Batterie Todt – Turm IV – Audinghen, Cap Gris Nez, France


Batterie Todt Turm IV - by Phil Wood
Batterie Todt Turm IV – by Phil Wood

Turm IV of Batterie Todt lies at the edge of the forest of Haringzelles overlooking the English Channel. Compared to nearby Turm II and Turm III it is in relatively good shape, considering it’s much more exposed to the elements. You can walk around the bunker and even have a look inside. The firing chamber that originally housed the Krupp 380mm (15 inch) SK C/34 naval gun inside a C/39 armored turret (Ger: Bettungsschiessgerüst) can sometimes have water in it, especially after the wet season.

Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV – firing chamber opening
Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV looking over the English Channel from the French Coast
Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV firing chamber seen from the front
Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV left flank
Batterie Todt naval gun
Batterie Todt Turm IV – naval gun inset of Bundesarchiv picture
Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV firing chamber embrasure
Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV observation point on the roof
Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV seen at the back of the bunker
Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV – bunker back

Bunker interior

At this bunker you also have a chance to have a look inside, but be careful because this is at your own risk. You can visit the ammunitions storage, machine room, crew room and the corridor behind the firing chamber.

Firing Chamber

The firing chamber is circular with a diameter of 29 meters and has ceiling height of 11 meters. In the center of the room is the pivot for the Krupp 380mm SK C/34 naval gun. The gun itself was protected by a C/39 armored steel turret.

Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV – Pascal on a ledge inside the firing chamber
Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV inside the firing chamber

In the lower section you can see two concrete benches running along the rear wall with an opening in between showing the corridor. These supported the rotating turret. The picture below gives a good view them.

The openings in the back wall following the top ledge are to release the air pressure for when the gun was firing. The larger hole before the last opening, pretty much in the center of the picture below, was where the ammunition and propelling charges were offloaded from the supply train. On the other side of this was a railroad track connecting the casemate to the main ammunition bunkers located at Onglevert.

Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV – view of the ledges inside the firing chamber
Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV – view of the massive pivot for the 380mm gun
Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV – another view of the massive gun pivot
Batterie Todt Turm IV embrasure
Batterie Todt Turm IV – view through the embrasure

Behind the wall of the first ledge runs a paralel corridor (see picture below) which had two concentric Decauville-type rails. The inner track, closest to the ledge supported the rollers of the turret’s loading crane. The track underneath the concrete overhang of ledge nr. 2 was used to move shells and propelling charges with trolleys.

Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV – view of the corridor behind the firing chamber
Batterie Todt Turm IV
Batterie Todt Turm IV – inside the firing chamber

The gun room’s embrasure allowed a 120 degrees rotation of the turret and -4 to 60 degrees elevation for the gun. The sides of the embrasure were protected by 4 cm thick armored plates sealing off the space between the steel C/39 turret and the bunker as close as possible. Most of the reinforced steel plates were removed by scrap metal dealers after the war.

Ammunitions bunker

Connected tot the fire chamber was the part of the bunker that consisted of two floors. The top floor housed the ammunition bunker and crew room. The second floor was completely underground and housed the machine rooms.

Because of the weight of the 380mm shells for the battery’s gun, weighing between 495 and 800 kilos, this level had a monorail system running across the ceiling to help the loading crew transport the shells through the bunker.

Batterie Todt Ammunitions room monorail
Batterie Todt Turm IV – detail of the monorail system in the ammunitions room
Batterie Todt Ammunitions room
Batterie Todt Turm IV ammunitions room

Mural paintings

During World War Two the German garrison of Batterie Todt left various mural paintings on the walls of Turm IV based on propaganda and aimed to boost morale. Many of the murals have been painted over by graffiti artists of younger generations.

Batterie Todt mural painting
WW2 Mural painting inside Turm IV of Batterie Todt – A Nazi eagle with text saying; “One must crumble, but that won’t be … (Germany)”.
WW2 mural painting detail
Batterie Todt WW2 mural painting detail of the Nazi Eagle symbol
Nazi mural painting
Inside Turm IV of Batterie Todt – A WW2 mural painting decorating a bricked up doorway.
Inside Batterie Todt
Phil and Pat inside Batterie Todt Turm IV discussing a mural painting.
Batterie Todt WW2 mural painting
A WW2 mural painting “Gegen Engeland” (Eng: Against England). Bombers flying next to the Nazi Kriegsmarine flag top left.
Batterie Todt WW2 mural painting
A WW2 mural painting depicting Churchill crying. A sign in his hand says; “England + Russia = Victory!”
Batterie Todt WW2 mural painting
A WW2 mural painting depicting Churchill. On the left, the cigar smoke reads “Victory”, right “S.O.S”.
Batterie Todt WW2 mural painting
A WW2 mural painting depicting “General Nebel” (Eng: General Fog). Under the General is a British soldier looking through a scope across the Channel. W.C. (Winston Churchill) says “The future suddenly looks so grey and veiled.”
Batterie Todt WW2 mural painting
WW2 mural text reading “Sacrifice … Great Germany. Through sacrifice it will be forever”. In German: “Opfer … Grossdeutschland. Durch Opfer wird es ewig sein”. – Batterie Todt
Batterie Todt WW2 mural
WW2 mural text reading: W.C. (Winston Churchill) “The bully has to suffer, now you have to endure what you have yourself to blame for!”
Batterie Todt WW2 mural
“The god who created iron, didn’t want any servants … (painted over)”
Batterie Todt WW2 mural
A German pissoir.

Batterie Todt

This bunker is part of Batterie Todt which was constructed between 1940 and 1942 together with other German coastal batteries like Batterie Oldenburg along the French coast in preparation for the Invasion of Britain, codenamed Operation Sea Lion. The battery had a total of four casemates or “Turms” fitted with 380mm naval guns.

The battery became operational in January 1942 and was officially opened in February of the same year by Admiral Karl Dönitz and Admiral Erich Raeder. Although initially named Batterie Siegfried, the name was changed to Batterie Todt just days before the opening, to honor German engineer Fritz Todt, head of the Todt Organisation, who died in a plane crash on Februari 8th 1942.

Visit

You can visit this bunker Turm IV as part of Batterie Todt in the Forest of Haringzelles in Audinghen, Cap Gris Nez, France. You can also visit Turm I, Turm II and Turm III nearby.

Turm I has been turned into a museum called Musée du Mur de l’Atlantique, where you can learn more about the battery and the Atlantic Wall.



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