Time Team (1994) s18e04 Episode Script

Hitler's Island Fortress

Last year an amateur archaeologist was walking through these woods when he came across a load of lumps and bumps, and they were very lumpy and bumpy.
He was told that this site played a crucial role in the defence of this island during the Second World War, and he realised that it needed to be looked at before it was lost forever.
So he talked to Time Team about it, and they said that no-one has ever has ever dug a site like this before because, although this is British soil, these defences aren't British.
They're German, part of the vast complex of defences built by Hitler to turn Jersey into an island fortress.
Oh, and by the way that amateur archaeologist was me.
So I'm going to be under quite a lot of pressure over the next few days.
I wonder how long before the archaeologists stop talking to me.
In the early summer of 1940, the Channel islands became the only part of the British Isles to be invaded and occupied by the advancing forces of Hitler's Blitzkrieg.
For the islanders it was the beginning of five years of the cold reality of life under hostile occupying forces.
And even now, 70 years later, the islands are littered with the remains of that occupation.
During the Occupation period, '40 to '45, we're talking about some 65,000 plus mines being laid in the island and probably over 26,000 tons of other munitions.
And it means for the next three days our archaeologists are going to have to be rather careful when it comes to any small finds they uncover.
This is a 75, if you happen to tap one with your trowel, I suggest you stop tapping it and basically make your way away from it.
So are you still happy to go ahead with this? I feel slightly more cautious about the whole thing.
So with the briefing over, it's time to get our first trench in.
They say don't hit it hard and then the first thing you do is you go And it's essential we're vigilant because our site at Les Gellettes is a heavily fortified German anti-aircraft battery that overlooked the airport and dominated the surrounding landscape.
Now hidden under a canopy of trees, this rare RAF wartime reconnaissance photograph shows the site in its prime, and it suggests it once dripped with heavy artillery.
Over the next three days we want to translate this grainy image into a three-dimensional recreation of that fortress.
We're seeing a lot more that was on that aerial photograph.
Yeah, yeah.
Which must be a real testament to the German camouflage guys.
And we've assembled our own army of experts to decipher all these lumps and bumps.
Dr Gilly Carr, who's pioneered the archaeology of the Occupation.
If you look around the airfield in particular The military historian, Andy Robertshaw.
We need to know what those are And Martin Brown, a Ministry of Defence archaeologist.
Looks like a weapons pit doesn't it and it's the right size to put one of the 20 mil in rather than one of the big 88s, yeah.
OK.
But for me it's a lot more than learning about the position of flak guns.
It's about the archaeology of the only successful invasion and occupation of Britain since 1066.
It really is true that from the first moment I came into this forest it started to work its magic on me, and that's probably something to do with the fact that Jersey was successfully occupied and it gives me an eerie feeling of what it might have been like if the mainland had been occupied by the Germans as well.
But whatever it was, it made me feel that I wanted our team to be the people that excavated here.
So that's the emotional stuff out of the way, but prosaically, you've got to dig it now.
The point is about sites like this we don't have any complete wartime plans of it and just looking around this morning there's an awful lot going on here.
The Channel Islands Occupation Society, since 1977, has been excavating or uncovering German bunkers but what we're looking at here, there's different sorts of fortifications, so this kind of excavation we're doing here is completely new.
What we want to have a look at is the entire layout of the base, the ordinary gun pits, the machine gun nests, the slit trenches, the whole layout of the camp, and this is real cutting edge archaeology, it really is.
I mean this was meant to be one of the open areas they thought we could look at, but it's just a non-starter.
Unfortunately not everyone is quite so enthusiastic about my choice of site.
I don't know what we're going to do.
So with geophys somewhat kyboshed by the vegetation, we're going for the old- fashioned approach.
Our first trench over a possible gun emplacement has gone in based on the aerial photograph, and Stewart's surveying skills.
And he's already given us a position for a second trench.
There's a series of structures here that look as if they're buildings associated with the emplacement that Phil's working on and this might be where the crews look after the gun, as it were.
Where people might be living.
We're not expecting anything big and concrete, it's not a bunker, it might even be just a timber building.
You've actually got very excited about this site haven't you? I love it.
