Maisy battery

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Maisy Battery
Part of Atlantic Wall
Grandcamp-Maisy, Normandy, France
Maisy Battery (17).JPG
Bunker at the Maisy Battery
Maisy Battery (11).JPG
Command bunker
Coordinates 49°22′36″N 1°03′41″W / 49.376546°N 1.061339°W / 49.376546; -1.061339
Site information
Open to
the public
All casemates are open to public
Condition Several casemates, accommodation block, trench system
Site history
Built 1942 (1942)
Built by Organisation Todt
In use 1942-44
Materials Concrete and steel
Battles/wars Battle of Normandy
Garrison information
Garrison Wehrmacht

The Maisy battery is a group of World War II artillery batteries constructed by the Wehrmacht near the French village of Grandcamp-Maisy in Normandy. It formed a part of Germany's Atlantic Wall coastal fortifications and was the principal position of defence for that area. It was responsible for the defense of the sector between the Longues-sur-Mer and the St Marcouf (Crisbecq) batteries. It could target both Omaha Beach and Utah Beach.[1]:143,286

The complex was built under strict security by forced labour from Russia, Czechoslovakia and Poland and the Wehrmacht run battery was not marked on the Allied D-Day maps which were released to the invasion troops.[2][1]:150,161 Given that the Allied Rangers were not briefed to assault Maisy Battery and were instead sent to attack the empty gun battery at Pointe du Hoc, author and historian Gary Sterne was the first to publicy suggest that Pointe du Hoc (leading up to D-Day) was used by German defenders as a ruse to lead the Allies away from the Maisy site.[1]:293

Normandy landings[edit]

The site actually consisted of three batteries, Les Perruques, La Martiniere and Foucher Farm, allied targets 5, 16 and 16A respectively. The battery at Les Perrugues, which was designated by the Germans as WN83, Widerstandsnest 83 (Resistance Nest 83), included six 155-mm First World War French field howitzers. The battery at La Martiniere, designated WN84, included four 105-mm pieces. Four 150-mm pieces were located at Foucher Farm.[1]:122,158,186,285-286

The battery is located 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Pointe du Hoc, a key objective for the US Rangers during D-Day. The battery was garrisoned by elements of the 352nd and 716th Infantry and Artillery Divisions, plus Flak Regiment No. 1 consisting of twelve 88-mm anti-aircraft artillery pieces sent to protect the battery shortly before D-Day on 5 June 1944.[1]:162,175-176

Fouchers' Farm was destroyed by naval shelling from the USS Shubrick (DD-639) on the 7 June 1944. The other two sites remained operational until they were assaulted by the US 2nd Rangers and the US 5th Rangers on 9 June.[1]:130-131,265,269

The batteries at Maisy were D-Day mission objective Number 6 as given to Colonel James Rudder in his Operation Neptune intelligence and 1st Infantry Division orders. However, he did not brief his men to carry out the mission to Maisy.

Rediscovery[edit]

British military historian Gary Sterne rediscovered Maisy Battery in January 2004 based on a map which accompanied a US Army veteran's uniform he had bought. The battery was about a mile from the sea near Grandcamp-Maisy, marked on the map as an "area of high resistance". However, the location was not one at that time recorded amongst other D-Day fortifications. Sterne was able to locate a bunker entrance amongst the undergrowth.[1] Sterne then investigated further to find additional fortified buildings, gun platforms, and a hospital. Over two miles of trenches were uncovered at Les Perruques.[3][1]:7,156

In April 2007 the site was opened for the first time to visitors.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Sterne, Gary (2014). The Cover-up at Omaha Beach. Skyhorse Publishing. p. ix,1-2. ISBN 9781629143279. 
  2. ^ "Maisy Battery". Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Amateur historian unearths Nazi battery". Retrieved 26 October 2013. 

Coordinates: 49°22′19″N 1°04′12″W / 49.372°N 1.070°W / 49.372; -1.070