The Cousen Fortress is a large French-built fortress off the French coast in the English Channel. After the fall of France it has been in use by the Germans.
The Cousen Fortress is located on a small island in the English Channel near Normandy. This large structure is strategically placed to defend the French coastline, and is ideal for attack ships attempting to cross the channel.
The Cousen Fortress resembles the typical late 18th Century military architechture, being a six sided structure with heavy gun implacements all around, and large central courtyard with an extensive underground area. Six large bastions are located at each of the external corners, each with a roof level ideal for defensive fighting. The roofs of the walls provide further upper defensive positions, and the Germans have now added anti-aircraft guns along these positions. The interior of the fortress houses command rooms, radio rooms, barracks, kitchen and mess hall, as well as the fortresses primary weapon implacements of heavy artillery cannons. The underground section of the fortress houses the pump, drainage, and electrical systems. Also, large storage areas are located here too, were most of the anti-aircraft and artillery ammunition is stored.
Attached to the island that holds the main fortress is a smaller island holding a lighthouse. This lighthouse is vitally important in the guidance of ships in these treacherous waters.
The Cousen Fortress was built in 1798 to protect French trade routes in the English Channel during France's dispute with England. Since then it has seen extensive usage by the French during the 19th and 20th Centuries. In 1940, following the fall of France to Nazi Germany, the Cousen Fortress was taken over by the Kriegsmarine as a naval defense station to watch over the French coast, as it had been used to do so before. In 1944 a Luftwaffe detachment was sent to the fortress to aid in it's defense, and an anti-aircraft battery was established following German suspicions of an Allied invasion in France. Numerous attempts were made by the Allies to initially bomb the fortress, but the flawless anti-aircraft defense preceeded such attempts. Other commando units also attempt to neutralize the fortress, but too, failed. The situation was further compounded by the fact that Allied ships required the lighthouse at the fortress in order to safely navigate towards the French coast in the early morning hours. The Germans knew this, and had deactivated the lighthouse. The Cousen Fortress was finally captured and the lighthouse reactivated by an SAS team only hours before the D-Day invasion.