The Occupation of the Channel Islands (1940-May 1942)
This page looks in detail at the occupation of the Channel Islands in the period 1940 - May 1942. In this period the defence of the Channel Islands was the responsibity of the AOK 16 - AOK 15. After May 1942, responsibility passed to the AOK 7.
After the allied defeat in France the British government decided on 15 June 1940 that the Channel Islands were of no strategic importance and would not be defended. However, official news of the demillitarisation was not released until 30 June 1940. Thus, the Germans had not idea that the islands were demilitarised. Actually, the Germans were preparing to invade the islands with two infantry battalions in a military operation called Operation Grünpfeil. Recee missions carried out by the Luftwaffe were inconclusive as to the military presence on the islands
Between 16 and 20 June 1940 the military evacuation too place.
Between 21-23 June 1940 civilians were evacuated, with about one-third of the total population leaving.
On 28 June 1940 the Luftwaffe bombed the harbours of Guernsey (St Peter Port) and Jersey St Helier). Mistaking some trucks waiting to load tomatoes in St Peter Port (Guernsey) for troop carriers, they killed 35 civilians. A further nine were killed in a similar attack on Jersey. It was only after these attacks that the BBC broadcast the message that the Channel Islands had been declared 'open towns'.
On 30 June 1940 a high-level conference was held in Paris. Here it was decided that operation Grünpfeil was to go ahead. The original plan had been for the attack on the islands to involve 6 lightly-equipped battalions (3 for Jersey, 2 for Guernsey and 1 for Alderney). In addition, a Marinestosstruppabteilung and 2 engineer companies were also to take part. As not enough suitable ships were available, the operation would have to be carried out over 2 days (first Jersey and Alderney and then Gurensey). However, after leaning that the bombardment of 28 June had not produced any military response, it was decided to use just 2 battalions (one each for Jersey and Guernsey) and 1 company for Alderney. Troops would be provided by the 216 Infanteriedivision and the Kriegsmarineabteilung Gotenhafen. The Luftwaffe would also provide some light AA-guns.
However, on the same day, a German recce pilot (air reconnaissance had been going on since about 18 June), Hauptmann Liebe-Pieteritz, landed his plane (from a group of 4) on Guernsey's airfield, finding it deserted and undefended. On the basis of his report Luftflotte 3 decided that the islands were not defended.
On the evening of the same day a group of Luftwaffe troops from Aufklärungsgruppe 123 under the command of Hauptmann von Obernitz and the overall command of Major Hessel of the Heer were flown into Guernsey by Junkers transport planes. Inspector Sculpher of the Guernsey police was sent to meet them carrying a letter signed by the bailiff stating that the islandf had been declared an open island and that there were no armed forces. He also found the airport having been taken over by the Luftwaffe.
In the early morning of 1 July 1940 Major Lanz, the commander of the II. Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 396 of the 216 Infanteriedivision was summoned to the headquarters of Vizeadmiral Landau in Cherbourg, where he was informed that he was to organize an infantry company, a troop of heavy MGs and, if possible, some Infanteriegeschütze for an invasion of the Channel Islands. After considerable further discussion on expected threats, it was eventually decided that just 1 infantrey company (the 1. Kompanie) from Lanz's unit, reinforced by the heavy MG, and the Gotenhafen naval assult unit would constitute the assault force. They would be transported in 9 Junkers 52 transport aircraft.
Still waiting for the transport aircraft, several high-ranking officers appeared at the Cherbourg West airfield at Querqueville: Oberstleutnant Gene (CO of the IR396 and accompanied by his adjutant Oberleutnant Niebuhr), Oberstleutnant Plocher (COS of Fliegerkorps 5) and even Generalfeldmarschall Sperrle (CO of Luftflotte 3). With only 2 of the 9 transport aircraft having arrived, the operation was started. Two platoons of Gotenhafen were loaded and the two aircaft departed, accompanied by the Junkers aircraft of Plocher and a Junkers radio aircraft. Lanz landed on the airfield at Guernsey at 2.45pm. There he was met by Major Hessel and the German flag was flown. Then the other transport aicraft began arriving. At about 4pm Generalleutnant Böttcher, the commander of the 216 Infanteriedivision and Vizeadmiral Lindau arrived. Major Hessel handed over command of the island to Major Lanz. Lanz asked to be taken to the island's leader. Hessel and Lanz (together with an interpreter (presumably Major Maas of the Gotenhafen unit) went by police car to the Royal Hotel where they were joined by the bailiff. Hessel announced that he had come to take leave and had handed over command to Lanz. They then returned to the airport, where meanwhile more transport aircraft had landed, carrying the other troops. There could be no doubt that Guernsey had now been occupied. Lanz was now also the Inselkommandant.
