During the night of June 5/6th, troops of the 9th Parachute Battalion were dropped on Merville Battery, to neutralise the guns there. Situated 2km inland the battery at Merville was an ‘indirect fire’ battery, and needed the forward observation post at Franceville to control its fire.
Everything that could go wrong with the attack did go wrong, leaving the attacking troops with little heavy weapons and no working radio. This latter problem was particularly worrying as the Royal Navy were due to shell the battery if they did not recieve the ‘success’ code-words.
Despite all this the paratroopers succeeded in disabling the batteries guns before having to pull out due to the impending naval barrage.
Although the Germans were able to get the battery firing again, it was out of action during the critical period of the D-Day landings. The battery continued to operate until August 1944.
Today the battery is a well preserved museum, with a Dakota gate-guard (itself with a story to tell) and a very interesting audio-visual display in one of the bunkers.