Wn01 Merville Batterie
Batterie attacked by British paratroopers on D-Day
Wn01 site overview
What to see
The largest gun batterie in the area - and now a superb museum site - Merville was a D-Day objective for British paratroopers. The site features four large casemates - a R611, a R669, and two R612 types - along with four open emplacements, anti-aircraft gun positions, two large ammunition bunkers, and two personnel shelters linked by a series of trenches.
All four of the well preserved casemates face to the north west direction where their guns were trained to cover the mouth of the River Orne and nearby Caen Canal - routes which gave access to the port and city of Caen.
The largest of the four casemates is the R611, a multi-room building for a Czech-built, 10cm Skoda cannon. Inside today you can find several rooms packed with original German items and displays which show what life would have been like for the occupying forces manning the batterie.
Merville's R669 casemate gives the story from the Allied point of view with tributes to the British paras who dropped into the site on the morning of June 6 and suffered heavy casualties in their bid to capture this strategic location.
The front of the site features two R612 casemates - two large concrete structures for large assault guns. These lower profile casemates differ from the standard R612 design in that they both have two flanking walls, one on each side of the main gun embrasure. Both features a pattern camouflage cast into the outer skin of the concrete and are partially buried to reduce their detection - although the site was regularly bombed so that didn't work so well!
Two large personnel shelters - a R501 and R502 double shelter - stand to the rear of the batterie and are supported by two 3.7cm AA positions, one of these was temporarily located on the roof of the kitchen and mess building.
The Merville site is a great visitor experience and also features a C-47 Dakota aircraft and several poignant memorials - a must visit.