Ho19 and Ho20 Hohlgangsanlage 19&20
Hohlgangsanlage 19 & 20

In May 2016 we received a longterm licence to research and document Hohlgangsanlage 19 & 20 (Military cave installation). The tunnels were a German military complex built during the Second World War. We think, from the research work done & input from guests, Ho19 was designed for a generator or fuel tank for use at the Harbour and Ho19 was probably going to be a tunnel complex that went from one side of Mount Bingham to the other. At this point in our research the original German plans have not been found, either having been destroyed or are in the hands of a private collector, so we are using our standard research strategy of reverse engineering to build a picture of what it was.

Work on the tunnel started in July 1943 by the Organisation Todt (OT) firm of “Riechert” and later in 1943 by OT firm “Hellenbart” under the command of the Naval Harbour Construction HQ, who were based at number 4 Commercial buildings. The Todt Organisation was a Third Reich civil and military engineering group named after its founder, Fritz Todt, an engineer and senior Nazi figure. The organisation was responsible for a huge range of engineering projects both in pre-World War II Germany, in Germany itself and occupied territories from Jersey to the Soviet Union during the war. It was notorious for using slave and forced labour. In November 1943 there were concerns that the Military Traffic above the tunnel would cause a collapse. The company Theodore Elsche were employed to instal cement lining into the entrance of the tunnels.

Timeline we have recorded so far.

  • 26/05/1943 Leslie Sinel records in his diary that blasting has started on a tunnel complex under Mount Bingham.
  • 18/11/1943 OT requests the closing of the road on Mount Bingham for work to be carried out (lining of entrance).
  • December 1943 Road is closed for the lining of Ho19, this work can be seen on the RAF photo below. 7/4/1944 Spaniard Luis Nell dies working in Tunnel (memorial stone)
  • 14/05/1944 Electric work is in progress in t to install lights (Date mark in cement for the electric fittings)

The tunnels were still being worked on well after the main removal of slave and forced labours in late 43. We think the tunnel was actively used by the Naval forces after May 44. It seems logical that Ho19 & 20 was used for the storage of equipment as it had been wired for lights, ventilation installed and location markers added in multiple places.
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Below are some of our key finds, so far!
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German Map from 1943 showing Ho19

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Above is a map drawn on to one of the concrete walls just before we reach Ho20. We started to research what it was a map of and as with anything in life, google quickly provided the answer. As we searched for “Reeper German” the first result back was “Reeperbahn Street in Hamburg, Germany” after a look on Apple maps it did indeed look like it could be a match. So we thought it be good to have a look at Reeperbahn during the war. Below the album shows you our results and we think it is a match, also notice the bomb damage in the RAF recon photos.

We were very lucky that a German speaker passed by and asked to come in and have a look. We obliged and he soon helped spot something on the map. He confirmed he also thought it was Reeperbahn, he knew it very well, and also that below the cafe wording was the word home, what i thought was heim (home). The building named home was not there in the 50’s. We noticed with the RAF recon we had the area had been badly damaged from bombing, so it goes a long way to suggest this is indeed a war time painting. The German who drew this would have not known that his home was gone by 44.

So a big thanks goes out to Harry Tucker, Harry did some excellent research and realised it is not “home” written beneath cafe on the map it was actually “Heinze” making Cafe Heinze. Cafe Heinze was a very popular spot on Reeperbahn however it did not survive the allied bombing. Looking at the RAF photos we can see remains of the cafe on the map. This truly is a great bit of detective work and it adds some great weight to this map being drawn during the occupation.

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We found some suspected unexploded ordnance in the tunnel, a phone call to Stuart (Ordinance Disposal Officer) at police hq and he popped down to assess. What we had found were plugs or caps that are put in to the end of drill holes, the holes would have been filled with nitroglycerin. Our suspicion became increased when we noticed small wires coming out the side. Luckily for us the holes were dry and not packed. Stuart told us he was responsible for clearing a similar setup in Ho8 (Jersey War Tunnels) and many of the holes there were still packed with nitroglycerin! All plugs were safely removed from Ho19 that night with Kimberley and I learning an awful lot while helping Stuart do his thing.

