA guns downwards onto the tanks below. I *think* they ran out of food or water and that's why they had to give up.
Was talking to an acquaintance earlier on this subject,and was surprised that he knew of these things.He said the reason why the towers have windows,albeit small,

was that Hitler planned to turn them into art galleries after he'd won the war.

Which is nice.

tog

2,719 posts

114 months

[news] 
Monday 27th September 2010 quote quote all
stevemiller said:
Watch Das Boot .Set from said location and I my opinion the best sub movie ever. 3hours long and the first time I watched it I dropped in 10 minutes in and never blinked for the next 160!!!

Steve
No, you want the TV miniseries version, which is closer to five hours. I think it now available on DVD as one long film, without the episode breaks smile

RicksAlfas

6,197 posts

130 months

[news] 
Monday 27th September 2010 quote quote all
I spent a day looking round the ones at Lorient this Summer.
Very interesting. They have a cold war era French sub you can go round.
http://www.cheminsdememoire.gouv.fr/page/afficheli...

This bit was particualry interesting/moving I thought:
http://www.cheminsdememoire.gouv.fr/page/affichegh...

goldblum

Original Poster:

9,700 posts

53 months

[news] 
Tuesday 28th September 2010 quote quote all
RicksAlfas said:
I spent a day looking round the ones at Lorient this Summer.
Very interesting. They have a cold war era French sub you can go round.
http://www.cheminsdememoire.gouv.fr/page/afficheli...

This bit was particualry interesting/moving I thought:
http://www.cheminsdememoire.gouv.fr/page/affichegh...
Very interesting.

Chris_

461 posts

92 months

[news] 
Tuesday 28th September 2010 quote quote all
This site gives some more information about their locations, construction and present states.

While not specifically about the submarine pens, a great book about the St Nazaire docks is "The Greatest Raid of All" by C E Lucas Phillips describing Operation Chariot which led to the award of 5 VCs. The raid was also the subject of a documentary by Jeremy Clarkson a while ago.


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