During World War II Nazi Germany constructed a considerable number of fortifications in island of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands. As well as building many new fortifications, the German forces made their own additions to some of the existing fortifications. These additions include gun emplacements and various types of bunkers.
The Channel Islands formed part of the Atlantic Wall, and were amongst the most heavily fortified parts of the Atlantic Wall. Organisation Todt built the fortifications using imported labour, primarily prisoners of war and workers deported from occupied countries. The Germans transported over 16,000 slave workers to the Channel Islands to build the fortifications.
On this post, thanks to Chris Brookes Aerial Photography, we can enjoy some of the best aerial views of these fortifications and their descriptions.
- The forgotten guardhouse was originally built in the 19th century and was associated with a battery which in 1812 housed one 18 pounder cannon. During the occupation the German Army converted it into one of their reinforced field positions. A twin machine gun emplacement was built along with an observation post,mortar emplacement and a searchlight shelter with railway lines. The position also had a Tobruk mounting topped with a tank turret.
- Aerial view of Le Fret Point at Portelet Common with its WW2 resistance nest which included a jaeger type casemate, type 621 personnel shelter a 60 cm searchlight in a type L411a shelter. The 150 cm coastal artillery searchlight in a reinforced field type shelter for Battertie Lothringen also on the headland is a non standard reinforced shelter.
- One of three fortress type observation towers built and named "Marine Peilstand" "Naval Direction Finding and Signalling Position. This was also known as the MP-3. The German forces had planned to build 9 which would control and direct the fire of coastal artillery batteries.The MP-3 had a a Marine radar station installed on the roof (not much remains today).
- Batterie Moltke was once sprawled across the Les Landes headland. On permanent display above ground is one of the original 15.5cm K418(f) French field guns from the battery, initially pushed over the nearby cliffs by the British Army in 1946. In the adjacent emplacement are further examples of coastal artillery pieces used in the Island, and subsequently rescued from the same place. Below ground, there is a large underground bunker complex of passage-linked personnel and ammunition bunkers, This is open to the public during the season. Visit the website below for opening times.
- This massive structure, with its brooding cliff-top presence over the Island's sea approaches is, for many, one of the most potent symbols of the Occupation. The tower was, in fact, known as a 'Marine Peilstand' or 'Naval direction-finding tower', and is one of three constructed in Jersey, out of a planned total of nine.Built between March 1943 and April 1944 The M-132 bunker was the command bunker for the naval coastal artillery "Batterie Lothringen". It has two floors situated 40ft underground with only the armoured cupola visible. This is open to the public in the summer months.
- The Channel Islands were liberated on 9th May 1945 but it wasn't until February 1946 that these guns were collected and pushed over the cliff by the Royal Army Ordnance Corps headed by Major F H M Sargent.Several of the guns have since been recovered and are now on exhibition, 2 at Noirmont Point and 3 at Batterie Molkte with the remaining 2 in Guernsey. As well as clearing the artillery batteries around the island they also had to clear over 60,000 mines and remove 30,000 tons of ammunition. The minefields were the biggest problem but luckily the German engineers had kept maps of where they had been laid, despite an order that they were to be destroyed!
All of images and their descriptions from Chris Brookes Aerial Photography. WW2live has special and granted permission to use this text and these images.