2nd February 1882
Birth of Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann
Friedrich Dollmann was a high-ranking officer in the German Army, who was put in command of Normandy throughout the Second World War.
Although he didn’t take part directly in the occupation of Guernsey, his name was used for Batterie Dollmann, which defended the headland at Pleinmont. The Batterie was the site of a 22cm, 10-tonne gun.
The gun that the Batterie housed had originally been a French weapon built during the First World War. It was one of four captured by German forces as they overran northern France. It was shipped to Guernsey for incorporation into Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, and was in use by 1941, defending the island against possible British efforts to take back the Channel Islands.
The original gun’s range was 22km, although the one currently sited in the Batterie isn’t the original. The example now on display was recovered from the coast of Jersey.
Dollman joined the army aged 17 and was promoted to batallion commander during the First World War. He remained in the army during the inter-war years and, at the start of the Second World War, was appointed commander of the German 7th Army upon its creation. This division pushed through northern France during its initial occupation, eventually reaching Normandy, where it spent the rest of the war.
The 7th Army was still holding this territory during the Allied D-Day landings, and inevitably suffered heavy losses.
By 28 June 1945, almost 100,000 of the 7th Army’s men had been killed. The blame was placed upon Dollman for not having done enough to build up German defences throughout the war. Both tactics and defensive structures were considered to be lacking by the German high command. As a result, he was to be court martialed.
There is disagreement over what happened next. By some accounts, Dollmann had a heart attack on hearing the news, and died. Others state that he took poison to save himself the indignity of the court martial. Either way, he died and was buried in France, aged 62.