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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Fortress Visit Report no. 9 : Ile de Ré Redoubt at Le Matray

 The Western part of the Ile de Ré is connected to the rest of the island by a very narrow strip of land. A fort was built here in 1627, rebuilt in 1674 and modified by Vauban in 1685.
Plan from French National Archives. The wall on the left faces North
 The redoubt is in the shape of a square, each face being approx. 50 metres in length. In the centre is the Corps du Garde and barracks building, the other buildings being a powder magazine, an oven and a store. The entrance is a pedestrian doorway on the Western side, with a drawbridge over the dry moat.

Google Earth photo showing the orientation of the redoubt.

The redoubt was built on the diagonal to allow two faces to cover the sea and two faces to cover inland to the other coast.

Garrison numbers and armaments is unclear, although in 1808 the work had eight cannons, presumably two on each face.

Following the Occupation of 1940, the Germans incorporated the redoubt into the Atlantic Wall, forming part of the defences for La Rochelle and La Pallice U-Boat base. They inserted a new work a Stutzpunkt, into the South facing wall, as can be seen in the photo from Google Earth. Part of the South wall was taken down and, in the recess, the primary armament was a 47mm anti-tank gun. Six machine guns were installed on the site.
South wall showing the business side of the German work. 

South wall looking West.


German main armament casement

Machine gun port.

The dry moat on the West wall.

Tobruk emplacement, South-West corner, to cover the main entrance

West wall, with entrance just visible

North-East corner

East wall

South wall and South-East corner, the recessed German work is not visible

I found this photograph on the Internet, showing an external tobruk near the South-East corner that I missed when I was there. I did not make a note of the photographer, sorry.


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