On 1 July 1940 Jersey officialy surrendered, although this happened in a rather uncoventional way. While Lanz was doing his thing on Jersey, Vizeadmiral Landau had ordered messages calling for the surrender of Jersey and Alderney, to be dropped on the islands on 1 July. In the absence of anu response two aircraft were dispatched to find out what was going on. The plane headed for Jersey was piloted by Leutnant Kern. After having landed on the airfield he was taken to the bailiff, who was informed that the island was now under German occupation. Kern then departed for Guernsey and informed Lanz that Jersey was ready to surrender. Lanz then flew to Jersey, where he was met by at the airfield by Hauptmann von Obernitz, who had landed there earlier with his men. Later, Lanz was joined by other Junkers transport aicraft flying straight from Cherbourg with his 1. Kompanie. The German flag was officially raised in Jersey in the presence of Oberstleutnant Plocher, the men of vvon Obernitz, the Gotenhafen detachment and the 1. Kompanie.
After the ceremony, Hauptmann Gussek, the commander of the 1. Kompanie was designated Inselkommandant.
Alderney was occupied on 2 July. Unterfeldwebel Schmidt was appointed Inselkommandant.
Finally, Sark officially surrendered on 4 July. Obergefreiter Obenhauf became the Inselkommandant.
The first shipborne German troops consisting of two anti-aircraft units, arrived in St. Peter Port on the captured freighter SS Holland on 14 July 1941.
On 22 July 1940 the security of the Channel Islands officially became the responsibility of the 216 Infanteriedivision. Initially, it was the I. Bataillon of the Infanterieregiment 396 which occupied the islands. The commander of that regiment was Oberstleutnant Gene.
A map of 24 July 1940 shows the following German forces identified on the Channel Islands:
On 3 August 1940 the following German forces were identified on the Channel Islands:
on board the ship Antwerpen I from Granville to Jersey on 3 August.
On 6 August 1940 the 216 Infanteriedivision released an order that upon hearing the code word Flughafenschutz guns and machineguns were to be readied at first light on the following morning. For Jersey, these were 6 light machine guns of the I. Bataillon.
On 17 August 1940 the following German forces were identified on the Channel Islands:
On 18 August 1940 the following German forces were identified on the Channel Islands. These include Luftwaffe units, some of which were already present as early as 14 July:
The maps also show the exact locations of the German forces on the Channel Islands on this date. These can be found on the GE animation below:
The next overview of forces on the Channel Islands is that of 27 August 1940. There were no changes. Thus, the troops on Guernsey are described as I./IR396 (ohne 4. Kompanie und ohne 5 Gruppen) as well as 14 14(PzJg)/IR 396. On Jersey: 4.(MG)/IR396 (ohne 1 Gruppe), 1/4 14. (PzJg)/IR396, Radfahrzug IR396 (31 Mann), Pionierzug IR396 (35 Mann). Finally, 1 Zug (2./IR396 ) und 1 Gr (4.(MG)/IR396) were stationed on Alderney and 1 Gruppe of the 2. Kompanie on Sark. These forces were still in place on 1 September 1940.
In an overview of Luftwaffe forces on the Channel Islands (no date known) the 5. Batterie/Flakregiment 34 is mentioned on Jersey, but also the 2. Staffel/Aufklärungsgruppe 213. On Guernsey the 5. Batterie/Flakregiment 32 with 9 Züge. The latter is strange because in the overview of 18 August there were only 8. The two airfield were referred to as Feldflugplätze.
On 11 September 1940 there was an important change in the occupation history of the Channel Islands, when the 216 Infanteriedivision ordered the relief of I/IR396 by the Maschinengewehrbataillon 16. This, initially independent, batallion was established as Heerestruppe in the Rouen area on 13 July 1940. Responsible for the relief operation was the commander of IR396, to whom both the new batallion and the Channel Islands were subordinated until the relief operation had been effected. The headquarters of the batallion were to be established on Guernsey as before. The operation was to start on 13 September and to be completed on 15 September.
