319th Infantry Division

Operation "Port Granville" By Graf Von Schmettow (German Commander of the Channel Islands)

In the beginning of 1945 the division planned a raid on the enemy supply port of Granville, which was not only to Harris the supply traffic by destroying port installations and ships, but also, if possible, to obtain supply goods necessary for the islands by capturing loaded steamers.

For this plan four prisoners of war of had been working in the port of Granville and then had fled to the islands by means of a captured LCP had brought valuable reconnaissance material.

The operation was started for the first time in the night of February 7, 1945. Some parts had almost reached the shore unnoticed . Because of the break-down of several boats of the main group and because the weather turned worse, the operation had to be broken off.

Without loss the sea transport could return to Jersey unnoticed by the enemy. During the night of March 8, 1945 the operation was repeated in favourable weather.

As on Feb 7, 1945, the command was in the hands of the division commander who had been relived in the meantime. Owning to the careful preparations and the favourable weather the operation was a complete surprise and a full success.

In the operation plan, eight combat patrols of the Army (319th Infantry Division) with ten officers and 150 men and two combat patrols of the Navy with two officers and 35men, formed raid groups, one under the command of Captain Schellenberg (MG Battalion 16) and the other under 1st Lt Jagmann (Infantry Regiment 584).

The Naval Forces Involved:
Parts of the 34th Mine Sweeping Flotilla
Harbour Defence Boats
One Tug Boat
Commanders Lts Mohr and Lamperhoff.

As security Detachments in the sea area of Granville - St Malo There were three artillery carriers. Commander Lt Jr Grade Karl

Security in the Cotentin passage:
One Mine Sweeper and one Coastal Anti Aircraft Boat.

The Course of Events

At 0200 hours the forces broke into the port of Granville and Landed in the Northern part of Town.

The Commanders boat (mine sweeper) of Lt Mohr had touched the ground when landing in the port and had to be blown up.

As provided by the plan, the combat patrols entered port area and the northern part of the town. In the ensuing fights the enemy, who was completely surprised, suffered heavy losses of killed and wounded.

The Group of Artillery carriers encounter an American patrol vessel south west of the Chaussey Islands, sank it and captured prisoners.

Further results:
The combat patrols made 30 prisoners, amount them a Lieutenant Colonel, 2 Captains, 2 1st Lieutenants and one Lieutenant of the American Army.

Five ships were effectively blown up. Tonnage about 4,800 gross tonnage. Fourteen cranes, locomotives, railroad freight cars, fuel depot were blown up or destroyed.

45 German parachute troops were freed and taken along.

The steam ship "Eskwood" was captured and was brought along with its own power to the islands. Unfortunately the steamers lying in the port had already unloaded their cargoes.

German Casualties:
One officer missing in action, probably killed, five men wounded.

During the return trip the lighthouse and signal post of the enemy at Grand Ile Chaussey were bombarded and put out of action by the ship based artillery of the security detachment. Except from the minesweeper mentioned, all vessels returned undamaged.

In April 1945 an operation was launched from Guernsey through Alderney against the western coast of Cotentin, detail did not become known. It did become known that only one man taking part returned and that the operation had failed. The Navy reported that with the coastal batteries on Alderney it had bombarded tanks assembled on Cotentin opposite Alderney and dispersed them. Which were detected by the raid on the continent.

All parts of the division staying on the continent, such as the 1st Engineers Company of Engineer Battalion 319, smaller parts of the signal battalion, and the rearward services of the division were involved in the fighting during the invasion. The strength of the parts on the continent amounted to about 1,200 men.