Construction of the U-boat bunker in La Pallice, the primary port of La Rochelle, started in April 1941. The construction of the 10 U-boat pens lasted two years, but already from November 1941 the first U-boats began to arrive. The 3rd German U-boat flotilla had its headquarters in La Pallice and remained here until August 1944, when the flotilla moved to Norway because of the Allied landings in Normandy (d-day) in June of that year.

The bunker was 192 x 159 metres and was, like several other U-boat bunkers, equipped with a double roof. The lower roof comprised 3,5 metres of reinforced concrete and the upper roof was of concrete beams with a distance of 1 metre between each of them.  The total thickness of the roof was 7,3 metres above pens 1 - 5 and almost 6,5 meter above pens 6 -10.

In August 1944, the bunker became exposed to repeated air attacks and was directly hit by 6 of the big "Tallboy" bombs. The upper roof was badly damaged, but the bombs did not manage to penetrate the lower roof and no U-boats were damaged.

By 12th September 1944, the Allies had encircled the entire naval base, and a long siege began. The base was defended by 20,000 German soldiers and the siege continued until capitulation at the very end of the war.  During this period, all supplies to the base were delivered by U-boats.

On 3rd May 1945 the last U-boat (U-255 Type VIIC) arrived with fuel and supplies for the besieged base. It left the base again two days later and on 8th May the base surrendered to the Allies.

The bunker in La Rochelle has been used to shoot several films, including "Das Boot" and "Indiana Jones II".

The bunker is today partly used by the French navy as storage.

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This site has been translated by

Norman Brice

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Comments to remnants from world war II in La Pallice (in English please)

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