Musée du Mur de l'Atlantique - Batterie Todt
The Atlantic Wall Museum is housed in one of the German army's seven large forts and its construction was carried out by the Todt organisation in Audinghen Cap Gris-Nez, in the Pas-de-Calais region. 1939-1945, the Germans started constructing the formidable Siegfried Battery, renamed Todt
The history of the fort
On 10 February 1942 and with great pomp, the offensive battery with casemates containing four 380 mm cannons was opened. Known initially as the Siegfried Battery, it was given the name "Todt Battery" in memory of the German construction engineer killed the previous day in an aircraft accident. Two days later on 12 February, this battery entered active service providing counter-battery fire to enable the passage of the battleships "Gneisenau" and "Scharnhorst" and the heavy cruiser "Prinz Eugen" along the coast.
This battery was positioned to the south of Gris-Nez, at a place called Haringzelle and constituted a formidable complex. It could fire rocket and percussion shells up to 42 kilometres. Situated at an altitude of 60 to 70 metres, depending on the position of the cannons, it could easily reach the English coast. The battery was protected by reinforced concrete boulders and defended by nine 75-barrel cannons to provide anti-aircraft cover with searchlight batteries.
The personnel of the batteries (18 men and 4 officers per 380 cannon), that of the coastal and civil defence, of the two command posts set up at Le Cran Mademoiselle and the Le Cran Poulet protection Battery was 600 men. Action at the battery was heavy throughout 1942, quieter in 1943 and then considerable after 6 June 1944.
Up to 29 September 1944
There was much firing on 6 June 1944, the day of the landings. The 3rd Division of Canadian Infantry coming along the coast from Normandy, after having liberated Boulogne and surrounded Calais, finally came to attack the Todt battery, under the command of Ship of the Line ensign Klaus Momber.
On 26 September 1944 the R.A.F. launched 532 bombers on Gris-Nez, followed by 302 on 28 September, dropping 855 tonnes of bombs. The attack was carried out on 29 September 1944. First, at 6.35 am there was heavy artillery fire.
Then the 9th brigade of the 3rd Canadian ID attacked. The North Nova Scotia Highlanders had the task of taking the Todt battery. At 10.30 am, it was all over, with white flags appearing just about everywhere. Brigadier Rockingam sent the white flag that had floated above the Todt Battery to the mayor of Dover.
Dedicated to military history, the museum offers the opportunity to see several thousand collection pieces in its ten halls. Weapons, uniforms, posters, and other militaria illustrate various aspects of the Atlantic Wall.
Outside a German K 5 280 mm cannon on an iron track, the only one in Europe, stands alongside military vehicles and tanks.