Batterie de Merville

Parking

There is free parking outside the museum, including disabled bays. In peak season it can get a little crowded.

Toilets

There are toilets situated inside one of the bunkers within museum grounds.

Gift Shop

There is a small gift shop in the ticket office. This can be visited without entering the museum itself.

We were somewhat uncertain about how to approach places like the Merville Battery and its contemporaries at Azeville, Maisy and Crisbecq along with the German radar facility at Douvres-la-Délivrande. These are all significant historic remains and we felt some unease at reviewing and rating them for that reason. However, as each of the locations is privately owned and an entrance fee required for visitation, we have excluded their individual histories from the review process and judged them as dispassionately as possible as if they were any other museum.

The assault on the Merville Battery is an incredible tale of perseverance in the face of adversity, extremely bad luck and extraordinary courage. Perhaps partly due to its omission from the film The Longest Day, the story sometimes seems to get a little overlooked. Without any criticism intended towards the museum team who are clearly dedicated, we feel the Battery de Merville has been left behind by many of the other important museums in Normandy, such as the Musée Airborne at Sainte-Mère-Eglise or the Memorial Pegasus not far from Merville.

The Museum opened in 1983 following the renovation of casemate No.1 by 10 Field Squadron Royal Engineers. The four casemates on the site house the museum's exhibits. Casemate No.1 has a sound and light show which attempts to recreate some of the atmosphere of the night of the assault. It is very loud and not recommended for young children or those of a nervous disposition. Casemate No.2 houses a tribute to the 9th Parachute Battalion with a few artefacts and casemate No. 3 includes a tribute to the Glider Pilot Regiment. Casemate No.4 is dedicated to Operation Paddle which took place in August 1944 to clear the Channel Coast.

The grounds at Merville are beautifully kept and visitors can follow a marked pathway around the site which is split in half by a road. For the best way to experience a German battery visitors would do better to see Azeville, Crisbecq or Maisy, however, the events that took place at Merville are unique and are best learned about here.

In 2007, a C-47 which had taken part in the D-Day assault was located in Bosnia. By the end of the year, thanks to the efforts of management at the Merville Battery, the aircraft had been moved back to Normandy and was at Carpiquet airport near Caen being renovated. In April 2008 the re-assembly of the aircraft at Merville was underway and she was finally inaugurated in June. Named the "SNAFU Special", the aircraft has an interesting history and flew in Operation Overlord, Operation Dragoon, Operation Market, Operation Repulse and Operation Varsity. The complete story is the subject of the book "SNAFU" by Olivier Paz (Mayor of Merville) and Beatrice Guillaume.

Whilst we enjoy visiting the Merville Battery, we would like nothing more than to hear someday that a wealthy benefactor had donated part of his fortune to fund a brand new visitor centre or other enhancement. The assault which took place here deserves not to be overlooked any more, and we would urge everyone to visit the site at Merville to learn about it.


Updated: July 2016


Contact Details:

Normandy Museums:

Ad