Fortification in Guernsey was colossal during WWII including bunkers, forts, gun emplacements and tunnels to help create Hitler's Atlantic Wall. Here is a quick overview of what happened on each Island. The initial plan was for two towers to observe a target and through measuring angles determine its distance and therefore grid reference. French Renault Char B1 tanks, destined for Rommel in North Africa in early 1942, also were diverted to the Channel Islands. Anti landing craft objects of steel and wood, thousands of tetrahedra and Czech hedgehog, often with teller mines attached on the beaches.[19]. The Naval Signals HQ at St Jacques in St Peter Port was the main communications centre. Bunkers for ammunition stores were constructed as were accommodation bunkers. Luftwaffe fighter groups JG27 and JG53, equipped with Me Bf 109s, had been based during Kanalkampf in Guernsey in 1940. Granite stones were built into some concrete walls to give a natural stone finish. In Guernsey there were five batteries, each of four 10cm Czech artillery, which had a range of 9.6 kilometres (6.0 mi). An additional 13 being mounted in open field positions. Commanding Officer of the German garrison, Lieutenant-General Rudolf Graf von Schmettow, nephew of Gerd von Rundstedt commander of OB West (Commander-in-Chief West),[1]:195 ordered the writing of a 500-page book that described the fortifications in great detail, illustrated with maps, photographs and coloured drawings. Barbed wire and minefields would have protected the nest.[4]:37. WWII Occupation & Fortification. Guernsey had a major quarrying industry so had stone and crushing facilities available. Fortress Engineers, Festung Pionier Stab XIX, established their HQ at Elizabeth College and stores were set up next to Vale Castle and Bulwer Avenue for timber, stanchions, camouflage paint, anti tank obstacles, steel doors, tank turrets, etc. Netzknotenpunkt (Telephone network bunkers) were built to protect vulnerable exchanges. In this section you will find: Guernsey Occupied - this is a past exhibition about the occupation in general. Wire on low wooden poles; 8). A 90 cm gauge railway was constructed, running from the harbour in St Peter Port north to St Sampson and on to L'Ancresse, before running down the whole of the west coast to L’Eree. Artillery Regiment 319 was strengthened. [7]:59–60, It was not just men that became OT workers; a number of women also found themselves in work camps. Being in the front line of many wars, invasion was almost always a threat and the best locations for defence were being constantly rebuilt with older constructions being re-used and improved. Other buildings used as headquarters included the Crown Hotel, which served as the Harbourmaster's office. One of the most significant periods in the Channel Islands’ history was the German Occupation during World War II. Anti tank walls built at the high water mark. 1,100 OT workers remained in Jersey in October 1943, of which 530 were Islanders. Of the 96 OT workers who died in Guernsey, the majority died as a result of tunnelling accidents, a British bombing raid on St Peter Port in January 1942, and typhus in February 1943. eccentric Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, when she decides to write about the book club they formed Cranes and concrete mixers were sourced. In September 1944 there were 10,980 troops in Guernsey comprising:[14]:52. Up to 7,000 Organisation Todt workers in Guernsey built mainly in two years, between 1941 and 1943, the bulk of the fortifications. Initially the Germans built only feldmässige Anlage (field-type construction) positions. On 2 June 1941 Adolf Hitler asked for maps of the Channel Islands; these were provided the next day. There is now incontrovertible evidence that a top-secret launcher site for V1 missiles was being constructed on the island - but these ones are likely to have contained Sarin. Wehrmacht defence works fell into three categories:[5], Festungspionierstab 19 (Fortress Engineer Staff 19) arrived in Guernsey in July 1941, to make plans for the construction works. A Channel Islands historian tells us, "Most of the OT workers started moving back to France towards the end of 1943 to repair the damage the RAF were inflicting on the railways etc, by 6th June 1944 nearly all the building of fortifications had been done, however in Alderney the slave workers were still there. WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site: ... Heritage Services holds an archive of material relating to the German Occupation of the Island of Guernsey … Batterie Mirus was the largest artillery battery in the Channel Islands. Using the Regelbau standardized plans, each site was excavated normally using manual labour, sometimes needing explosives, the materials excavated generally being kept close by. At Fort Saumarez L’Eree headland, a trench system with machine gun and a Tobruk pit has been opened up and is accessible to the public.