Three kilometres south of Bernières-sur-Mer, the Germans installed a Luftwaffe battery numbered Al. 26/XII équipped with 6 pieces of 7,5 cm Flak M33 (f) and 3 pieces of 2 cm Flak 30, all defended by two Tobruks. Nearby, in a little wood named Tombette, shelters were built for the troops made of over a hundred men under the command of Hauptmann Johann Grzeski.
Georges Regnauld, a young man from Bernières regularly conscripted for forced labour remembers that he had to deliver water to this camp:
“The guns were on the other side of the road, in the direction of Les Bruyères. The shelters were in Tombette wood. Men lived there. Trenches had been dug between Tombette and the Park of the Château de Tailleville. There were trenches everywhere. The land between the two fortified sites was covered with mines and barbered wire. I remember an officer with his 2 German sheppard dogs. I also remember a young boy of my age. He had lost his 4 brothers on the Russian front and the rest of his family had died under the bombs in Cologne. He was a hair dresser. We were both hardly 18 years old”.
On June 5, 1944 at 11 am, some British aircraft came and bombed Tombette. There were many Germans killed as well as a number of civilians who were labour conscripts working in the area at the time of the bombing.
The ruins of this German camp are still visible today.
Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.