Submarine base in Saint-Nazaire

Base sous-marine. Source : http://kordouane.centerblog.net/

The strategic location of Saint-Nazaire led the Germans to build a huge submarine base there during World War 2

The strategic location of Saint-Nazaire led the Germans to build a huge submarine base there during World War 2.

 

The construction of this base began at the beginning of 1941. The base was 300 metres long and 150 metres wide, and 450,000 cubic metres of concrete were needed to build it.

 

It contained 14 cells: 8 for repairs and 6 larger cells in which the submarines could remain afloat. It housed two U-Boat fleets. It spread over a total surface area of 4 hectares and its concrete ceiling was 4 metres thick.

The immensity of this construction and the characteristics of the port of Saint-Nazaire, which was one of the only ports on the Atlantic capable of housing battleships, forced the Allies to carry out particularly intense bombing raids on it.

 

In 1942 a British commando raid attempted to destroy the base. The civilian population suffered greatly from this Allied policy and 80% of the town was destroyed.

 

The German garrison of 24,000 men defended the base to the bitter end, making Saint-Nazaire one of the last Atlantic ports to surrender on 11 May 1945.

 

Since then, this gigantic concrete edifice has become a major focus in the reconstruction and development of the town.

 

The base is still there today and dominates the port and the estuary. It is now hosts various tourist attractions including the International Ocean Liner Centre, the tour of the submarine 'Espadon' ('Swordfish') and an 'ecomuseum', which give an extra dimension to this historical site.

 

The public can also visit the panoramic terrace, which offers an unbeatable view of the town.

 

Base sous-marine

Boulevard de la Légion d'Honneur - 44600 Saint-Nazaire

 

  • Base sous-marine. Photo JP Le Padellec

  • Le sous-marin Espadon. Photo JP Le Padellec

  • Base sous-marine vue du port. Photo JP Le Padellec

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    Practical information

    Address

    Boulevard de la Légion d'Honneur - 44600
    Saint-Nazaire

    Prices

    Tarif adulte: 7 € Enfant (de 4 - 17 ans) : 3,50 € Gratuit : Enfant (- de 4 ans)

    Weekly opening hours

    Mi-juillet à fin août