German occupation of Guernsey

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by comiso90, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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  2. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Knew a guy who grew up on Guernsey. He said they were forever stumbling over munitions left over by the Germans. A box of Grenades here, a store of shells there. Stuff was just lying around in bunkers and casements. Got to be good friends with the Royal Engineers (or whomever disposed of the stuff) because they were always coming up to the guys and saying, "We found such and so over there". Being kids, they wandered all over the island and found a lot of stuff. Back in the 70s.
     
  3. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    I wonder how isolated the Germans were in regards to information. I'm sure that they were subjected to their own propaganda. Perhaps the end of the war came as a surprise
     
  4. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Years ago, I dated a girl that was born there. Her mother used to tell stories of when they were kids, they used to use chalk to draw a V on the bicycle seats of the Germans. They got a giggle out of German soldiers walking around with a V on their backsides.
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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  6. HealzDevo

    HealzDevo Active Member

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    I can remember there was a book written about that but I can't remember the name of it. A commando mission went wrong and the hero and his crew got stranded among the Germans. Then they hear about the end of the war, but there is a German thing that it is Allied Propaganda, and the Germans lose the governor who is coming out to Guernsey due to ultra foul weather...
     
  7. norbert yeah

    norbert yeah New Member

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    A nice yarn, but simply not true. All "munitions" were extensively removed from the islands and the bunkers emptied in 1945/6, the majority of these items were deposited in Hurds deep to the north of Alderney or simply, as in the case of some of the larger guns, dumped over a convienient cliff.

    Many of the larger weapons, such as the guns on the Mirus battery, were left in situ until the 1950's when scrap dealers were commissioned to remove them for good. Unfotunately !!!!

    Over the years the odd roll bomb, shell or land mine has been found and disposed of, but I am sure, not cases or boxes of munitions. Until the late 1970's some of the tunnels built by the Germans contained the remains of some equipment including field kitchens, however following the death of a couple of children who had managed to get into one of these tunnels, they were emptied and the remains disposed of.
     
  8. norbert yeah

    norbert yeah New Member

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    The local garrisons were well aware of events, and the end of the war certainly didn't come as a surprise to them. In the end they were resigned to the fact and to a man glad to get it over and return home. Even though the Channel Islands was something of an easy option when compared to other theatres of war, after the Normandy landing supplies became critical, the garrison resorted to scavenging for food and even eating cats and dogs. The local poplulation suffered as well, however they did have the bonus of red cross supplies, something that wasn't available to the Occupying forces.
     
  9. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    As noted, it happened in the 70s and the guy was pretty emphatic that if you looked around, you would find stuff. Not to the extent that the WW1 battlefields were littered, but the stuff was there.

    Again, I wasn't there, he was. Your perspective may be one of being a local as well.
     
  10. norbert yeah

    norbert yeah New Member

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    I agree you could find small bits and pieces, I know I found the remains of a number of stick grenades close to one of the beaches by kicking around in the sand. I also know of a pistol being found in an air duct of a bunker during the 1980's. However it's small fry and not the impression I get from your friends account, of finds boxes of munitions littering the place 50 - 60 years after the event, unlike the Somme and Flanders Jersey is only 45 square mile and Guernsey 35 square miles, so there would be very few places not visited often enough for this stuff not to be found and disposed of.
     
  11. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Ahh....Norbert, it could've been my memory that was faulty on this one. We were all standing around drinking when he told me (war stories come out after a few drinks and we were way past a few drinks) and the story gets bigger and badder ever time I remember it.

    In a couple of years, they'll be digging up left over ammo from the Tirpitz!
     
  12. norbert yeah

    norbert yeah New Member

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    It's funny how the memory can play tricks, I've been saying this somewhere else on the net recently, unfortunately that person won't accept this.

    My fathers family lived under the Germans in Jersey for 5 years and like all of these events, the Phoney war, Battle of Britiain, Battle of the Atlantic, Blitz etc... while they may not have been good times as such, however today those who took part or experienced them tend to do so with somesort of pride. In the Channel Islands the liberation (May 9th) is marked by a public holiday and celebrations, it means that much to the Islands today as it did 60 years ago.
     
  13. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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  14. norbert yeah

    norbert yeah New Member

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    Unfortunately my father passed away just over three years ago, but you are right he could tell a tale or two, though normally this would be with people who went through the same experiences as him, and not generally to me. I had to be within ear shot to pick up the stories.

