BATTERIE MIRUS
 

 

MirusTurret Camouflage

Situated on high ground above L’Eree,on Guernsey’s west coast, and spread over an area approximately 1km by 0.75 km lies the remains of Batterie Mirus. The largest guns to be emplaced on the Channel Islands. Most of the structures remain. All four of the gun emplacements together with adjoining accommodation are intact. Gun position No 1 remains open, situated on agricultural land just off the road. Position 2 is in the garden of a private house. The accommodation area is still accessible, but the gun position has been infilled to create a vegetable garden. No.3 is in the grounds of  La Hougette School. Again the accommodation area is accessible and is used for storage, and the gun emplacement has been partly infilled to create a garden for the school. Lastly Gun position No.4 lies on private land, and is leased to a local company running battle games.

All four guns together with their armoured turrets were remove shortly after liberation, and very little equipment remains to be found in these extensive complexes.

How the 30.5cm guns came to be in Guernsey is an interesting story. The barrels were cast at the Obuchov foundry in 1914 and became the main armament for a dreadnought of the Imperial Russian Black Sea fleet, the Imperator Aleksandr III. Laid down at the Nikolaieff yard in August 1911, launched on the 15th April 1914 and completed in June 1917. Renamed the Volya after the Russian Revolution, and by September 1918 was engaged in the defence of Dardannelles with a German crew. Returned to the Russians in November, only to fall into allied hands during the war with the Bolsheviks. Volya then became the flagship of the ‘White Fleet’ being renamed General Alexeiev.After several voyages the fleet eventually for Costantinople, and then to North Africa, reaching Bizerta in mid-February 1921, where the ships were abandoned. Despite the Soviets demanding the return of the dreadnought, the French Government decided to offset costs of new armaments by selling the greater part of the fleet.

Eventually the General Alexeiev was sold for scrap to the Kliaguine Company in 1928, laying up for three more years before finally being broken up for scrap. The twelve 30.5 cm and eighteen 13cm guns were then placed in storage in Sidi-Abdullah in 1935, with the aim to return them to Russia. Kliaguine expressed an interest in selling the guns to Finland in September 1939, at the outbreak of the Russo-Finnish War. On the 4th January with an agreement reached with Helsinki, three Finnish cargo boats arrived at Bizerta each to take on four of the twelve 30.5cm guns. The first eight arrived in Finland, but the remaining four never reached their intended destination at Petsamo.The last cargo vessel the Nina, after which the Guernsey battery would be named, sailed for Genoa on the 26th February, calling at Gibraltar and an English port en route. Arriving in Norwegian waters on 11th March, the guns were still on board the Nina when the German Army overran Norway the following month. The cargo was unloaded at Bergen, and the four guns taken to Friedrich Krupp A.G. at Essen.

Turret camouflaged as cottage

 

Mirus Turret

Side view of the turret

 

Blue-Print.

Plan of gun turret

 

Mirus Fire Plan

Batterie Fire Plan

 

Mirus-3D-Festung

Original German drawing

The barrels were given the designation 30.5cm K.14(r). The original cradles for the guns provided elevation to only 15º, so new mounting platforms were designed and built, and would be known as the Bettungsschiessgerüst C.40.

In August 1942 after the last gun had completed its trial firing, a short ceremony was held to rename the battery. It was to become Batterie Mirus in honour of Kapitan-zur-See Rolf Mirus, killed in action on 3rd November 1941 aboard Flugsicherunggsboot 502 travelling from Guernsey to Alderney.

 

 

 

BATTERIE COMMAND BUNKER/LEITSTAND
 

 

Mirus Lietstand

The battery command post (leitstand) together with adjoining accommodation bunker lie slightly to the north of Gun No.2. Both these bunkers are in a good state of preservation, but also are on private property. The Leitstand is similar in design to a type S446. The armoured turrets being removed post-war during the scrap drive, leaving the observation room completely inaccessible. A tunnel that originally joined this to the accommodation bunker has been blocked when the road running above was repaired. At the same location can be found the base for the Wurzburg radar.

This was mounted on a converted 2cm Flak 29 emplacement. Six other flak emplacements with crew accommodation can be found on the site. Three to mount the 2cm Flak 38, and the other three to mount the 2cm Flak 29. Nine wooden flak towers were originally built, and removed when the concrete emplacements were complete. However the remains of one wooden tower can still be found a short distance to the south west of Gun No.2, albeit in an advanced state of decay.

A purpose built battery mess, with cellar for beer and stores can be found lower down in the valley to the east of gun position No.3. The concrete block walls of the building remain intact, the roof structure having been allowed to fall into disrepair and vanish completely.

 

Armoured rangefinder cupola

 

Command Bunker & Lietstand Plan

Plan of Leitstand and Command Bunker

 

 

RESERVE AMMUNITION BUNKER

 

 

Mirus Batterie Map

Batterie Location Map

 

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