On 19 September 1940 a second reorganisation of forces on the Channel Islands occurred. Importantly, the document first pointed out that commando raids were likely and that, in such case, no rapid help could be expected from the mainland, certainly not at night or in bad weather. For the first time, it was emphasized that the islands were to be defended and that any allied attacker was to be captured or thrown back into the sea by counterattack. In order to unify command, a Kommandant der Kanalinseln was appointed, this being Oberst Graf Schmettow with headquarters on Jersey. Subordinated to him were the Maschinengewehrbataillon 16 (with units on Guernsey, Aldernet and Sark) and the Panzerjägerabteilung 652 on Jersey. These changes resulted in more heavy weapons on the islands, but also in an increase in effectives. The overall responsibility of the Kommandant der Kanalinseln also meant that he was to arrange cooperation (!) with the other Wehrmacht services and the Feldkommandantur 515. The Panzerjägerabteilung was to provide 7 men to form the headquarters of the Inselkommandant.
On 23 September 1940 a meeting took place between the Ia of the diviison and the II Armeekorps. Subject of discussion was the defence of the Channel Islands. It wasdecided that the 2. Kompanie/IR 396 and one Zug of the 14. Kompanie/IR 396 would stay on Guernsey. until the Panzerjägerabteilung 652 had relieved the company of the MG-Bataillon 16 on Jersey. The entire MG-batallion would be then be located on Guernsey, Sark and Alderney.
On 24 September 1940 the 1/Panzerjägerabteilung 652 was transported to Jersey.
For the period 19-24/25 September 1940 the new organization of the defence of the Channel Islands was as follows:
The German maps also show the exact locations of the German forces on the Channel Islands on this date. These can be found on the GE animation below:
On 25 September 1940 the Stab and the 2./Panzerjägerabteilung 652 were transferred to Jersey, while the 3/Panzerjägerabteilung 652 was transported to Granville.
On 26 September 1940 the 3/Panzerjägerabteilung 652 was transported to Jersey. Also, on this day the Befehlshaber der britischen Kanalinseln, Oberst Graf von Schmettow arrived at the division headquarters. Finally, the Adjutant Militärbefehlshaber Kanalinseln reported his arrival on Jersey.
On 27 September 1940 the Befehlshaber der britischen Kanalinseln assumed his command on Jersey. The MG-Bataillon 16 and the Panzerjägerabteilung 652 were fully subordinated to him.
In the early morning of 28 September 1940 the British captain Parker was captured on the south coast of Guernsey by sentinels of the Reserveflakabteilung 142.
At the end of September 1940 the following forces were stationed on the Channel Islands:
On 3 October 1940 the the Befehl Nr 3 for the defence of the Channel Islands was issued. The document first stated that the Channel Islands were vulnerable to British raids and that help from the Continent might not be available, especially in case of bad weather. The second paragraph then clearly stated that the islands were to be defended. Reponsible for the defence was the Befehlshaber der britischen Kanalinseln. The troops fully subordinated to him were the MG-Bataillon 16 on Guernsey, Alderney and Sark and the Panzerjägerabteilung 652 on Jersey.The commander of the MG-Bataillon 16 was also the Inselkomandant Guernsey. Telephone cables were located between the division and Guernsey and Jersey and between these two islands. Other communication was done by radio.
A German map of 7 October 1940 gives the exact locations of units. As far as the Channel Islands were concerned we find the Panzerjägerabteilung 652 on Jersey (together with the headquarters of the BdbK) and the MG-bataillon 16 spread across Guernsey, Sark and Alderney, with what looks like a platoon on Alderney and a Feldwache (troop) on Sark.
On 26 October 1940 the Befehlshaber der britischen Kanalinseln reported that 70 men of the VGAD (verstärktes Grenzaufsichtsdienst) had arrived on Jersey., 40 of whom would be based at St-Helier.
In the period 28-29 October 1940 the commander of the 216 Infanteriedivision made an inspection visit to the Channel Islands.
On 30 October 1940 70 men of the VGAD (verstärktes Grenzaufsichtsdienst) had arrived on Guernsey.
