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Report - - Hohlgangsanlage Tunnels, Jersey, The Channel Islands - October 2019 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Hohlgangsanlage Tunnels, Jersey, The Channel Islands - October 2019


Bertie Bollockbrains

There is no pain
Regular User
Hohlgangsanlage are a number of tunnels constructed in Jersey by occupying German forces during the occupation of Jersey of World War Two. The Germans intended for these bunkers to protect troops and equipment from aerial bombing and to act as fortifications in their own right. The word Hohlgangsanlage can be translated as "cave passage installations".

All the tunnels except for Ho5 are incomplete, and some never progressed beyond planning. The partly complete tunnels are, nonetheless, substantial in size.
In 1944, when construction stopped, 244000m3 of rock had been extracted for tunnel digging collectively from Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney (the majority from Jersey). At the same point in 1944, the entire Atlantic Wall from Norway to the Franco-Spanish border, excluding the Channel Islands, had extracted some 225000m3.

HISTORY


Tunnel construction began in 1941, shortly before Hitler's October 1941 decree that the islands be defended. The tunnels were constructed at strategic points around the island. The Germans used a variety of labour sources, most being forced. During 1944, there was a shortage of raw materials, so effort was diverted to finish only the most complete tunnels. On 9 May 1945, construction stopped with the liberation of Jersey. Only a few tunnels were actually used by the Germans: Ho1, Ho4, Ho5, and Ho8; of these, only one was actually completed (Ho5) and the others were used while partially completed with unfinished galleries being walled off, or left with pit props in place.

Immediately after the war, the British used the tunnels: soon after the Liberation of the Channel Islands, some military equipment was moved and stored in the tunnels. For example, Ho1 stored weapons, Ho2 stored small equipment such as helmets, gas masks, fuel, oxyacetylene, and field kitchens. Ho13 stored Panzer Abteilung 213's Char B1 bis tanks.

During the 1950s scrap metal drive, they were mostly cleared and sealed. Under Jersey law, a landowner owns everything beneath his land, down to the centre of the earth, so all the tunnels are privately owned. Hohlgangsanlage 8 is the only tunnel open to the public without special permission from the land owner; it was opened to the public in 1946 by the British army, then gifted to the States of Jersey by the War Department. After a lawsuit by the owners of the land above, it became privately owned but still operates as a museum today.

Post 1962, all the tunnels were thoroughly cleared of German equipment (apart from the museum, Ho1 due to roof collapse and Ho4 due to masses of barbed wire, roof collapses and unexploded ordnance) after a tragedy in which two souvenir hunters died of carbon monoxide poisoning in Ho2. The tunnels are very unstable as, contrary to popular belief, most were bored not into solid granite, but loose shale. This is evident from the large number of roof collapses in the incomplete, unlined tunnels.
  • Ho1 – Munitions store – West side of La Route d'Aleval – Incomplete but used recently used as a mushroom farm
  • Ho2 – Ration store – East side of La Route d'Aleval – Incomplete
  • Ho3 – Munitions store – Planning stage only.
  • Ho4 – Munitions store – West side of Grand Vaux Valley – Incomplete but used (now used by Jersey Water for storage).
  • Ho5 – Fuel store – St. Aubin, Railway Walk – Complete, but used for munitions, now in use by the States of Jersey.
  • Ho6 – Personnel shelter – L'Aleval, exact location unknown – Unknown if ever got past exploratory stage
  • Ho7 – Artillery reserves – Cap Verd – Exploratory work only (rear entrance to Ho8 is also here)
  • Ho8 – Artillery quarters – St Peter's Valley – Incomplete but converted to hospital, and now a visitor attraction
  • Ho9 – Electricity works – Bellozanne Valley – Planning stage only
  • Ho10 – Ration store – Grands Vaux, between Mont Neron and Ruisseaux – Incomplete
  • Ho11 – Personnel shelter – Planning stage only
  • Ho12 – Fuel store – La Commune – Exploratory work only.
  • Ho13 – Munition store – East side Beaumont Valley – Incomplete.
  • Ho14 – Fuel store – Planning stage only.
  • Ho15 – Store – West side of Beaumont Valley – Incomplete
  • Ho16 – Personnel Shelter – West side of Beaumont Valley at road level – Incomplete, abandoned (not known if still in existence).
  • Ho17 – Unknown – Unknown.
  • Ho18 – Hospital – Westmount, disused mine/civilian air raid shelter – Planning Stage Only.
  • Ho19 – Electricity works – first entrance from town La Folie, St Helier – Incomplete, used by States of Jersey.
  • Ho20 – Tunnel- Mount Bingham – Incomplete
  • Ho21 – Stores – Jubilee Hill – Planning Stage
  • Ho22 – Stores – Rozel Valley – Planning Stage
  • Ho23 – Personnel Shelter – Grouville Marsh – Planning Stage
  • Ho24/25 – Greve de Lecq Valley/St. Ouen – Planning Stage

REPORT


With thanks to @GJ0KYZ who met us out there and guided us around Ho1.