It's just like wandering into woodland and suddenly finding all these things above ground.
But if you've got that aerial photograph, do we actually need to do a great deal of archaeology? Well, we do because this was taken in 1944, and they could have put all sorts of other things here which wouldn't even be on this aerial photograph.
In spite of being only 70 years old, we hadn't been able to find any written records for this site, they were probably destroyed by the Germans before they surrendered.
But looking at a battery that was similar to ours, it's obvious there was a lot going on.
Is this our site? No, it isn't.
It's in similar position on the other side of the island.
It says here 3/156 Flak, what does Flak actually mean? Flak is an abbreviation for the German full term which is "Flugabwehrkanone", anti- aircraft gun is what it means.
That's all it means?Simple as that.
If we go into 3D we've got our anti aircraft guns in this case, five 88's.
There's a couple of 2 cm anti-aircraft for close defence.
But it's not just a defensive structure, it's where up to 200 soldiers are living, eating, drinking, going to the toilet, you know, having recreation, it's actually a community.
Ben, Martin?What you got? It looks like it's about three or four inches long and And sort of 20mm in diameter.
And about 20mm in diameter.
And back up in Trench One, Phil's just turned up the sort of small find that suggests we're right in the middle of all that flak.
Rule one was call you, rule two was don't tamper with it.
You got a prize, I think.
Is it? Yes, it's a two cm shell case.
Is it going to go bang? It's not likely to go bang but it does contain explosive propellant and a primer.
This is our first trench, our first slice out of it and already we've discovered something which could blow up in our faces.
This could be a great dig or it could be really frustrating, fingers crossed.
And you brought us here.
It's a sobering discovery.
We really will have to be careful over the next couple of days.
Oh.
I think you've got precisely what we had before.
But these 20 mm diameter shells do suggest that Trench One is the site of the 20 mm anti aircraft gun, and this gun would have been just one of thousands of German weapons that swamped Jersey from 1940 onwards.
The Channel Islands had become a bit of an obsession for Hitler, it was the only British land he controlled and he threw troops and defences at it out of all proportion to the population.
In France, there was roughly one German soldier to every 100 Frenchman, in Jersey it was one German to every three islanders.
The propaganda opportunities for the Nazis were obvious.
But for our historian, there are also clear parallels with the ancient world.
This is the story that I see written through the whole of human civilisation.
If you go centuries back or thousands of years back, you have the same thing.
You have one megalomaniac individual and everybody else falling in line behind him, to take over someone else's territories.
Is it just me or do you find looking at this footage very chilling? It's very sobering.
This is a propaganda film, so it's almost a pastiche of itself.
The Bobby directing the traffic still.
Exactly and then, you know, flower bed there with the Swastika in it, but that was the point really, this was the Nazis saying, "We have occupied this place "and this is an ideal invasion.
" Did Jersey know it was going to be invaded? Well, it wasn't clear at all, because as late as March you've got the Home Office and the Foreign Office saying things like, "Jersey, it's an ideal destination for a family holiday.
" What?Take your families there! I think that's the real issue, that the islanders have no idea of what's going on.
What happens is that the island is demilitarised and the islanders begin to hear about this on the 19th June.
So that means that all the troops go, the telephone cables are cut.
So the Germans drop these terms of surrender on the 1st July, saying that, you know, as long as the islanders are peaceful then they'll get their liberty and they have to put up white flags to show that they accept this.
Then people put up old vests and pillow cases outside their houses to show that they're not going to out up resistance.
I'll tell you what is really interesting about this, if you work with the ancient past, you haven't got any of the testimonies of the victims.
You hear it from the conquerors point of view, whereas here, there are 1,000 or so people living who remember all of this.
I was in the garden at home and I heard the planes coming and you didn't see many planes and you looked to see what it was, and there was the swastikas under the wings and then they dropped two bombs and I saw the bombs falling and shot inside like a scared rabbit.
Bettany is in her element.
Talking to people who witnessed world-changing events at first hand.
One officer had his hat knocked off by some youths and some of those were caught and oh, yes, they were punished very severely.
Some went to real concentration camps, prison camps on the continent, and some did not come back.
