The German Bunker Tour - Occupation 1940-45

For Military History Enthusiasts and everyone with a keen interest in finding out how the German Occupation fits into the Island's history!! During the German Occupation of the Channel Islands in World War 2, Hitler ordered that the Islands should become impregnable fortresses to be held by the Third Reich forever. On our German Bunker Tour, we start our story with the lead up to the German Occupation in May and June 1940, the arrival of German troops and the impact on the Island as it became clear that their stay was not a temporary one. Our Tour visits the best preserved collection of German WW2 defence works in Western Europe and explores how the occupying German forces planned and implemented Hitler's order at a practical, strategic and logistical level.

As a consequence of Hitler’s order, a German bunker of one design or another was constructed at each strategic position across the Channel Islands. Each of the bunkers had specific and varied purposes. Some were built as gun emplacements or to house other weapons. There are also troop shelters, ammunition and other stores, command bunkers as well as tunnel complexes, and all the infrastructure which went with them and which was included in the master plan. The Channel Islands were part of Germany’s Atlantic Wall which stretched from Norway to northern Spain, and the fortifications here consumed somewhere in the order of a twelfth of all the costs / concrete and steel of the whole Wall. As a consequence, many parts of the Atlantic Wall on the continental mainland were unfinished or lacking in armament in comparison to that in the Islands.

The master plan in the Channel Islands envisaged 8 years of construction, but in the end, only about 2 years worth of it was actually completed. Despite the grand plans, many German bunkers and fortifications planned were half-finished or not even started by the time that the German labour force was withdrawn from the Islands, at the same time as  supplies of cement and steel had also dried up to all but a trickle.

In addition to limited numbers of well paid and willing volunteers, both local and from across Europe, thousands of “forced labourers” from German occupied territories had been brought to the Channel Islands, together with “slave” labourers, consisting mainly of Russian POWs and civilians, against their will. The latter were generally brutally treated, starved and beaten by their overseers in Organisation Todt, and many attempted to escape with varying degrees of success. But by late 1943 and 1944, the vast labour force had been withdrawn to work on other projects around Europe, and the building work effectively ceased in the Channel Islands.

Whilst the treatment of some of those who built the German bunkers and fortifications was brutal and inhuman, and it remains shocking to this day, the survival of the bunkers is remarkable. It is a stark reminder how Europe might have ended up had the outcome to the Second World War been different. Their design and construction, together with the weapons used to arm the fortifications and bunkers, is impressive, and it is a marvel that many are in excellent condition notwithstanding their seventy-five year old age.

The complexes that we will visit include examples of some very different types of German bunker. It has to be remembered that bunkers were generally built to fixed patterns and so it is common to find the same type of bunkers built to exactly the same dimensions and layout. Our tour aims to visit different types of fortifications (and avoids visiting duplicate “pattern” bunkers) so you experience the diverse variety, as well as seeing how they were all part of a generally well thought out overall plan.

Our tours of the bunker interiors will be exclusive to Jersey Military Tours guests. The bunkers visited are all maintained by the Channel Island Occupation Society, and in most cases the interiors have been extensively restored and scenes recreated to the period of the German Occupation.

The German Bunker Tour will run as a full day tour on Wednesdays and selected other days between 10:00 and 18:00. Check the Calendar for dates.

Video of the German Bunker Tour

Highlights include

  1. Batterie Moltke, Les Landes, Saint Ouen
  2. The Channel Islands Military Museum
  3. Sechsschartentürme, Resistance Nest La Mare Mill, Saint Ouen
  4. Strongpoint Corbiere, La Corbière Point, St. Brelade (Including the M19 bunker)
  5. Batterie Lothringen, Noirmont Point, Saint Brelade (Including Observation Tower, MP1)
  6. 4.7cm Anti-Tank Gun Casemate,  Millbrook, Saint Lawrence

All entrances charges to the Bunkers and the Military Museum are included in the price of the tour.

Please see the separate Places section below to see the locations which are included in this tour.

You can also Click the Map icon (below main image in grey bar to the right) to view locations and see further information

History Alive’s and Jersey Military Tours are devised in a way to give our guests an overall and enjoyable experience which means that we won’t always follow the same route or stop for the same time at each stop. This also gives us the ability to make changes either to take advantage of, or to mitigate against, factors such as weather or other delays which might affect timing. On full day tours, we stop at lunch times where refreshments/food can be purchased, and on all tours, we will stop as necessary for refreshments and comfort breaks.

Our Tours are a combination of a coach tour and exploring the sites on foot, so please refer to the Level of Fitness required to enjoy these Tours. For that, and for what’s included in these Tours and Prices, as well as Pick-Up points for the Tours, please see Information below

Please note that we offer a shorter German Occupation – Military History and Fortifications Tour which runs for a Half Day and includes bunker visits. All of our tours are also available to book as a Private Group Tour on any available day throughout the year – PLEASE CONTACT US TO ENQUIRE

 

Places in The German Bunker Tour – Occupation 1940-45

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