At the end of October 1940 the following forces were stationed on the Channel Islands:
On 1 November 1940 the 2/Radfahrbataillon 613 arrived in Jersey with a strength of 3 officers and 128 NCOs and other ranks.
On 5 November 1940 the 2/Radfahrbataillon 613 took over the following guard duties from the Panzerjägerabteilung 652 on Jersey: petrol guard in the harbour, guard at Government House, guard at Verpflegungslager, guard at weapons depot, night patrols
On 7 November 1940 the unit 3/Radfahrwachbataillon 316 had arrived on Guernsey with 3 officers and 125 NCOs and other ranks. On the same day, the division also issued an overview of the relocation of some units of the division.
On 8 November 1940 1 platoon (Zug) of the Pionierbataillon 630 had arrived on Jersey with a strength of 40 men.
On 23 November 1940 a German showing the location of the units of the division also reveals that the responsibility for defending Alderney had been taken away from the Befehlshaber der britischen Kanalinseln and had passed directly to the 216 Infanteriedivision. The occupying unit on Alderney was now a verst. Zug of the IR 348.. Shown on Jersey are the Panzerjägerabteilung 652 and the 2/Radfahrbataillon 613; on Guernsey the MG-Bataillon 16 and the 3/Radfahrwachbataillon.
On 30 November 1940 the following forces were stationed on the Channel Islands:
On 5 December 1940 the platoon of the Pionierbataillon 630 had left the Channel Islands, and its duties had been taken over by the Pionierbataillon 216.
On 12 December 1940 the former occupation force on Alderney (from the MG-Bataillon 16) arrived on Guernsey.
On 8 January 1941 the division reported that 2. and 3. Kompanie/Wachbataillon 613 (Radfahrkompanien), currently deployed on the Channel Islands, would be replaced by Landesschützen. However, even though the AOK 6 had acknowledged the change, it could not be implemented with the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich.
On 10 January 1941 several unit reorganizations took place. For the Channel Islands, the exchange of 2./Panzerjägerabteilung 652 with 3/Panzerjägerabteilung 652 in the Ostabschnitt (eastern sector) of Jersey was carried out.
On 12 January 1941 the 2./Radfahrwachbataillon 613 on Jersey was relieved by Landesschützenbataillon 221 The unit would be transported to Granville on the following day.
On 16 January 1941 the division reported that 2 French captured canons (Beutegeschütze) had arrived on Guernsey.
On 17 January 1941 the 3./Radfahrwachbataillon 613 was relieved by the 3./Landesschützenbataillon 221 on Guernsey, with a strength 2 officers, 11NCOs and 86 other ranks.
On 19 January 1941 a Major von Helldorf is mentioned as belonging to the headquarters of the B. d. b. K.
On 1 February 1941 the presence of a Feldwache 10 on Jersey is mentioned.
On 19 February 1941 it was reported that the II Armeekorps and Armee had communicated that the possibility was to be taken into account that the Stab Panzerjägerabteilung 652 (currently located on Jersey) was to be pulled out soon. Consultations with the division commander and the Ia led to agreement that 1 batallion of the division would have to be transferred to Jersey.
On 22 February 1941 the KTB of the division refers to 2x 15cm batteries on Jersey and Guernsey.
On 25 February 1941 the artillery crews for the 15cm-canon batteries arrived on the Channel Islands. Also on this, the Landesschützen unit on Guernsey left the island.
On 26 February 1941 the Landesschützen unit on Jersey left the island.
On 3 March 1941 the 2. Kompanie/IR 398 arrived on Guernsey.
On 9 March 1941 the Fregattenkapitän Kopp of the Stab Marinebefehlshaber Kanalküste made enquires with the division on the deployment on the Channel Islands. The islands were to be secured by naval artillery.
On 10 March 1941 it was reported that the Flak units on the Channel Islands were no longer operational, since they were about to be transported out of the islands.
On 12 March 1941 it was reported that the heavy and a light Flak battery were to leave the Channel Islands.and that the remaining Flak units still deployed on the islands were to leave in the following days, so that the islands would effectively be completely without Flak defences.
