This amazing discovery has been done by a group of volunteers of the Juno Beach Centre and of the Association des Amis du Centre Juno Beach, when they were doing the first excavations in the German Tobruk that was found last year. They were removing the sand around and inside the Tobruk, in order to determine its size and volume, to evaluate its strength and the potential of rehabilitation of this remain of the Atlantic Wall on Juno Park, when they were shocked to see this new finding, Centre Juno Beach reports.
[Courtesy from Centre Juno Beach]
The shelter, which has been uncovered in Juno beach, Normandy, is located some ten meters from the German Tobruk machine gun, which was discovered by a documentary team from the History program "War Junk", just days before the anniversary of the D-Day landings.
The German Tobruk found in 2015 is very interesting and is well preserved. On the upper part, which is circular, there was a machine gun that could move 360 degrees angle and attack the sea as well as the countryside, Sébastien Pelot, Juno Beach Centre trainee, says.
[Courtesy from Centre Juno Beach]
The German Tobruk was disappeared under the sand and a few shovels of sands made it possible to reveal the entrance to this structure which could measure up to 8 meters. After the discovery, in order to secure the site, the Tobruk and the shelter were closed again after the volunteers removed approximately ten tons of sand, Centre Juno Beach reports.
Bunker Juno beach [courtesy from France 3]
The Tobruk was essentially a round slit trench made from concrete from which a single weapon (machine gun, flamethrower or mortar) could be deployed, or an observer sited. They were small bunkers interspersed among larger fortifications. They were called "Tobruks" by the Allies (due to having first encountered them there during the fighting in North Africa) and Öffener Beobachter by the Germans.
The Germans had established what became known as Fortress Europe or Atlantic Wall — a network of 15,000 concrete bunkers that stretched from France to Denmark.
On Juno, the defenses of the Atlantic Wall were greater than at many other landing sectors. The Germans assumed that the Allies would land during high tide, to minimize the distance during which they would be exposed on the beaches and created "a 'devil's garden' of beach obstacles ... deployed in rows between 12–17 feet (3.7–5.2 m) above the low-tide mark". Strongpoints of machine-gun positions, antitank and antipersonnel artillery and bunkers were located every 1,000 yards (910 m), manned by several platoons with mortars. Minefields were deployed surrounding these strongpoints, and additional defenses were present in the Courseulles harbor.
[Courtesy from 3 Normandie]
This was the toughest part of the Juno beach landing. Although being a little harbor, it was very well defended. After fighting their way off the beach, the progression will continue into street fightings. The German strongpoint WN 31 was one of the most powerful in the Juno area.
More than 350 Canadian soldiers who lost their lives that day and more than 5,000 died during the Battle of Normandy. Canada sustained the highest number of casualties “of any division in the British Army Group.”
The 14,000 Canadian soldiers who stormed Juno Beach that day were among the 155,000 Allied troops who came ashore that day.