Graf Spee coastal battery

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 48 ° 20 ′  N , 4 ° 46 ′  W The Graf Spee coastal battery was a battery position inFrance, which was occupiedby the German Wehrmacht , during the Second World War . The position is in the far west of the Finistère department in Brittany , behind the Saint-Mathieu point, near the lighthouse of Saint-Mathieu and the old abbey of Saint-Mathieu there. It was named after Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee whoperishedwith SMS Scharnhorst in the First World War .


To protect the imperial navy , various forts and coastal batteries were built around their naval base in Wilhelmshaven before the First World War . The Graf Spee artillery position with four 28 cm SK L / 40 guns on the island of Wangerooge was also created for this purpose. After the defeat of France in the German campaign in the west in 1940, the four guns were relocated to Saint-Mathieu in order to protect the strategically important port of Brest and its entrance. The battery, together with the battery position at Pointe du Grand Gouen, which was located near Camaret-sur-Mer on the southern side of the bay, formed the artillery barrier, which was considered necessary for this, and could target targets weighing 240 kg up to 30 km away Fight grenades. Brest was one of the few French ports that were suitable as a location for German submarines and also for the heavy German battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz due to the deep fairway .

The coastal battery was part of the Atlantic Wall and was accordingly armored . The position consisted of a four-storey fire control bunker of the type S414 and coordinated the fire of the four guns located up to 1.5 km inland, which were in open ring positions. The upper floors of the bunker were equipped with telemeter , goniometer and parallax compensation for precise target detection. The fire control bunker also housed bedrooms for the operating team, an energy center with generators and fans, the computer room for determining the target coordinates and the telecommunication center. The type M151 garrison bunker used for close-range defense was two more levels below and was connected to the fire control center by a tunnel. It included crew quarters, a kitchen, an infirmary, a radio room, a drinking water reservoir and storage rooms for ammunition. The close-range defense itself consisted of various barrel and trenches that connected 13 anti-aircraft cannons , 10 machine gun positions and one anti-tank cannon . Additional fortifications were built to store ammunition and to supply the garrison. The construction of the position began in July 1940 and was carried out in the standard construction by the Todt Organization . In the course of 1944, the Allied bombing of the position intensified. In order to ensure better protection for the guns, the construction of concrete casemates was planned as shelters. Until the position was taken by the US Army, however, only a casemate with an observation post could be completed.

After the landing in Normandy in June 1944, the guns were mounted on 360 ° rotating mounts so that they could be used against the Allied troops advancing inland. At the end of August, the battery position fought a gun battle with the British battleship HMS Warspite . As a result of near hits on both sides, the battleship was detached from the battery and pulled out of action. During the developing Battle of Brittany , the 2nd and 5th US Ranger Battalions, which stormed the German positions at Pointe du Hoc during the invasion on D-Day , were supported by members of the Resistance and used against the Graf Spee coastal battery. The position was taken on September 9, 1944.

Todays use

The former command post of the battery was used by the French navy after the war and currently houses a museum with a permanent exhibition on 500 m² and accessible outdoor area. The remaining gun bunkers are now used for agriculture, including as stables for livestock , and can be visited together with the ammunition bunkers, but not walked on.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. NWZ-Online : First World War: Ammunition rolled up to the coast , accessed on November 27, 2018
  2. Thorsten Heber: The Atlantic Wall 1940-1945: The Fortification of the Coasts of Western and Northern Europe in the Tension Field of National Socialist Warfare and Ideology, Volume 1 . Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2008, ISBN 978-3-8370-2979-6 , pp. 132 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  3. Chazette, Alain (ed.): Les Défenses de la Pointe Saint-Mathieu , Éditions Histoires et Fortifications, 2017, p. 22.
  4. a b Musée Mémoires 39-45: The Graf Spee battery