On 14 March 1941 the coastal security on Jersey was taken over by 1 company of the Panzerjägerabteilung 652, while 2 companies were kept in reserve. Finally on this day, a map was issued showing the disposition of troops from 17 March onwards. The division again occupied a Westfront, Nordfront and Ostfront. Shown on the Channel Islands were the Panzerjägerabteilung 652 and the 3/Infanterieregiment 398 on Jersey and the MG-Bataillon 16 and I/IR 398 (with the 1-2, 4 Kompanien) on Guernsey. One platoon of the IR 348 was stationed on Alderney.
On 16 March 1941 the I. Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 398 (without the 2+3 Kompanie) was underway to Granville to be shipped across to the Channel Islands.
On 18 March 1941 it was reported that the departure of the Vermessungsabteilung 602 from Jersey was being delayed as a result of mist. Also on this day the 2. + 3. Kompanie of the Festungsbaubataillon 242 arrived in Jersey. Their mission was to construct positions for 1 naval battery each on Jersey and Guernsey.
On 19 March 1941 the Vermessungsabteilung 602 reported that it would leave Jersey on 20 March. The 3. Kompanie/Pionierbataillon 16 was to take over the sector of the unit. Further on this day, it was reported that the 1 + 2. Kompanien/Pionierbataillon 216, the 1 + 4. Kompanien/IR 398, 2 companies of the Festungsbataubataillon 242 and 2 platoons of the 14. Kompanie/IR 398 would be ferried across to Jersey. Finally, it was reported that the 3. Kompanie/Panzerjägerabteilung 652 had left Jersey for Granville.
On 20 March 1941 it was reported that the 2. Kompanie/Flakbataillon 603 had taken over the coastal security duties previously assumed by the Vermessungsabteilung 602. Also, the 1 + 2. Kompanien/Pionierbataillon 216, the 1 + 4. Kompanien/IR 398, 2 companies of the Festungsbataubataillon 242 and 2 platoons of the 14. Kompanie/IR 398 were reported to have arrived on Jersey.
On 21 March 1941 further unit movements took place. Firstly, the Nachschubkompanie 216 and the 1. Krankenkraftwagenzug were transported today. Secondly, the 3. Kompanie/Panzerjägerabteilung 652 had arrived in Granville. Thirdly, the Stab and the 1+2. Kompanien/Panzerjägerabteilung 652 (ohne Trosse) were planned to leave Jersey on 22 March.
On 22 March 1941 the Stab and the 1+2. Kompanien/Panzerjägerabteilung 652 (ohne Trosse) left Jersey.
On 23 March 1941 the Tross of the Panzerjägerabteilung 652 left Jersey. The Stab and 3. Kompanie of the Panzerjägerabteilung 652, as well as the Wetterpeilzug 507 were unloaded at Granville and transported out of the area of the division.
On 24 March 1941 the 1+2. Kompanien/Panzerjägerabteilung 652 were unloaded at Granville and transported. With this the total Panzerjägerabteilung 652 had now left the area of the division.
On 29 March 1941 Oberstleutnant Fergy, Artilleriekommandeur zbV, who had inspected the deployment of the artillery on the Channel Islands on behalf of the AOK6, reported on his conclusions.
On 30 March 1941 the 3. Aufklärungsstaffel (F) 123 left Jersey.
On 31 March 1941 a 2cm Flak battery of the Flakregiment 30 had arrived on Jersey with 100 men.
On 1 April 1941 the commander of I/Infanterieregiment 398 took over the function as Inselkommandant Guernsey. Further on this day, a map showed the organization and location of the units of the division, down to company level. Also the units occupying the Channel Islands are shown: 1 Zug of the IR 348 on Alderney; The MG-Bataillon 16 and the I/IR 398 on Guernsey (the latter with the Stab, 1-2, 4 (MG) Kompanie (ohne 1 Zug)); 1 Zug on Sark; and the Pionierbataillon 216 (with the 1-2 Kompanien), 3/IR 398, 1 Zug/4(MG)/IR 398, and half of the 14/IR 398. Of course, the BdbK was also headquartered on Jersey.
An overview of units located on the Channel Islands on this date can be found below:
On 5 April 1941 General Freiherr von und zu Gilsa took over as the new commnander of the 216 Infanteriedivision. Also on this dat 290 men of the naval artillery, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Kellermann arrived on Guernsey.
On 7 April 1941 a Ausbildungskommande of the Artillerieregiment 216, with a strength of 27, arrived on Jersey.
