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In September 1941, the people of Batz-sur-Mer see two 240 mm caliber heavy artillery guns arrive at the station of Batz. They are mounted on railway traks and are followed by five trucks carrying equipment and ammunition. As soon as they arrive, the German sailors of the 4th company of the 280th naval artillery battalion build a firing emplacement for the guns on a patch of land linked to the railwy track, 500 meters away from the sea. The location of the Kermoisan battery is named, Tu 301.
THE BUNKER OF BATZ-SUR-MER, IT'S CONCEPT AND OPERATION
The promontory of La Dilane, 19 meters above sea level, was selected as the place to build a fire control and range finding post type S414 (construction reference for the bunker catalogue of the Todt Organization). This bunker is linked to the others belonging to the group. They issued co-ordinates to the guns which fired without sight of the ships at sea.
The building, which is 25 meters long and has a maximum height of 17 meters, constitutes a mass of 1,800 cubic meters. It contains an intricate combination of 110 tons of round iron and 15 tons of I iron. It is the only one of its type in France. The inside surface is 285 square meters.
Being practically the only building on the plain, the bunker is disguised to look like a hotel. A false roof and a brick wall are built to hide the angular aspect of the facade. False windows are deceptively painted along the facade as well as flase bricks and glabes, in the style of a Normandy villa. The bunker is manned by 21 men, including one officer.
The two guns mounted on rails are in fact old French guns dating back to the First World War. They had been seized by the Germans in 1940. One of the two 240 mm guns will take part in battles around the Saint-Nazaire Pocket. Having been removed from its place, it will fire on the boundaries of the Pocket until May 6, 1945 ! On May 11, 1945 the sailors of the 4/ M.A.A. 280, stationed at Batz-sur-Mer, are interned in prison camps. Batz-sur-Mer is liberated.
The building has 5 different levels, each with specific tasks.
At the end of the war, the former Artillery Headquarters at Batz-sur-Mer is emptied of all its contents and abandoned. At the end of the summer of 1994, my brother, Marc, and I decide to renovate the site and turn it into a museum that recounts the history of the region during World War II. After nearly two and a half years of administrative negotiations and six months of renovations, the museum opens its doors on July 1st, 1997. Over ten tons of rubble were removed from the site, and over eight tons of sand were needed to clean the inner walls, doors, and ceilings. It took 650 kilos of paint to restore it to its original state. The museum is privately owned and does not benefit from any subsidies. It survives thanks to its visitors. In its first year of opening, the museum saw 15,000 visitors, then from 35,000 to 40,000 in the years that followed. The building has been saved, and out of the ruins stands a building consecrated to the memory of World War II.
Tickets prices and General admission
Adults : 6€
Childrens (5 to 12 years old) : 4,5€
February french school holidays : open everyday from 10am till 6pm
April 1 to november 11 : open everyday from 10am till 7pm