Jersey and the rest of the Channel Islands were the only part of British soil occupied by the Nazis during World War II. Hitler's aim was to turn Jersey into an impregnable fortress as part of his 'Atlantic Wall' defence.
Even though the British government had given up the island without a fight as it had no strategic value, for Hitler it was a propaganda coup with pictures of German soldiers in command of British subjects playing well at home. His generals were skeptical about the 'wall' plan but more than 5,000 men from Russia, Poland, Spain and other countries were brought to Jersey to work as slave labourers on the fortifications.
The island is dotted with these bunkers and fortifications particularly along St. Ouen's Bay and St. Aubin's Bay where the concrete sea walls and bunkers still remain. Some are in use today, such as the observation tower at Corbiere now used to monitor local shipping and the cafe at El Tico on the Five Mile Road. The photo above is of a German naval observation tower at Noirmont on the south west coast of Jersey. At low tide you can see a number of large artillery guns at the foot of the cliffs at nearby Les Landes, they were dumped there by the liberating British forces at the end of the war.
- The photo above is courtesy of Traces of War a locals site with incredible photography and a wealth of information on the military fortifications built over the centuries in Jersey. A must visit for history buffs and amateur photographers.
- The gun and site are maintained by a group of local volunteers. You can visit their Facebook page here for more information.
- The Channel Island Occupation Society is dedicated to the preservation and recordal of all aspects of the German Occupation of Jersey during the Second World War. They can give information on opening hours of bunkers and tours etc.