Lorient???

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Klaus Yurk
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Lorient???

Post by Klaus Yurk » 06 Jun 2004 02:05

I don't know what specific topic this should go under...so I'll try it here (and forgive me if I'm wrong.)

My father was a Soviet defector who joined the German army and fought four years on the Eastern Front. In late 43 or early 44 he was transfered to France (because of some heroism and mostly because he had saved his commanding officer's life at Kursk) and I think he told me that he was assigned to a large coastal fortress. Well, I know he said that, but I also seem to recall the name "Lorient" being mentioned. (I think he had been in an Abwehr unit since he could speak Russian. And French.)

Was there a large coastal fortress at Lorient? One that was never attacked? I'm trying to piece together a little more about my father who is, sadly, now deceased. He said his fortress was never attacked.

Anybody know of any sources of info or any good books on the subject?

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 06 Jun 2004 10:52

Hello,

Lorient was a big fortified U-Boote base, often bombed.

I tried to find books ... perhaps you can find these ones :

- Bourget-Maurice, Louis and Josyane Grand Colas. Et la Tanniere Devint le Village: Histoire de la Base Sous-Marine de Lorient-Keroman, 1940-1947. Rennes: Editions de Quantieme, 1997.

- Bradham, Randolph. Hitler's U-Boat Fortresses. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2003.

- Pallud, J-P. U-Boote: Las Bas Sous-Marine Lorient. Bromley, UK: Galago Publications.

- Queuille, Jean Paul. Bretagne: Lorient dans la Guerre, 1939-1945. Mortreoill-Belay: Editions CMD, 1998.

- Rondel, Eric. Lorient et Saint-Nazaire: Les Poches de l'Atlantique. Editions Club 35, 1994.

- French Warship Series - PORTS FRANCAIS - Les Ports de L'Atlantique, 1939-45. (ISBN:2909675998)
Buffetaut, Yves.
Marines Editions FRENCH TEXT. This is a profusely illustrated study of the French naval ports on the Atlantic coast during WW 2. Primarily devoted to coverage of their use by the German Navy in the war. Included are the ports of Brest, Lorient, St.Nazaire, Rochelle, La Pallice, Bordeaux, the Gironde and Atlantic Wall defences. Many photos of ships, harbors, defences & more. 2003 , new copy, paper covers, 8 1/2 x 11, glossy paper, 155 pages, maps, plans & photos.
http://www.articlesofwar.com/book/index ... searchBook

Regards,

David

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 06 Jun 2004 11:22

U-Boote pens at Lorient :
Image

http://www.gites-brittany.com/war_museums.asp

http://www.uboatwar.net/Fruboat.htm

http://www.uboat-bases.com/ang/pagesfr. ... &article=8

German submarine activity commenced in 1940 at the main Arsenal, however, the site was vulnerable to attack. At the end of 1940, the Todt organisation established a team at Lorient to find a suitable site to build a base to careen, repair and re-supply the submarine fleet. After undertaking several surveys as well as dredging the roads, the choice was made to use the Kéroman peninsula. So the Germans requisitioned the 20 hectare (50 acre) site.
Work was carried out from 1941 through to 1944 using a workforce of 15,000 men from France, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Morocco and 2,000 trucks. They started, in 1941, with Block K1 (Kéroman 1). The hard rock upon which the block was built prevented rapid construction of wet dock facilities so they decided to use a slip-way/dry-dock system to haul the submarines out of the water. The design of K1 allowed for submarines to be berthed in the heavily protected slip-way, then, as the water was pumped out, lowered onto a transportation cradle which was then winched up the inclined plane of the slip-way until the cradle and submarine were at the same level as the floors of the pens. The cradle and its submarine were then moved to a vacant pen. The first submarine to use the system was U123 on 25th August 1941, even though the building of K1 was not completed until September 1941. K1 has 5 pens each fitted with a pair of massive blast-proof doors.
Work commenced on K2 in May 1941, in parallel with the work on K1, and continued until December 1941. K2 has 7 submarine pens. Both blocks were supplies with electricity, compressed air, diesel oil, sea-water and fresh water through a system of underground concrete tunnels. An extremely well protected, diesel powered electrical generating station ensured a constant supply of electricity.
In October 1941, work commenced on the construction of Block K3 to the south-east of the K1 and K2 complex. This concrete shelter is of a different design to the other two having 7 pens all with deep-water access and able to be used as both wet and dry docks.
Digging for K3 was made easier because the ground was silt rather than rock, even so, construction was a more delicate process which, hindered by the numerous allied bombardments was not completed until January 1943. The pens were sealed with enormous floating armoured doors. The roof is 3m or reinforced concrete on top of which is an additional set of 3m high chambers running the length of the block and surmounted with 1m2 reinforced concrete strips ­ falling bombs would impact on the strips and detonate, the blast being dissipated along the chambers ­ the main roof would remain undamaged.
In 1944, a fortified station and barracks were under construction but these remained incomplete by the time the base surrendered on 10th May 1945 ­ 2 days AFTER the war ended!
Lorient was the largest of the 5 German Atlantic Coast bases in France, of 1149 careenings which took place in France, 492 were undertaken in Lorient.


Regards,

David

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Klaus Yurk
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Post by Klaus Yurk » 06 Jun 2004 16:42

Thanks, gentlemen. I'll start reading.

Father said the fortress he was stationed at was often attacked by air. Including the so-called "blockbuster" bombs which were a ton or several tons. Just never by ground forces. Mom thinks it was Lorient too. So if there was also a sizable ground contingent there, and they eventually surrendered to the British, I may have found his last posting.

Thanks. 8)

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 06 Jun 2004 17:23

Like other Atlantic fortresses, Lorient had been besieged by French Forces from the Interior until it surrendered.

Regards,

David

albrecht06
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Post by albrecht06 » 18 Dec 2006 18:12

i'am from a city 10kms north lorient. My mother (83 actually) was in French Résistance (FFI : gaullists). I'am interessed by everything about the festung lorient see "german side".
regards.

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kstdk
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Post by kstdk » 18 Dec 2006 19:13

Hello all

Festung Lorient consisted of a lot of Stützpunkte and Wiederstandsneste ( Stp. / Wn.)
And the town itself was made a Festung too. See maps:

Also see this link - under Bretagne Süd - Lorient:

http://atlantikwall.free.fr/

Regards
Kurt
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Pachy
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Post by Pachy » 20 Dec 2006 16:54

Other than the German u-boote pens there is a noteworthy 17th century fort at barring the east side of the Lorient bay entrance

Image

My grandparents were living on the North shore of the Groix island off Lorient in 1943. The house they were living at was right next to a FlaK battery that not only was very busy, but was occasionally straffed by Allied aircraft. They also used to tell they saw one German submarine leaving the harbour in daytime being attacked and sink.

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Kingfish
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Post by Kingfish » 30 Dec 2006 02:03

David Lehmann wrote:Like other Atlantic fortresses, Lorient had been besieged by French Forces from the Interior until it surrendered.

Regards,

David


My understanding is that the US 66th infantry division was the prinicpal unit besieging Lorient and St. Nazaire until the end of the war.

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