Grandcamp-Maisy

The serenity of this little fishing port belies its significant history in the Battle of Normandy.  For starters, General Omar Bradley established his headquarters here after the village was seized on June 9, 1944.

However, the really big story surrounding the D-Day history of Grandcamp-Maisy is still unfolding.

Until 2004, the Maisy Battery, located on the southwest side of the village in an area called Les Perruques, was forgotten by historians and even locals, almost completely buried under a yard of topsoil.  Gary Sterne, a British World War II enthusiast had first learned of the site from an old Allied map that described this location as an “area of high resistance.” After an intial exploration revealed the tops of concrete fortifications, he determined that this was a sizable German battery, and set about acquiring the land in order to excavate it to reveal the buried fortifications.

Here’s what he found: a nearly undamaged major artillery gun complex the size of Point du Hoc, outfitted for (3) fixed  and (1) field 105mm cannons, among other large artillery weapons.  There are an officers quarters, extensive trenches, and large bunkers.  Stern theorizes – and he may be right – that this battery was the culprit behind the devastation of Omaha Beach.  It certainly wasn’t Point du Hoc, because after 225 Rangers attacked it amphibiously at 6:30AM on D-Day, they found telephone poles in the gun positions.  The Maisy Battery is an amazing modern archaeological site that will keep historians debating its role on D-Day for years to come.

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