York battery – Amfreville
German batteries of the Atlantic Wall in Normandy
Unit: 260th Marine Artillery Battalion
Codename: Stp 277 – York
Artillery guns: 4x 170 mm SKC 34
Outcome: Under American control on 26 June 1944
The York battery is located west of Cherbourg, near Querqueville. It is also known as the Amfreville battery.
Composition of the York battery
Originally, the Amfreville battery is a French stronghold of artillery dating from 1898 that is inscribed in the defense of the port of Cherbourg, in the Cotentin. Beginning in 1926, three guns of 164 mm models 1893-96 were installed: these pieces opened fire on June 18, 1940 on German troops located in the Martinvast region, before being destroyed on order the following day.
The Germans seized the battery and reused the French installations while reinforcing them during the work carried out during the construction of the Atlantic Wall. They installed four naval guns from the First World War, Krupp 170 mm SKC 34 with a maximum range of 27.2 kilometers.
The guns are housed in Regelbau M272 casemates and the shots are controlled from a two-storey post at the back of the casemates at a higher position. The entire site includes multiple shelters, ammunition bunkers and firing positions for mortars and machine guns.
York battery during the battle of Normandy
The York battery was operational at the end of June when the Allies sought to seize Cherbourg and its precious deep water port. It takes to the side the American warships that cross offshore and which have been commissioned to bombard the different batteries of artillery of the area.
On June 25, an impressive duel of artillery took place for long hours between the Battery York, its counterparts in the area of Cherbourg and the allied ships.
On both sides, direct fire is recorded but without causing major damage. The American warships were out of range of the German guns at about three o’clock. This support allows the ground forces to approach as close as possible to Cherbourg and its fortified points: on June 26th, the 2nd battalion of the 47th infantry regiment belonging to the 9th American infantry division takes the battery York .
After the war, it was reused by the French army, which sold some of the land in 2010.