Querqueville, Cherbourg, Normandy. WWII German Gun Battery sited at old Napoleonic Fort – Fantastic Site, glorious views, great location, amazing potential – And Very Rarely on the market.! UNDER OFFER

Guide Price Euros Massively Reduced £200,000Euros excluding Notaires Fees, French Taxes, agency fees · Napoleonic Fort · Under Offer

 

Just what every lad and lass wants – Their own WWII Battery and Napoleonic Fort

Plenty of opportunities for a bit of DIY or a spot on Grand Designs.. Kevin would love it..

A Genuine Bargain at ONLY €200,000 REDUCED FROM €325,000 plus Notaire’s fees, local taxes and agency UNDER OFFER

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We feel this sale offers an investor, re-enactor or historian a fantastic opportunity to purchase a rare piece of WWII and Napoleonic history. Sites like this are virtually never offered for sale privately.

The land is being sold Freehold – meaning that neither the French State – nor any other individual owns, or has title to the land… the land will be outright owned by new purchaser.

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Note

This information is provided as background information ONLY and is not to be taken as a legally binding contract, nor a concrete and definite set of terms of sale.  It is to be used as a guide to the site and give you some understanding of how it works when purchasing land in France.

We recommend that any potential purchaser visits the site and seeks local legal and other advice as to the purchase and what can and cannot be done with the site.

We are opening the land up to prospective purchasers to come and view the site and we recommend that any prospective purchaser visits the site and acquaints themselves with the site and what is being sold.

The site is for sale for €200,000 Reduced from 325,000 euros excluding all local taxes, notaires fees and commissions .

What to do with it ..?

We feel this sale offers an investor, re-enactor or historian a fantastic opportunity to purchase a rare piece of WWII and Napoleonic history. Sites like this are virtually never offered for sale privately.

The land is being sold Freehold – meaning that neither the French State – nor any other individual owns, or has title to the land… the land will be outright owned by new purchaser.  Once bought it becomes theirs to do with as they please – within reason and French Law.!!.

Planning Permission

We are told that the land now comes with planning permission for conversion of up-to a 32 bedroom hotel or similar construction on the land – as well as the ability to be used for virtually any leisure activity. Not to mention camping, caravanning, events or a museum.

Equally – the houses which are standing can be re-occupied without any necessary rebuilding permissions although permissions will need to be sought for elements of the works and the adjoining buildings can be re-roofed to provide additional accommodation with little effort – again without the necessity to go through the full planning permission process but purchasers must ensure they seek advice from a local architect and visit the local Mairie or Mayor.

The land being sold is shown on the following Cadastre (French land planning document) and is marked in red.  This map is taken from the French official plans and is correct. This is THE area of land being sold and the sale includes everything inside of that border.

 

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As you can see from the aerial photograph below the site overlooks Cherbourg to its right and the Nacreville Nature reserve and beaches in front and to the left. Building land in this area, especially land with a high vantage point (the Battery is the highest land) is at a premium and new building is now heavily restricted.  The price of land in this area for building is very high as availability is so limited.

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The main Battery site being sold is ringed in red.  Compare the land area to the average local house and you will see that it is a big stretch of land.

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Below –  looking towards the beach about 1km away – taken from the lower casement.  This was taken a few weeks ago and unusually there was a sea mist blocking the view. Normally it has what one friend of ours described as a “£2 Million pound view”….  There are NO buildings in front or to the sides of it.

 

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As can be seen on the wartime aerial photograph  the site has many additional buildings (many huts and barracks – as well as bunkers etc.) some of which are outside of the area being sold.  These are on a local farmers fields or in bushes out of his way and we have in the past discussed buying all of them from him.  This was not something we pursued because of our other business commitments in Normandy. However, we were led to believe that the farmer was happy to sell off many of these pieces… and if bought, they could only further enhance the size and potential of the site.  That said, the site is pretty big without the necessity to buy more.  It is purely another option available to the purchaser.

 

What could the battery be used for..?

We are led to believe that there are few restrictions on what can be done at the site. There are obviously local planning restrictions on the height of new buildings, colour of buildings and certain anti-social uses, like building a factory may be questioned.  But we personally believe that it would make a fantastic private home, a great museum site or a base for a WWII related business such as Normandy battlefield tours – annual re-enactments and shows etc.  Obviously it all comes with the unique selling point of being an original WWII gun battery with combat history … not to mention the Napoleonic structures that also come with the site…

American Civil War

During the American Civil war  (1864) there was a very significant battle which took place right in front of the battery…..      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cherbourg_(1864)

 

Site Maintenance , previous use and a treasure trove of artefacts

Do not be put off by the bracken.  It is easily removed and indeed some years ago we did clear it all – but over 6 years it has grown back.  We did intend to put it all back to grass, but did not have the time.

There are many photographs of the Germans during their occupation and in a lot of them you can see the construction of the wooden barracks huts.  Over the last few years many of the bases for these barracks have become overgrown with bracken and during your tour we will point out where they are.  As said above, these too are structured that can be rebuilt easily and their areas cleared very quickly with a shovel or digger.

We know that the French army used the site as a training area after the war until it was sold to the current owners about 10 years ago. They were not interested in the wartime history – so the site has not been cleared of wartime debris.  We can show any potential purchasers items still in the ground which have sunk into the undergrowth and we are sure that more items exist – yet to be uncovered.  There are items which appear to be gun carriages in the bracken etc. and we found another one only 3 weeks ago. (see below).

