The Taking Of The Batterie d’Azeville

The German Batterie at Azeville is part of the iron triangle and is situated to the north of Utah Beach.

Just after dawn on June 6th 1944, after an eventful night, shells started dropping in the area. Crisbecq had quickly sunk a destroyer. Azeville, whilst not sinking a ship, damaged several ships during the first few hours. The main landing on Utah was carried out of range of these guns by the tide which pulls to the right in the Seine Bay. The guns here could reach the beach area but because the construction of the casemate only allowed 1200 of traverse, the barrel would be touching the wall of the casemate. The Americans landing on Utah had the taking of this batterie as one of their D-day objectives.  The bad weather and strong wind combined with the sea currents brought the Utah task force 2 km further south than had been planned, and therefore further away from the batteries at Crisbecq and Azeville. The range of the 105 mm cannons at Azeville was around 11 kms and the Madeleine beach is 10 km to the south east. This distance did not prevent the batterie from reaching the Utah landing area, where they caused a lot of damage, but at the limit of their range and angle of fire, lacked precision. The lack of ammunition made the Germans at Azeville monitor their stocks very closely. Although Dr. Hugo Treiber, his rank was Hauptmann ordered regular firing onto the beach, the firing was not as intense as he would have liked. The American troops of the 4th Infantry Division who disembarked at Utah had the objective of controlling both Crisbecq and Azeville batteries by the afternoon of D-day. The German resistance was more intense than had been anticipated. By the evening of D-day, the Americans had not been able to move against either batterie, and despite the best efforts of the navy force at sea, the batteries and most of their defences were still in tact. The first American assault on Crisbecq was a disaster and the Americans withdrew. On the morning of June 7th the Americans launched their first attack on Azeville. Infantry, supported by Sherman 75 mm tanks approached casemates 3 & 4 from the south east. The first tanks got to within 80 metres of the casemates, and both the Americans and Germans opened fire at the same time. A Sherman is no match for a 105 mm cannon and although the cannon in No 2 bunker was damaged it was able to be repaired quickly.

Home Up Azeville 2

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