Saint Aubin-sur-Mer, in the District of Caen, is a commune in the Calvados department (14), of la Basse-Normandie (25), in northwestern France. Administratively, in the Township of Douvres-la-Délivrande, along its coast the town is 2.1 km to Bernieres-sur-Mer, and driving south is 5.1 to Beny-sur-Mer.[2]

The seafront at Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer
The seafront at Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer
Coat of arms of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer
Coat of arms
Location of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer
Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer is located in France
Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer is located in Normandy
Coordinates: 49°19′45″N 0°23′19″W / 49.3292°N 0.3886°W / 49.3292; -0.3886Coordinates: 49°19′45″N 0°23′19″W / 49.3292°N 0.3886°W / 49.3292; -0.3886
IntercommunalityCœur de Nacre
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Jean-Alain Tranquart
3.03 km2 (1.17 sq mi)
 • Density810/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
14562 /14750
Elevation2–30 m (6.6–98.4 ft)
(avg. 10 m or 33 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Origins: 1851Edit

Up until July 1851, Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer was part of the commune of Langrune-sur-Mer. Upon its creation in 1851, by the will of Napoleon III ,[3] Saint-Aubin had a population of 1,153 and Langrune 1,129. Nicknamed "Queen of Iodine", at low tide its banks of seaside rocks expose, an air of iodine saturates the beaches, thanks to the bladder-fucus and kelp deposited there.[4]

During the second half of the 19th century, the population of Saint-Aubin declined to the point that in 1901, there were only 727 inhabitants. In July 1876, a train station was opened in Saint-Aubin along the Caen à la Mer Line, permitting the development of a sea resort. The 1920s brought the construction of its Rococo or Art Deco villas, and its 1800 m seawall (dam walk), today the seafront buildings open passages to the narrow alleys, where old fishermen's houses are the watchful guardians of the past. Located in the heart of the Canadian and British D-Day beaches, the waterfront, to a large extent, did not suffered from the misdeeds of the war.[5]

History: D-DayEdit

At the beginning of the Battle of Normandy, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, commanded by Major General Rodney Keller, landed 15,000 Canadians and 9,000 British troops on the Calvados coast. Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, one of five Canadian landing sites. was located at the eastern end of Canada's assigned landing sector of Juno Beach. On D-Day, the 8th Canadian Infantry (Assault) Brigade (Group) stormed the beach, landing The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, the 10th Armoured Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse), and the guns of the 19th Canadian (Army) Field Regiment, RCA. The Canadians were met by about 100 defenders who garrisoned the town's fortified 'Resistance Nest'. The Germans were largely unaffected by the preparatory barrage, as such they were able to put up heavy resistance at the beach and in the town, for most of the day, as the Canadians pushed inland.

Widerstandnesten WN27 was located at: North 49.332846 degrees and West 00.395439 degrees and in June 1944 for targeting purposes was at: LCC MR Grid 014850 (Ref. GSGS 4250 1:50K: Creully Sheet 7E/5). The (WN) Resistance Nest at Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer was a platoon sized position, incorporating reinforced concrete (Verstärkt Feltmessig: Vf Type 2) gun casemates, with additional observation and fighting positions, located to dominate exits off the beach, into the town.[6] A tight and compact position on the western side of town, the fight to hold WN27 was commanded by Züg Führer (Acting Commander) Lieutenant Gustav Pflochsch - Kompanie 5. / Grenadier-Regiment 736./ Bataillon II. The crew served weapon shelters were linked by both underground passages and a well-developed system of trenches. WN 27 additionally incorporated a battalion heavy mortar detachment, located directly behind the beach seawall. Several of the villas and houses, in the town, had been strengthened and fortified as additional fighting positions, and to locate site snipers.[7][8] Approaches into the position were well protected by K.V. Gruppe Courseulles minefields. The left front (NW) sea approach was protected by a large Beach Minefield: Mf 56, and beach front, above the left seawall, by Mf 44. The left rear (SW) land approach was protected Beach Minefield: Mf 55 and its rear left flank by tactical minefield: Mf 45.[9]

