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A great movie provided by Phil Wood.
The music you hear in this video is the Horst Wessel Song. Horst Wessel was a Nazi party activist who wrote the lyrics of the ‘Horst Wessel lied’ (song). He joined the NSDAP in 1926 and rose inside the party to command several SA squads. SA is the Sturmabteilung or Stormtrooper in the NSDAP, the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party. On 14 January 1930 Horst was shot by two members of the Communist party. His death was used by the Nazi party as a propaganda tool.
In September 1940, as part of the plan to invade England, Battery Siegfried (Stp. 186 Saitenspeil) became operational. The battery existed mainly out of four very large concrete tower bunkers (Turms I to IV) which each housed a 380mm Siegfried gun. The guns had an effective range of 55 km, perfect to keep the Channel clear of enemy warships and fire across it to bombard the Britisch coastline. Built at the narrowest point of the Channel (40 km wide), England was well within striking range.
In honor of German Minister of Armaments Fritz Todt, who died in a mysterious airplane crash on 8 Februari 1942 near the Wolfsschanze, the battery was renamed “Battery Todt”. Fritz Todt was the founder of Organisation Todt (1938) which directed the contruction of the Atlantik Wall.
Visit Musée du Mur de L’Atlantique – Batterie Todt
Due to the enormous magnitude of the 380mm guns, the concrete structures are of a massive scale, although the museum itself is the least of all to leave this impression. The museum is settled in Turm I. Musee du Mur de l’Atlantique – Batterie Todt is privatly owned and, as lucky as we are, we once again found a closed door (it’s a curse I tell you!!). Luckily this time it was only for lunch so we just had to be patient (TIP:Next to the museum is a campsite with a nice bistro where you can eat something). Beside that there is enough to look at on the museum grounds, so don’t worry about getting bored.
Outside the museum, the main attraction is without a doubt the Krupp K5 280mm railwaygun. Although not originally stationed at Batterie Todt, there were a few of these guns present around Calais, Normandy in 1944. There are also still a few of the so called “Dom bunkers” in this area in which guns like these, including their locomotives, were hidden.
Batterie Todt – Turm I
Inside the museum itself you can learn a lot about life in this battery. There are also many photo’s of that time, including pictures of the construction by Organisation Todt. Furthermore there is lots of stuff like uniforms, amunition, firearms and vehicles on display. Don’t flash while taking a picture, because an alarm will go off.
Batterie Todt – Turm II
Turm II lies more secluded in the foilage of a nearby forest and is in pretty bad shape. There’s a lot of water at the bottom and there are signs of recent decay. Scan this area closely because there are a lot more bunkers hidden in the green nearby, all part of the battery at the time. Some bunkers catch you by suprise, as you become aware of them while they are only a few yards away.
Batterie Todt – Turm III
This is a ruïne. It seems to have been this way after an explosion, presumably killing three people, but it is unclear if this happened in August 1944 right after it’s capture or at the end of the war in 1945. The explosion must have had a terrible force since the massive thick concrete roof lies shifted on the ruïne walls. The backside of the Turm is gone completely. To us it seemed like there might have been an explosion in the ammunition chamber located at the back of the complex. If you have more information about this, please share it with us!
Batterie Todt – Turm IV
Turm IV shows a much better example of the enormous scale of this bunker type. It is also in a suprisingly good condition, watching over the outstretched coastline towards the sea. On clear days you can see England, which guarantees beautifull pictures.
Future decay of the Battery
Apart from Turm I (Musee Batterie Todt) the other structures are left to their destiny. The monuments are littered with garbage, it’s walls are ideal for graffiti (without compassion for the original German ones put there during the war, shame on you!) and used as public toilet. Our hearts break seeing this. We expect no action will be taken to prevent this until the only option is to take them down. So, if you want to see Batterie Todt on it’s full scale, don’t wait too long.
Check out the openings time of the museum if you would like to visit and see the inside of the Turm and the K5 gun. The other Turms are free to visit in the woods nearby. One is sealed of and is a bat cave, one is destroyed, and the last one is open to visit.