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Marine Küsten Batterie Longues-sur-Mer
North of Bayeux, between Omaha beach and Arromanches or Gold beach lies coastal Battery Longues-sur-Mer, also known as Wiederstandsnest 48. Construction of Marine Küsten Batterie Longues-sur-Mer or M.K.B. Longues-sur-Mer started in September 1943 and finished just two months before D-day in April 1944. The Battery was under command of the Kriegsmarine and consisted out four guns emplacements, regelbau M 272, one leitstand M 262 and multiple smaller emplacements for searchlight, Mortar, MG stand, Flak anti aircraft positions, VF ammunition bunkers, minefields and trenches. The MAA260 – Marine Artillerie Abteilung was in control of Batterie Longues-sur-Mer with about 180 men, command was transferred to the German Wehrmacht over time.
Armament and Regelbau
The regelbau M 272 gun emplacements still hold their originals guns, one is demolished though. (Regelbau is a reference to a building standard.) These a Naval guns type: 15 cm Tbts. LC/36. Originally these Torpedo Boat cannons were developed by Rheinmetall for the ‘Narvik’ class destroyers type 36A for the German Kriegsmarine. Tbts means Torpedoboots kanone – Torpedo boat gun. It is a powerful gun with a slow rate of fire for a destroyer. The 15 cm gun was the standard calibre used on most Kriegsmarine ships. The Kriegsmarine is the German navy.
The canons were build in two types, the KC/36 and the KC/36T from 1939 and 1942 on, and they had a rate of fire of 6 to 8 shots per minute. The distance they could fire was about 22 kilometers with a barrel elevation of 30 degrees, and with 45-47 degrees they could reach 23,5 kilometers. The guns of M.K.B. Longues-sur-Mer were built under license by Skoda in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia. Besides the four LC/36 cannons there was a 12 cm K 370b gun with a reach of 17,5 kilometers, two 7,5-cm FK (Feld Kanone of field gun) with a reach of 9,4 kilometers and four 7,5 cm Flak of anti aircraft guns.
The Feuerleitstand or fire control is of the M 262 type and is a quite a celebrity for playing a part in the black and white movie ‘The Longest day’ where Major Werner Pluskat sees the invasion force and informs the high command while the Allied naval ships open fire on this battery. In reality Major Pluskat was stationed with the 352nd artillery regiment of Wiederstandsneste 59 at Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes. The Feuerleitstand is build in the cliff some 300 meters in front of the gun emplacements. On the low level the men search for targets at sea, if one was found the information was passed on to the top level were the distance and other data was calculated and in their turn passed on to the gunners.
On D-Day Batterie Longues-sur-Mer opened fire around sunrise on the Allied ships. A little half hour earlier, 20 minutes before sunrise, it was fired upon by the French cruiser Georges Leygues. M.K.B. Longues-sur-Mer went into battle with multiple Allied Naval ships. It was in fierce combat with the U.S. destroyer Emmonds and fired upon the U.S. Battleship Arkansas. The next target was the ‘Bulolo’ in front of Gold Beach, which was forced to retreat. The Light cruiser HMS Ajax fired with more precision on Battery Longues-sur-Mer due to its radar guided firing control. The battery was silenced for a little while but reopened fire on the U.S. Battleship Arkansas almost scoring direct hits. The French Cruiser Montcalm stepped in and stopped the Battery until the afternoon, the effort was a cooperation with the HMS Ajax and the cruiser HMS Argonaut. Again Batterie Longues-sur-Mer opened fire, this time at Colleville-sur-Mer – Omaha Beach and Asnelles – Gold Beach. Both French vessels kept Battery Longues-sur-Mer under fire, together with Battleship U.S. Arkansas and around 19:00 they knocked the battery out, this time it would not step into battle again.
From Gold Beach the English 231st Brigade, the Devonshire Regiment, reached Marine Küsten Batterie Longues-sur-Mer the other day and it was taken without a fight, the German soldiers were taken into custody as prisoners of war.
This video is provided by Phil Wood.
Marine Küsten Batterie Longues-sur-Mer is open for visits, admission is free. It is one of the best visited coastal defense emplacements in Normandy so you probably will not be alone when you visit it. There are paths leading to it, no special equipment is needed. One casemate is damaged, it seems exploding ammunition stored inside the bunker was the cause of the destruction of the gun emplacement.