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. They mined all the beaches. Service was compulsory in the militia for every man in the Island. By Pierre Kosmidis Info and photos submitted by Emmanouil Tzilivakis, used by permission. [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. Wire barrier around the dugout; 15). In September 1944 there were 10,980 troops in Guernsey comprising:[14]:52. 4 is now an occupation museum. Initially the Germans built only feldmässige Anlage (field-type construction) positions. In total there were around 175 dedicated anti-aircraft guns in the island, plus machine guns on anti-aircraft mountings. These bunkers were used in addition to the use of hotels and large houses that made more amenable surroundings for the officers. 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. First line of defense. Apr 8, 2016 - Explore Digital History Archive's board "WWII Fortifications" on Pinterest. The two Würzburg and two Freya radar units at Fort George, Guernsey,[4]:63 were repeatedly attacked from the end of May 1944 on. Today, many bunkers can be viewed and even explored, “The Germans laid barbed wire all along. Published. [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. Over 300 large concrete constructions were built in the Channel Islands. The Regelbau (standard build) system used books of plans for each of over 600 approved types of bunker and casemate, each having a specific purpose. 10.5cm Gun Casement.JPG 2,560 × 1,920; 1.21 MB How many fortifications were built, how long it took to build them and what were the standard plans (e.g. Metal strengthening bars were wired together and the wooden shuttering was installed. [4]:56–9, Land artillery was situated to fire on landing beaches and inland. Cranes and concrete mixers were sourced. OT gave Guernsey the code name Gustav. OT, formed in 1933, was a construction organization that organised and supervised the work of a number of engineering and const… Put up the lookout towers. [9]:448 Festungspionierkommandeur XIV was created to command the project of fortifying the Channel Islands. Liberation. To eliminate traffic accidents, everyone had to drive and cycle on the right. Alderney was considered too well-protected against aircraft attack so HMS Rodney had the mission of shelling it. The battery became operational in June 1942. 40 was equipped and used for a short while in 1944 as a hospital, as the planned hospital tunnel had not been built, however patients underground did not recuperate very well.[11]:35. 8 half-tracks. Bruno spiral barbed wire; 3). 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. Turned Guernsey into a fortress.”. This took the troops in Guernsey up to 12,000. Camouflaged barrier and machine-gun nest; 10). Albert Speer replaced Todt. Twenty one of the casemates built into the coast were designed for 10.5 cm K 331(f) French guns that had been acquired in large quantities. By 13 June Hitler had made a decision. Others may be looked at, clambered over, and a few can be entered with care. [8] A power station was built in the Bouet by OT. The first mine was laid in November 1940; altogether there were 118 minefields in Guernsey. All of these were two stories, some were disguised as houses, with tiled roofs and painted windows. 7/40 comprised 7,000m², 29,823 cu m of rock were removed and 9,053 cu m of concrete was poured. 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. Bunkers for ammunition stores were constructed as were accommodation bunkers. Fortifications. Local workers too were recruited. Five camps were built, however most OT workers went into requisitioned houses. visits the Guernsey. One of the most significant periods in the Channel Islands’ history was the German Occupation during World War II. [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. Fittings such as air purification systems, showers, gas proof doors, telephones, periscopes, and wiring were standardised. It’s hard to estimate as I haven’t seen an exact total I think due in part as there really hasn’t been an assessment by any one group of people but estimates have been totaled to be about 12,000 bunkers in France alone. A special partnership between a tour business and Festung Guernsey will give people the chance to take an in-depth look at some of the island's more hidden-away German fortifications. There were twelve Stützpunkt (Strongpoint) (SP) areas in Guernsey,[20]:99 such as Stützpunkt Rotenstein at Fort Hommet which comprised: 4x10.5 cm casemates, 2x 60 cm searchlights, an MG bunker, a 4.7 cm anti tank casemate, a tobruk pit mounted with a French tank turret, a type R633 bunker containing a M19 automatic mortar, and two other bunkers for personnel and storage as well as barbed wire, minefields, flamethrowers and trenches. As a result of this, the island is flooded with German bunkers and fortifications which can now be explored by members of the public. 