But although we've got shed loads of historical and first hand evidence of the Occupation, our once heavily-guarded site is still managing to keep its secrets from us.
Well, we have the platform for it but no evidence for the building which I guess might have been quite ephemeral light structure.
We've also now opened two more trenches.
This time over strange features that John's managed to identify from his severely curtailed geophys.
Got it.
Lovely.
And one of them has just thrown up a find that's got us completely stumped.
Wondered whether it was part of a field kitchen but that's not going to work for filling it full of soup, is it? It looks too fragile for something like a gun mounting doesn't it.
Doesn't it just.
Well, there's our first mystery on this site.
Yeah.
We have two days left to find out what that is.
And people say, "Why do you bother digging it? "You know what everything is.
" But we have sorted out Trench One.
It's not just a bank that's thrown up to go round a gun Phil's discovered that the defences built on this hillside were engineered to last.
What we seem to get is this inner, stone built revetment and then we got this fine grain material pushed against the outside to make the actual bank.
I mean that makes complete sense.
You don't want enemy shellfire or bullets striking stones, so you put the soft stuff out there and that will absorb the energy of incoming ammunition from the enemy.
From the invention of gunpowder onwards that's the way you do it.
We're actually getting quite a few finds as well, I don't know whether these mean anything to you.
I like the look of that.
Why?I really, really do.
If you're going to build a position like this you're going to use revetting stakes, pieces of timber that you hammer into the ground.
But if you put that and then put your wall against it, it just caves in.
If you take a loop of cable or a loop of wire, loop it round your upright.
Take it out there, hammer in a stake, put a piece of wood between the middle of it and turn it round, it actually windlasses the whole thing in and pulls it in tight and it acts as a straining wire taking the weight of all of the structure outside.
So our first trench can confirm that this earthwork is a 20mm gun emplacement, and it was strategically placed to shoot down low flying aircraft.
Phil's emplacement up on the top here on the highest point, that's a 20mm gun and that's designed to be quick moving, it's got a rapid rate of fire.
And as we know this shape is a 20mm gun, we can confidently say that all these features are also 20 mm guns which isn't a bad result for one day's digging.
But as Stewart's discovered, they were just part of a sophisticated set up to defend the airfield and the island against Allied attack.
The 88s, the bigger ones on this side of the hill, they've got a dual purpose.
They've got a 360 degree arc of the sky, shoot anything up in the sky as it were, but they're also able to depress their barrels downwards so they can cover all that area by the airport and they can actually see right down into the bay at the south.
These larger 88mm gun pits will be our main target for tomorrow, as we begin to extend our investigation.
Because it's now clear that this whole hillside operated as one big settlement.
And it is that wider landscape that's starting to prove really interesting.
If you come round the back of Phil's trench, you can see here we've just started to bring up this cache of small German finds.
But this one is my favourite at the moment, it really is rather curious.
It looks like a German medal but in fact it's a fake German medal.
I'm relieved to say this site is starting to be really quite intriguing.
It's the start of day two in Les Gellettes, Jersey.
Right, I think we've got another, another bullet there.
And, we're beginning to get used to finding ammunition in our trenches.
That's another one of these German 7.
92 cases - standard small arms ammunition.
It's not surprising really, as we're trying to piece together the complex layout of this World War Two German anti-aircraft battery.
By the end of yesterday we'd made our first breakthrough.
And we now know what this earthwork was all about.
It was the site a 20mm anti-aircraft gun.
So far so good, but today we're going after the big stuff.
Because, if the 20mm emplacements on this site were like the muskets of anti-aircraft warfare, then it's these massive enclosures housing 88mm guns that were the cannons.
That's what an 88mm looks like with its crew.
It's got an eight-man crew.
It sits on a big tripod.
You need something about 12 metres wide.
This is an incredibly powerful gun.
If we had a gun here See the contrails in the sky - people going on holiday? Yeah.
They're at 20,000 feet thereabouts.
This gun would bring that down.
Wow.
That's an incredible gun, is that.
Where will we put the trench? We're going to excavate this quadrant.
It's chunky so we'll get the mini digger in.
We want to find the tripod placement, which should be in the middle here.
