A Guided walk of Resistance nests Le Braye, Les Carrières and Einstatz Höhe 201 and led by Tony Pike was well attended and enjoyed by society members on October 11th. The walk started with a short stroll to the nearby remains of the stone crusher that was built to construct the Anti-Tank wall PZM 3, where Tony explained where the necessary aggregates came from, and how they were transported to build the fortifications.
Next was a visit to the Le Braye Resistance nest, and a unique opportunity to look inside the Type 631(b) 4.7cm PaK 36(t) bunker which is not normally open to the public.
Tony showed many photographs to members along the way to Les Carrières, giving a fascinating “Then & Now” look at the landscape and extensive trenches linking the two Resistance Nests. At Les Carrières, the Jäger casemate 10.5cm K331(f) and Type 631 4.7cm PaK 36(t) bunkers were visited. These bunkers are in the society’s care, but for environmental reasons they are not open on a regular basis, so it was nice to see them.
Next was a visit to a unique type of Tobruk stand on the landward side of the five mile road, then to the minefield “Mont du Feu” where Tony and Alex Fearn displayed and explained the operation of some Teller, S, and Schumine that were laid in the area. Finally, a steep walk up the dune to Action Post 201, where again more photographs, history and personal accounts were read from soldiers who were stationed in the area during the occupation.
Saturday was a brisk but sunny day at Crabbé Shooting Ranges and a first of its kind event for the Society. A live firing of German WW2 hand weapons followed by some modern firearms for comparison. Kept in a private collection and kindly made available to a group of CIOS members, these were a rare treat for the firearms enthusiasts in attendance and a great opportunity to use and learn more about the older weapons. Accuracy was surprisingly good, even if some of the parts in use were approaching 80 years in age.
Among the firearms used were a standard German K.98 rifle in 7.92mm, a MP.38 in 9mm with a 32 round stick magazine, a Luger and a Walther P.38 both in 9mm.
All in all it was a very interesting day and a great opportunity to try something different. The Society would like to thank the Range Safety Officers for their expertise and advice (and patience!), which made for a very enjoyable and safe time for all.
After a successful trip by Neil Walker and Cristin Bouchet to Walcheren, Holland in January an extended hand of friendship and "Return Match" on local soil was recently convened between Neil and Arthur Van Beveren who is not just a member of Stichting Bunkerbehoud in Holland, but co-runs the immensely successful bunkersite.com. There is a lovely section on Jersey which Arthur has forged over several visits to our Island, this time, scratching a little deeper under the surface was Neil's plan.
Neil and Arthur have been friends for many years after a very "chance" first meeting in St. Malo a long time ago and Neil was determined to show off as much as he could to Arthur during his visit here.
Bunkers, Tunnels, Observation Towers, Cold War Defences, more tunnels, Panzermauers, more towers, beer, a HUGE amount of photography, more bunkers, more beer were some of the general themes. Occasionally, there was time for eating and sleeping....but not much!
Along the way several contingents from CIOS Jersey assisted greatly to provide even more to see for our guest. Notable thanks due to the MP3 Crew, the Stp. Corbiere Contingent, The Noirmont Suspects, and some random Archivist who found a piece of concrete to look at :-) Thanks guys great team effort!
We think Arthur had a nice time, he was caught grinning with a massive smile more than once and reports are he went home tired and happy for a rest and a newly found addiction for chocolate digestive biscuits.
Well done CIOS Jersey for the team effort, it's been great to see Arthur during frankly amazing weather for October in this place!
A word of warning to those who may wish to visit the Channel Islands’ Occupation sites. Most of the bunkers, gun pits and defences are on private property, and if you want to have a look, first obtain permission from the owner. Do not enter without a strong torch or lamp. There are different designs of defences that, from the outside look the same, but once inside, passages may descend without warning. Also wellington boots may be needed as over fifty years of dirt and dust will have blocked up the drains. We would warn you that bunkers on the coast will have been used as unofficial toilets - so beware! Young persons should not enter without an adult, as many bunkers have awkward steps and hidden ducts that can trip the unwary. Bunkers and tunnels that are sealed have been blocked up for this reason and for no other - those of you who hope to find an “Aladdin’s Cave” of war relics are too late, having been beaten to it by the scrap metal drive of the early 1950s.