Sunday 27 March 2016

Giant Wuerzburg Würzburg Riesen Pas de Calais -secret D-Day intelligence plans photo recce archive found

"...A Top Secret 'how to' guide to the Normandy invasion that was found at a French flea market has emerged for sale after 72 years.

 The fascinating archive of black and white reconnaissance photos and incredibly-detailed intelligence documents show the extensive research that went into ensuring D-Day was a success.

 The snaps include one of German troops scattering across a beach as a low-level RAF aircraft sweeps by to capture the plethora of anti-landing obstacles. Other documents included detailed intelligence reports on German munitions such as this floating mine containing 'poured TNT' Other high-resolution images show the famous coastline with key cliff-top targets that had to be destroyed either before or on D-Day itself.

above; Cap Blanc Nez, south of Calais. Note the obelisk erected in 1922 on top of the cliff to honour 'the glorious cooperation and frank comradeship of the French and British Navies during the Great War' and the 'target'  - the 'Giant Wuerzburg'

 There are not only aerial snaps of the installations but also images taken at wave-height from the view of the invasion fleet and detailed plans of each target. For example, for a strategic German semaphore station at Cap D'Antifer on the eastern end of the invasion beaches there is an overhead photo, a side-on image and the plans for it. Another target highlighted in the photos in an anti-aircraft battery next to Arromanches, which was in the middle of the Gold Beach sector. In the top right hand corner of each photo is a number assigned for each target.

The photos were taken by spy planes up to a year before D-Day on June 6, 1944 and captured locations in Normandy and the Pas-de-Calais region in order to keep the Germans guessing as to where the real invasion would be. The archive that has now come to light also includes incredibly-detailed intelligence reports, right down to the infra-red equipment fitted on German Panther tanks. There are plans for German mines so the invasion fleet knew what to look out for as well as the national markings for Allied aircraft to help avoid friendly-fire incidents...."

Full archive is to be sold by C & T Auctions, Ashford, Kent

via the Dail Mail, read the full article here

Close-up views of the Würzburg Riesen and bottom, video of the preserved Würzburg on the French coast at Douvres-la-Délivrande

Douvres-la-Délivrande was the site of an important German air-detection radar installation, part of the strategic Atlantic Wall defences. Completed in the autumn of 1943, the station was split into two zones by the road from Douvres to Bény-sur-Mer; and heavily fortified with bunkers, machineguns and minefields. The Northern zone held a large Siemens 'Wasserman' long-range radar and associated structures. The larger Southern zone had two intermediate-range Freya and two short-range Würzburg Riese radars; as well as command and infirmary bunkers, garages and artillery placements. Some 230 Luftwaffe personnel were based at the station, including electricians, engineers and 36 air controllers. At 11 pm on the night of 5/6 June 1944, the Allies launched intensive jamming of radar frequencies which blinded the entire German radar network from Cherbourg to Le Havre. On the morning of the 6th (D-Day) the antennas at Douvres-la-Délivrande were rendered inoperative by Allied naval artillery bombardment. Canadian troops who had landed nearby on 'Juno Beach' isolated the station but the Germans successfully defended it for 12 days, awaiting a counter-attack by Panzers; on one occasion it was resupplied with food via a nocturnal paradrop mission from Mont-de-Marsan. Main article: Battle of Douvres Radar Station. On 17 June, a massive offensive by the British 41 Commando, Royal Marines - preceded by an artillery bombardment and supported by mine-clearing and anti-bunker tanks of 79th Armoured Division - secured the surrender of the garrison.

The radar site at Douvres-la-Délivrande is now home to a museum, with two of the bunkers housing displays about the evolution and role of radar. The museum also maintains a rare preserved example of the 'Würzburg' radar antenna.