So our next trench goes in over this potential 88mm gun emplacement, one of six we suspect once sat on this hillside.
And they'd have been the main focal points for the 200-plus troops that ate, slept, and lived in a state of permanent readiness on this fortified settlement.
Including the area where we put in trench two yesterday.
So, what do you think they're using this bit for? Well, the big clue was what's in that tray there.
Which looks like paint tubes.
It's not paint.
It's actually toothpaste, and with it we got this, which is a case from a razor, and down there we've got a drain, draining away water.
So this is an ablutions block.
These guys are getting up in the morning, coming here, getting cleaned up, getting breakfast - it all has to be in an organised way.
That's also what the islanders all say.
They notice that Germans are incredibly regular in everything.
They get up at the same time, go to the shops at the same time, clean their teeth at the same time, have their pint at the same hour of the day.
So we've now established another feature on our site, and more evidence that the Germans saw the occupation of Jersey as a long term investment.
I've found a coin.
Oh, blimey! But we're also discovering that having an occupying force control day-to-day life can lead to all sorts of unforeseen complications.
Well, it says 1924 here, so this dates some way before the occupation, back to the Weimar Republic.
What's interesting about this is that there were actually as many as five different types of currency circulating during the occupation - it all got a bit complicated.
There were these coins, which dated to before the occupation, there were occupation Reich marks, but there were also Jersey coins, and British coins, and even some old French coins that entered circulation a little bit, so a lot of things going on.
So far, we've only been digging about a third of this battery, and Stewart feels it's about time to investigate another target at the other end of the site.
From other flak batteries you know what to expect - there's a gun, so then there has to be a fire and command control centre close to the guns, and sometimes a shelter for the crew underneath a bunker or something, not necessarily concrete - could be dug down into the rock or the earth.
Well, I mean the results don't necessarily suggest concrete bunker, but certainly something that's going deep into the ground and appears to have collapsed and be full of rubble.
We need a trench across that anomaly, no question about it.
Very interesting.
We've already marked it.
Using powers of prediction, fantastic! That's hard ground, isn't it? So, we're opening a new trench over a potential bunker, and it soon becomes clear that there is something interesting deep down.
Look at this red here, there's some tile.
Oh, that's a tile, is it? Or brick or something.
And, if we can work out what it is, it'll help us build a picture of this hillside 70 years ago.
Using the cutting edge technology we have at our fingertips.
There's tens of thousands of pounds worth of computers in here for the graphics, the geophys, the GPS.
It's our technological epicentre.
And, over here, is a grown man in a sandpit.
Stewart! What are you mucking about at? I don't think I've ever been described as a grown man before, Tony! I'm trying to build a model of this flak battery up on top of this hill.
What we know at the moment is we've got a 20mm gun battery, with the blast bank around what appears to be a building down here.
Then we'll be able to plot all the buildings, all the trenches, all the earthworks, and get a full impression of this site without that woodland that's there today.
One thing that's really obvious to me here, is that we've got all this war apparatus round this bit, and up here as well, but here in the middle you've got a field of hay! Yeah, it's bizarre, isn't it? There's a shortage of food on the island, so gun batteries actually had to have their own farms inside.
They'd grow potatoes, and hay as they used horses to transport things around.
They're acting as farmers, as well as gunners.
One more question, what did you do to your finger? First casualty! It's got a lot to do with that.
Landscape surveying is obviously more dangerous than I thought.
As the archaeologists continue to grapple with the big stuff, the small finds are starting to bring this site to life.
This tray is stuff connected with the occupation.
It doesn't look like much, but that's the fastener from an ammunition box for the 20mm cannons.
Now this is the one that had us all intrigued yesterday.
It seems to be like the replica of a medal.
I had a word with a local collector last night, and he produced this.
This is a War Merit Badge Second Class with Swords.
I think they're trying to make a little homemade version of that here.
I love the idea of a trenches gag! Yeah! Are they sitting up here awarding each other huge decorations? "For you, Otto, Iron Cross First Class" It's probably something conscripts, posted a long way from home, have done since the beginning of time.
Back in Raksha's trench, a morning's industrial pruning has now revealed that we do have the site of an 88mm gun.
