Wehrmachtbefehlshaber Kanalinseln was formed on 1 October 1944 by renaming the short-time command of Kommandant der britischen Kanalinseln und Kommandant Festung Jersey. The initial military higher headquarter to command the British Channel Islands Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark since 1940 was named Befehlshaber der britischen Kanalinseln. Since February 1945 when Vizeadmiral Hüffmeier took over from Graf Schmettow, the headquarter simultaneously held the command of Seekommandant Kanalinseln, his former and ongoing post.

Besides the strong positions within the fortifications until the end of the war one of the remarkable late-war actions staged from the Islands was the Granville Raid, a small-scale raid on the French port of Granville (supply harbour) in the Gulf of St. Malo during the night of 8 – 9 March 45. During this operation German minesweepers, artillery lighters and other smaller crafts attacked the port, demolished installations, released German POWs (50+) held there and sunk a number of smaller vessels. The major goal of obtaining needed supplies (coal) wasn’t that successful as only one supply ship loaded with coals could be taken to the Islands.

Commanded by Brigadier A. E. Snow OBE, Task Force 135 conducted Operation “Nest Egg,” the peaceful and unopposed liberation of the Channel Channels, after negotiating the surrender of the 25,500-man German garrison on 9 May 1945. Three days later, Hüffmeier surrendered personally to Brigadier Snow on Guernsey. Hüffmeier and Generalmajor Rudolf Wulf, commander of 319. Infanterie-Division, were transported by ship to Plymouth to begin their three-year stints as prisoners of war. Both ended up at Island Farm Special Camp 11 in Bridgend, Wales.

Commanders (Wehrmachtbefehlshaber)

Generalleutnant Rudolf Graf von Schmettow (1 Oct 1944 – 26 Feb 1945)
Vizeadmiral Friedrich Hüffmeier (26 Feb 1945 – 9 May 1945)

Chiefs of Staff

Vizeadmiral Friedrich Hüffmeier (1 Oct 1944 – 26 Feb 1945)
?? (26 Feb 1945 – 9 May 1945)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Knight's Cross (2) ; for the Granville Raid 8./9. 3. 1945
- Karl, Otto 21.03.1945 Oberleutnant zur See d.R. Kdt Artillerie-Fähre „AF 65“ i. d. 6. Art.Träger-Flottille
- Mohr, Carl-Friedrich 11.03.1945 Kapitänleutnant Chef 24. M-Flottille „Karl-Friedrich Brill“
Holders of the German Cross in Silver (1)
- Reich, Rudolf, 07.05.1945, Korvettenkapitän (MA) d.R., Quartiermeister der Kanalinseln

Order of battle

Stab, HQ Guernsey
Festung Alderney (Kdt.: Major Schwalm)
Festung Guernsey, incl. Sark
- Kdt.:
-- Generalmajor Rudolf Graf von Schmettow (1944)
-- Vizeadmiral Friedrich Hüffmeier (1 Oct 1944 – 26 Feb 1945)
-- Generalmajor Siegfried Heine, stellvertretender Festungskommandant und Kdr. der Heerestruppen auf Guernsey (13 March 1945 – 9 May 1945)
-- Generalmajor Rudolf Wulf (26 Feb 1945 – 9 May 1945)
Festung Jersey
- Kdt.:
-- Generalmajor Siegfried Heine (5 March 1944 – 13 March 1945)

Footnotes

1. Hüffmeier succeeded Graf von Schmettow after a prolonged campaign to undermine his superior. A dedicated Nazi, Hüffmeier frequently complained of Graf von Schmettow’s “soft” attitude in radio messages to Germany.

Sources used

Madeleine Bunting - The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands Under German Rule, 1940-1945 (Harper Collins Publishers, London, United Kingdom, 1995)
George Forty - Channel Islands at War: A German Perspective (Ian Allen Publishing, United Kingdom, 1999)
Wolf Keilig - Die Generale des Heeres. Podzun-Pallas Verlag (Friedberg, Germany, 1983)
Winston Ramsey (ed.) - “Germany Surrenders – The Channel Islands,” After the Battle, No. 48, 1985, pp. 38-39
Paul Sanders - The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940-1945 (Jersey Heritage Trust 2005)
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945

Reference material on this unit

Madeleine Bunting - The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands Under German Rule, 1940-1945
George Forty - Channel Islands at War: A German Perspective
Paul Sanders - The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940-1945 (Jersey Heritage Trust 2005)
Peter Tabb - Peculiar Occupation: New Perspectives on Hitler's Channel Islands
Hans Max Freiher von und zu Aufsess - The von Aufsess occupation diary (Phillimore, Chichester/Sussex 1985)

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