The Merville Gun Battery 1944


Map Code: Ax00511

The Merville Gun Battery held a threatening position to the east of Gold Beach from where it had the potential to devastate ships that would be landing British forces within its line of fire. It was heavily reinforced with four 6-ft (183-cm) thick concrete casemates covered in a further 6 ft (183-cm) of earth. Intelligence reports suggested that these casemates housed four 150mm heavy guns, although they later turned out to be World War I-era 100mms. In addition to the heavy casemates, the site was covered by anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, extensive anti-tank fortifications and a minefield. All of these combined factors made the Merville Battery a high-priority target that needed to be disabled before the landings, however it was very unlikely that artillery or bombing alone could destroy it. As such the British opted for a paratroop assault against the compound which disabled the garrison using explosives and grenades in the ventilation system.

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