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. The defence shelter with … German OT wore OT uniforms; civilians from other nations wore civilian clothes. [3]:37 They took 2 years to construct. Festung Guernsey (fortress Guernsey). Renovated positions are open to the public and some have been refitted and opened as museums. Many Dutchmen and others who were brought to Guernsey by the Germans stay… Barbed wire, 2 cm Flak positions, a Tobruk pit, 150 cm searchlight, minefields, Pak40 anti tank gun, and a Freya radar supported the battery. With several concrete constructions, they were adapted to the circumstances, such as WN Grune Dune, which is at Rocquaine Bay, comprising two anti-tank gun casemates, a multi loophole steel turret bunker mounting several machine guns, a personnel bunker with a periscope, anti tank wall, observation position and small command bunker. Tunnelling also generated stone. During the Occupation, German troops went about fortifying Guernsey, building reinforced bunkers as well as adapting existing fortifications … [16]:63 Army troops were rotated to Alderney for three month tours of duty. De bezetting van de Kanaaleilanden verwijst naar de militaire bezetting van de Kanaaleilanden door nazi-Duitsland die duurde van 30 juni 1940 tot de bevrijding op 9 mei 1945.De Kanaaleilanden omvatten de Kroonbezitten van de baljuwschappen Guernsey en Jersey, die geen deel zijn van het Verenigd Koninkrijk en ook de kleinere eilanden Alderney en Sark omvatten. 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. A Stützpunktgruppe (Strongpoint group) was a cluster of SP's and WN's under command of a Battalion. 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. 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. Cavities filled with rubble. See more ideas about fortification, wwii, siegfried line. [7]:31 The supply vessels needed escort and flak ships for protection. 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. The Allies knew the locations of casemates as the RAF had undertaken photographic flights during the construction years.Aerial photograph of Vazon Bay with Stützpunkt Rotenstein at the top[25] In addition, a few messages giving some detailed information, had been smuggled out of the Islands. [17]:21, Mainly manned by Luftwaffe men of Flak Regiment 292, the multi purpose 8.8 cm Flak 36 were the main defence with a 7,500m effective range, located in six Island batteries and controlled by radar direction finding equipment, backed up by 150 cm searchlights. Once the small tunnel was complete, it could be expanded, the width to 6–7 metres and height to 4–7 metres, this was the most dangerous job as rock falls were frequent.[3]:13–14. [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. [4]:30, Dummy positions were set up, including using logs to simulate guns and dummy minefields. [4]:9 [18]:294, Machine guns protected within casemates, on top in Tobruk pits, or in trench systems, some with thin overhead protection. Anti landing craft objects of steel and wood, thousands of tetrahedra and Czech hedgehog, often with teller mines attached on the beaches.[19]. 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 … Sixteen tunnels were planned in 1942, this was increased to twenty nine in 1943. The crew room and ammunition store was below each open gun placement. Supervisors and OT labour was supplied to German construction companies, ten of which operated in the Channel Islands. 244,000 m³ of rock were excavated out of the Channel Islands, only a little less than the 255,000m³ in the whole of the rest of the. The system was dropped before all the planned towers were built in favour of stereoscopic rangefinders, making several of the already constructed towers redundant. Gun is … On 2 June 1941 Adolf Hitler asked for maps of the Channel Islands; these were provided the next day. Holes through walls for ventilation pipes and cables, doorways and escape routes being put in before the concrete was poured. Conditions in Alderney were the worst where for a period the SS ran some Alderney camps. On the 30th June 1940 German forces invaded Guernsey. 1. Six Marinepeilstände (MP) observation towers were built on high points. Fortress engineers and OT workers returned to France to work on. At the end of the reign of Henry VIII, in 1546 work was begun on building a fortification on the site that would become known as Essex Castle, the only remains are the current North and West walls of the fortification. Sixteen anti tank gun casemates holding the Czech 4.7cm Pak with co-axial machine gun in a casemate, such as a Type R631. Under the direct orders from Hitler Guernsey was to become an Impregnable Fortress and work commenced on the building of fortifications. 1). Guernsey WW2 bunker to open to public. OT – most tunnelling, quarrying, railways, roads, loading and unloading ships, supervising civilian construction firms, controlling civilian labour and “St” fortress type constructions. [1]:200, Consumable materials were sourced: cement, steel, timber for shuttering, sand and aggregate. Mines; 4). 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. [16]:104 However, U-Boats in Guernsey were too vulnerable to air attack. Most beach defences were designed to fire across the beach, the embrasures being protected from enemy fire from the open sea. By 1941 the prospect of conquering Britain had decreased and the probability of an eastern war increased, requiring defences to be built to reduce the number and quality of troops required to defend the western ocean areas. [1]:193 Anti glider poles were installed on potential landing sites. Personnel shelters, such as a Type R621 shelter designed for a section of 10 men, had two concealed exits and a ringstellung or Tobruk pit were used in many locations, as were 5 cm and 8 cm mortars. On 2 June 1941 Adolf Hitler asked for maps of the Channel Islands; these were provided the next day. From April to September 1943 shipments by sea to the Channel Islands averaged 20,000 tons per month. The Channel Islands were seen as a perfect stepping-stone to the invasion of the Great Britain. These employees were paid and provided with accommodation, better food, time off, leave[11]:42 and comforts. The smaller Freya radar was less visible. 