Festung Guernsey - Fortress Guernsey: The fortifications of Guernsey

Festung Guernsey - Fortress Guernsey: The fortifications of Guernsey

In 1944 the Germans produced a published guide to their own fortifications on Guernsey and Jersey, some of the strongest they ever built. This was a limited edition reference work intended to be used by officers commanding the defences, and is now being re-printed as a part-work, complete with an English translation of each page.

This book was clearly the work of a garrison operating under almost peacetime conditions. It was beautifully produced, with nice illustrated chapter headings, carefully coloured maps showing areas of fire and selections of photographs at the end of each section. Some of these showed the fortifications in question or possible landing areas, but others were simply tourist snaps, including one of a sunset over the sea. There are some very interesting photos here, including one showing a gun emplacement hidden behind a panel in the side of a hotel.

The text follows a standard format. Each strong point gets two pages, with five sections - deployment (a brief description of the location), contingent (broken down by rank and sometimes by organisation providing the men); weapons; military objectives and finally operations. The level of detail is very impressive, looking at positions manned by as few as a dozen men.

The military objectives are normally fairly obvious - detect and stop landings, defend the base, support other bases and of course fight 'to the last man'. This section also gives the main line of resistance (often the high water mark). The Operations section is most informative, often given quite detailed instructions to the defenders. These include the sort of attack to be expected, how to cooperate with nearby resistance nests, alternative positions for the main guns and how to react in foggy weather.

These two entries in the series cover rather different areas. The first volume begins with the defences of St Peter Port Harbour, a very heavily defended area, with plans in place for attacks from the land and the sea. The second volume looks at a more rural part of the west and south coast. Here the strongpoints are slightly more scattered, but they are still present in very impressive numbers.

This is a very valuable historical resource, providing a detailed explanation of how the Germans expected their coastal defences to work, as well as showing us the sort of defensive network they might have constructed on the French coast if they had been given more time. 

Chapters
3.1 St Peter Port Harbour from Les Terres Point to Salerie Corner
3.2 Belle Greve Bay from Gemäuer to Mont Crevelt

Festung Guernsey - Fortress Guernsey: The fortifications of Guernsey - East Coast - St Martins Point to St Sampsons
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 86
Publisher: Clear Vue Publishing
Year: 2013

Festung Guernsey - Fortress Guernsey: The fortifications of Guernsey - West and South Coasts - Rocquaine to Corbiere
Chapters
4.3 Rocquaine Bay from Fort Saumarez to Imperial Hotel
4.4 Pleinmont from Battery Dollmann to Les Tielles
4.5 Torteval from Les Tielles to La Corbiere

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 80
Publisher: Clear Vue Publishing
Year: 2013


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