The Road to Liberation - 23rd February 1941
We are rebuilding the 3d survey page on the website so for the regular visitors, it will be back soon. We had a request from Jimmy to share again the 3d scan of the Infantry Commanders Bunker at Kernwerk, so please see it in the Occupation focus section of today's blog.
The Command bunkers are a great reminder of the useless large complex built on Jersey during the second world war. Ultimately draining resources, troops and equipment from the German military forces and reducing the number of bunkers our parents and grandparents had to fight over during the allied invasion of France in 1944.
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80 years ago today in Jersey 23rd February 1941
Today would be the 238th day of the Islands Occupation with 1,536 days remaining.
23rd February 1941
The commonwealth graves commission record 187 deaths this day 80 years ago, the average age was 29 .
35 Wellingtons and 17 Blenheims Bombers sent to Boulogne. The Blenheims were recalled but 26 Wellingtons bombed. 1 Wellington lost.
Minor Operations: 16 Whitleys and 1 Blenheim to Calais, 3 Blenheims to Den Helder and 6 O.T.U. sorties to Paris. No losses.
British monitor HMS Terror (below) sank off the Libyan coast at 0420 hours after receiving fatal damage from German aircraft on the previous day.
The cover of today's blog is one of the Battle Command Bunkers Known to the Germans as "Kernwerk" which are found at Le Coin Varin in St. Peter.
"For the fortress commanders, the artillery commanders including the naval commander and the infantry regiment commanders special constructions were built as command posts. They consisted of two floors, one underground.
The navy had a special building. To every command post there belonged a building for the signal centre and the radio station.
On Guernsey, the command posts were situated on the western edge of the town of St Peter.
On Jersey in what was called the "Kernwerk" (inner fortress building) in the centre of the island, in a place where the infantry reserves were lying near in underground passages.
Fortress commanders and Artillery commanders were situated closely together."
Rudolf Graf Von Schmettow
Commander of the 319th Infantry Division
German Battle Headquarters (Kernwerk) was situated at Le Coin Varin in St. Peter Jersey and consists of 6 bunkers an anti-aircraft position and much more. The main construction was:
1 x Type 646 water pumping and storage bunker
2 x Type 618SK Signals Communications Bunkers
3 x Type 609SK Command Bunkers.
The below 3d tour is of the Infantry Command Bunker.
The February book recommendation is "Six Days." The story centres around the paratroopers of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division and the brave citizens of the quiet French hamlet. The battle of Grainges maybe not be known as some of the invasion stories but this beautifully illustrated novel captures the true story.
Exploring bunkers Always get permission from the owner Take a torch, a spare and one more for luck Don't go alone & tell someone where you will be and for how long You will get dirty as most are often full of rubbish and may have been used as a public toilet Anything you find still belongs to the person that owns the property Unexploded ordnance is still found in Jersey if you see or find anything that looks like ordnance please call the bomb disposal officer on 01534 612 61
Sources of Information German Documents are housed at The National Archived in Washington or Archive in Kew UK T-78 Roll 317: OKH Coastal and Channel Defenses Files 1940-44 -
T-78 Roll 318: OKH Coastal and Channel Defenses Files 1941-43
T-315 Roll 1639: 216th Security Division War Diary
(Kriegstagebuch), Belgium, France & Russia 1939-42
T-1022 Roll 2423: Various War Diaries (Kriegstagebucher), Channel Islands 1941-44
Atlantic Wall Coastal Battery Lists: Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, & France 1944-45
T-312 Roll 1559: 7th Army War Diary (Kriegstagebuch), France 1941-43 & T-312 Roll 1558
T-315 Roll 1643: 216th Security Division War Diary
(Kriegstagebuch), Belgium, France & Russia 1939-41
T-311 Roll 16: Army Group D War Diary (Kriegstagebuch), Western Front Aug-Nov 1944 Operation Green Arrow - Occupation of the Channel Islands MOD 584 Allied Technical Intelligence Reports 1942-45 German Preparations for Invasion of the United Kingdom 1941-42 B-833, 319th Infantry Division (1941-45) German Seacoast Defenses, European Theatre - prepared by the Artillery Evaluation Board
BBC News & Archives
The Britannica Jersey Occupied by Michael Ginns - ISBN 978-1-905095-29-2 Operation Nestegg Plans Operation Hardtack Plans Operation Basalt Plans RAF Photos care of The National Collection of Aerial Photography
The National Archive of Newspapers Bundesarchiv - Multiple Photos - and Files A Map of slave labour camps. Kindly Provided by Emilio Pérez Photo's and information provided by fans Onsite visits & internet research
Cabinet Papers Second World War memoranda (cab 661- cab 665) After the Battle Multiple Magazines
CIOS Archive & Publications (become a member here)
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Widerstandsnest (WN) = Resistance Nest (RN) A small pocket of resistance would be made up of small groups of up to 10 men with light weapons. They would man Anti-tank weapons, an observation post or a field gun. Stützpunkt St.P = Strongpoint (STP) Next level up from an RN and consisted of several RN's. STP areas would have a combination of weapons and different branches of the military used. Examples of this can be found with Strongpoint Greve de Lecq and Strongpoint Corbiere Einsatzstellung = Operational Position or Action Post Smaller MG type position generally it was only maned during an alert Feldwache = Field Watch Early resistance nest
Jäger Casemate was a special design and name for bunkers designed to hold a 10.5cm field gun