The Crisbecq battery, also called Marcouf Battery, was a World War II artillery battery constructed by the Todt Organization near the French village of Saint-Marcouf in the department of Manche in the north-east of Cotentin peninsula in Normandy. It formed a part of Germany's Atlantic Wall coastal fortifications.
Although constructed and manned initially by the Kriegsmarine, the battery was later transferred to the German army. The original armament planned for the battery was four 210-mm navy guns (21 cm Kanone 39), six 75mm anti-aircraft guns and one 150-mm gun in an open firing pit.
Due to ordnance supply problems, the site instead consisted of three 210-mm navy guns, with only two of them protected by large concrete casemates, a command post, shelters for personnel and ammunition, and several defensive machine-gun emplacements. The site also had several natural defensive features. Any attack on the fort could only be prosecuted by moving along a narrow trail. On the western side lay open fields, while the eastern side consisted of swamps or deep slopes. Except for the Cherbourg and Le Havre harbor batteries, it was the most powerful battery in the bay of the Seine with a range of more than 30 km (19 mi). The battery was staffed by 300 naval personnel and led by Oberleutnant zur See Walter Ohmsen.
The first 210-mm gun was installed on the 19th of April. Despite many bombings during the spring of 1944 and a large bombing the night before the Normandy landings, two of the guns stayed operational and opened fire on the Utah Beach area on D-Day, sinking the destroyer USS Corry, which ran onto a mine while trying to maneuvre, and damaging several other ships. The battleships USS Arkansas, USS Nevada and USS Texas were ranged and fired against the battery, knocking one gun out at approximately 08:00hrs and destroying the second one at around 09:00hrs. The first gun was repaired and fired again on 8 June.
Just after the night bombing, isolated groups of US paratroops from the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment dropped too far south to attack the Saint-Martin-de-Varreville battery, 65 km (40 mi) in north-east. The 7th and 8th Germans pushed back attacks from elements of the US 4th Infantry Division. The 11th, Oberleutant Walter Ohmsen was tasked to evacuate to a new German north defense line, which he succeeded in doing with only sixty-seven able men. The battery was taken the 12th in the morning without a fight by the 39th Regiment after the 9th US Infantry Division landed at Utah Beach.
- Joyce, Carlton (2006). Stand Where They Fought: 150 Battlefields of the 77-Day Normandy Campaign. USA: Authorhouse. p. 504. ISBN 9781425917586.
- Harrison, Gordon A (2003). Cross Channel Attack. USA: William S. Konecky Associates. p. 519. ISBN 1568523793.
- Media related to Crisbecq Battery at Wikimedia Commons
- (French) (English) Site of Crisbecq Battery Museum
- (French) Photos of the battery
- (English) Photos and guide to visiting the battery