After the German occupation of France in May 1940, the German navy (kriegsmarine) took over the former French fort de l'Ève. The fort was established in 1859 and the arming was continuously upgraded. In 1940, the arming was four 194 mm. guns. The Germans started an expansion and called the fort for Gun Battery Behnke-West.
In 1941 the German navy decided to rearm the guns to four 170 mm. guns which were placed in separate bunkers (M 270).
On 28 March 1942 the guns was used, as the they opened fire on the British ships that participated in command the attack on Saint Nazaire (Operation Chariot). The ships came quickly out of the guns shot field and could continue towards their target that was the large dry dock in the harbor.
In February 1944 the gun battery a prominent visit by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, he was undergoing a major inspection of the Atlantic Wall.
To expand shot field, the guns in the two westernmost bunkers were moved to the outside. In the two eastern pillboxes, the left wall was partly decomposed with a pneumatic hammer.
The gun battery at Fort de L'eve was part of the fortress of Saint-Nazaire and as with several of the other submarine bases in France, the Allies failed to capture. Instead, they chose to lay siege to the area and continue the attack around.
The battle for Saint Nazaire continued until 6th May 1945 were the garrison of 28,000 men, across the Saint-Nazaire fortress, surrendered to the Allies May 11, 1945.
© Picture by Ludovic Péron