The Taking of the Longues Sur Mer Battery

On the night before D-day, Bomber Command dropped 1,500 tons of bombs onto the site, most falling on the village nearby. On D-day when the allied attack began at dawn, the three serviceable guns here began to fire at the Allied fleet. Two British ships the Bulolo and the Ajax brought their 6 inch guns into action, firing over 100 rounds at the battery. Within twenty minutes the battery was silenced, two of the guns damaged, HMS Ajax claiming the prize. Later in the afternoon the third gun fired on the French Cruiser Georges Leyques and a duel followed. The guns were then silenced and the battery was taken by the 231st brigade the next day, over 180 prisoners being taken. It was estimated that the battery fired over 150 rounds at the fleet, doing no damage. The problem for the battery was that the bombing had destroyed the telephone cables linking the observation tower with the gun emplacements. They had a back up system of signal flags but the smoke from the guns made them impossible to see. The gun crews finally took their own visual sightings and used the traditional technique of "creeping fire" Not one Allied ship was damaged by these guns, the crews had not received adequate training, firstly because of lack of ammunition and also lack of time. They had spent many hours working for the Todt organisation finishing off the Casemates. Four hundred meters to the east is the site of the advanced RAF Airstrip B11 that was used from June 21st until the 4th of September. 125 Wing operated from here and included several foreign pilots including the French Ace Pierre Closterman who had 33 kills to his name. The first Casemate you see as you enter the site is badly damaged. This was not due to action on D-day but later when the site was used as a storage facility for the RAF site. The ammunition exploded killing four servicemen. The gun and its barrel can be seen in front of the Casemate.

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