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.) [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. Divisional engineers – mines and flamethrowers, Army Construction Battalions – reinforced constructions to provide protection of “Vf” Reinforced field-type constructions quality, Fortress Engineers and Fortress Construction Battalions – mounting heavy weapons, some tunnelling, reporting, maps, supervising. WW2 / The Occupation. Memoirs of Captain Henry Beckingham in command of clearing minefields after the War. Batterie Mirus was the largest artillery battery in the Channel Islands. If they were from the Eastern Bloc, a deduction of 55% was made to pay for the cost of overseas reconstruction. Bruno spiral barbed wire; 5). eccentric Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, when she decides to write about the book club they formed The largest tunnel complex, two connected tunnel systems, Ho. [17]:21, Anti-airborne landing obstacles were installed, many with explosives attached.[14]:179. [1]:197 The outcome was a decision to provide for the “permanent fortification” of the Islands to make an impregnable fortress to be completed within 14 months. Media in category "Fortifications of World War II in Guernsey" The following 48 files are in this category, out of 48 total. Film Synopsis: The manual labourers - mainly prisoners of war - were treated like slaves, housed in camps, poorly fed and forced to work Four are located in Guernsey. Here is a quick overview of what happened on each Island. A copy was destined for Hitler. The fortifications were however never needed. If necessary, timber supports were installed, then the process started again. 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. [7]:59–60, It was not just men that became OT workers; a number of women also found themselves in work camps. Rodney fired seventy-two 16-inch shells. 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. The Islands of Guernsey are what’s known as an ‘archipelago’ – a collection of islands located on the English Channel between England and France. The plan was finalised and submitted to Hitler. It comprised three bunkers: types V142, M172 and V192. 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. The designs had been updated as captured enemy fortifications were examined; some were even tested to destruction for effectiveness. Fourteen were started, few were completely finished, some were half built, others abandoned early when poor rock quality was hit, or priorities changed. 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. The resulting construction work in the Channel Islands was extensive; it required thousands of workers and massive supplies of cement and steel. Over 16,000 OT workers were brought to the Channel Islands, of whom 7,000 came to Guernsey. into an impregnable fortress as part of his infamous ‘Atlantic Wall’, heavily fortifying the only British territory he would ever conquer. Beach sand and pebbles would be used as a last resort.[7]:43. Guernsey had to pay for the German troops, providing them with and paying for their food, accommodation and transport.[9]:89. Sourcing of materials and transport had to be organised. [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. [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. Fortifications of Guernsey. View the maps of Guernsey used by the Germans during World War II. The Island had sand pits, away from the coastline that had had the salt washed out. They set these gun positions all over. In this section you will find: Guernsey Occupied - this is a past exhibition about the occupation in general. [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. [7]:56 [12] Other sources of labor were Poland, French camps full of Spanish Republicans who had fled Spain after losing the civil war, and 1,018 out-of-work French North Africans from Algeria who were living in the south of France. 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. 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. Whilst the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine had their roles in protecting the islands from the Allies, the occupying forces put their main effort into land defences aimed at repelling a seaborne or airborne assault. Bunker Archaeology: The German WW2 fortifications of Agii Apostoli in Crete Interviews, Then and Now, WW2 in Greece, WW2 Wrecks. SUBSCRIBE: http://www.youtube.com/c/VicStefanu - Let's visit the WW2 German fortifications of Guernsey. [24]:2, Some positions were buried under soil and landscaped with plants and trees. Camouflage in the form of paint, sprayed concrete and straw on wire mesh, and timber constructions were common. Dugout with camouflage wire net; 13). 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. This weekend marks 75 years since the beginning of the liberation of the Islands of Guernsey after the Second World War. Guernsey and the other Channel Islands were occupied by German Forces during the Second World War. Wire on low wooden poles; 8). Fortification in Guernsey was colossal during WWII including bunkers, forts, gun emplacements and tunnels to help create Hitler's Atlantic Wall. 200 men worked to provide facilities for a garrison of 200 soldiers.The capture of Sark by the French in 1549 ensured the work would continue and additional funding was obtained. Barbed wire and minefields would have protected the nest.