Can you see these metal bolts coming through? Yeah.
I've also got this circular feature as well.
I wonder whether this is actually the gun placement.
I think you're onto something.
It's becoming clear that the gun was at the centre of a substantial piece of engineering.
At the moment what we've got uncovered is about a third of it, something like that? It's about a third - you can see the bank coming down that side - it's really massive - just coming through there, so I think we are in the middle.
I reckon what we need to do is try and extend this and get at least half of it open, to give us an understanding of how the thing would have been laid out.
Better carry on then! More digging! Slowly but surely, we're getting a sense of the force once stationed here.
It's turning out to be an enjoyable journey of discovery.
And then we discover the last thing we need.
Ian, I think that's perhaps where we stop.
I think we've got some some form of ordinance going on.
This time, it's not a stray bullet.
It looks like a very real, very live, artillery shell.
Hi, it's Faye.
Can anyone have a look at some potential ordinance in my trench, please? 'We'll get someone over.
' Brilliant, thank you.
Not very happy about this.
I don't want to get too close, actually, funnily enough! Strange! It's the afternoon of day two at our German anti-aircraft gun emplacement in Jersey.
And it looks like we've just found a very unwelcome reminder of what this site was all a the actually case is alive and whether there's a shell at the end of it, which is the more hazardous part of the item.
The whole reason Faye's been digging this trench is to investigate some of the structures on this fortified hillside.
We're discovering that although the anti-aircraft guns were at the heart o they didn't exist in isolation.
The communication cable comes from here.
And Phil's now uncovered evidence that the gun crews were being coordinated by central command units.
If we've got the cables coming in here and actually skirting past, could they be coming to that 88 up there? Well, that would be most logical.
There's nothing in between, so And Stewart now believes he's found the location of one of these control centres.
We're looking at something sticking out to about this distance.
At the moment, this, on the balance of evidence, is the best candidate we've seen for a command and control centre.
It's the biggest complex on the site, it's central to all the anti-aircraft batteries and so on.
This would be a perfect target for a trench, except for one small detail - the best spuds in the world.
Shame it's under potatoes, eh?! So in this case, it's Jersey Royals one, Time Team nil.
This material here might well be propellant, so we are talking about quite a long case.
OK.
And potentially, then, unfired or fired? Definitely unfired.
Back at Faye's trench, we're now ready to lift our unwelcome find.
Oh, my gosh.
OK, what's that? It is 88, but it's what they call a drill round, and they would use it for practice and drilling, when they're firing the guns.
So it's not dangerous?No.
Oh, that's a relief! I think this may need further investigation, but we've finally got to admit that one of our other discoveries will have to remain a mystery.
Yesterday, we found this buried about five foot down, and no-one knew what it was, so everyone rushed back to their military textbooks last night, and we still have no idea what it is, have we? If this was Roman, we'd say it was probably ritual.
Of course we would, yeah.
We don't have to know what every find is.
It'll remain a mystery.
It's not the only mystery in this section, because that hole there, we didn't just dig that in order to extricate that funnel thing, did we? This would have been here in the Second World War.
Why? You've got the anti-aircraft positions up here, doing their job.
The Germans worry they'll be a target for the British, so you put an infantry perimeter around as well, and actually, if you hop down in Right down into here? Yeah.
That's right.
If you look that way, I mean, if we cut the bushes outYeah.
.
.
you've got a gap in the hedge bank, you can see through thereYeah.
.
.
and you're Fritz in your foxhole, waiting to see whether those British troops are going to come across to do damage to this gun battery.
There is one slight design flaw, isn't there? It's very difficult to get out of! Oh, yes! Having established that this is a foxhole, we can see a whole network of them around the edge of the site - or "infantry perimeter" in military lingo.
And this is only one line of defence - there are all sorts of other fortifications.
We've seen that domed shelter before.
There's a number of them round with the guns, aren't there? Not one coming in at an angle, not with this big earthwork.
This is very different, isn't it? So we're going to dig out this bunker to see if there's anything in it that could add to our story.
And there are other defences that Stewart's now got his eye on that he thinks were dug very late in the war.
These are defensive trenches, to protect the battery itself.
Not a communication trench.
