France / Landmark
This set of defences was built by the occupying Nazi army from 1943 onwards to prevent the bombing of the Anthéor viaduct. The viaduct was a major communication route and strategic challenge, to protect the coast from any landing attempt.
There are few places where the coastal defences are as visible as they are at the Pointe de l'Observatoire (Observation Point). Because they are located in an area that cannot be built on, they have not have been used to support new constructions, disappearing from view by being "absorbed" into villas, swimming pools, walls, etc., as is all too often the case.
The defences visible here have been relatively well protected and provide a very interesting record, although heavy use of the site by the public has meant some of the remains have had to be modified, for example being filled in to prevent them from falling.
The system consisted mainly of anti-aircraft artillery guns (Flak), of various calibres from 20 to 88mm. These could be put on alert at the slightest flight approaching the coast, thanks to the detection of air movements by the German radars at Dramont and La Baumette in Agay. Several "cisterns" (protective masonry structures) housing these guns are clearly identifiable by their hexagonal shape.
These defences were steadily strengthened from autumn 1943 onwards, making the bombardment of the Anthéor viaduct extremely difficult and risky.
The coastal defences also included trenches and individual posts equipped with machine guns. Communication cables between posts were housed in trenches on the ground.
In July 1944, the Nazi occupying forces had to contend with increasingly frequent Allied bombing raids on the south of France, particularly on bridges over the Rhône, in preparation for the Provence landings. They therefore decided to move almost all the cannons located here further north.
The way was now clear for the Allied air convoys carrying the airborne forces. Flying over the Cap Roux massif in the Estérel, they were dropped or landed in gliders on the plain of Le Muy on the night of 14 to 15 August 1944, to protect the landing. It was also clear for the American bombers responsible for pounding the beaches of Saint-Raphaël and making it easier for the attacking troops to get ashore.
War is also a matter of luck.