German Bunkers at Les Landes: Battery Moltke

I visit a big bunker complex and tunnels by the racetrack at Les Landes. Posted 19 June 2012
Rear entrance ramp and tunnel

Rear entrance ramp and tunnel

At Les Landes near the racetrack is a large underground bunker complex. Above ground are several gun platforms and connecting them are tunnels and living quarters below. I have been out here several times and I didn’t know these bunkers even existed. There is a small ramp down to a door, and a metal panel in the ground nearby. The panel is a door that opens to reveal a set of steps leading in to the bunker.

Steps leading down to main entrance

Steps leading down to main entrance

It’s like a James Bond villain’s lair, with the motorized opening and thick concrete roof. It is electrically operated and when it’s closed you simply can’t get in.

Opening the hatch

Opening the hatch

CIOS Member Martyn Garnier describing how the guns were raised from the cliffs below

CIOS Member Martyn Garnier describing how the guns were raised from the cliffs below

I met with Martyn Garnier, a volunteer with the Channel Islands Occupation Society who has been maintaining this bunker for many years. He has photos going way back, showing how the big guns from Battery Moltke were recovered from the base of the cliffs there. After the war, they were thrown over the cliffs like a lot of weapons the Germans left behind. It was the fastest and easiest way to make the area safe again.Now, the CIOS has the difficult task of locating and recovering them and trying to put it all back together.

Steps from tunnels to bunker entrance, with an armored port for defensive fire

Steps from tunnels to bunker entrance, with an armored port for defensive fire

This bunker complex is quite large. Long hallways connect ammunition storage rooms, and living quarters. The gas locks and ventilation ducts still work, like in the other bunkers around the island. Martyn has adapted a modern electric motor to operate one system, complete with heater to warm the bunker on cold days! Memorabilia from wartime lines the walls and fills display cases here and there.

The top piece (looks like a mask) is for an infant in case of gas attack

The top piece (looks like a mask) is for an infant in case of gas attack

Papers Please! ID card for Mrs Alice Henry dated 1941

Papers Please! ID card for Mrs Alice Henry dated 1941

Newspaper front page from during the Occupation

Newspaper front page from during the Occupation

Three-man officers quarters, with telephone and radio

Three-man officers quarters, with telephone and radio

Larger room for the gun crews. The roof is two metres thick reinforced concrete.

Larger room for the gun crews. The roof is two metres thick reinforced concrete.

Giant searchlight for the antiaircraft guns

Giant searchlight for the antiaircraft guns

Beneath the gun platforms are large circular rooms used to store ammunition and equipment. There are small lifts for moving the 100lb shells and the 30lb charges. These were huge 15cm guns captured from the French and brought to Jersey by the Germans. Most anything between Jersey and Guernsey, Sark, or France was in range.

Searchlights and and armoured machine gun cover sit in recessed alcoves below, and a big antiaircraft gun occupies an entire room off to one side.

Armoured turret from above ground

Armoured turret from above ground

Lift to move the heavy shells out to the gun platforms

Lift to move the heavy shells out to the gun platforms

Rough translation: 'It flew against England'

Rough translation: 'It flew against England'

Huge antiaircraft gun, no idea how they got this underground?

Huge antiaircraft gun, no idea how they got this underground?

Back above ground, you can see where the shells would come up the elevators and the ramp where a searchlight could be brought out. All of St Ouen’s Bay stretches below to the south, Corbière lighthouse sparkles in the distance.

One of the original 15.5cm K418(f) French field guns from the battery

One of the original 15.5cm K418(f) French field guns from the battery

To see this bunker check the details page for it on the CIOS website. It’s open most Sundays April-September from 11am-3pm.