Resistance Nest La Mare Mill is situated on the high ground at the junction of Le Mont Rossignol and Route du Moulin in St. Ouen’s Bay. It is also beside the prominent German railway bridge which served the trains which brought building materials into the bay from other parts of the Island.
This Resistance Nest formed part of a second line of defence to engage and prevent Allied troops, who had made it off the beach, from crossing the flat land, sown liberally with minefields and anti-tank ditches, found in front of La Mare Mill. Due to its strategic central location within St. Ouen’s Bay, this position was originally established as a Coastal Artillery Battery in the spring of 1941 and armed with 2 x 7.5cm FK 231(f) French field guns. But in early 1942 the position was handed over to the Infantry and re-armed with 2 x 8cm FK 30(t) Czech Field Guns.
To engage Allied infantry and ‘soft’ targets, along with protecting a strategic road leading out of St. Ouen’s Bay, the Sechsschartentürm (6-loop-hole turret) bunker was constructed mounting 2 x MG 34 machine-guns, each of which could fire 800 rounds a minute, with a maximum range of 3,500 metres allowing them to ‘sweep’ not only the flat land in front, but also the beach only 1000m away!
The MG 34s were each provided with a special mount (Kugellafette) which operated from within a 25cm thick, 50 ton steel turret mounted into the bunker, which in turn is built to ‘Fortress’ Standard (comprising of 2 meter thick reinforced concrete external walls and roof), and would have been a serious obstacle to overcome, as the bunker itself would have been virtually impregnable. The Resistance Nest actually takes its name from a nearby watermill that was demolished by the Germans to improve the Sechsschartentürm field of fire.
The heavily camouflaged Sechsschartentürm was actually designed to have an all-round field of fire, but owing to the steep hillside, and the bunker’s design, two of the six loopholes were blocked off.
These 6-loopholed turrets once proliferated along the entire Atlantic Wall, but were highly prized by the scrap men, and this example is one of the best preserved of the few surviving examples to be found today. On our tour, we access the interior of the cupola, re-equipped with a deactivated MG 34 machine-gun on its special Kugellafette mounting, and look through the aiming optics to see a landscape that has changed little since it was viewed as a potential invasion point by the German garrison.