The coastline at St Aubin-dur-Mer was low lying, and to its east were low cliffs for a mile and a half, with a sea wall along most of it. Offshore, eastwards were rocky outcrops parts of which were exposed at low tide: les Essarts de Langrune.[10] Having survived a weakened beach bombardment programme, at 07h39, WN 27 began to take indirect fire; from landing craft LCT (Mk4) embarked SP 105mm Artillery. Firing on the run in, 19th Canadian (Army) Field Regiment, RCA, forty-eight guns fired for 30 minutes, putting down a very effective concentration, landing its first battery at 09h10. Heavily mortared getting off the narrowed (tide) and congested beach, the first gun was in action at 09h20. Observation and reconnaissance parties reported finding few targets in the early stages, when there was much close fighting, in the town.[11][12][13] With no relief, the position was then covered by LCT (Rocket) 5" Drenching Fire at H-8 and H-5 and the two flanks enveloped by Hedgerows 60 lbers, from LCA(HR)s at H-3, intended to cut the wire entanglements and detonate the landmines, securing the approaches onto the crew fighting positions.[14] Disrupting any attempt at recovery, WN 27 began to take direct fire from arriving LCT (Mk3) DD Tanks of C Squadron, 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment, The Fort Garry Horse, at H-Hr (07h55 BST). ‘C’ Squadron landed and managed to give supporting fire from the beach.[15]

Attacked from its left flank, WN 27 was assaulted by ‘B’ Company, The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment (OC Major R.B. Forbes) they landing just west of the town, at 08h10, it having the difficult task of clearing the strong-point. This as ‘A’ Company, (Major J.A.M.C. Naughton), landing at 08h10 hours, to its right, was to clear the beach-houses fronting the seawall.[16][17][18] At H+45 with no beach exits, the reserve North Shore companies landing, snipers targeting the tank commanders, the OC 'C’ Squadron, The Fort Garry Horse (Major W. Bray) decided to advance through 'the' minefield (Beach Mf 56). Three tanks lost, 'C' Squadron now in St. Aubin (with Royal Engineer AVREs), after a hard fight St Aubin, was soon under control.[19] 'A' Company clear of its planned objective by 09h48, except for the strong-point, Saint Aubin was reported as neutralized (secure) - at 11h15. Having taken 48 prisoners, with continuing difficulty at isolated spots, WN 27 was reported as Neutralized (Cleared) – at 18h00.[20][21] The North Shores landing at NAN Red lost nearly 50 men (dead and wounded) in the fight for WN 27.[22]

German Crew Served Weapons at WN 27 Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer.[23][24]

Regelbau Type Ringstand (Casement) Weapon / Gun Details
OB Gr.West Vf600v KWK SK Small Hood (Haube) 50mm Pak 38 L/60 180 Degree Open Pedestal
OB Gr.W Heer VfRs58c Tobrouk - 80 cm Thick Heavy MG and Crew Reinforced Field Position
OB Gr.W Type 34 Vf69 Tobrouk sGranatwerfer 8 cm Granatwerfer 34 8.14 cm Heavy Mortar For Crew and Observer
Weapon Crew Posts x3 Reinforced Vf (Verstärkt Feldmäßig) Light MG - Maschinengewehr Open Crew Fighting Posts x3
Mortar Crew Winged Pit Nest fur schweren Granatenwerfer 34 3 x 8.14 cm Battalion Mortar Gruppen Beyond Seawall - Left Flank

Discussing the fire support to the landing at Saint Aubin-sur-Mer (NAN Red), a debate began, in late June 1944, as to who was not entirely effective in supporting the North Shores and the Fort Garry’s, on the 6th of June.

  • ‘On the left battalion front (St. Aubin-sur-Mer) neither the RAF heavy bombers, the rockets, nor the self-propelled artillery actually covered the main strong point and the North Shore Regiment engaged it without the assistance of heavier arms until sometime later. A considerable time was therefore spent in reducing it.’ Brigadier K.C. Blackader, MC, ED, Commander 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade:24 June 1944.[25]
  • From H-40 to H, the three Fleet ‘V’ Class Destroyers, of Assault Group J2, HMS Vigilant (R93), HMCS Algonquin (R17) and HMCS Sioux did not fire, as planned in support of the two 8 CIB landings. Controlled by HMS Kempenfelt (Flag - Captain Assault Group J2), The Beach Drenching Fire Programme, set out to ensure indirect naval gunfire was delivered to the right beach, at the right time, was changed, as the St Aubin and Bernières landings took place.[26]
  • When 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade put H Hour back by ten minutes, this apparently caused a delay in the opening of fire of the SP artillery, as six batteries had to adjust their firing tables. However, Brigade HQ reported that Bernières and St Aubin received ‘a terrific pounding’, this before all SP artillery fire switched to St Aubin. At the time, the cause was thought to be the strong current making navigation and station keeping difficult, as SP guns had a limited traverse, the LCT itself had to be aimed, the current caused all craft to point at St Aubin. A later report suggested a technical problem with the control craft observing and controlling fire on Bernières, so control was transferred to the craft off St Aubin and all fire concentrated there. Whatever the cause it was Bernières (Nan White), that did not receive the full (beach) barrage as planned.[27]



