Strongpoint Corbiere

Scattered across this popular tourist attraction are an impressive array of fortifications, in a variety of types. The Society have restored several and works to open more to the public are in progress.

M19 Automatic Fortress Mortar and interconnected Sechsschartentürm Heavy MG Turret Bunker

Rear view of the type M19 bunker

Situated to the right of the road leading to the lighthouse; look for the signs.

The La Corbière headland formed the base for one of the strongest of the Infantry Strongpoints in Jersey carrying an impressive array of weaponry and boasting 6 fortifications built to 'Fortress' standard comprising of 2 meter thick reinforced concrete external walls and ceilings.

A model of an automatic mortar in use

Made by Rheinmetall-Borsig of Düsseldorf, the M19 automatic fortress mortar was a complicated piece of equipment which was housed within a 25cm thick, 40 ton, steel turret with only the muzzle of the weapon and a periscope visible from the outside. The M19 fired 5cm mortar bombs fed on interlinking 6 bomb clips and was capable of firing up to 120 bombs a minute to a maximum range of 600 meters. Any enemy infantry observed within range of the M19 automatic mortar would be engaged by a stream of indirect (plunging) fire which would either 'neutralise' or drive the attacker back into the open where they could be dealt with by machine-guns.

The M19 mortar was mounted in an Early Type 633 bunker, the only one of its type to be installed in Jersey, but what makes this position so unique is the long underground passage that links it to the neighbouring Type 634 Sechsschartentürm bunker. The concrete-lined tunnel was not bored through the granite rock, but was constructed using the ‘cut and cover’ method. All steel fixtures and fittings, including the turret and mortar were removed in early 1953 for scrap metal. Today the bunker has been restored to a very high standard, and the excellent displays and exhibits provide ample guidance to the workings of this unique installation as well as the German crew who manned it during the last year of the war thanks to information given by the late Herr Engelbert Hoppe, the last wartime Commander!

Steps in passageway between bunkers

The Sechsschartentürm (6-loopholed turret) bunker mounted 2 x MG 34 machine-guns, each of which could fire 800 rounds a minute, with a maximum range of 3,500 metres, allowing them to ‘sweep’ the southern end of St. Ouen’s Bay. The MG 34s were each provided with a special mount (Kugellafette) which operated from within a 25cm thick, 50 ton steel turret. This bunker served as the command bunker for Strongpoint Corbiere and was equipped with radio communications to relay observations taken from 6 armoured periscopes housed within the safety of the turret.

The bunker was stripped of all steel fittings for scrap metal in February 1953, with extensive damage being caused by the removal of the turret with explosives. Today the bunker is being progressively restored to its original wartime appearance. The Type 634 Sechsschartentürm is common on the 'European Atlantic Wall', but this example is the only one of its kind to be found in the Channel Islands.

M19 Fortress Mortar & connected Heavy MG Bunker

10.5cm Coastal Defence Gun Casemate

Side view of the Casemate

Adjacent to the road leading to the lighthouse; look for the signs.

Look for the open sign near the car park entrance

This is one of two Jägerstand Type coastal defence gun casemates located at Strongpoint Corbiere, which mounted a captured French Canon de 105mm mle Schneider converted to fortress use by the Germans and re-designated the 10.5cm K331(f). This bunker, known originally as 'K2' (Kanone = Canon) is of particular interest to the visitor as it escaped the post-war scrap metal drives and retains its original 10.5cm gun as well as other rare fixtures and fittings such as the bunker stove and heavy machine gun mounting table. This has permitted the bunker to be restored to near original condition, under the watchful eye of the late Herr Horst Herrmann, a former crew member!

The gun had a range of 12 km and was originally part of a network of similar weapons along the coast with interlocking fields of fire, whose purpose was to engage landing craft and prevent the formation of a beachhead, in the event of an Allied invasion. Today this is the only gun on Jersey’s west coast to remain in its original position.

10.5cm Coastal Defence Gun Casemate