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Notre-Dame de la Délivrande.jpg
Coat of arms of Douvres-la-Délivrande
Coat of arms
Douvres-la-Délivrande is located in France
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Country France
Region Normandy
Department Calvados
Arrondissement Caen
Canton Douvres-la-Délivrande
Intercommunality Cœur de Nacre
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Thierry Lefort
Area1 10.71 km2 (4.14 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 4,891
 • Density 460/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 14228 / 14440
Elevation 17–58 m (56–190 ft)
(avg. 19 m or 62 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Douvres-la-Délivrande is a commune in the Calvados department in the Basse-Normandie region in northwestern France.


World War II

During the Second World War, Douvres-la-Délivrande was the site of an important German air-detection radar installation, part of the strategic Atlantic Wall defences. Completed in the autumn of 1943, the station was split into two zones by the road from Douvres to Bény-sur-Mer; and heavily fortified with bunkers, machineguns and minefields.

The Northern zone held a large Siemens 'Wasserman' long-range radar and associated structures. The larger Southern zone had two intermediate-range Freya and two short-range Würzburg Riese radars; as well as command and infirmary bunkers, garages and artillery placements. Some 230 Luftwaffe personnel were based at the station, including electricians, engineers and 36 air controllers.

At 11 pm on the night of 5/6 June 1944, the Allies launched intensive jamming of radar frequencies which blinded the entire German radar network from Cherbourg to Le Havre. On the morning of the 6th (D-Day) the antennas at Douvres-la-Délivrande were rendered inoperative by Allied naval artillery bombardment.

Canadian troops who had landed nearby on 'Juno Beach' isolated the station but the Germans successfully defended it for 12 days, awaiting a counter-attack by Panzers; on one occasion it was resupplied with food via a nocturnal paradrop mission from Mont-de-Marsan.

On 17 June, a massive offensive by the British 41 Commando, Royal Marines - preceded by an artillery bombardment and supported by mine-clearing and anti-bunker tanks of 79th Armoured Division - secured the surrender of the garrison.

Present day

The radar site at Douvres-la-Délivrande is now home to a museum, with two of the bunkers housing displays about the evolution and role of radar. The museum also maintains a rare preserved example of the 'Würzburg' radar antenna.

The commune has a war cemetery with the graves of 1123 soldiers from both the Allied and Axis forces:

  • 927 British
  • 180 Germans
  • 11 Canadians
  • 3 Australians
  • 1 Pole
  • 1 unknown soldier


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1962 1,821 —    
1968 1,916 +5.2%
1975 2,356 +23.0%
1982 2,877 +22.1%
1990 3,983 +38.4%
1999 4,809 +20.7%
2008 4,891 +1.7%

International relations

The commune is twinned with:

See also


External links