I only had three days in Jersey, so didn't really have enough time to search through the whole list above, the obvious absence is Ho13 which does exist and was reported in here in 2007. But here's what I did get to:

Ho1 - Munitions Store.
Jersey Mushrooms Ltd used the tunnels due to the dark constant temperatures inside the tunnels. Sadly this use came to an end in November 2006 when the tunnels were sold and mushroom production ceased. It is still a live site and seems to be used as dry storage for all sorts of stuff such as water cooler bottles. Best not to visit in the daytime when workers will be inside.

On entering, a loading platform is immediately seen


The initial wide concrete-lined passage runs parallel to the road outside


All sorts of random stuff is stored in here



Move deeper into the complex, and the walls are no longer concrete-lined






An escape shaft with a ladder


Remains of an old vehicle



Detail of the dashboard

Ho2 - Ration Store.

In 1962, two schoolboys who managed to get inside suffocated because a fire had occured in the tunnel the previous day which had consumed all the oxygen. The states authorities decided to open up the tunnel and clear out all the equipment and re-seal it for good.

Unlike Ho1, the entrance passages lack concrete lining









Go up and over a roof-fall and we get to the rear of the complex, where the walls are now concrete-lined




The main rear passage



]
 
Last edited:

Bertie Bollockbrains

There is no pain
Regular User
Ho4 - Munitions Store.
Now used by Jersey Water for storage



Ho5 - Fuel Store.

This tunnel started life as a railway tunnel which was dug by Jersey Railways and Tramways Ltd. The company went bankrupt in 1936 due to a fire which destroyed most of the rolling stock. The tracks were lifted and the tunnel abandoned. In 1941 the occupying German fortress engineers constructed the side tunnels and side galleries. At its conception it was intended to be a fuel storage tunnel. However large quantities of fuel wasn’t accumulated on the island, so its use was converted to store munitions. This tunnel complex was the only one to be totally completed by the German engineers. Now used by a bike hire company which was closed both times we went to look.





Ho8 - Artillary Quarters later converted to a hospital.
Now a tourist attraction













Unfinished tunnel in Ho8 (taken through a gate, they don't actually allow you to walk through this bit)


Ho10 - Ration Store.
The entrance has been sealed and can just about be seen in somebody's back garden. Now if this was my back garden, I would be digging it!



Ho12 - Fuel Store.

Said to have never got past the exploratory stage. With no photos anywhere on the internet, I wasn't sure of what to look for, but I think this short cutting and a sealed opening is it.



Ho19 and 20 - Electricty Works.

Now in use by the States of Jersey







Thanks for reading
 
Last edited:

TrevBish

www.TrevBish.co.uk
Regular User
Great report! Have worked over in Jersey a few times over the last couple of years and visited some of these. Didn't venture inside apart from the hospital museum. Still amazes me that the Nazis occupied it for 5 years. They created a lot of fortification!
 

Oort

Fear is the little death
Regular User
Nice one bloke, cracking report!
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Cracking report. Love the colours in the layers of shale. :cool: Appreciate the time this report must of taken, and I really enjoyed the read. Thank you :cool::cool::thumb
 

mw0sec

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Excellent work as per usual. I have only spent a week on Jersey some years ago, but amazing what was available in the time to poke about in!
 

GJ0KYZ

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
It was great to have met you all when you came over mate and I'm glad I could show you around. Those are amongst the very best photos I've seen of HO1&2, congratulations. Hopefully you'll be back in the Island at some stage and we can meet up again then. All the best for now.
 

Bertie Bollockbrains

There is no pain
Regular User
@GJ0KYZ we have already decided to go on a camping holiday to Alderney next summer - mainly because wifey finds the thought of the tiny turboprop plane from Southampton Airport exciting and as a wildlife photographer myself will be curious to see Gannet Island and the numerous blonde hedgehogs. I am aware of the location of the three German Hohlgangsanlage tunnels on that island. Hope to see you then. If you ever find yourself in Wiltshire theres a spare room here and the opportunity to be led around Wiltshire underground stuff.
 

GJ0KYZ

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
That sounds great; I'd love to look round the tunnels in Alderney. I think there are other things to explore there as well such as the Forts built during the Napoleonic times. I have a rib so I could be with you within an hour or so. As for the gannets, I've actually landed on the closer of the two colonies years ago when I used to help with the local bird ringing scheme. Anyway keep in touch and let me your plans nearer the time. By the way, landing by plane on Alderney is like landing on an aircraft carrier - it's terrifying!
Cheers for now.
 

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