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Friday, 30 September 2016

Visiting Jersey : Batterie Moltke

We left Corbiere and drove along the west coast road towards the North-West of the island, stopping off half-way for a second breakfast. We drove to Batterie Moltke, close to L'Etacq.

The battery consisted of four captured French cannons in open emplacements. Originally these were to be temporary but their replacements did not arrive so these captured guns remained. One has been restored. The French nomenclature for the cannons was Canon de 155 GPF (Modéle 1917 Filloux) (GPF - grande puissance Filloux), in German 15.5 cm K 418 (f).

An observation post, close to the emplacements

Another emplacement is used to house two large cannon barrels that have been recovered. At the front is a German 21 cm Mrs 18. At the back is a French 22 cm K 532 (f) (Canon de 220 L Modéle 1917 Schneider)

A concrete sentry box

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Visiting Jersey : the books

Before I post the next lot of photos, I thought I would show the books I am using.

First, this slender volume that I bought at an antiques fair some years ago for £2.50 (2.5 pounds sterling) on the off-chance that I may go to Jersey one day. This is the book I took with me to help me plan our visits and very useful it is. Published in 1975. I think the authors were members of the Channel Islands Occupation Society.
 This Osprey Fortification Series book I purchased on my return. Very good at explaining the German strategy for holding the Channel Islands.

This book I have owned since publication in 2006 by Histoire et Collections of Paris. Part of a very useful series of books on the French Army, very similar to Osprey books, but crammed full of photographs.

This is my photo of the 155mm cannon used for the cover of the Osprey book.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Visiting Jersey : Strongpoint Corbiere

Day 2 of our trip and we hired a Smart car (never again) to see the West coast of Jersey. The road that runs alongside the sea is called Five Mile Road. The coastal beach is very open and the Germans decided this would be the main point of landing for an Allied invasion force, so they built a lot of defences and strongpoints here.

We started the day at Corbiere, in the South West. At the top of the cliff, the Germans built one of their observation towers. Full title - Marinepeilstanden und Messtellungen (naval direction finding and signalling positions). This one is MP2 Corbiere. Inside, they were built in the form of a spiral.
MP2  is now used to house high frequency radio equipment.

Looking from MP2 along the headland to the strongpoint

Works are numbered 1 to 14 on this guide

Point 1, a searchlight bunker

The side of 1, the Germans have used the rocks to protect the rear of the bunker

Point 3, an automatic fortress mortar bunker (artist unknown)

From Point 3, in the centre is Point 5, a 105mm cannon bunker

Point 4, a heavy maching gun bunker with a Tobruk stand

From Point 4, looking down at Points 1 and 3

Looking across the inlet to the next headland with another German bunker 

From Point 4, looking back towards the observation tower, MP2

Whilst I was walking around looking at the works and taking photographs, B sat in the car, patiently waiting...

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Visiting Jersey : St. Helier

Our hotel, the Radisson Blu, next to marina, close to the harbour
Jersey has several layers of defences built to counter invasion. Medieval castles, Elizabethan castle, late 18th century towers, Martello Towers and lots of German built Atlantik Wall concrete structures.

Leaving our hotel, we walked along the Prom around the bay for about a mile to First Tower.

The Germans covered the bay with a number of bunkers built into slipways

Armed with 47mm A/T Czech gun and a mg, and sited to deliver flanking fire along the beach

Elizabeth Castle on an island in the bay to cover the harbour entrance

The castle is reached either on foot or on one of these amphibious vehicles

Souvenir guide, showing the castle when the tide is in, access via the ramp at the bottom edge

In 1594, the Crown decided to build a fort on the island that would accommodate the increasing use of artillery in defence. Between 1600 and 1603, Sir Walter Raleigh was Governor and he renamed it Elizabeth Castle.
Photo from the guide, showing the keep and the barracks buildings
The castle was built in three areas, the oldest is the Mount or Upper Ward, then the Lower Ward and finally the Outer Ward.

During the Occupation, the Germans installed a searchlight

The searchlight was kept in this concrete shelter in the Outer Ward

and pushed up this ramp for use to illuminate the harbour entrance when needed.

West Bastion, overlooking the bay

Artillery position

Looking from the West Bastion towards the "Pepper Pot" on the Mount Bastion, Lower Ward

Musket loops for local defence

The Germans built two artillery bunkers, this one faces West and covers the bay. The second is on the other side of the castle and faces East to cover the harbour entrance. 

The Germans installed captured French 105mm cannon.

In the Upper Ward, at the top of the castle, the Germans built this observation tower

From the Upper Ward, the German West bunker and the Grand Battery

From the observation tower, looking back along the castle towards the bay and First Tower

This French photo shows a 105mm gun of the type captured and installed  (Photo pinched from "Les Cannons de la Victoire" volume 1)