Guernsey Island

DATELINE: Nazi Prize

 Observation Towers

A surprisingly good documentary series continues to tag each episode with some kind of sensational title. The latest entry in the Secret Nazi Ruins show is called “Forbidden Island,” like it’s some kind of sex retreat.

Guernsey Island, a British protectorate in the English Channel, was closer to France than England. In 1940 Churchill and the British evacuated as many as they could possibly before the Germans marched in, or sailed in, one week later. It was a feather in Hitler’s cap. He took part of England while he engaged in blitzing London with bombs.

It was a place of no strategic importance, but England lost a popular vacation retreat to the Nazis.

Almost immediately, Hitler went mad with his new conquered territory, sending thousands of troops and forced labor to build bunkers, observation towers, and gun placements. He expected the Brits would come charging back to take their property. They never did. It was ignored for the remainder of the war by the Allies.

Hitler’s nutty approach gave Guernsey an unlimited budget of resources to build some of the most amazing underground labyrinths in his thousand-year Reich. Nearly 80 feet under the earth, these hallways with hospitals, air shafts, septic systems and 29 separate tunnels were a luxury of insane proportion. Useless and expensive.

The half-dozen observation towers looked futuristic then, and still do. Everything is nearly pristine from lack of use and careful construction. The isolated island’s biggest drawback was that it could not ultimately supply food to its soldiers stationed there.

A week after the war ended, the Nazi contingent with duty that was holiday-level had to surrender, lest they die in the postcard pretty island retreat.