On 8 April 1941 Major Hass of the III/IR 584 arrived on Jersey with a Vorkommando.
On 10 April 1941 the 216 ID transferred control and command of its sector to the 319 Infanteriedivision, including the Channel Islands.
On 15 April 1941 the III/IR 584 of the 319 Infanteriedivision arrived on Jersey.
On 18 April 1941 the Stab and 1. Batterie of the the AR319 arrived on Jersey.
On 25 April 1941 a 17cm naval battery was operational on Alderney. Also on this day, the 319 Infanteriedivision transferred its headquarters to Granville.
On 27 April 1941 the I/IR 584 with 1 battery of the AR 319 arrived on Guernsey.
On 30 April 1941 the Channel Islands - with the exception of Alderney - left the Befehls- und Versorgungsbereich of the 216 ID and were transferred to the 319ID.
On 22 May 1941 a Germam map shows the location of the units of the 216 Infanteriedivision, down to company level, on 15 May. Located on Alderney is still 1 reinforced platoon of the IR 398.
On 30 May 1941 the Personaleinheiten 934, 935, 936, 937 had arrived for the Beutebatterien in the area of command and had been ferried across to the Channel Islands.
On 17 June 1941 the transfer of the first four captured tanks (Beutepanzer) to Jersey had been completed.
On 19 June 1941 an order was received from the XXXXII Armeekorps. that, on the order of Hitler himself, the defence of the Channel Islands was to be reinforced. For the island of Alderney, which was a part of the sector of the 83 ID, the deployment of a battery of 15cm K18 had been ordered. Also the infantry defence of Alderney was to be strengthened. Also on
On 20 June 1941 a recce party consisting of Oberst von Rappard (IR277), Oberst von Gallwitz (AR183) and the Ib Hauptmann Sandl crossed to Alderney to explore the possibilities. A provisional report was submitted to the corps; It was envisaged to deploy 1 infantry company, 1 AT-platoon, 1 engineer platoon, 1 bicycle platoon, 1 heavy MG platoon and 1 heavy mortar section to Alderney. The units were to be loaded in Cherbourg and the move was also seen as an exercise in the context of Seelöwe. Also on 20 June 1941 the Stab IR584 and the II/IR584 arrived on Guernsey, while the Stab IR582 and the III/IR582 left for Jersey in late afternoon, arriving in the evening. These units belonged to the 319 Infanteriedivision.
On 22 June 1941 the transfer of the 716 Infanteriedivision started as planned. On the Channel Islands the following units movements took place:
Also on 22 June 1941 the 83 Infanteriedivision reported that in the order for the new occupation of Alderney the reinforcement of the defence of the island was ordered. The rare crossing between Cherbourg and Alderney (twice weekly) necessitated special logistical measures. Also, Hauptmann Hoffmann of 5/IR277 was appointed as Inselkommandant.
On 23 June 1941 the III/IR584 and the first 4 Beutepanzer arrived on Guernsey, while the II/IR582 (ohne 8. Kp) arrived on Jersey. Also on this day, the reinforcement of the defences on Alderney was carried out as planned.
On 24 June 1941 the state of the reinforcements of the Channel Islands was detailed:
On 27 June 1941 the state of defences on the Channel Islands was again detailed:
On 28 June 1941 defences on the Channel Islands were reported on:
On 30 June 1941 the Stab AR319 and the II/AR319 arrived on Jersey.
On 1 July 1941 we also find a situation report of the Channel Islands defences:
On 2 July 1941 the last Beutepanzer arrived on the Channel Islands.
On 4 July 1941 a status report on the Channel Islands defences was released:
Also on this day, commander of the 83 Infanteriedivision inspected Alderney and the newly-deployed forces there.
On 8 July 1941 the Festungspionierstab 14 arrived on Jersey, while the Festungspionierstab 19 had completely arrived on Guernsey, with all of its Unterabschnittsstäben. Also, the Flakabteilung 998 had arrived on the Channel Islands with 2 batteries on Guernsey and 1 on Jersey.
On 9 July 1941 the Festungsbaubataillon 152 (planned for Guernsey) arrived in Granville.
On 11 July 1941 we find another status report on the Channel Islands defences:
On 12 July 1941 Gruppe I of the Festungspionierbaustab 14 arrived at Alderney, together with the 2./Festungspionierbaubataillon 158 for the purposes of bunkerconstruction.
