13th April 1942

Battery Mirus was test fired for the first time

Battery Mirus (or Batterie Mirus) wasn’t a single gun. It was four emplacements overlooking Guernsey’s west coast, above the headland at L’Eree. They were supported by various lookouts, including the range finding tower at Pleinmont.

Each consisted of a concrete bunker, 21m in diameter, and a 51 ton barrel with, coincidentally, a range of 51km. As well as defending Guernsey from Allied invasion, the guns could reach the Cherbourg Peninsular, and the furthest point onĀ Jersey. Their shells travelled at more than 3,600km/h (2230mph).

Batterie Mirus location

Pre-owned artillery

The barrels were technically second hand. Built in 1914, they were being shipped from Russia to Finland early in the Second World War when the ship transporting them, Nina, was intercepted by German marine forces.

They were transported to Essen where the engineering firm Krupp upgraded them before sending them on to Guernsey. They arrived at St Peter Port from St Malo and were dragged from there to their final positions. The mounts on which they were fixed could rotate through 360 degrees to give them all-round coverage.

So important was the battery to the German defence of the Channel Islands that the guns were disguised, with some of them made to look like regular houses or cottages looking out to sea. They were so large that each one was operated by a team of 72 men who lived on the site in bunk rooms. There were facilities for showering and cooking on site.

Battery Mirus fired for the first time

The first test firing took place on 13 April 1942, when gun number two was primed and fired.

The battery was originally named Nina, after the ship from which the guns were recovered, but its name was changed to Mirus in August 1942 in honour of Rolf Muris, a Captain at Sea of the German Navy. He had been killed between Guernsey and Alderney the previous year.

Not much remains of the battery today. The guns themselves were broken up and sold for scrap after the war, and the concrete bases have been left to slowly decay. Efforts are now being made to preserve them so they can be opened to visitors.

Locations of Battery Mirus guns

Satellite imagery (c)2018 Google, Map data (c)2018 Google.

 

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Other events that occured in April

Guernsey’s first female murderer goes on trial 1st
A French fisherman is arrested and escorted to St Peter Port 2nd
Guernsey’s new population law comes into force 3rd
Guernsey’s oldest resident dies, aged 110 4th
An occupation-era minefield is discovered at L’Ancresse 5th
Birth of Stone de Croze, the original Guernseyman 6th
The first ever Guernsey stamp is issued 7th
Antiquarian William Collings Lukis was born 8th
Guernsey hosts its first Parkrun at Pembroke 9th
Alderney residents lined the coast to watch Titanic pass 10th
Norfolk pupils spend a week in Guernsey 11th
A plane hit a car while landing at Guernsey Airport 12th
Battery Mirus was test fired for the first time 13th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry fights at Ypres 14th
Guernsey Mormon Sampson Avard dies in Illinois 15th
Lieutenant Governor, Lord Ruthven, died in Bath 16th
Death of the Vicar General of the Channel Islands 17th
TV’s Jeeves is rushed to hospital on Guernsey 18th
Guernsey Airport’s new terminal opened for business 19th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie film opened 20th
Death of Guernsey-born footballer Len Duquemin
Three Jewish women are deported from Guernsey 21st
Guernsey bigamist got married for the second time 22nd
Aurigny pilot Ray Bowyer spots a UFO near Alderney 23rd
The States of Guernsey registers the gov.gg domain 24th
Guernsey-set film The Sea Devils hits cinemas 25th
Hydrofoil Condor 1 completed its final sea trials 26th
The first Muratti football match takes place 27th
Guernsey passengers stage a ferry sit-in 28th
Guernsey abolishes the death penalty for murder 29th
Murder suspects steal visitor’s boat from St Peter Port 30th