Jersey War Tunnels, often abbreviated to Hohlgangsanlage 8, also known as the German Underground Hospital was a partially completed underground hospital complex, built by German occupying forces during the occupation of Jersey during World War II. Over 1 km of tunnels were completed. After the liberation of the Channel Islands, the complex was converted into a museum detailing the occupation and remains a visitor attraction.

After Hitler's October 1941 order to fortify the Channel Islands (as part of the Atlantic Wall), work began on a string of fortifications all around Jersey. Ho8 was intended to be a vast network of underground tunnels that would allow the German occupying infantry to withstand Allied air raids and bombardment (in preparation for an invasion). Forced labourers from the Organisation Todt (as well as paid labourers and skilled workers) were shipped in to Jersey and put to work building the complex. Many of the workers were Polish, French, Russian or Republican Spaniards. Conditions were terrible, although Russian and Ukrainian POWs were treated the worst, with cases of malnutrition, death by exhaustion and disease among them becoming common. On the other hand, the voluntary workers often had much better conditions, being offered over four times the wages that they would have earned working in similar jobs for the States of Jersey, and often receiving extra food rations.

In late 1943, with the threat of an Allied invasion of Europe (Operation Overlord) becoming clear, Ho8 was to be converted into a casualty clearing station and emergency hospital. The hospital had 500 beds for patients, with a full heating and air conditioning system (although the rest of tunnel complex usually maintained a constant temperature of about 17 °C, due to its being built deep into the hillside). A system of gas-proof doors was installed to maintain a clean airflow in the tunnels, and a fully equipped operating theatre was installed. Unfinished tunnels were sealed off.Despite the huge preparations and fortifications made to the Channel Islands, none were ever put into practice. The occupying forces in the Channel Islands surrendered on 9 May 1945 (one day after the rest of the German forces surrendered). Ho8 fell into disuse, with British soldiers and souvenir hunters stripping the tunnels of equipment.

In July 1946, the States of Jersey opened the tunnels to the public. In 1961, the Royal Court ruled that the subterranean complex belonged to the private owners of the land above it, and Ho8 fell under private ownership. The complex was restored, with a collection of Occupation memorabilia and a museum and memorial to the occupation being set up. In 2001, a permanent exhibit called 'Captive Island' was unveiled in the tunnel complex, detailing everyday life for civilians in Jersey before, during and after the occupation of Jersey. Today, Ho8 is generally referred to as the 'Jersey War Tunnels'. The Jersey War Tunnels has also housed military vehicles such as a Char B1 bis tank, which served in Jersey with the Panzer-Abteilung 213 during the occupation which was on loan from the Bovington Tank Museum. As of March 2012 there is also a replica Stug III tank destroyer owned by the war tunnels.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1941
Category:

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Gary Holmyard (16 months ago)
Like others I first visited when I was a child and it has changed immensely, much more organised and a lot more informative . I have read that some peoples children get bored quickly, but if your child is of an age to be interested in REAL history, then this is one place they should go, as they will be keen to learn and find out things here. That great thing about Jersey is that it has kept a lot of it's history from WW2, rather than destroying it which it why these places are so special to preserve.
Sonja Latimer (16 months ago)
Interesting about history but a dark and sad place too. Best to visit on a warm sunny day as the tunnels are cool. Cafe and shop good.
Lee Thomson (2 years ago)
Excellent site and extremely informative. Be prepared though, it's a lot of walking! In the off season some days are two for one.
Caleb Jones (2 years ago)
Knowing that millions of people around the world would be watching in person and on television and expecting great things from him — at least one more gold medal for America, if not another world record — during this, his fourth and surely his last appearance in the World Olympics, and realizing that his legs could no longer carry him down the runway with the same blazing speed and confidence in making a huge, eye-popping leap that they were capable of a few years ago when he set world records in the 100-meter dash and in the 400-meter relay and won a silver medal in the long jump, the renowned sprinter and track-and-field personality Carl Lewis, who had known pressure from fans and media before but never, even as a professional runner, this kind of pressure, made only a few appearances in races during the few months before the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, partly because he was afraid of raising expectations even higher and he did not want to be distracted by interviews and adoring fans who would follow him into stores and restaurants demanding autographs and photo-opportunities, but mostly because he wanted to conserve his energies and concentrate, like a martial arts expert, on the job at hand: winning his favorite competition, the long jump, and bringing home another Gold Medal for the United States, the most fitting conclusion to his brilliant career in track and field.
David Ranger (2 years ago)
Fantastic museum and a must see for any visitor to the island. An excellent exploration into occupied Jersey providing context to the concrete fortifications, bunkers and towers that dot the shoreline around Jersey. Great cafe upstairs to recharge the batteries after an explore. Plan to spend a few hours inside if you want to capture everything. I took my parents on a visit when they flew over for a week and we all enjoyed.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Klis Fortress

From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.

Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.

In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.

Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.