Cross Channel Duel

PasdeCalais

This map shows the fire pattern and coordinates of the four heavy batteries in the Pas de Calais at A. Sangatte, B. Framzelle, C. Haringzelle and D. La Treserorie.

One of the lesser known campaigns of WW II was the cross channel bombardments in the Pas-de-Calais and Dover area between German and British large gun emplacements. Here is some information on this little known action.

In the four years where the cross channel gun emplacements were on the front line towns in the Kent region suffered over 100 civilian dead and four times that many injured as a result of 3,514 German shells bursts. Dover alone received 2,284 of these shells from the German guns… From the British guns, 4,240 rounds were fired. In both cases many of the rounds fired were at shipping in the channel. The allied landings on Normandy removed this aspect of the war as the front line moved to the east in Europe away from the channel.

Here are the guns used by each side.

German Costal Guns in the Calais-Boulogne Sector

  • 204 Naval Coast Battalion, Malo Terminus with 4x 194mm

–HQ-Ostend, St.Pol-sur-Mer with 3x 145mm

  • 244 Naval Coast Battalion

–Waddon Battery with 4x170mm

–OLDENBURG Battery with 2x 240mm

–Calais-Dique Est battery with 3x 75mm

–Calai-Bastion II battery with 3x 194mm

–Calai-Fort Lapin battery with 2x 164mm

–Sangatte battery with 3x 170mm

–LINDEMANN Sangatte battery with 3x 406mm

  • 242 Naval Coast Battalion

–Wissant-M3 battery with 4x 150mm

–GROSSE KURFURST Framzelle battery with 4x 280mm

–Capp Gris-Nez battery with 3x 170mm

TODT Haringzelle battery with 4x 380mm

  • 240 Naval Coast Battalion

–FRIEDRICH AUGUST Wimille – Le Tresorerie battery with 3x 305mm

–Boulogne-Fort de la Creche Ouest battery with 4x 75mm

–Boulogne-Fort de la Creche battery with 2x 240mm. 1x 194mm, and 4x 105mm

–Boulogne-Cap d’Alprech battery with 4x 94mm

–Boulogne-Mont de Couppe battery with 1x 150mm and 3x 138mm

–Boulogne-Breakwater battery with 4x 88mm

  • Railway batteries

–Calais Grables 690 Railway battery with 2x 280mm railway guns

–Sangatte-Cement Factory battery with 2x 280mm railway guns

–Les Alleux battery with 2x 280mm railway guns

–Hydrequent-Le Carre de Marbee battery with 1x 280mm railway guns

–Wimereux-Les Oies battery with 2x 280mm railway guns

Across the channel were the following Kent guns

  • 2. Super Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery

–HQ at Charlton Parl, Bishopsbourne no guns

–5. Super Heavy Battery at Shepherdswell with 2x 12inch named SHEBA and CLEO and 1x 12inch at Eythorne

–8.Super Heavy Battery at Eythorne with 2x 12inch

–11. Super Heavy Battery at Bishopsbourne Tunnel with 1x 18inch named BOCHEBUSTER. Battery accommodation at Lenham Oast House and ammunition store at Lyminge.

–12. Super Heavy Battery HQ at Adisham no guns, at Staple Halt with 1x 12inch and at Poulton Farm with 1x 12inch

  • 3. Super Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery

–HQ at Sellindge, Guinea Hall no guns

–4. Super Heavy Battery with HQ at Sandy Hatch Golf Club with no guns and 1x 9.2inch at Folkestone Railway and 1x 9.2inch at Hythe Railway. Later these were redeplyed in December 1940 to 1x 9.2inch at Rolvenden Station and 1x 9.2inch at Wittersham Road Station.

–13. Super Heavy Battery with HQ at Sellindge with no guns and 1x 12inch at Sellindge Railway and 1x 12inch at Hollybush Railway.

–X. Super Heavy Battery [Canadian] with HQ first at Littlestone and then Kingsnorth, North Ashford with no guns and 2x 9.2inch at Golden Wood Siding. This battery was replaced by 15. Super Heavy Battery in February 1941.

–Y. Super Heavy Battery [Canadian] with 1x 9.2inch at Grove Ferry and 1x 9.2inch at Canterbury. This battery was replaced by 7. Super Heavy Battery in November 1940.

–15. Super Heavy Battery with 2x 9.2inch at Golden Wood Siding. These guns were originally with X. Battery.

–17. Super Heavy Battery with 1x 9.2inch at Kingswortl and 1x 9.2inch at Sevington Spur.

–7. Super Heavy Battery at Elham with 2x 12inch

The Royal Marine Guns were:

  • Royal Marine Siege Regiment with HQ at Portal House, St. Margaret’s

–A Battery at St. Margaret’s with 1x 14 inch named WINNIE and 1x 14 inch named POOH

–B Battery at Guston with 1x 13.5inch named SCENESHIFTER, 1x 13.5inch named PIECEMAKER and 1x 13.5inch named GLADIATOR

  • 540. Coast Regiment with HQ at South Foreland with no guns and 3x 6inch at Fan Bay, 4x 9.2inch at South Foreland and 2x 15inch at Wanstone named JANE and CLEM.
  • 520. Coast Regiment with 3x 6inch at Lydden Spout, 3x 8inch at Hougham and 3x 8in

How bad was the damage to Dover and surroundings? Here is an excerpt from a report:

Last night Dover was shelled between 6 and 11pm, between 150 and 200 rounds were fired at the town, harbour and shipping. Damage and casualties were slight. The guns at Dover returned the fire.

In September 1944 the final stages of the seizure of Calais were played out, the Canadian 9th Brigade began a classic set-piece attack on Cap Gris Nez. The four cross channel gun batteries were housed in large concrete casements which survive to this day. Each was protected by minefields, barbed wire, anti-tank ditches and pillboxes sited for all-around defence. The Floringzelle battery was able to fire inland and its 280 mm shells, known to the Canadians as “freight trains,” had repeatedly tried to hit Canadian targets. Brigadier Todd’s artillery resources included the cross channel guns at Dover known as “Winnie” and “Pooh,” whose crews were anxious to have one last go at the enemy. With their own air observation post (OP) overhead, the British guns engaged and damaged the Floringzelle battery to the great satisfaction of the Canadians who had feared heavy losses from its guns. The ground attack began after a heavy bomber raid. The North Novas and Highland Light Infantry had little trouble in closing with an enemy that had lost all desire to continue a hopeless battle.

Lieutenant-Colonel D.F. Forbes, “Actions Against the Defences of Cap Gris Nez,” DHH.

September 30, 1944

The last cross-channel gun was silenced, ending nearly four years of harassment of the area around Dover.

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