Literary associationsEdit


  • Every summer in the middle of August, Saint-Aubin hosts a week-long festival called La semaine acadienne, composed of concerts by musical groups from Acadia, a Tintamarre, an open-air ball, exhibitions, documentary film showings, etc. The festival also pays tribute to the Acadian soldiers of the North Shore Regiment of New Brunswick who landed on the beach of Saint-Aubin on June 6, 1944.[29][30]

International relationsEdit

The commune is twinned with:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. ^ Map-France, Basse-Normandie, Calvados, Saint Aubin-sur-Mer. See: Accessed 05.02.2018
  3. ^ "Collection complète des lois, décrets, ordonnances, règlements et avis du Conseil d'État, 1851, page 282".
  4. ^ France-Voyage (2003), Cities and Towns, Calvados, Saint Aubin-sur-Mer. Accessed 06.02.2018
  5. ^ France-Voyage (2003), Cities and Towns, Calvados, Saint Aubin-sur-Mer. Accessed 06.02.2018
  6. ^ CSC - The Canadian Soldier in the 20th Century: Normandy Landing. See: Accessed 16.05.2016
  7. ^ Harold. WN27, Nan Red Sector, Juno Beach, Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, Normandy. Taken on July 27, 2010. See: Accessed 16.05.2016
  8. ^ Saunders, T., Battleground Europe – Normandy - Juno Beach: Canadian 3rd Infantry Division, 2004. Pg 61. Accessed 29.01.2018
  9. ^ AOK 7 Mapping: Stützpuntkte KVA ‘H1’ Caen: 716 & KVA ‘H2’Bayeau: 352. Accessed 03.02.2018
  10. ^ Overlord/Operation Neptune, Force 'J' - Juno Beach. Pages 64./ See : Accessed 02.02.2018
  11. ^ War Diary: 19th Cdn Army Field Regiment. St-Aubin-sur-Mer, Page 5, 6 Jun 44. See: Accessed 05.02.2018
  12. ^ : JUNO Beach - Other Units: Royal Canadian Artillery. See: Accessed 05.02.2018
  13. ^ Lt. R.H. Roy, Report No. 54 - Historical Section (G.S.) Army Headquarters. Canadian Participation in the Operations in North-West Europe, 1944. Part 1: The Assault and subsequent operations of 3 Cdn Inf Div. Appendix B. Dated 3 Dec 45. Accessed 10.08.2016
  14. ^ Lt. R.H. Roy, Report No. 54 - Historical Section (G.S.) Army Headquarters. Canadian Participation in the Operations in North-West Europe, 1944. Part 1: The Assault and subsequent operations of 3 Cdn Inf Div. Appendix H. Dated 3 Dec 45. Accessed 10.08.2016
  15. ^ Overlord/Operation Neptune, Force 'J' - Juno Beach. Page 66. See: Accessed 02.02.2018
  16. ^ Overlord/Operation Neptune, Force 'J' - Juno Beach. Page 77. See : Accessed 02.02.2018
  17. ^ War Diary: The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer: 6 Jun 44. See: Accessed 29.01.2018
  18. ^ Overlord/Operation Neptune, Force 'J' - Juno Beach. Page 77. See: Accessed 02.02.2018
  19. ^ Overlord/Operation Neptune, Force 'J' - Juno Beach. Page 77. See : Accessed 02.02.2018
  20. ^ War Diary: The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer: 6 Jun 44. See: Accessed 29.01.2018
  21. ^ Overlord/Operation Neptune, Force 'J' - Juno Beach. Page 66, See : Accessed 02.02.2018
  22. ^ The North Shore Regiment, WWII: The Strong Point. See: Accessed 26.01.2018
  23. ^ Anderson Richard C., Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: The 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA., 2010, ISBN 9780811742719, Chapter 4 German Planning and Preparation: The German Defences - Page 73. Accessed 18.05.2016
  24. ^ The Atlantik Wall In Normandy, Hand Maid Tours (John), See: Accessed 25.05.16
  25. ^ Canadian Army Commanders (2005) "The Technique of the Assault: The Canadian Army on D-Day: After-Action Reports by Commanders," Canadian Military History: Vol. 14: Iss. 3, Article 5, Page 5. Available at: Accessed 04.02.2018
  26. ^ Overlord/Operation Neptune, Force 'J' - Juno Beach. Appendix F, Page 255./ See : Accessed 06.02.2018
  27. ^ Overlord/Operation Neptune, Force 'J' - Juno Beach, Page 95. See: Accessed 02.02.2018
  28. ^ George Willis Cooke A Guidebook to the Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1891) p. 316
  29. ^ "Semaine Acadienne".
  30. ^ "Grand tintamarre". Calvados Tourisme. Conseil Général du Calvados. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014.

External linksEdit