Fortress Alderney

Alderney is the northernmost of the Channel Islands and also the closest to England.

The island measures 5 x 3 km. and the 1500 inhabitants had already been evacuated to England before the Germans occupied the island on July 2, 1940.

The Channel Islands were the only British soil that the Germans conquered and Adolf Hitler feared that the islands would be retaken and a massive fortification was therefore launched.

To house the 4000 forced workers the Germans needed to build the fortification, four camps was constructed at Alderney. Along with the more than 3,000 soldiers, the population on the small island was significantly increased.

The Germans set up five gun batteries, with caliber from 150 to 170 mm. To control the fire from the many guns, a system of six bunkers (Marine Peilstand und Meßstellung) around the entire island was planned.

The system was also started on the other two Channel Islands Jersey and Guernsey, but in practice it proved very difficult. Specially if several ships were to be observed at one time and construction of the bunkers was therefore stopped. At Alderney only the third (MP3) was completed.

22 anti aircraft guns was distributed around the island and a commando bunker with a high tower to overcome the campsite, was built in the middle of the island.

Alderney became one of the areas along the entire Atlantic wall which was must heavily fortified and therefor called Fortress Alderney. The designation fortress was used only used when an area was so heavily fortified that it was considered impossible to conquer.

After the Allies landing in Normandy in June 1944 and subsequent the advance on the Cherbour Valley, the 150 mm. guns in Battery Blücher on Alderney fired upon the American trops.

Subsequently, the British warship HMS Rodney attacked the gun battery, which cost the life of two German soldiers.

The Allies had decided not to attack the Channel Islands which had no strategic significance and these remained therefore occupied until the war in Europe ended May 9, 1945.

As happened in other German fortresses along the Atlantic wall, the German commander at Alderney chose not to surrender until May 16, 1945.

In the post-occupation period, the Germans were set to clean up and among other things, they removed 30000 landmines.

In December 1945, the native population was allowed to return to their island.