Merville Gun Battery
|Merville Gun Battery|
|Part of Atlantic Wall|
The Merville Battery today
|Controlled by||Germany 1944, France 1944–present|
|Condition||Several casemates and trench system|
|Built||World War II|
|Built by||Organisation Todt|
|Materials||Concrete, steel, barbed wire|
|Battles/wars||Normandy landings, Operation Tonga|
The Merville Gun Battery was a coastal fortification in Normandy, France, in use as part of the Germans' Atlantic Wall built to defend continental Europe from Allied invasion. It was a particularly heavily fortified position and one of the first places to be attacked by Allied forces during the Normandy Landings commonly known as D-Day. A British force under the command of Terence Otway succeeded in capturing this position, suffering heavy casualties.
The Merville Battery was composed of four 6-foot-thick (1.8 m) steel-reinforced concrete gun casemates, built by the Todt Organisation. Each was designed to protect First World War-vintage Czech-made leFH 14/19(t) 100 mm (3.93-inch) mountain howitzers, range: 8,400 m.
Other buildings on the site included a command bunker, a building to accommodate the men, and ammunition magazines. During a visit on 6 March 1944, to inspect the defences, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel ordered the builders to work faster, and by May 1944, the last two casemates were completed.
The battery was defended by a 20 mm anti-aircraft gun and several machine guns in 15 gun positions, all enclosed in an area 700 by 500 yards (640 by 460 m) surrounded by two barbed wire obstacles 15 feet (4.6 m) thick by 5 feet (1.5 m) high, which also acted as the exterior border for a 100-yard-deep (91 m) minefield. Another obstacle was an anti-tank ditch covering any approach from the nearby coast.
- Zaloga and Johnson 2005, p. 29
- "The Merville Battery". Merville Battery Museum. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
- Ford, p.41
- Gregory 1979, p. 108
- Ford, Ken (2011). D-Day 1944 (3): Sword Beach & the British Airborne Landings. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84908-721-6.
- Gregory, Barry; Batchelor, John (1979). Airborne Warfare, 1918–1945. Exeter, UK: Exeter Books. ISBN 978-0-89673-025-0.
- Zaloga, Steven J; Johnson, Hugh (2005). D-Day Fortifications in Normandy. Volume 37 of Fortress Series. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-876-2.
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