Near the Normandy hamlet of Longues-sur-Mer, Longues battery was part of the Nazis’ fearsome Atlantic Wall fortifications, built by the German Navy between September 1943 and April 1944.
Built with huge 152 mm naval guns able to fire up to 12 miles (20 km) away, the battery was strategically erected between the beaches of Omaha and Fold in order to prevent Allied landings on Normandy’s beaches. The night before D-Day on June 6, 1944, however, the Allied troops used a French cruiser and U.S. battleship to send a barrage of 1,500 tons of bombs over to the battery, where the German crew of 184 men surrendered the next day.
Longues battery is unique on the Normandy coast: it’s the only spot on the Atlantic Wall where you can still see the concrete casemates and guns just as they were after the 1944 showdown. At the battery, you can also visit Longues-sur-Mer’s command post and the personnel and ammunition shelters. At the cliff edge itself, you can climb inside the battery’s fire control bunker and look out across the Normandy coast for a feel of the past. Film buffs will also recognize the bunker from the classic 1962 D-Day film, The Longest Day.
Longues-sur-Mer is a 10-minute drive west from the town of Arromanches (look out for the small coast road sign) on the cliffs north of Manvieux.