For those of you who research the Battle of Omaha Beach, you probably know about this pillbox that was built into the crest of the escarpment at the German nest WN71, east of the Vierville draw ("Dog One").
It was a non-regulation design (Sonderkonstruktion/SK), meaning it did not follow an official military fortification blueprint. Really, it was more of a storage bunker that was modified with machinegun embrasures. Like many German fortifications, it was built tor the gunners to fire east and west along the beach to increase the field of fire. For some reason, despite it still standing today, very little is documented about this particular pillbox. But thanks to a few WWII-history friends, we were able to dig up some fascinating details on it.
This is my artistic interpretation of the pillbox on June 6, 1944. The young Gefreiter is from Grenadier-Regiment 726, which was stationed at Vierville-sur-Mer. He sits as the east embrasure with an MG34 machinegun (an inventory of weaponry sent to Grenadier-Regiment 726 lists that they had MG34's instead of the more modern MG42's). Down below, we see the casemates of the adjacent WN72 nest: The H677 with protruding anti-tank wall, and the SK housing a 50mm pedestal gun.
A friend of mine was able to gain access to this pillbox. He found some significant battle-damage at the east embrasure where the gunner in my drawing is standing. A large chunk of the concrete wall is gashed from what looks like a 75mm tank round (likely fired by one of Shermans from the 743rd Tank Battalion that made it ashore on 'Dog White' sector). We will never know at what point of the day the pillbox was hit; but if the gunner was still at his position, he definitely did not survive it.
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