[16]:179. Wood; 16). The German occupation of the Channel Islands lasted for most of the Second World War, from 30 June 1940 until their liberation on 9 May 1945.The Bailiwick of Jersey and Bailiwick of Guernsey are two British Crown dependencies in the English Channel, near the coast of Normandy.The Channel Islands were the only de jure part of the British Empire to be occupied by Nazi Germany during the war. A command and an observation bunker completes the major fortifications. [1]:200, Consumable materials were sourced: cement, steel, timber for shuttering, sand and aggregate. Huge World War Two bunker that Hitler built on Guernsey goes on sale for £155,000 and could be turned into a holiday let. In these clips you see some of its famous fortifications including those built by the German occupations forces … Cavities filled with rubble. [16]:98–100, Battery Dollmann at Pleinmont is open to the public to visit; it has one of the four 22 cm gun pits and a number of trenches restored. In Guernsey a total of 92,995m³ of rock was excavated and 22,009m³ of concrete were poured. Holes through walls for ventilation pipes and cables, doorways and escape routes being put in before the concrete was poured. The concept of lineal defences having been discredited in World War 1, the current idea was hedgehog defences with all round visibility and support from other positions giving interlocking fire. 1). [4]:63–4 [16]:178, 3.7 cm Flak and 5 cm Flak provided medium support (3,000-5,000m effective range) and 2 cm Flak were located for close protection of facilities, some in concrete emplacements (2,000m effective range). See more ideas about fortification, wwii, siegfried line. Many of the German works are on private land and so inaccessible to the public. They mined all the beaches. Guernsey received a few tracked anti-tank guns, but relied more on guns such as the 3.7 cm Pak 35/36, fifteen 5 cm Pak 38, and eight 7.5 cm Pak 40. machine gun posts, observation posts, battery locations, etc.) This video shows inside and outside of a World War 2 German Observation Tower which is on a cliff path at Pleinmont Point, Guernsey in the Channel Islands. [17]:21, Anti-airborne landing obstacles were installed, many with explosives attached.[14]:179. Over 16,000 OT workers were brought to the Channel Islands, of whom 7,000 came to Guernsey. Ruins of German WW2 fortifications at the coastline of Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK Batterie Dollman gun pit, a WW2 German installation on Pleinmont headland, Guernsey. [4]:56–9, Land artillery was situated to fire on landing beaches and inland. Some elements were stripped from the Westwall and Maginot Line,[1]:192 others manufactured specifically. Many Dutchmen and others who were brought to Guernsey by the Germans stay… Panel, made from the wooden poles; 12). [22], Widerstandsnest (Resistance nest) (WN) formed a smaller defensive zone, filling in between SP's, and protecting specific points, like artillery batteries or a radar station. Defensive areas were built to protect facilities or an area. The route from St Peter Port to St Saviour was modified to accommodate the towing of the Batterie Mirus gun pieces by four heavy Sd.Kfz. In total there were around 175 dedicated anti-aircraft guns in the island, plus machine guns on anti-aircraft mountings. By 1944 Guernsey’s coastline was covered in concrete fortifications. Oct 28, 2020 - Explore Marcel Edwards's board "world war 2 Guernsey German soldiers 1940-1945" on Pinterest. The island of Guernsey has been fortified for several thousand years, the number of defence locations and complexity of the defence increasing with time, manpower and the improvements in weapons and tactics.. Guernsey and its neighbouring islands have a unique distinction which sets them apart from the rest of the British Isles. The manual labourers - mainly prisoners of war - were treated like slaves, housed in camps, poorly fed and forced to work long hours without respite. 7/40 comprised 7,000m², 29,823 cu m of rock were removed and 9,053 cu m of concrete was poured. [17]:30, A small number of the obsolescent French Renault FT tanks were shipped in 1941 to the island. Two of the batteries were in casemates; three were in reinforced in field positions of earth and timber construction.[4]:59–60. [1]:190–3, On 16 June 1941 Hitler's instructions to reinforce the islands were transmitted there from Oberbefehlshaber West; the rationale was that an Allied attack "must be reckoned with" in Summer 1941. Under the direct orders from Hitler Guernsey was to become an Impregnable Fortress and work commenced on the building of fortifications. Shuttering for concrete walls and if the ceiling was to be done, overhead supports were installed and concrete poured. during the occupation of Guernsey in WWII. Memoirs of Captain Henry Beckingham in command of clearing minefields after the War. Published. The Islands of Guernsey are what’s known as an ‘archipelago’ – a collection of islands located on the English Channel between England and France. Fortifications were improved in the Channel Islands, manned by professional soldiers and the Guernsey militia who would help to defend the Island for the next 600 years. Because the Germans expected to invade the United Kingdom in the autumn of 1940, they decided that expenditure on defences for the islands would be a waste. After the war, bomb-disposal engineers removed 69,301 mines between 18 May and 19 July 1945. Bruno spiral barbed wire; 3). [4]:67–8 Artillerie Abteilung 1265 HQ was at Quatre Vents Estate, St Martin. The Germans found the Islands' fortifications antiquated and woefully inadequate for modern warfare. Shops for joiners and lock smiths were set up. L’Ancresse common has, in the middle of the golf course, the six gun Flak Battery Dolman, in concrete emplacements that could be used for a dual purpose as they commanded sea approaches with a 14,000m effective range. Whether the Islands were impregnable was never tested, except for Battery Blücher in Alderney. How many fortifications were built, how long it took to build them and what were the standard plans (e.g. Massive prop supports were needed for the 2–3.5 metre thick ceilings. Fortress engineers and OT workers returned to France to work on. The designs had been updated as captured enemy fortifications were examined; some were even tested to destruction for effectiveness. neighbouring 600 miles of Normandy coastline. Tunnelling also generated stone. 