On 13 July 1941 an artillery battery (Heeresküstenbatterie 461) equipped with 15cm K18 canons arrived without ammunition on Alderney. Still on this day, the Kommandierenden Admiral Frankreich, General-Admiral Schulze, inspected Alderney and naval units at Cherbourg.
On 15 July 1941 the thefollowing units had arrived in the area of the AOK15: Heeresküstenbatterien 470, 474, 472. Also, the 3/Baubataillon 128 left the area of the AOK15. Finally on this day, we find another status report on the Channel Islands defences:
On 18 July 1941 the Heeresküstenartillerieabteilungstab 728 arrived on Jersey and the 727 on Guernsey. The courier aircraft and the requested fast ferries had not yet arrived.
On 22 July 1941 a number of units again arrived on Jersey and Guernsey.
On 25 July 1941 there was again a report on the Channel Islands:
On 26 July 1941 talks between the commander of the AR183 Oberst von Gallwitz and the Stoart of the HK LX, Obersteleutnant Schiller resulted in the news that 1 15.5cm Batterie (Beute) with 6 canons had arrived. A further 15.5cm battery with 4 canons and 8 Beutegeschütze 7.5cm were promised. Deployment of the artillery units was discussed with von Gallwitz. The 8 light Beutegeschütze were destined for Alderney
On 27 July 1941 the division reported that ammunition for the HKB 461 on Alderney had arrived and that the battery was thus operational. Further on this day, an 88mm Flak battery arrived on Alderney.
On 29 July 1941 Also information on the Channel Islands is provided: on Guernsey, the 21cm Mörserbatterie 466 was ready to fire, as was the 21cm Mörserbatterie 467 on Jersey. In addition, the 1/Reserveflakabteilung 124 (88mm) relieved the 1/Flakabteilung 243 on Jersey. Finally, on Alderney a schwere Flakbatterie had arrived (88mm).
On 1 August 1941 there was another Inselmeldung on the Channel Islands:
On 5 August 1941 the Ia Major Barchowitz of the 83 Infanteriedivision was on Alderney to discuss artillery deployment. Cooperation between the HKB 461 and the naval battery (17cm) was guaranteed. It was also decided that the Flak position on Alderney was to be fortified. Also, on the orders of the HK LX, a report was to be sumitted, after consultation with the Inspekteur der Landesbefestigungen West, Generalleutnant Schmetzer, concerning the fortification of the island.
On 8 August 1941 we find another Insellage report on the Channel Islands:
On 15 August 1941 there was another Inselmeldung with info on the Channel Islands:
On 16 August 1941 the Inspekteur der Landesbefestigungen West, Generalleutnant Schmetzer, was on Alderney to discuss the permanent fortification of the island.
On 20 August 1941 the division commander and the Chef des Generalstabes of the HK LX visited Alderney to discuss the fortification of the island. It was deemed desirable to move an antire engineer company to the island for a short period. Also on this day, the Zug of the HKB 275 deployed southeast of Cherbourg was declared operational.
On 22 August 1941 the courier aircraft (Kurierflugzeug) for the Channel Islands arrived at Granville and was transferred to Guernsey. Also, the 3. Gruppen of the Krankenkraftwagenzüge 729-731 had left the Armeebereich.
On 23 August 1941 the ship Elise (based on Guernsey) was exchanged for the faster and better-equipped ship Hurtig.
On 27 August 1941 the proposal for the permanent fortification of Alderney was submitted to the HK LX.
On 3 September 1942 a ship sailing from Alderney to Cherbourg was attacked at see, causing casualties. As a result the German navy discontinued its daylight crossings.
In the Inselmeldung of 5 September 1941 it was reported that, instead of an engineer platoon, an entire company of the Pionierbataillon 183 was transferred to Alderney.
On 8 September 1941 the Festungskolonne II, Pionier- und Baustab (mot) arrived in the Armeebereich for the Channel Islands.
On 15 September 1941 the Inspekteur der Landesbefestigungen West, Generalleutnant Schmetzer was with the division to discuss the fortification on Alderney.Importantly, it was mentioned that, because the start and end date of the permanent fortification work was not yet known, the construction of semi-permanent works was to be continued for the time being.
