Merville Battery

The Merville Battery, part of Hitler’s Atlantic wall, was seen as a huge threat to troops coming ashore as it could hit the beaches, therefore it had to be silenced. It was thought to house four 150 mm guns and 130 men there who manned these guns. Prior to D-Day the R.A.F had bombed the site but it had little or no effect on the casemates.  There was a large anti-tank ditch and the whole area was covered in thick barbed wire and machine gun positions, a tough nut to crack.

The job was given to Lieutenant Colonel Terence Otway and the 9th Parachute Battalion.  A fairly complex plan was put into operation but as things turned out all the plans did not go according to plan. The plan called for over seven hundred men to take part, a small group led by Major Allen Parry took off first and they dropped accurately.  They were then to wait for the main group to land and meet up with them. He waited but two hours later after the drop less than 25 per cent had arrived including Lieutenant Col T.Otway.

Despite lack of equipment he decided to to have ago at assaulting the battery.  Otway gave Parry command of the assault party and split the group up into four small parties. The groups then attacked the battery with sten guns and Bangalore torpedoes.  They blew two gaps in the barbed wire and charged in, the Germans awoke and a bloody fight took place which resulted in a number of casualties but eventually the fight was over with the British coming out on top. The casemates were examined and found to only hold old French 75mm guns.




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