10.5cm Gun Casement.JPG 2,560 × 1,920; 1.21 MB From October 1941 and especially throughout 1942, building works moved ahead rapidly in hundreds of sites. It comprised three bunkers: types V142, M172 and V192. Camouflaged barrier and machine-gun nest; 10). Aerial photograph of Vazon Bay with Stützpunkt Rotenstein at the top, Resistance in the German-occupied Channel Islands, Civilian life under the German occupation of the Channel Islands, Fort Hommet 10.5 cm Coastal Defence Gun Casement Bunker, "World War II anti-landing devices found in Guernsey", Guernsey Grammar School and Sixth Form Centre, Policy and Resources Committee of Guernsey, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=German_fortification_of_Guernsey&oldid=993985887, Military history of the Channel Islands during World War II, Channel Islands articles missing geocoordinate data, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. OT, formed in 1933, was a construction organization that organised and supervised the work of a number of engineering and const… SUBSCRIBE: http://www.youtube.com/c/VicStefanu - A tour of the German fortifications of Guernsey. When it became clear that conquering Britain would be impossible, Hitler issued orders to convert the Channel Islands The German Festung Guernsey book recorded 616,000m³ of concrete used in Guernsey, almost 10% of the concrete used in the Atlantic Wall. Using four barrels taken from a 1917 Imperial Russian dreadnaught captured in Norway and resting on platforms manufactured by Friedrich Krupp A.G., these 30.5 cm guns had a potential range of 51 kilometres (32 mi) with lightweight high explosive shells, weighing 250 kg or 31 kilometres (19 mi) with the heavier 405 kg armour piercing shells. Russian State Military Archives, Inventory 500, Documents of the OB West. These bunkers were used in addition to the use of hotels and large houses that made more amenable surroundings for the officers. Albert Speer replaced Todt. Rodney fired seventy-two 16-inch shells. [9]:448 Festungspionierkommandeur XIV was created to command the project of fortifying the Channel Islands. [1]:210–5 [10]:39, The manual labour would be provided using Gastarbeitnehmer (guest workers), Militärinternierte (military internees), Zivilarbeiter (civilian workers), Ostarbeiter (Eastern workers), and Hilfswillige ("volunteer") POW workers. [3]:14–26 Tunnelling could be continued 24 hours a day with two 12 hours shifts as lighting in the tunnel could not be seen outside at night. Conditions in Alderney were the worst where for a period the SS ran some Alderney camps. The battery had its own Würzburg Dora radar position and command bunker. [7]:45 HQ and command bunkers were built for the Fortress Commander at La Corbinerie west of Ville au Roi, connected to one for the 319 Divisional commander. [16]:104 However, U-Boats in Guernsey were too vulnerable to air attack. All of these were two stories, some were disguised as houses, with tiled roofs and painted windows. The "Westbefestigungen" (Inspector of Western Fortresses) was given responsibility for oversight and was required to generate bi-weekly progress reports. He ordered additional men to the Islands and, having decided the defences were inadequate, lacking tanks and coastal artillery, he instructed the Organisation Todt (OT) to undertake the building of 200-250 strongpoints in each of the larger islands. Wire barrier around the dugout; 15). [14]:174 More exotic camouflage, including disguising positions as houses were used. The island of Guernsey has … [7]:115 Detailed death certificates were filled out and the deaths were reported to OT in St Malo. Download this stock image: German WW2 fortifications on Guernsey coastal defences - MPA878 from Alamy's library of millions of high resolution stock photos, illustrations and vectors. Alderney was considered too well-protected against aircraft attack so HMS Rodney had the mission of shelling it. A Stützpunktgruppe (Strongpoint group) was a cluster of SP's and WN's under command of a Battalion. Apr 8, 2016 - Explore Digital History Archive's board "WWII Fortifications" on Pinterest. Thousands of foreign prisoners and labourers were shipped to the Islands to complete the construction. Furthermore, to avoid confusion over road names, the Germans introduced a colour and number code. Festung Guernsey (fortress Guernsey). Put up the lookout towers. Five camps were built, however most OT workers went into requisitioned houses. Roads going northwest to southeast were yellow; those going northeast to southwest were red. Würzburg radar units, priority targets for the Allies, were disguised where possible. We have seen some come back for holiday/memorial days. [6]:350 Each area in the