The other thing about this trench is that we can date when it was constructed, to some extent.
Right.
This aerial photograph we've been using was taken in August 1944, as you know.
The trench that we're looking at comes off at an angle, and you can see it's not shown at all on this photograph.
And to dig through solid rock to achieve these trenches, I mean, that's just incr They must have been seriously concerned that invasion was a real possibility.
Mmm.
These rock-cut trenches would appear to show the determination of the German troops here to defend their positions against Allied attack.
But there could be a chance that the soldiers didn't do the digging themselves, because our site overlooks the most impressive and most chilling monument to the German o About 100 feet above my head, Phil and the rest of the team are excavating our German anti-aircraft battery, but down here, there's a much more tangible example of the German occupation.
This is the Jersey War Tunnels, originally created as an artillery workshop and military hospital for th but if ever there's a statement that says, "We're powerful, we're here and we're not going away," this is it.
The War Tunnels now house a museum chronicling the five increasingly-desperate years of the occupation.
Hewn out of solid rock, the tunnels are a testament to German engineering.
But they're also a testimonial to the brutal Nazi ethos that some people deserved to be treated as subhuman.
There is something phenomenally bleak about that unfinished tunnel.
There is.
It was built by people who worked for the organisation Tote, and these were voluntary labour, there's coerced labour, forced labour, slave labour.
People from Russia, from Poland, from Belarus and the Ukraine, people who in the Nazi racial hierarchy were right down there.
Did many of them die? Yes, yes, hundreds in Alderney and around about 100 in Jersey.
How did the Jersey people feel about what was going on here? When you mention the slave labour here, it's almost as if these are memories that are unbearable.
I've been talking to people.
You see the tears come to their eyes when they remember it.
Particularly, as Gilly says, the Soviets particularly, they were incredibly badly treated here.
They were given no clothes, so they were either naked or in rags.
The food rations For instance, milk was sent over to the hospital, and you find that the guard was just using it as whipped cream instead.
So they were starving.
They were beaten.
Many of them died.
So it was truly atrocious.
That's why it's important to come here, because this place, you know, it's a monument to the suffering of those slave workers, but it's also a reminder of the absolute horror of a war like this.
One day, the neighbour came to the door and said, "Come and look - there's something terrible.
" We could see all these imported labourers who were brought in.
A terrible state, in rag "The stories we'd been hearing over our illegal radios are absolutely true.
" they were subhuman, therefore you could treat them how you liked.
It's a sobering reminder as we reach the end of day two that what we're digging had a real and lasting impact on the people of Jersey.
Stewart, this turned up earlier.
We're still discovering evidence of the force used to occupy this island.
Well, it's an 88 shell case, that's for sure.
Well, I think the primer of the shell case is still present, so it's potentially dangerous, and I think you just continue taping it off and we'll deal with it in due course.
Disposing of it in due course basically means we're going to take it to a nearby beach tomorrow and blow it up.
Back at the heart of the site, the scale of the gun emplacements that fired those shells is now evident.
The moment of triumph! So have you finished? Far from it, but I'll tell you what we do have at the moment.
We have this big, massive base plate, and that's where the gun would have sat, but you can see these two holes in this circular dip here - they're actually for the cables for the gun.
What else for tomorrow? Well, what we've been doing is looking at the different types of earthwork, characterising them, working out what they are.
Tomorrow, what we want to do is try and put it all together and really understand this complex as a whole.
So even though it's just brambles and briars here now, by the end of tomorrow, you'll be able to give us a vivid picture of what life would have been like here in the 1940s?Absolutely.
It's the beginning of day three here at Les Gellettes, my little forest deep in the heart of Jersey, where we're trying to piece together the story of a World War II German anti-aircraft battery.
Although we've done pretty well, we've only managed to identify four features so far, which is a bit worrying, because we've only got one day left, and I've got an awful lot of these cards still to put up.
But the features we have identified - an ablution hut, a foxhole and 20mm and 88mm gun emplacements - have allowed Stewart to start identifying similar features in the 1944 aerial photo Another 88 emplacement here, and another 88 there.
And that in turn has given us other potential targets.
So you should have a range finder.
