A gun explodes

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A gun explodes


Anton Stutzle's memorial card

On 19 August 1944 Obergefreiter Anton Stützle died when the gun he was assisting to fire blew up at La Moye

The Senior Lance Corporal was just 23 years old when he died.

At 2 pm that day, a convoy escorted by minesweepers left Guernsey for Jersey. The cargo was the second shipment of four 15cm K18 long range field guns, along with ammunition supply and personnel. At 1526, as the convoy approached Jersey, the coastal batteries were put on full alert as a British warship had been observed optically and on radar approaching the convoy.

This was the destroyer HMS Onslaught which, following the previous shipment on 9 August, had continued to patrol off the islands.

At 1531 four coastal batteries opened fire on the destroyer which, by this time, was busy engaging the convoy and its escort.

Batteries Moltke and Roon, using French field guns dating from the Great War, were the two principal batteries to engage the ship. It was during this firing that a shell is suspected to have prematurely detonated in the barrel, killing Anton Stützle and seriously wounding five others of the gun crew.

The site of Batterie Roon is now covered with housing development and La Moye Prison, and the shattered remains of the gun that blew up were discovered in 1979 during earth-working, alongside the emplacement in the prison’s vegetable garden.

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