The Atlantik Wall In Normandy



Écausseville  Map 1311O

To the south west of Montebourg the French installed a small military airfield. They also built a large hanger in 1915 to house and service captive balloons used in the defence of the port of Cherbourg. The hanger was 150 meters long and 32 meters high. When the Germans arrived in June 1940 they simply took it over, using it for the same purpose, also storing 150mm mobile guns here as well. They installed three or four 88 mm cannons to defend the site, along with machine gun emplacements. After D-day the 8th Regiment of Colonel Van Fleet (4th Division) started an attack from Ste Mere Eglise against the elements of the German 709th Division 243rd Division. Soon the Germans were reinforced by Sturm Bat AOK 7 who remained at the rear in reserve. The battle raged around Écausseville for two days (June 8th - 10th). The Americans also attacked from the west with the 505th Parachute Regiment. The 88 mm cannons held up the approaching American tanks and the tiny airstrip was finally taken by the infantry, but with heavy causalities. After its capture the Americans used it as a supply and servicing depot for it transport fleet. Locals tell of the huge stocks of tyres and petrol cans being there long after the war was over. After the war the site reverted to the French military but later became redundant. In 1999 an association was formed to preserve this historic hanger, the last in France. The Conseil Regional have decided that the site is of historic interest and that it will be used at some date to house an aircraft museum dedicated to the WW2. In 2008 it has opened as a museum.


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