Merville-Franceville-Plage, more commonly known as Franceville, is located on the Côte Fleurie 6 km from Cabourg and 14 km from Caen, on the right bank of the Bay of l'Orne 49 ° 16'59 "N 0 ° 12'04" O.
The hinterland is a plain suitable for growing grain.
The 9th Parachute Battalion British, consisting of 750 men belonging to the 6th British Airborne Division, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Terence Otway's priority mission to attack, on the night of 5 to 6 June 1944, the battery Merville with four 150mm guns that can take their fire at the mouth of the Orne and the landing zone Sword Beach. About 150 men parachuted into the night managed to gather in Gonneville-en-Auge but most have not received their equipment. If taking the battery is important, it is not vital. Others are trapped in the marshes of Varaville. Otway commits an assault, however, without heavy equipment at 4:30 and neutralizes the battery, finding that the alleged passing 150 mm guns were actually guns Skoda 100 mm. Otway loses about half its men. German losses were even heavier with only 22 of 130 soldiers valid. This action, described as "unimaginable assault" will remain one of the most heroic D-Day
In 1976, the Association for the Safeguarding of the museum site of Pegasus Bridge and Merville Battery, chaired by General Sir Richard Gale, supports the idea of Françoise Gondrée to redeem the land by the Coastal Protection and undertake the restoration of the Battery. A monument erected on the site of the Merville battery is the "Old Head" at the time of the Allied landings. Terence Otway died July 23, 2006 near London. A tribute was paid to him by the municipality on July 30 at the site of the Merville Battery in the presence of civilian and military authorities and Veterans of the 9th Battalion.