18th June 1916
Batterie Moltke’s namesake dies
Helmuth von Moltke the Younger was the Chief of the German General Staff between 1906 and 1914, having previously served as assistant to Kaiser Wilhelm II. He was a highly respected military commander whose downfall came after a disagreement with the Kaiser at the start of the First World War.
The Kaiser wanted to move all of Germany’s forces to the east where they could be deployed against Russia, rather than paying any attention to France. This, he believed, would help to keep Britain out of the war – or at least neutral. Moltke the Younger disagreed with this idea, claiming that it was too late to make such a drastic alteration to a long-agreed strategy.
Subsequently, the German forces were defeated by Franco-British forces at Marne, east of Paris, and Moltke suffered a breakdown. Never fully recovering, he died in Berlin and was buried in the city’s Invalids’ Cemetery.
A gun emplacement in his honour
When German forces built defensive structures on the Channel Islands during the occupation, they gave several of them former military leaders’ names. Thus, Batterie Moltke appears on Jersey maps close to L’Etacq.
The Batterie is a four-gun emplacement and supporting tunnels that link the guns to a personnel bunker designed to accommodate 27 men. The guns had a range of just under 20km, which is somewhat conservative in comparison to other guns installed in the Channel Islands. It’s insufficient to reach Sark or the French coast but does cover the whole of Jersey and would be adequate for defending against approaching ships.
Batterie Moltke is supported by a five-level range-finding tower, which sits directly beside the Batterie itself. As well as being a post for visual observation, it supported a roof-mounted radar to track incoming craft.
FREE Jersey history newsletter
Don't miss our weekly update on Jersey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.