[4]:37. In Guernsey a total of 92,995m³ of rock was excavated and 22,009m³ of concrete were poured. WWII Occupation & Fortification. [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). They were badly fed and clothed and were beaten and punished for minor offences;[11]:33 the Germans considered them expendable and worked some to death. U-boat and S-Boat facilities amounted to fuel tanks installed in Ho. In these clips you see some of its famous fortifications including those built by the German occupations forces … Thousands of foreign prisoners and labourers were shipped to the Islands to complete the construction. Netzknotenpunkt (Telephone network bunkers) were built to protect vulnerable exchanges. Jump to navigation Jump to search. Artillery Regiment 319 was strengthened. One cubic metre of concrete contained 400 kg cement, 1,800 kg aggregate and sand, 170-200 litres water. 1,100 OT workers remained in Jersey in October 1943, of which 530 were Islanders. When it became clear that conquering Britain would be impossible, Hitler issued orders to convert the Channel Islands The work would continue as planned, despite the death of Dr Todt in a plane crash in February 1942. Tunnels are sealed or locked as they are especially dangerous. Granite stones were built into some concrete walls to give a natural stone finish. 319 Infantry Division (319 ID), which had been created in November 1940 and was designed as a static division for service in occupied Europe, was allocated to the islands. Skilled labourers brought over from Germany and Europe were provided with a suitable wage. Panel, made from the wooden poles; 12). Whether the Islands were impregnable was never tested, except for Battery Blücher in Alderney. A colossal 8% of the entire Atlantic Wall’s concrete was poured into the Islands and they held more guns than the However both would suffer damage from bombing and bombardment so the crews worked from inside bunkers. The chapters from the original book have been reproduced in a set of ten paperbacks. Volunteer and conscripted labour would receive much better treatment than would forced labour. They are the most obvious symbol of German construction. An additional 13 being mounted in open field positions. neighbouring 600 miles of Normandy coastline. By 13 June Hitler had made a decision. A command and an observation bunker completes the major fortifications. [7]:19, Headquarters of the 7,000 strong OT in Guernsey was established at Sausmarez park in December 1941. Find out more about the history that inspired The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. The OT pay scale would provide them with 60% more than the normal local wages,[10]:150 but a team of eight plasterers negotiated a pay rise so they were each paid £12 a week if they managed to plaster 35m² per 10-hour shift. 4 tunnels at La Valette in St Peter Port, to hold 480 tons of fuel. Barges and small ships were brought to the Islands to transport materials to supplement the two ships run by OT. 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. In cinemas April 20th. Hundreds of reinforced bunkers, gun emplacements A number of junctions on the route also had sentry and machine gun positions built into granite walls. It had the largest artillery pieces in the Channel Islands, tanks, and 12,000 troops:[1]:204 one soldier for every two civilians on the island, compared to France which had a 1:80 ratio, or higher. From October 1941 and especially throughout 1942, building works moved ahead rapidly in hundreds of sites. [1]:212–4, Forced workers from overseas only had the clothes they were wearing when taken, often summer clothes. The German garrison in the Channel Islands surrendered without a fight on 9 May 1945. Reinforced wire obstacle; 6). One example was a Mirus gun position; another was a 10.5 cm casemate at Houmet.[4]:25. They worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, and were allowed one half-day a month off.[14]:168. [6]:350 Each area in the Islands was examined and priorities for construction set. 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. Bruno spiral barbed wire; 7). [5] There were over 200 standardised armour parts. Each location had defences and facilities to suit its specific needs, the thickness of walls, floor, and ceiling were standard. Mines, controled from the machine-gun nest; 9). From April, Tours of Guernsey will be offering walking tours around the Scharnhorst Battery, the bunker network on the Fort Hommet headland, and the not-seen-before site at the Mirus Battery. By 1944 Guernsey’s coastline was covered in concrete fortifications. . [7]:115 Detailed death certificates were filled out and the deaths were reported to OT in St Malo. OT transport was brought to Guernsey, mainly French vehicles dating back to 1914, to supplement horse-drawn transport. [1]:196 Reinforced with additional Heer units including 16th Machine Gun Battalion and 213th Panzer Battalion, and Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe units. Ninety-six known graves of these workers are in Guernsey and 397 in Alderney. OT, formed in 1933, was a construction organization that organised and supervised the work of a number of engineering and construction companies, as well as supplying a large labour force. This example shows a bunker disguised as a house. Wood; 16). They were supposed to be paid 55 Reichspfennig an hour. [13]:57 Some of the workers were Jews; around 1,000 French Jews spent time in the Channel Islands. We have seen some come back for holiday/memorial days. [21]:188 A type R633 bunker took 845m³ of concrete and 40 tons of steel to build. 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