Entre Mer & Campagne is an old farmhouse dating from the 19th century.
It includes a main house and annexes.
During the Second World War, from 1940 to 1944, the farm was occupied by the Germans, as was Octeville sur Mer.
Because of its geographical location, Octeville was considered as one of the key elements of the defence of Le Havre, which with its port and its region had a strategic importance for the occupier.
The German General Staff made it a fortress that included 2 lines of defense, using bunkers, blaukaus, minefields and an anti-tank ditch composed of 3 sections.
From September 1940, the Luftwaffe built the Octeville airfield to take off its fighters. The airfield was requisitioned and the surrounding farms (including Entre Mer & Campagne) were used to shelter the fighter planes. 20 mm anti-aircraft guns surrounded the airfield where a 34-bed bunker was also present under the orders of Doctor Major Hatzmann of the Luftwaffe. The infirmary was located east of the crossroads of the Octeville road and Saint-Just street. Integrated into the Corvée Battery, it was protected by a 380 mm cannon and various structures:
- A personal shelter under a house in the southwest corner of the intersection
-a water reservoir more than 50 m deep (still visible in the garden of Entre Mer & Campagne - photo n°3).
- a transmission centre in the meadow south of Cauchoise Street (photo no. 2)
The whole airfield was protected by networks of trenches where were the German units of the 936th Grenadier Regiment (3rd Battalion) and by the DCA. Saint-Andrieux (our neighbourhood) had become a fortified camp.
In April 1940, the French troops (329th Infantry Regiment) took up position around the airfield and at Octeville-sur-Mer, an English battalion in charge of building a defense line on the outskirts of Le Havre by connecting the cities of Cauville-sur-Mer, Octeville-sur-Mer, Montivilliers and Harfleur: the Evans Line.
The 1st line of defense started from the coast with the hamlet of Saint-Andrieux near the airfield of Octeville-sur-Mer (where we are located) until the wood of the Ardennes to Montivilliers and Harfleur where the valley of the lizard has transformed into a lake of 13 kilometers length.
A 2nd line of defence was located from Octeville to Montivilliers via Fontaine-la-Mallet.
In 1944, the Battle of Le Havre, Operation Astonia, began. It was launched on Sunday 10 September at 17:45 by ground troops on the town of Fontaine-La-Mallet.
On Monday, September 11, the fighting units equipped with special devices designed to force obstacles managed to make their way through the German lines and to take the defences of Octeville-sur-Mer backwards. The first Allied units pierced the German lines and liberated Octeville and Le Havre the next day. Operation Astonia had nearly 45,000 Allied soldiers who surrendered the Fortress of Le Havre on Tuesday, September 12, 1944.
Octeville-sur-Mer, released on September 10, 1944, counted his injuries: 26 civilian deaths; 19 soldiers or resistance fighters killed in combat, 750 homes affected.
Allied casualties amounted to nearly 400 officers and soldiers.
The municipality was 45% devastated.
The Germans tried to set fire to our cottage when they left (it was a straw reserve). Burned farms were found in the ceilings during the work (Photo 1). We kept a few pieces.
The heroic actions of 29 Octevillais and the extent of the destruction explain why Octeville was awarded the War Cross on 10 July 1949.
On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Le Havre in 2017, the graffiti artist Havrais Jace created fifty graffiti, scattered throughout the city. This giant urban work was realized in 2 sessions of 15 days each.
The project called "Catch me if you (spray) can" gives you the opportunity to visit Le Havre differently by chasing the gouzou (small cheerful and funny character).
In the gite, you will find a book signed by the artist for Entre Mer & Campagne, allowing you to view all the Gouzous to find.