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The Guns of Cezembre


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During the assault on St. Malo the troops of the US 83rd Infantry div came under fire from the bigs guns stationed on Cezembre, an island of solid rock located about 3 miles off the coast. The guns were old French RR pieces set in concrete with full 360 degree traverse. There were 6 total, plus a lone German 150mm.

Was this fire observed and corrected by spotters on the mainland, or was it merely harrasment?

Shhh...I think I hear Dandelion coming

BTW, here are some nice pics of the island as it stands today. Scroll down to the bottom and click on 'East' to begin the tour.

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Try this site, which is the home page for the first site I posted.

As you can see it was heavily fortified against both land and sea invasion. The German land forces HQ of the Western Front estimated that the St. Malo fotifications were the most advanced of any fortress in the west.

Edit: here is another good site

Here is another

[ May 10, 2005, 04:20 AM: Message edited by: Kingfish ]

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Hi King

They had the ability and opportunity to direct their fire.

Richard Seuss commanded the "Batterie Ile de C├ęzembre" which formed part of the six battery battallion "Marine-Artillerie-Abetilung 608". The others numbered 1-3 and deployed in and near St Malo proper, plus batteries "St Lunaire" and "Cancale" deployed on these islands).

This was an integrated force and not independent batteries, meaning the battalion and all barrels could be directed and commanded from one headquarters - that of Endell in St Malo to be precise, he in turn having access to both mobile and emplaced observer teams. The batteries had the standard twin connection with mainland, i.e. a wire and a wireless such.

Though a "Seeziel" (anti-surface vessel) unit, all batteries participated in the battle of St Malo and reduced land-, air- and sea targets (all batteries had a Flak component).

My only source on the events as they took place, though, is "Das Buch der deutschen Kriegsmarine 1939 - 1945" (Mallmann) and I can't say it is too detailed on this battle as such. Sources on organisation, deployment and equipment are richer.

So I don't know if they actually directed fire, or merely fired pattern harassing fire. I know that they could, and I can't see why they wouldn't have. Directed their fire I mean.

Ok so it wasn't a conclusive answer but when did you ever get a such from me? smile.gif

Cheerio

Dandelion

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Thanks, that helped a lot. I will include a spotter to represent these guns, but will most likely have to fiddle with the editor to get the right effect. Probably will be a 210mm to simulate the old French 194mm, and reduced ammo load.

BTW, I've read accounts that say Cezembre was the most heavily bombarded place in WW2. Is this true?

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I don't know, I have read them too, German sources often state this. You know Seuss was an officer in the Bundesmarine after the war and a character known even to army guys like myself. Lots of mythos around him, dozens of anecdotes. I fear German sources will have a problem separating fact from fiction because of his symbolic value. I'd trust a US source. What do the Americans say, do they confirm it?

Cheerio

Dandelion

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