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The Longues Battery Opens Fire on Omaha

Discussion in 'Longues-sur-Mer' started by Jim, Aug 20, 2010.

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  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    At 0537 hours, the Longues battery became the target of the French cruiser Georges Leygues and then of the American battleship Arkansas operating in the Omaha sector. The battery then opened fire against the destroyer Emmons stationed off Omaha. The battery's relatively accurate fire against the fleet can be ascribed to a technique of separate laying. Although, owing to the destruction of the underground cables, they had none of the co-ordinates which should have been coming from the control bunker, the gunners could make up for this by using optical apparatus installed on either side of the gun behind the armour plated shield. To facilitate their task, a shutter opened in the armoured shield and the gunner was able to adjust his aim with precision. The destroyer Emmons and the battleship Arkansas were selected as targets, the latter firing a series of 305 and 127mm salvoes in retaliation. The French cruiser Montcalm was also involved in the skirmish. The time was 0605 hours.

    Here you can see the optical apparatus installed on either side of the gun behind the armour plated shield

    [​IMG]

    ... and then on Gold

    The guns then turned to the Gold sector where ships were anchored nearer the shore. The first to come under threat was the Bulolo, flagship of the Gold assault troops with the Army Corps Commander on board. The accuracy of the Longues battery fire forced the Bulolo to weigh anchor. To protect its flagship, the cruiser Ajax opened fire on the battery and began a veritable twenty-minute duel at a range of I I 000 metres. The battery then went silent at 0620 hours, but soon resumed firing to the west and then to the east as the first waves of the assault forces landed on Omaha and Gold beaches. It thus became vitally important to silence the battery. The Ajax and the Argonaut intervened decisively, knocking out three of the four guns sometimes with astonishing precision, using radar. It was now 0845 hours.

    The cruiser HMS Ajax opened fire on the battery.

    [​IMG]


    A French or a British victory?

    The battery resumed in the afternoon and once again threatened Allied shipping. The French cruisers quickly responded despite an order flashed to them from the Ajax demanding that they stop firing against the battery and claiming it as its own reserved target. The French cruiser Georges Leygues twice hit the battery, finally silencing it. This was at 1900 hours. Subsequently both French and British navies claimed the victory over the Longues battery as their own. Unlike the men defending the battery at St Marcouf in the Cotentin peninsula, who stoutly resisted the troops as they came ashore, following the example set by their commanding officer Ohmsen who was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery on June 15th 19444the 184 members of the Longues battery, led by their commanding officer, surrendered peacefully to the British troops of the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment who occupied the position on June 7th. The 170 shells fired the day before were quickly forgotten by the disillusioned Wehrmacht troops who perhaps saw captivity as the least unpleasant way of seeing out the war.
     

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