It's like a pair of binoculars, but one lens is out there and one lens is out there, to get the range of the aircraft as they come and send instructions to the big guns.
But we're also picking up other archaeological features that suggest that as the war progressed, this fortified hillside was redeveloped.
We've got a concrete crew shelter, but it's different to the others, because it's got an emplacement in front of it.
So our final trenches go in over these intriguing features around the perimeter of the site.
Ugh! Filthy rubbish.
So, Faye, this looks like a big hole with a lot of demolition rubble pushed in the base of it.
Over on the other side of the site, Faye, having recovered from her shell So at the back there, we've got what looks like a dividing wall or something, and then we've got all these cables coming in as well.
It was this trench that produced one of the weirdest-looking finds I've seen in a long time.
Yesterday afternoon, our entire dig ground to a halt for a bit when we found this shell in amongst the archaeology.
When our bomb-disposal bloke looked at it, he said that it wasn't a shell like this - it was in fact a pretend shell, which was all a bit of an anticlimax! No, it's fantastic.
We thought we'd find lots of these, the live ones, but this is really rare.
It's a practice shell.
Why do you need to practice putting a bullet in a big gun? If it was just one person working, not a problem, but if you've got eight of you, you've got one guy opening the breach, another putting the shell in, then the breach is closed.
On the right-hand side, men operating elevation and traverse, and the others running up every four seconds with a new shell.
I think it was our Stewart who said that when you fire one of these things, it can bring down an aircraft thousands of feet away.
Yeah.
How does it manage to hit the aircraft so accurately? It doesn't.
What it actually has is a timer set into the fuse at that end, and that's set electronically, and that predetermines when it'll explode.
You don't try and make a hole in the aeroplane.
It goes off near the aeroplane, underneath it, above it, and it's the fragments that then do the damage.
Once the war finished, there was a concerted effort to diffuse and remove all the shells from the island, but even now they do surface.
So, this is the offending 88 that we've got to get rid of.
It is indeed, Phil.
We found one of our own yesterday, and apparently the best way to dispose of it is to blow it up.
It's just not worth trying to open it up manually to try and preserve it.
You're placing yourself at great risk doing that.
We'll put a little charge on this item, and then we're going to proceed down the beach, dig a hole.
Ah, that's where I come in! I wondered why I was invited, and I wondered why I was given a shovel! I know now! While Phil gets used to the idea of burying something as opposed to digging it up, Matt's now got to the bottom of his bunker.
It's obvious it started off as an ammunition store for the 88mm gun Raksha's di They've been shifting heavy stuff around.
Scratches going down there and down there Ammunition boxes, things like that?Yeah.
But the defences thrown up around it suggest that it changed use as the war progressed.
That looks a bit like a firing step.
Well, that's what we think.
This one's different to all these other shelters, in that it's got that out If you look through, what you've got is a field of fire down that trench system, covering that area in the woodland, so it makes sense to have a secondary defence line here.
Defending this hill from a land-based attack appears to have become more important in the latter years of the war, and we're now confident another one of our trenches is also part of this refortification.
It's a machine-gun post - a heck of a lot of hard work.
You can see it was cut out of the solid rock, and it's part of the network of defences that we can see pretty clearly on the 1944 aerial photo.
But intriguingly, we're starting to find things that aren't on that photo, like this big structure behind you.
What is it? Right, well, it begins life, and you can see it on there, it's the same sort of position as that first trench Phil did, but they've dished in one side of it here to create this big bank there.
So it stopped being about anti-aircraft defence, and it's become part of this system.
It's providing extra fire support for the guys who are down So it's shifting from attack to defence? Yes.
How does that tie in with history? Well, this photo was taken in August, I think, 1944, and if you think June 1944, everything has changed, cos you've had the Allied landings in Normandy.
So the Allies, they're only 14 miles away in France, so it's a completely different game they're suddenly having to play here.
They are now cut off not just from Britain, but from France.
So the irony is that the Germans here who were the besiegers had now suddenly become the Completely.
We always think of D-Day as this big moment when the war turned, but things just got worse for everybody here.
After D-Day, the Germans dug in, preparing for an imminent Allied invasion.
