Azeville Battery – Normandy Atlantic Wall

by Evelyn McKechnie

Built by the German Todt organisation between 1941 and 1944, close to Sainte-Mère-Eglise, the Azeville Battery was a vital part of the Atlantic Wall. From the very beginning of D-Day on 6th June, it was at the heart of the fighting, bombarding Utah Beach for the first three days of the invasion.

Equipped with a complete defense system and impressive underground complex, it was one of the Allies’ prime objectives. Located on the east coast of the Contentin Peninsula, the German named battery, Stützpunkt 133, had four blockhouses each with 105 mm heavy guns and was manned by a garrison of 170 soldiers.

The battery was not successful in repulsing the Allied Forces landing on Utah Beach. However, the 4th American Infantry Division were pinned down by Azeville and Crisbecq-Saint-Marcouf defences by D-Day+1. On the 8th June, the 22nd Regimental Combat Team launched an assault on the battery at Azeville. The commander of the Azeville battery opened fire on Crisbecq-Saint-Marcouf blockhouses, to try and drive back the American infantry. However, Azeville was encircled, shelled and attacked with flame throwers. The battery eventually fell on 9th June after some very fierce fighting.

At 14.30 the remaining German defenders surrendered the battery. Of the 253 Germans at the battery, 78 were killed, the rest captured and a small group escaped north.

Visiting Azeville Battery

A visit to the impressive Azeville battery takes you down to into a maze of 650 metres of underground tunnels, along blockhouses with connecting passages, into a factory shelter and many of the fortified underground rooms, including the hospital.

One of the connecting galleries

There is also an excellent film show about the Atlantic Wall. Also available is one of the best audio guides you will every hear, which will help guide you around this vast overground and underground complex. The audio guide is in seven languages.

Some of the damage inflicted by incoming fire from the USS Nevada casemate No. 4. Most of the allied ship bombardment inflicted little damage on Dday.

The pillboxes still have their camouflage paint in the style of Norman built houses to try and thwart Allied air observation. It is one of the best sites to visit in Normandy where many of the buildings are still intact and very highly recommended.

The casino – the caberet at the heart of the position

105-mm gun and topped with an unconcreted anti-aircraft emplacement in 1945
Deep in one of the bunkers
The battery was garrisoned by 170 officers and men of the 2nd Company of the 1261 Heeresküstenartillerie-Regiment 1261 (HKAA).
The battery’s commander was Hauptmann (Captain) Hugo Treiber
Path of the shell

Opening Times:

April, October and schools holidays (except Christmas) from 2 pm to 6 pm

June, July and August: from 10 am to 7 pm

Closed 1st May

Last entries: One hour before the site closes

Audio guided tours: in French, English, German, Dutch, Spanish and Italian


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Published by spotonlocations

Scottish based company designing travel apps for historical locations. Travel apps that will take you on amazing journeys to destinations in history where famous events took place. Scotland, Castles, Clans, WW1 & WW2

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