Mengant and Cornouaille Batteries

Brest has a deep naturally sheltered harbour that can only be reached by passing a waterway called the Goulet de Brest.

The key to an effective defence of the harbour lay in a good defence of the coastlines south and north of the Goulet (throat). The defence works along these coastlines served three purposes. Firstly, they defended anchorages where friendly ships could wait for the right tide and winds to pass through the Goulet and enter the harbour. The tower of Camaret and the Fort of Bertheaume served this purpose. Secondly, the forts had to defend the coast against an enemy landing. The tower of Camaret and the batteries near the beach of Le Conquet (Plage des Blancs Sablons) are examples of those defences. The third purpose was served by the Mengant and Cornouailles batteries; preventing enemy ships from passing through the Goulet.

One site along the Goulet was of special interest; the passage along the Roche Mengant, a small rock pointing out of the water almost exactly in the middle of the waterway. Here ships were forced to sail closer to the coastline to avoid a series of rocks below the surface of the water, making it the perfect spot for defences.

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Author: Jeroen van der Werf

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Keywords: Mengant, Cornouaille, Batteries, Fortifications, Brest, France




Jeroen van der Werf

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