But the Channel Islands were so heavily fortified that Churchill decided that any attack would result in unacceptable losses.
In fact, the island wasn't liberated until the day after VE Day in May 1945.
And the long, harsh winter of 1944 was the lowest point in the islands' occupation.
And the small finds we've uncovered in Faye's trench help paint a picture of the final starving months of German rule.
You can make out some lettering on this one.
I think it says "New Zealand", and a little bit of the "Anchor".
I reckon this is New Zealand Anchor Butter.
It's completely recognisable, it is!Yeah.
I wonder if this came in one of the Red Cross parcels, from the Red Cross ship the Vega.
It came in December 1944 and every month thereafter.
It pretty much saved the islanders from starvation.
How are the Germans getting it? No, the Germans did not get any parcels, but some islanders felt sorry for the Germans and shared their food with them.
the first thing they do is they invite in the local Germans and give them a cup of tea and a square of chocolate.
I mean, it seems so generous, given the situation! I mean, it seems so generous, given the situation! Yes, yes.
Now we're ready.
Firing, one, two, three! Oh, hoo hoo! That's amazing! It was a success because of your digging! Absolutely, absolutely! So with our shell successfully disposed of, we can now concentrate on working out what we've actually uncovered on-site.
And it's clear that by the end of the war, the Germans had built a sophisticated complex of trenches against ground attack.
I just can't believe how big this thing is.
Meanwhile Raksha and Phil, fresh from the beach, have revealed an 88mm em as robust as any Roman archaeology we've ever uncovered.
We've got that bunker area there.
We can actually see now where all the timber revetment is.
Mmm.
But the main thing is, this is a seriously big piece of engineering for a seriously big gun.
While over in Faye's trench, we've also got something equally robust.
This time, it's underground.
Well, down at the bottom now we've actually got the base of this structure, and what we think we've got, you see the depth, it's some form of bunker, and we've got all these cables and wires coming in, so it's a communication bunker.
Could this be the brains of the whole operation? I don't think it's big enough to be the brains of the whole operation, but potentially some of This building here is a command and control centre, that's where Faye's digging.
Yes, right behind us in that trench.
So with all this information, what does our man in the sandpit think? Because we've excavated around the 20mm battery, we know what that's like, we can see others on the aerial photograph.
We've got a number of them ringing round the site.
The 88mm ones are square.
They're very different to the 20mm ones.
There's a nice triangular pattern of three there.
There's a nice triangular pattern of three there.
Yeah.
And over where we're standing, a nice triangle, a geometric pattern.
So you can imagine, if they're firing at 15 rounds a minute, that's 45 rounds from each of these batteries a minute, times two - 90 rounds a minute, these batteries can pump into the sky.
That's serious air defence, is that.
Mmm.
But you can see how they just went from being an anti-aircraft battery, suddenly to having to think almost in infantry mode.
This is the weakest side, they're expecting attacks up here, and you can see they're also, in this trench system, they're digging a trench along the back of the hedge line, and they're going to use the hedge and the bank as part of the defences against any attack here.
It's not just anti-aircraft - it's about controlling the airfield, and it's an anti-invasion defence at the same time.
So we've got a fortified enclosure as sophisticated as any Iron Age hill fort.
.
.
.
with six massive guns, capable of throwing up a barrage of exploding shells, while 20mm gun emplacements dealt with lower-flying aircraft.
But by the end, it was a fortress where starving troops lived in fear of Well, basically, we've got a sort ofwhat I like to think of as a cross between a Roman fort and a wooden box.
The Roman fort bit is the bank that goes all the way round - that gives you your prot when you'd have come in here, you'd have seen wooden sides and wooden flooring, and in each corner you would have had an ammunition box there and an ammunition box there, and probably one over there.
But the central part is really what strikes you - it is an enormous hole that is filled up with concrete.
And in the middle, the one thing that's missing, which is that enormous metal killing machine.
Absolutely, but you can just see the imprint of where it once stood.
You've got these bolts here where it's actually been fixed to the concrete, and clearly at the end of the war, they cut them all off except one, and they lifted the gun away, and, thank God, took it away.
Yeah, I'm glad it's not here any more! Red Bee Media Ltd