Musée de la Poche de Royan - Le Gua - France

Address: Route de Marennes, Le Gua (See map)
Telephone: +33 (0)5-46228990

Shop: small shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: not available
Size of the museum/site: medium
Year of visit: 2003
Overall rating:

Description: The Musée de la Poche de Royan tells the story of this village in the south-west of France during the Second World War. One of the most horrifying parts of that story is the complete destruction of Royan, for sure. This took place at the end of the war, during the liberation, when Allied planes heavily bombarded the village and its surroundings. As a result, more than a thousand civilians lost their lives.

Dioramas play an important role in this museum. Vehicles like (armoured) trucks, cars, motorcycles, life-like dolls and many other artefacts are set up in good realistic scenes like they could've been at the time of WW II. Especially worth mentioning here is the full-scale model of a German U-boat's conning tower (see photo below). You don't get a chance to see that everyday!

Furthermore, the museum has a lot of old photos, posters and some maps on display, which offers a detailed view of all the things that happened in and around Royan. All in all there are enough reasons to pay this museum a visit.

At the start of the museum you'll see this diorama depicting a scene of the liberation of the area.

Citroën used by the French resistance movement.

Military Police on duty in liberated France.

Great diorama involving a half-track of the Fusiliers Marins (the French marines) of the legendary French Second Armoured Division (the force that liberated Paris).

Diamond T. Truck. This monster needed 118 litres of gasoline for every 100 kilometres it drove!

Opel Blitz from 1942, used for troop and cargo-transport.

German propaganda poster used to set up the French population against the British. It cunningly used the events of July 1940, during which the British Navy was forced to destroy the French fleet at the north-African coast. In the background, Churchill is depicted as a laughing tyrant.

Ammo cart with an add-on to carry multiple Panzerschrecks (German bazooka-like anti-tank rocket launchers).

Indian men (former British Colonial troops) fighting for the Germans. The Germans recruited men like this from their POW camps, persuading them to fight against the oppressor of their homeland.

Life-like conning tower of a German U-Boot.