Islands was examined and priorities for construction set. [7]:56 The resulting construction work in the Channel Islands was extensive; it required thousands of workers and massive supplies of cement and steel. Each observation slit of a tower observed for one particular battery and was fitted with range finding equipment. German OT wore OT uniforms; civilians from other nations wore civilian clothes. Ho. Skilled labourers brought over from Germany and Europe were provided with a suitable wage. On 2 June 1941 Adolf Hitler asked for maps of the Channel Islands; these were provided the next day. [3]:37, The tunnelling system adopted comprised, drilling a series of holes, several metres deep, inserting charges and detonating them, this created a hole 2–3 metres high and the same width. [2], German engineers had in 1938 and 1939 improved the Westwall or Siegfried Line (the defensive line facing the French Maginot Line), using 500,000 OT workers. [8] The original defence order was reinforced with a second order, dated 20 October 1941, following a Fuhrer conference on 18 October to discuss the engineers' assessment of requirements. The defence shelter with … Sixteen anti tank gun casemates holding the Czech 4.7cm Pak with co-axial machine gun in a casemate, such as a Type R631. The German garrison in the Channel Islands surrendered without a fight on 9 May 1945. Renovated positions are open to the public and some have been refitted and opened as museums. One cubic metre of concrete contained 400 kg cement, 1,800 kg aggregate and sand, 170-200 litres water. Skilled labour was recruited as volunteers from countries that had been overrun by German troops, including the Netherlands, Belgium, and France to top up the thousands of German workers. Lily James plays free-spirited journalist Juliet Ashton, who forms a life-changing bond with the delightful and Over 300 large concrete constructions were built in the Channel Islands. U-boat and S-Boat facilities amounted to fuel tanks installed in Ho. Sourcing of materials and transport had to be organised. The Heer (army) having two Regimental HQ bunkers, 583 Infanterie Regiment in Rue du Candie, St Andrews and 584 Infanterie Regiment at Beau Sejour. [4]:9 A casemate with a 10.5 cm gun has been restored at Hommet headland, north of Vazon and is open to the public. To eliminate traffic accidents, everyone had to drive and cycle on the right. Guernsey received two command tanks, 12 normal tanks, and five flame-throwing tanks.[16]:83. OT transport was brought to Guernsey, mainly French vehicles dating back to 1914, to supplement horse-drawn transport. [16]:101 Naval Range-finding Tower MP 3 at Pleinmont, which has 5 observation levels and had a radar unit on the roof, has become a museum, open to the public. Bunker Archaeology: The German WW2 fortifications of Agii Apostoli in Crete Interviews, Then and Now, WW2 in Greece, WW2 Wrecks. 319 ID provided the bulk of troops for the whole of the Channel Islands, it became the largest division in the German army. First line of defense. Only about 30% of the original 319 ID personnel were still with the unit in June 1944, the fitter men having been sent to the Eastern Front, to be replaced with less fit and non German troops. Local workers too were recruited. Guernsey had to pay for the German troops, providing them with and paying for their food, accommodation and transport.[9]:89. They were supposed to be paid 55 Reichspfennig an hour. Near Guernsey Airport lies the German Occupation Museum, which provides great insight into everyday life during the occupation, complete with a recreation of an occupation-era street.It is also home to a number of Second World War vehicles and fortifications. Ninety-six known graves of these workers are in Guernsey and 397 in Alderney. However, when multiple targets were visible, it was almost impossible to know which ship each tower was observing. This weekend marks 75 years since the beginning of the liberation of the Islands of Guernsey after the Second World War. Mines, controled from the machine-gun nest; 9). The Channel Islands Occupation Society has refitted V142 as a museum.[16]:101. [9]:179–180 The OT hospital was at Ruette Braye, its fuel depot at Grandes Rocques, and timber and cement stores at St Sampson.[7]:26. Today, many bunkers can be viewed and even explored, “The Germans laid barbed wire all along. Fortifications. The German designs incorporated certain standard features such as entrance door at right angles, armoured air intake, 30mm steel doors, ventilation, telephones,[4]:7 internal walls lined with wood, and an emergency exit. Fortifications of Guernsey. Hundreds of reinforced bunkers, gun emplacements There was a lack of waterproofing and subsequent rock falls into cavities could damage the tunnel. [7]:19 OT would carry out the majority of the work. . Film Synopsis: The smaller Freya radar was less visible. [1]:193 Anti glider poles were installed on potential landing sites. [1]:196 Reinforced with additional Heer units including 16th Machine Gun Battalion and 213th Panzer Battalion, and Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe units. Bruno spiral barbed wire; 7). As a result of this, the island is flooded with German bunkers and fortifications which can now be explored by members of the public. A copy was destined for Hitler. 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