Few would consider the island of Alderney as a place of great military importance. Whereas the German Occupation of the Channel Islands in general, and Jersey and Guernsey in particular, is well known and well documented, Alderney is usually overlooked. Yet its defences were on such a massive scale that the producer of this video examining the remains of the German defences, quite justifiably calls Alderney a Battleship Island.
This absorbing documentary film opens with a brief explanation of the purpose and formation of the Atlantic Wall defences before concentrating on Alderney. Considerable contemporaneous German film footage is used to show the enormous scale and scope of the defences erected on the island. Impressive though these images are, what is even more remarkable is that most of those huge bunkers and emplacements are still in existence and still in very good structural condition.
Though just a fraction over three miles long and one-and-a-half miles wide, the island boasts approximately 100 defensive structures from the Second World War. On almost every headland and every bay bunkers and batteries still dominate the land and seascape.
To shelter its main harbour, which became a fleet base for the Royal Navy, Alderney also boasts the longest breakwater in the UK. To protect the fleet great coastal defences were built in the nineteenth century and these are no less impressive than their German counterparts of the twentieth century.
Extra features include an interactive map with locations as well as internet links to additional material. This film is well structured and well presented and will inspire all that watch it with an ardent desire to explore this beautiful and historically significant island.
Review courtesy of Britain At War Magazine.