Wiederstandsnest WN 59
by Erwin Bovyn IPMS Ghent, Belgium
Ste.-Honorine des Pertes, Normandy, France.
Sector Fox Red, on the border with sector George
Locally called “les Bateaux” (the boats)
WN 59 didn’t play a direct part in the D-Day landings.
The strongpoint was not very big and its main armament was an old tank turret placed on a tobrouk, a mortar and an anti-aircraft gun consisting of a double MG.
WN 59 St.-Honorine des Pertes “Les bateaux”
WN 59 is located on the cliffs, mainly on the left side of the village when looking at the sea. It lies on high ground and has a steep climb when coming from the village. It is far more easy to approach it from the top of the hill (left side of the plan).
Major Werner Pluskat, Commander of the 1st group of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd battery’s of Artillerie-Regiment 352 (I /Art.Rgt 352), had his official command post on this site.
An observation post (B-Stelle) of the
3rd battery was also located there.
Major Werner Pluskat
During the night of 5th June, Major Pluskat sleeps in a castle in Etreham 3 km away from the 4 batteries. At about midnight he is ordered to go to the Gefechtsstand, about 500 meters from the sea and he takes his dog Harras with him (as can be seen in The Longest Day)
After checking the horizon he enters a bunker and writes in his logbook that there is nothing visible out to sea.
Somewhere between 03H30 - 04H00, he sees the first ships appear and he calls Oberstleutnant Ocker to inform him what he has seen. The next bit of history is not to clear but it is said that he was ordered back to his main post close to his batteries. The fact is that he arrived about 3 hours later and almost nothing is known about what he really did during the landings.
(After the destructions of a part of his batteries, he escaped and continued the fighting. He should have passed through or near Dreux about 15 Aug. 44 and gone in the direction of Paris.
He died in 1996 or 97.
Apparently, he told many stories about what he went trough during the war.
One thing is sure, the 352. I.D. was a famous inf. div; which didn't only fight on the beach but during the whole battle of Normandy.)
The liberation of St.-Honorine-des-Pertes is not described, it formed part of the march to Port-en-Bessin in order to meet with the British troops that were supposed to liberate the small town and harbour.
It is told that WN 59 was manned by older soldiers and that they did not put up any resistance to the US troops, they were glad their war was over and that they were still alive.
Scrap dealers removed all metal and armament.
Later in June ’44, the small village of Ste.-Honorine would play a vital role in the petrol supply to the Allies. A floating docking system was constructed on sea and floating pipe lines transported the petrol inland, to Etreham, where the Allies would erect a petrol dump.
A direct pipe line also went to Omaha Beach to supply troops over there.
When visiting WN 59, you can only find the tobrouk that was equipped with the tank turret (n° 1 on the drawing). Only the bolts can still be seen on a hexagonal concrete base. You can easily retrace the trenches and find signs of some of the ammo storages (n° 6 – “soutes” on the drawing).
(text and accompanying pictures by Erwin Bovyn, IPMS Gent, Belgium)
View to Omaha Beach
Tank turret Tobrouk
View to Port-en-Bessin