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Normandy: The Guns of Longue sur Mer

After Arromanches we headed to the popular German battery at Longues sur Mer. Protected on a high bluff over the ocean it consisted of four 5-inch guns with an observation post for directing fire, and numerous defensive facilities. Much of its effectiveness was disrupted by allied bombing that severed the communications between the obeservation post and the batteries themselves.

This Google Earth image shows the imposing layout of the defenses and gives some perspective. (click to enlarge)

Longue sur Mer as seen from Google Earth

I also dug up from the web an old plan of the original layout (in French) showing mine fields (mines), barbed wire (barbelas), trenches (tranchees), tobruks (tobrouk), shelters (abris), and munitions storage (soutes).

Original Longue Battery plan

Here is a small excert from Stephen Ambrose's D-Day about Longue.

Excerpt from D-day about the Longue battery

Here is the layout of the four guns of Longues as Redington I visited them.

The concrete was barely touched by shelling. (Redington on top)

This gun's in pretty good shape. Redington explained to me the purpose of the 'stepped' opening of the gun placements. They could not be smooth as this would guide or funnel the incoming shells into the placement. Instead they are stepped so incoming rounds impact and detonate outside. You can see where one struck above and to the left of Redington's head in the picture below.

Redington and the big gun

View of Gun Placements. Notice the dimples in the earth. These are crater remanants from naval shelling and bombing.

In D-Day Ambrose relates the story of the unlucky battery shown below. It was in an artillery duel with the USS Arkansas when a shell struck the gun apparently as it was being loaded. The gun barrel exploded into 3 pieces. It also happened that the doors 3 floors down to the powder magazine were all open and that exploded too. The destruction as you can see was massive and complete. The commandos that later captured this installation reported no signs of human occupation remained, the explosion was so complete.

Destroyed Gun Placement

Observation and Fire Control Station

It was interesting to see at the Tobruk below that the German who constructed it personalized it with a drawing of horses (one that appears to be hung, well, like a horse). He signed his name in the upper right as PM Uttz, Dec 6, 1942

A tobruk is a German defense installation named after the Libyan town where it was invented in WWII.

Tobruk with Horse inscription

Inside of a Tobruk (click for video)