Anything found on the land becomes the property of the new purchaser for them to do with as they please – so effectively the site is being sold along with many items as seen.  Any such items found on the land are not specifically mentioned in the sales information, but it is accepted by the vendor that they are left and kept at the purchasers discretion.

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Site Safety and unexploded ordinance

All around the site are German barbed wire posts and German barbed wire. More evidence that the site has a good WWII history.  On a safety point, the French army cleared the area of any dangerous objects before we bought the land 11 years ago.

Below… This 1944 US Army Intelligence plan shows many of the buildings positions – but it is nowhere near complete when compared to the aerial intelligence photograph above.  Basically, if there was a building there during the war, then that building – whether underground or sitting on its concrete base, will still exist – but it will be simply covered by light soil or by bracken.

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This photograph below was taken just after the site was captured by the US Army in 1944.  You can see a US serviceman in the casement posing next to the gun.

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If you look in the foreground you can see the railings of some stairs.

Now the same area from another photograph. You can clearly see the stairs going down into an underground building.  But on the surface today this area has been covered.  We have no idea what is in this building as we have never taken the time to dig it up.

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Below… A blow up of a plan of this same area.  It shows a range finding building, a mortar position and an observation post – and MG tobruk (58A) at the end.

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Here is a photograph of the observation post taken after we cleared the bushes away recently. There is no obvious way to get inside it. One assumes you go in through the tunnels at other end of the buildings that have been blocked off. We feel that there are many other bunkers similar to this and we are happy to show you some of them during your visit.

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As the following 1943 German photograph clearly shows, there is a well for water on the land.  We can point out to you exactly where this photograph was taken and this will provide fresh water to the land.  Alternatively all sewerage and water could come and go from the local main road in a conventional way.

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Below. Electricity is available to the site. The French Army installed electricity directly to the site form the mains and although it is not currently connected to the buildings – it comes to the pilon next to them.  This saves a huge amount of time, effort and money in having to install it.

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The house shown here is on the site and it has a structurally sound roof and walls. It needs renovating inside obviously, but with new doors and windows it is perfectly useable.

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Below – another house also on the land with an old truck parked inside part of it. This house is in a worse state than the one shown above, but it can be restored under French planning regulations – simply because it already exists.

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Below. The Germans built a large underground hospital / infirmary at the site. This is the entrance door and the plan/layout will be included in a later email.  It has its original steel blast doors and internal escape tunnel etc.  It is a very impressive building inside and intact, but we could not take very good photos inside with our camera.  Any site visit will include a trip inside here – so you need to bring torches.

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Below. The imposing front gates which lead to the battery. The house (shown above) can be seen to the rear on the right of this photograph – which gives you an idea of how long the entrance driveway is.

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Below the well preserved Flak position situated right on top of the site, looking out to sea.  When the bushes are removed the view is spectacular.

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Many of the original German trenches are still visible and have simply been covered up and filled in by bracken and weeds.  We know from our experience elsewhere in Normandy, that they are likely to contain a lot of original German items.

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Below – a view inland looking from the top of the Napoleonic casements, back towards one of the on-site houses.  The structure in the foreground is part of the Napoleonic battery and the large mound to the right is the top of the hospital.  You can clearly see the type of area it is located in – lovely countryside.

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The German concrete water storage area.. it would make a magnificent “infinity pool”!

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Site Visits

Please contact UPA  at www.upfs.co.uk  via the contact page if you wish to go around the site and if you have any questions at all, feel free to ask.

Inside some of the Napoleonic offices which could easily be converted into accommodation.

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Concrete stairs and paths go from place to place.

 

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Fuse storage areas for the Napoleonic parts of the battery

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Below. Office

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Steps go up to each Napoleonic gun position from the casements underneath each one. There are four sets of steps up and 4 ammunition storage casements underneath.

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Napoleonic fuse storage.

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The steelwork was created to assist in moving the Napoleonic ammunition to the gun positions above.

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The roadway leading towards the entrance.

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There is plenty of evidence of the German occupation.

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There is plenty of parking areas and space for development all over the site.

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An example of the view looking along the casements from the field in front. In the fields in front there are trenches, mortar positions and machine gun tobruks which are of no use to the farmer.

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Steel doors on the Napoleonic casements.

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The view out from the casement. Note the mount still in the centre for the gun.  There is also a room below this (the same size) for ammunition storage.

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Below. Looking from the rear of the casement out to the front.  Note the additional rooms to the rear. We had considered making these into a hotel room with en-suite bathroom and wardrobes etc.

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Another view of the house. Note the concrete base in the ground in front of it.

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A reasonably detailed plan of the overall site.

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Below… some wartime photographs of the site.

 

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Nice Napoleonic brickwork. Here this is the area behind one of the older gun positions.  There are other similar areas for the Napoleonic guns.

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This is how it looked near to the area around the observation tower and water storage tank – after we cut the weeds away… when it is cleared of weeds it looks a million dollars !

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Looking info the observation post. This is a huge building. There are a number of rooms on various floors inside this building. As well as entrances on different floors and internal stairs etc. We had considered making this into a master bedroom suite or offices and linking it to other buildings with a glass walkway.

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Some more photos and historical reference.

Below.  Here are some illustrations which have been made for a book being written on the Atlantic Wall.

 

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Below. Period German graffiti.

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Photos taken just after the battle. Note the debris lying around everywhere.

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Location

Route de Querqueville, Cherbourg, France

Contact



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