    It's funny how many of these people have exactly the same memories, I once asked Dad where he saw his first German, and he answered outside the Royal Hotel in David Place. I’ve asked several people the same question over the years; quite a few gave the same answer, Royal Hotel. Many, for some reason, remember the smell of the leather the Germans wore.

    My father only fell foul of the Germans once, and that once cheeking an officer who came into the shoe shop that he was working in. The German kicked him up the arse and told father that because of that he would never forget this particular German, funnily enough he was right :)
     
  15. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    A fascinating subject. Brits under German occupation. There needs to be a screen play and movie.

    Is there any knowledge of clandestine events in which the Brits delivered or extracted people via sub or speed boats?

    Sorry about your father
     
  16. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Yeah, bummer about your pop. Funny about the German, of all the ways he could've handled it (most of them very bad for your father), he chose to handle it in the most direct and effective method short of bloodshed or loss of life. The ole' boot up the ass! Works wonders.

    Would be a good movie, if movies were made any good anymore. Most of them suck. Been so long since I've seen a good flick that I've given up. Hollywood gets all preachy and the story is lost in grandstanding and politicing.
     
  17. norbert yeah

    norbert yeah New Member

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    There has been a lot of debate about the relative inactivity of resistance within the Channel Islands during WW2, many media types have made an issue of collaboration without actually looking further into the situation the 70,000 channel islands found themselves in, in 1940.

    The total land area of the Channel Islands is approximately 200 km2 which when compared to, lets say France at 640,000 Km2, is not exactly big. Into this area was squeezed a population of 70,000 people and a German garrison of approximately 35,000. It was quite crowded !!!!!

    For real acts of resistance to be carried out, the perpetrators needed a bolt hole, a place to lie low in until the dust had settled. Can you imagine what the reprisals on the population would have been if scores of Occupying troops had been killed in guerrilla attacks.

    To say acts of resistance didn’t happen would be wrong, but in comparison to mainland Europe they were small and really only token. Some went un-notice for quite sometime, for instance the chap who was responsible for cutting the grass landing strip at the airport, did his job too well and efficiently. For sometime the Germans were loosing aircraft to landing accidents before they realised that this man was purposely cutting the grass to short, and making it, somewhat, like ice. A friend of mine was involved in mischief making, over a period of nights; he and several “School” friends broke into a German store house. Ironically they broke in at exactly the same time each night, while the guard’s backs were turned. The Germans were that efficient they didn’t think to change the times that the guards patrolled in order to catch out the perpetrators of the robberies. On their last raid, my friend and his mates had the foresight to leave a Operation Todt forage cap, in a suitable position as evidence. By all accounts it worked wonders.

    Sometime later the same friend was knocked off his bicycle by what was known as a Blitz Lorry. The driver was rather concerned for his wellbeing and tried to take him to hospital to get him checked over. However my fiend vehemently refused to go, why ??? Because in the panniers of his bicycle he had several hundreds of rounds of rifle ammunition, which if discovered would have had dire consequences.

    In time, he and several of his mates were arrested by the occupying troops, tried, found guilt and sentenced to several years imprisonment. Three of them escaped, towards the end of 1944 and he went into hiding with a local family, he finally came out of hidng on May 9th 1945 as allied troops Liberated the Islands.
     
  18. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    I gotta agree with ya' Norbert. Open hostility in a place where the population is unarmed, the occupying force has a ratio or 1 for every 2 islanders and there is no safe have is suicide. Further, open operations would do the Nazis work for them. Once you are out in the open, you're toaste. Passive resistance is a much better and wiser method.

    Amazing stories though. Pretty slick move with the grass. Thought it up and did it. That guy definitely was definitely smart and had a set.

    It's amazing the Germans didn't shoot the kids when they found them guilty. Sounds like the occupation of the Islands wasn't as heavy handed as it was on the mainland. Am I guessing wrong on this?
     
  19. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Was there any real tactical or strategic sense for the Germans to garrison the channel islands? Did it greatly contribute to the axis effort?

    Other than depriving the allied power of the real estate for use as a radar station or spotter or listening post.... that is.
     
  20. norbert yeah

    norbert yeah New Member

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    No real tactical or strategic reason or importance, unlike Malta which controlled the Med, the Channel Islands could in theory control the Bay of St Malo. For the Germans it was more of a propaganda exercise and something of an obsession for Mr Hitler.

    To be honest the Germans would not have left the Channel Islands to their own devices they were too close to mainland Europe, and could have been used by the allies as a jumping off point for raids etc…. However when the Germans occupied the islands, the allies weren’t in too much of a hurry to get them back, because it tied up 30-40,000 German troops that could have been used elsewhere.
     
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