There were four massive gun casemates or turms as they are called on this iconic and historic site. Of all my visits to the many museums and bunkers in France this one and the surrounding area is my favourite.
Turm 1 holds the museum and has a rich and detailed history of the Todt batterie. (pictured above)
Route du Musée,
62179 Hameau de Haringzelle
When driving into the Audinghen area from any direction the D 940 road will lead you to the Batterie Todt museum and associated turms. There is a beatiful hotel and restaurant called the Samoria as well as a campground, both located next to the museum.
The Battle of France in May and June 1940 placed Calais and vicinity under the control of an enemy of Britain for the first time since the end of the Napoleonic Wars, 125 years earlier.
On 21 May 1940, Hitler discussed the possibility of invasion with Großadmiral (Grand Admiral) Erich Raeder, the Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) and on 25 June surprised Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW, supreme command of the armed forces), by ordering the preparation studies and appreciations for an invasion of Britain, which were ready on 2 July.
In an OKW directive by Wilhelm Keitel on 10 July, 1940 it states:
All preparations are to be made to provide strong frontal and flank artillery protection for the transportation and landing of troops in case of a possible crossing from the coastal strip Calais–Cape Gris Nez–Boulogne under the control of the Kriegsmarine.
Hitler issued Fuhrer Directive 16 on 16 July for an invasion as Unternehmen Seelöwe (Operation Sea Lion), in which, Strong forces of coastal artillery must command and protect the forward coastal area.
Organisation Todt began work on positions capable of withstanding the heaviest bombing for every heavy artillery piece available, primarily at Pas-de-Calais, commenced on 22 July 1940.
The Kriegsmarine or German Navy had cancelled the construction of additional warships in 1941 leaving several 380mm guns available for coastal defence. One of the first coastal batteries with these weapons was Batterie Siegfried later renamed Batterie Todt and was located in the Cap-Gris-Nez area and outside the town of Audinghen in northern France.
The Todt Batterie was named after Fritz Todt who died accidentally in a plane crash in 1942. Todt was the Reich Minister of Munitions and head of the Organization Todt, the civil and military engineering group.
After death of Fritz Todt, Adolf Hitler had appointed Albert Speer in charge of all civil and military construction operations including that of coastal defences for the Atlantik Wall.
The Todt Batterie fired it's first shell on January 20th, 1942 but was officially inaugurated on February 10th, 1942 and formed part of the 242nd Coastal Artillery Battalion and was commanded by Lieutenant Commander Kurt Schilling who was also responsible for Batterie Lindemann and Batterie Grosser Kurfurst.
The Todt batterie consisted of four 380mm (15 inch) calibre guns made by Krupp with a range up to 55.7 kilometres (34.6 mi), capable of reaching the British coast, and each protected by a bunker of reinforced concrete.
The batterie was taken by Anglo-Canadian troops in September 1944, after an intense aerial bombardment, as part of Operation Undergo.
For more details refer to the history of the batterie at the museum web site and historical section located here: http://www.batterietodt.com/historique
References and historical narrative on this section include:
The Atlantic Wall History and Guide
Hitlers Atlantic Wall
Imperial War Museum
I used two different cameras on the 2016 visit. The Nikon Coolpix 35mm and the Apple iPhone Six S Plus.
98 feet (travel)
105 feet (combat)
Barrel length: 70 feet 8 inches
Bore: 283 mm
Elevation: 50 degrees
Traverse: 2 degrees
Muzzle velocity: 3,675 feet per second
Maximum firing range: 40 miles
Rate of fire: 15 rounds per hour