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Merville Gun Battery

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Title: Merville Gun Battery  
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Subject: 6th Airborne Division (United Kingdom), 3rd Parachute Brigade (United Kingdom), Operation Mallard, Normandy, Operation Overlord
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Merville Gun Battery

Merville Gun Battery
Part of Atlantic Wall
Normandy, France
The Merville Battery today
Type Artillery battery
Site information
Owner France
Controlled by Germany 1944, France 1944–present
Open to
the public
Yes
Condition Several casemates and trench system
Site history
Built World War II
In use 1942-1944
Built by Organisation Todt
Materials Concrete, steel, barbed wire
Battles/wars Normandy landings, Operation Tonga
Garrison information
Garrison Wehrmacht

The Merville Gun Battery was a coastal fortification in Normandy, France, in use as part of the Nazis' 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.

Defences

The Merville Battery was composed of four 6-foot-thick (1.8 m) steel-reinforced concrete gun First World War-vintage 10cm leFH 14/19(t) howitzers.[1] 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.[2]

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,[3] 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.[4]

Notes

  1. ^ Zaloga and Johnson 2005, p. 29
  2. ^ "The Merville Battery". Merville Battery Museum. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Ford, p.41
  4. ^ Gregory 1979, p. 108

References

Further reading

  • The Day the Devils Dropped In. Neil Barber, Pen & Sword Books 2002. ISBN 978-1-84415-045-8

External links

  • The Merville Battery - Official Site
  • The 6th Airborne Division in Normandy

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