Merville Gun Battery

Caen
Normandy
Landmarks and Historic Buildings

The Merville Gun Battery was one of the primary objectives for the 6th Airborne Division who landed in the night to silence German guns and seize bridges before the arrival of the D-Day landings in the morning of 6th June 1944. 9th Battalion Parachute Regiment had the task of silencing the guns here, which were thought close enough to fire on Sword Beach, one of the British landing beaches. However, it was discovered when 9th Battalion reached the battery that what was suspected to be a 155mm gun with a range of 17km was a 100m howitzer of Czech origin, 1 of 4 at the site. 

Each of the 100m guns were housed inside 4 casemates, 3 smaller ones and casemate 1, which was thought to contain the 155m gun. Made of steel reinforced concrete 6 ft thick, casemate 1 was covered with soil to camouflage it with its environment. Today this casemate has been renovated and its gun has been removed and replaced with one of the same type, a FH 14/19 [t].

When the 9th Battalion tried to take the battery, they were confronted with a complex defence system including a minefield, barbed wire, an anti-aircraft gun, a substantial antitank ditch, trenches and several bunkers. Most of the German garrison withdrew into the underground bunkers when the British attacked. Although this effectively silenced the gun, they were unable to gain entry and moved onto their next objective. The German troops stationed here finally left when Hitler withdrew the German Army from France in August 1944.

The site now has a museum focused on the exploits of 9th Battalion here on D-Day and their role in the intense fighting during the Battle of Normandy in the days and weeks that followed.

Places to visit nearby

Caen, in Normandy, is one of the oldest university towns in France. Bustling with activity, it is a vibrant and attractive city on the River Orne.

Deauville in Normandy is a glamorous town on the Côte Fleurie ('flowery coast'), famous for horse racing and its international cultural festivals.

Trouville in Normandy is both a charming seaside resort and a picturesque fishing village all in one!

Nearby attractions

Le Grand Bunker - Musée du Mur de l'Atlantique is a fascinating museum inside the German bunker at Ouistreham which has been recreated inside to look as it would have done on D-Day.

The left-hand flank of the D-Day landings, Sword Beach was one of the British landing beaches and is close to our port in Ouistreham.

This museum pays tribute to the actions of the French commandos under Lieutenant Commander Philippe Kieffer, who landed on Sword Beach during the D-Day Landings.