Batterie Moltke, comprising four 15.5cm K418(f) gun emplacements and an associated underground complex was named in honour of Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, who was Chief of the German General Staff from 1906 to 1914.

One of the gun emplacements has been totally restored, along with extensive underground passages that link up to a Kriegsmarine M151 personnel shelter that accommodated 27 men. This bunker, with a ceiling two metres thick, was built to “Fortress” standards. It is fully equipped with original ventilation equipment, boiler, bunks, and central heating.

Batterie Moltke, Jersey field gun fixed emplacement

Four M512 ammunition bunkers were also built to serve the gun, three of which are now used for display purposes. The complex has been subject to an ongoing restoration project that commenced in 1979.

On permanent display outside is a 15.5cm K418(f) heavy French First World War field gun, that has been restored and put back in its original emplacement, having been recovered from the bottom of the cliffs at Les Landes by the Occupation Society in 1991. All of Jersey’s 29 heavy coastal artillery guns were dumped over the cliffs in a massive clean-up operation ordered by the States of Jersey after the Liberation whose demand was: “We want this island cleansed of the taint of German Occupation”. The job was entrusted to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC), who dumped the guns over the cliffs in February/March, 1946.

The 15.5cm K418(f) gun, with a range of 19.5 km, was captured in large quantities by the Germans when they occupied France in June, 1940. By this time, the guns were already elderly and were only intended to be a “stop gap” – to be replaced by modern, up-to-date artillery, namely the quick firing 15cm SKC/28 gun, capable of firing seven rounds per minute, thanks to a semi-automatic, vertically actuated breech. This ship-designed gun would have been mounted in a 360 degree revolving armoured turret, providing protection for the gun crew.

 

Batterie Moltke, Jersey – Unfinished Turret gun emplacement

However, this modernisation programme barely got off the ground because the Krupp factories were heavily bombed by Allied air raids on the Ruhr in 1942/43, and the production lines for the 15cm SKC/28 guns were destroyed. At Batterie Moltke, the SKC emplacements with their ammunition hoists and connecting bunker complexes were constructed in preparation for the new guns, but they never arrived, and the old French weapons remained in service in their “temporary” emplacements.

 

Today, the SKC emplacement in the care of the Occupation Society is used to display two other gun barrels that were recovered from the foot of the nearby cliffs in 1993.

Batterie Moltke, Jersey sentry box

 

 

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