- Point of Interest
- D104, 14400 Longues-sur-Mer, France
The German artillery battery at Longues-sur-Mer was perfectly located to oppose the landings of 6 June 1944. Its guns were positioned right between Omaha and Gold Beaches. On D-Day, this battery fought a duel with the Allied fleet before it was silenced at sunset.
The German artillery battery at Longues-sur-Mer may not have been the most powerful in Normandy, but it was one of the best located to oppose the landings of 6 June 1944. Installed slightly back from the edge of a sixty-meter-high cliff, it was positioned directly opposite the Allied fleet and right between Omaha and Gold landing beaches.
The coastal battery at Longues-sur-Mer, part of the Atlantic Wall coastal fortifications, was built by the German navy in the first half of 1944 and completed in four months. It consisted of four 150 mm guns in concrete bunkers, and one 120 mm gun. In May 1944 the battery was operational, but the firing command post built on the edge of the cliff did not yet have all the equipment necessary for calculating effective fire against naval targets.
On D-Day, the Longues-sur-Mer battery delivered a protracted duel with the Allied fleet, forcing some of the vessels to retreat in order to avoid being hit. However, the five guns of the battery were gradually silenced, some being destroyed by direct hits. Finally, British troops landing at Gold Beach took over the position on 7 June, capturing the survivors of the garrison of 180 men.
Today, the site is one of the best preserved in France and the only one where you can still see some of the original cannon, capable, at the time, of firing shells weighing 45 kg at a distance of 22 km. The view from the firing command post, dug into the cliff, offers a vast panorama over the Bay of the Seine.
Fought between the iconic landings on 6 June 1944 and the liberation of Paris on 25 August, the Battle of Normandy is often overlooked. Yet this campaign decided the course of the war in Northwestern Europe. The losses were huge: more than 100.000 people were killed during the 80 days, 20.000 of them civilians.
Following the invasion of the U.S.S.R. and the entry into the war of the U.S.A. on the British side, German strategy in the West changed from the offensive to the defensive. Hitler agreed to the construction of a fortified line along the western coastline, capable of repulsing any Allied attempt of invasion. Construction work of the Atlantic Wall began in early 1942.