Reviewed by Judy Ehlen, Geoscientist, Autumn 2021
The Channel Islands were the only part of Britain occupied by Germany during World War II. The islands, thought to be indefensible, were demilitarised by the British Government in the summer of 1940, with some of the population evacuated to mainland Britain. German occupation began immediately thereafter. Because Germany feared recapture of the islands by Britain, protection against a potential invasion was crucial. German fortification concentrated on the three largest islands, Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney. Guernsey was the most heavily fortified, particularly on its north side, because of its nearness to mainland Britain.
Military geologists were heavily involved in the fortification of the islands, with at least 14 employed. Unlike the UK and the US, Germany employed large numbers of trained geologists, about 400 by the end of the war. Military geologists on the Channel Islands served in the Army and Air Force (Luftwaffe). Work for the Navy, primarily coastal defense structures, was most likely done by Army military geology teams. Later in the Occupation, military geologists also provided support to Organisation Todt, the German construction agency… More