On 26 September 1941 the AOK15 issued another Inselmeldung on the status of forces in the Channel Islands. Firstly, it was reported that canons 2, 3 and 4 of the Heeresküstenbatterie 472 on Guernsey were ready to fire. Secondly, 2x 3.7cm Flak guns were deployed on Jersey for Flak defences of the port of St-Helier. while deployment of a third was planned. Finally, 4 Bautepanzer were transferred to Alderney.
On 30 September 1941 the Ia of the Höheres Kommando LX, Major Spangenberg, called to say that the possibility of a British attack on the Channel Islands was real and that leave for soldiers was to be reduced. Also, the island commander Hauptmann Hoffmann, was now to permanently stay on the island.
On 4 October 1941 the division received the order from the Höheres Kommando LX to check the defensive readiness on Alderney was received. On the request of the division a further Flak battery would be moved to Alderney. Further, the commander of the Pionierbataillon 183, Major Kuhne, was sent to Alderney to discuss the laying of mines. Further on this day the division reported that the Festungspionierbaustab was planning to move German and French civilians to Alderney for the permanent fortification. However, the division responded to this by saying that it preferred that work to be carried out by RAD and OT units.
On 9 October 1941 a report was drafted by the 83 Infanteriedivision on a meeting with the corps commander the day before. The first item discussed was the defences on Alderney. It was deemed necessary to give the island commander full command of navy and air force assets deployed on the island. In addition, many minefields were to be laid on the island, mock and real ones! Further, the island defences required another infantry company. Finally, it was reported that the Heeresküstenbatterien on the island were not fully ready since the tug (for towing targets) had not yet arrived.
On 15 October 1941 the Radfahrzug IR 257 moved to Alderney, where it would relieve the Radfahrzug IR277.
On 20 October 1941 the Flakabteilung 496 arrived on Alderney with 3 88mm batteries, 1 3.7cm and 1 2cm batteries. Also, the Radfahrzug 277 was relieved on Alderney and returned to the regiment.
On 31 October 1941 the HK LX received a message from the AOK15 that a 17cm railway artillery battery was envisaged for Alderney.
On 1 November 1941 we find a complete overview of ALL German units on the Channel Islands. This document has been processed below:
The above origical document was annotated, making clear that changes were made to the document at a later date.
On 2 November 1941 the 7/IR277 relieved the 9/IR277 on Alderney. Also on this day, the division received the order that it was to take over the air defence of bridges in its sector. Thus the division ordered air defence with 3 light MGs each at Valognes, Montebourg and Carentan.
On 8 November 1941 the 83 Infanteriedivision issued an order concerning the sea transports to Alderney. In view of the sea transport difficulties to and from Alderney a uniform arrengement of all supplu operations was necessary. For this purpose the island commander was to draw up a list of priorities for the supply runs. The executive arm of the island commander on the continent was to be the Verladeoffizier Cherbourg. The latter was to coordinate closely with the Seetransportoffizier of the Seekommandant, Kapitänleutnant Hartmann in Granville, and the Bahnhofsoffizier in Cherbourg.
On 18 November 1941 the 83 Infanteriedivision was given tactical responsbility for the permanent fortification on Alderney.
On 22 November 1941 the important meeting was held on the fortification of Alderney. Also on this day, the division ordered the 10/IR 257 to be moved to Alderney with immediate effect. This unit arrived on Alderney on 25 November. A second point discussed in this document of 22 November was the Stab Inselkommandant Alderney. Due to the substantially increased workload of the Inselstab and the use of commanders of other Wehrmacht services in staff officer rank necessitated an enlargement of the Stab by an older staff officer. Obersleutnant Kleedehn (commander of I/IR 277) had been planned for this. he would assume his new position on 28 November.Hauptmann Hoffmann was to remain on Alderney for the time being.
On 28 November 1941 a new island commander took over command on Alderney as Inselkommandant.
On 1 December 1941 we find a complete overview of ALL German units on the Channel Islands. This document has been processed below:
On 28 January 1942 the occupation duty on the island of Alderney was transferred to the 319 Infanteriedivision. The I/IR587 was relieved and arrived at Cherbourg on 29 January. At the same time the subordination of the Stellungsbatterie (Küste) 461 ended.
TO BE CONTINUED