Web
Analytics
Report - - Biville Range Wrecks, Normandy, July 2019 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Biville Range Wrecks, Normandy, July 2019


oldboots

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Report - Biville Range Tank & Armoured Vehicle Wrecks, Normandy, July 2019


From the mid 1970s to 2014 the French Army used the area known as Biville Dunes for manoeuvres and target practise. The extensive dune system occupies some 300 hectares roughly between Biville in the North and Siouxville-Hague, in the South. It’s a very quiet area and well off the beaten tourist track, far away from the notable D-Day Normandy Tourist sites.

On the adjacent beach (which is a beauty) you will find 2 large WW2 bunkers and other ground works in the dunes, which formed part of the Atlantikwall. The beach and dunes are in fact absolutely beautiful and totally peaceful, even on a July afternoon!

When the army decommissioned the range in 2014 they swept the area for explosives but decided to leave, perhaps because of the cost of moving but luckily for us, 7 military vehicles, which include:

3 Tanks
2 Personnel Carriers
2 Armoured Cars

I’ll go into more detail regarding the vehicles shortly, but please correct me if I’m wrong as I’m no military historian!

It’s possible that the US tanks and armoured vehicles have been left over in Normandy from WW2, and there was certainly fierce fighting in the Biville area in July 1944 when the town was liberated by the US Infantry, but I’ve not found anything online to verify this. Perhaps the vehicles have been moved from elsewhere to form part of the range. I’d like to think the former?!

I set myself the task of tracking down all the wrecks I could find and photographing them. The main difficulty is that the dune system is pretty big and from some comments online it seems that some people are under the misapprehension that the tanks have been removed, probably because they didn’t walk far enough!

The other thing to note is that I struggled with mobile connectivity, so couldn’t use Google Earth to help me in my quest. To be honest this wasn’t a bad thing and I enjoyed the walking and meditation on the history of the area. It took me two afternoons’ work to locate all the wrecks. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to bring some binoculars.

I didn’t come across many folk out there but watch out for Naturists, in the dunes, as I got a few tetchy looks off them, when they saw me approaching with my camera!

Working South from the Biville Dunes Carpark (a dirt track about a mile long from Biville) it’s not too difficult to find the three Sherman tanks.

The first is in the worst condition.
1.1.jpg

1.2.jpg

1.3.jpg

The second is the most photogenic with it’s barrel intact and some pretty heavy duty bullet holes! The hatches are welded tight but still a sight to see sitting in this location!
2.3.jpg


2.1.jpg

2.4.jpg

2.2.jpg

The third Sherman has had it’s barrel wrenched off (!) but still makes for some good photos.
3.1.jpg

3.2.jpg

3.3.jpg

3.4.jpg

From the third Sherman, all other wrecks are located Southward but they get harder to find and it’s a fair walk before you’ll find the others.

The M8 Armoured car is almost impossible to see until you are literally on top of it. It took me ages to find this one! But what a find…
4.1.jpg

The M8 Light Armoured Car was produced by the Ford Motor Company during WW2. It was used from 1943 by the US and British Troops in Europe and the Far East, and was widely exported in later years. In British service, the M8 was known as the ‘Greyhound’.
4.2.jpg

4.3.jpg

The next two vehicles are M3 Half-Tracks, an American made armoured personnel carrier. The M3 was widely used by the allies during World War 2 and in the Cold War. Large numbers were produced in several dozen variant designs.
5.1.jpg

5.2.jpg

5.3.jpg

In this area you will also see some more more evidence of the firing range…
5.4.jpg

The second M3 is in pretty poor condition and barely recognisable.
6.1.jpg


The last vehicle is French made, Panhard EBR, an armoured reconnaissance vehicle, that was produced from 1954 and used in various colonial wars. A turret-less Panhard carried the coffin of General de Gaulle at his State Funeral!
7.1.jpg

7.2.jpg

7.3.jpg

7.4.jpg

Before we conclude, its also worth mentioning the many defunct WW2 bunkers that are in the area. There are two large bunkers located on the beach adjacent to the dunes and other defenses can be found in the dunes overlooking the beach. These were part of Hitler’s ‘Atlantik Wall’.
8.1.jpg

8.3.jpg

8.2.jpg

8.4.jpg
 

Nismo

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Good Pics
FFS, ive just come back from 2 weeks holiday near Normandie really pissed off i missed this !!
although i did check out Omaha Beach and Pointe Du Hoc
 
Last edited:

oldboots

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Thanks mate, much appreciated. I don’t think they are going anywhere fast so maybe catch them another time...
 

freshwateriow

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Great find and excellent photos, glad to see someone else is exploring over here. I am exploring further West near the Swiss border. I have put some bits on the European forum.
 

Similar threads


Top