Ham & Jam
Famous batterie that was a tough nut to crack on D-Day.
Stp133 Azeville batterie
What to see
One of the best maintained and most visited bunker sites in the whole of Normandy, the Azeville batterie is on the list of must-visits. During the Normandy landings is was a tough nut to crack for the Allies.
This position, known as Stp133 HKB Azeville to the occupying German forces, features four huge gun casemates linked by an extensive network of tunnels, with ammunition bunkers, anti-aircraft positions, and personnel shelters. You can walk through the tunnels yourself today and explore the site from both above and below ground.
Built to house huge 105mm captured French cannons, the four, multi-room H650 type casemates are packed with interesting stories and retain a lot of the original features, except for the guns themselves.
Casemates one and two were the first to be built and number two is linked to number three by an underground tunnel. The two northerly casemates - three and four - also had the addition of positions built on top for 3.7cm Flak 36 type anti-aircraft guns to help protect the site from above.
Located on farmland, the four casemates stand out a mile to any passing aircraft and the occupying forces decided to help them bland it by adding an unusual style of camouflage. Casemate three was was painted to look like a derelict French farmhouse with window frames, doors, and fake balcony, and even a tree growing up from painted-on fallen rubble.
While casemates one, two, and three remain in excellent condition, casemate four has damage attributed to battles with the Allies.
Inside casemate four you can see the what damage an unexploded naval shell can do to a bunker. A huge 356mm (14inch) shell fired from the battleship USS Nevada on D-Day+2 smashed through the gun embrasure hitting the gun room wall behind and smashing a hole through it into the crew room behind, and then out through the close combat embrasure near the rear entrance of the casemate.
Although it didn’t explode, the shockwave created was enough to kill the soldiers manning the position.
Amazingly, the dud shell was excavated from the ground near the doorway at the rear of the casemate nearly 50 years later!
Directions to bunker sites in this area...