A massive thanks goes out to the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Officer Stuart Elliot of the States of Jersey Police. WWII Sites in Jersey always have the risk of unexploded ordinance being found, if you find or see anything suspicious please contact the police on 01534 612612. They have a page on what to do here.

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This is a memorial stone we found in Ho20. We think it reads LUIS A NELL 9 -1923 ESPANA 27-4-44. The records of forced labours working her is not that good and we have checked against the list of forced workers who sadly lost their lives and there is no match. Any info you may have please get in touch. A second theory we have is it is a memorial stone for one of the workers son's, the date being 9-1933 making him 11.

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Above is a newly found date marker in the tunnel, most likely from the electrician as it was itched in to the cement used to hold up the electricity brackets. It says JC LE 14/5/44. Big thanks to Daniel who spotted it.




Exploring bunkers:

• Always get permission from the owner
• Take a torch, a spare and one more for luck
• Don't go alone & tell someone where you will be and for how long
• You will get dirty as most are often full of rubbish and may have been used as a public toilet
• Anything you find still belongs to the person that owns the property
Unexploded ordnance is still found in Jersey if you see or find anything that looks like ordnance please call the bomb disposal officer on 01534 612 612.

Jargon Help

Widerstandsnest (WN) = Resistance Nest (RN)
Small pocket of resistance, these would be made up of small groups of up to 10 men with light weapons. They would man Anti-tank weapons, an observation post or a field gun.

Stützpunkt St.P = Strongpoint (STP)
Next level up from an RN and consisted of several RN's. STP areas would have a combination of weapons and different branches of the military used. Examples of this can be found with Strongpoint Greve de Lecq and Strongpoint Corbiere

Einsatzstellung = Operational Position or Action Post
Smaller MG type position generally it was only maned during an alert

Feldwache = Field Watch

Jäger Casemate was a special design and name for bunkers designed to hold a 10.5cm field gun

Sources of Information

German Documents are housed at The National Archived in Washington or Archive in Kew UK
T-78 Roll 318
T-78 Roll 317
T-315 Roll 1639
T-315 Roll 1643
T-311 Roll 27
T-312 Roll 1545

Operation Green Arrows - Occupation of the Channel Islands MOD 584
Allied Technical Intelligence Reports 1944-45
German Preparations for Invasion of the United Kingdom 1941-42
B-833, 319th Infantry Division (1941-45)
German Seacoast Defenses, European Theatre - prepared by the Seacoast Artillery Evaluation Board
Jersey Occupied by Michael Ginns - ISBN 978-1-905095-29-2
Operation Nestegg Plans
Operation Hardtack Plans
Operation Basalt Plans
RAF Photos care of The National Collection of Aerial Photography
Bundesarchiv - Multiple Photos - and Files
A Map of slave labour camps. Kindly Provided by Emilio Pérez
Photo's and information provided by fans
Onsite visits & internet research
After the Battle Multiple Magazines

If we have used any photos or information which you believe to posted without permission, please contact us at info@jerseywartours.com

Links of other excellent websites and people you must support.

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The National Trust for Jersey are a fantastic group and we can not praise them enough for the work they do. Please go support them as their vision is to permanently protect Jersey's natural beauty, rich wildlife and historic places for everyone to enjoy and experience.

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Jersey Heritage look after multiple sites most with links to the Second World War and all worth a visit. The archive they have is amazing and one of the best sources of information. It can be used online or in person and we ask you to please support all they do.

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The Channel Island Occupation Society are guardians of 5 sites which have all been restored or have been made to look like they did in the Second World War. Visits to these sites help fund the work they do and we encourage you to take a look at the opening times and visit them. They also have a wide range of books and reviews, all of which are an excellent resource for education.

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Whether you are an established Battlefield Guide, retired from the craft, interested in how it is done or considering a future in guiding, the International Guild of Battlefield Guides is for you. Kimberley and Phil are both associate members and recommend you visit their website to show support.