The 19th August 1944 marks the 73rd anniversary of Obergefreiter Anton Stützle death. The Senior Lance Corporal was just 23 years old when the gun he was assisting to fire, blew up at Battery Roon, La Moye, St Brelade.
At 14.00 that fateful day, a convoy escorted by minesweepers, departed Guernsey for Jersey. The cargo was the second shipment of four 15cm K18 long range field guns, along with ammunition supply and personnel. At 1526 hours, as the convoy approached Jersey, the coastal batteries were put on full alert as an enemy warship had been observed optically and on radar approaching the convoy. This was the destroyer HMS Onslaught which, following the previous shipment on the 9th August, had continued to patrol off the islands.
At 1531 hrs, four coastal batteries opened fire on the destroyer which, by this time, was busy engaging the convoy and its escort.
Batteries Moltke (four 15.5cm K418(f) and Roon (Four 22cm K532 (f) French field guns dating from the first world war) were the two principal batteries to engage the ship. It was during this firing that a shell is suspected to have prematurely detonated in the barrel, killing Anton Stützle and seriously wounding five others of the gun crew.
The site of Battery Roon is now covered with housing development and La Moye Prison, but the shattered remains of the gun that blew up were discovered in 1979 during earth-working, alongside the emplacement in the prison’s vegetable garden!
The remains of the gun were subsequently taken to Battery Moltke’s No.3 gun emplacement at Les Landes common, St Ouen, where they can be seen today.
Lifelong collector Damien Horn, Vice President of the Channel Islands Occupation Society (Jersey) has acquired the original memorial card that was sent by the Wehrmacht to the family of Anton Stützle, informing them of his death.
CIOS Archives and Tony Pike, Story by Tony Pike