Gibraltar Fortifications

There are over thirty miles of tunnels inside the Rock. Major sections of the tunnels date back to the eighteenth century, however, the majority of tunnelling took place during WW2.

Several extensive sections of the tunnels can be visited by tourists, these are listed below.

Great Siege Tunnels (Upper Galleries)

During the Great Siege (1779-1783) work started on a series of tunnels which are an impressive part of Gibraltar’s military heritage. These tunnels can be visited in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve during normal opening hours. They can be reached either by walking or as part of a Rock Taxi Tour.

WW2 Tunnel Tour 1 (Hay’s Level)

This is a guided tour of part of the Rocks WW2 tunnels. The tour starts at Hay’s Level close to the Moorish Castle in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. It is available during the Nature Reserve opening hours and has a separate entry charge.

WW2 Tunnel Tour 2 (Great North Road)

This is a guided tour of a substantial section of the WW2 tunnels known as The Great North Road. The road runs inside the Rock and provides access to a number of key areas such as the old Brigade HQ where General Eisenhower commanded the Anglo American invasion of North Africa known as Operation Torch 1942.

The tour must be arranged in advance.

Contact:

Pete Jackson – Gib mobile 54011358

Special features

Operation Tracer – Stay Behind Cave

Gibraltar’s top secret WW2 Operation Tracer.

Operation Felix

Operation Felix was Hitler’s ill-fated plan to seize Gibraltar in 1941. The entire out come of WW2 would have been very different had this plan been successful.

Joint Intelligence Centre
The UK government’s reaction to Operation Felix was the formation of the 128th Liaison Delegation Party, early 1941. In the event of a German invasion of Spain to attack Gibraltar, the mission’s objective was to be the advance liaison party of any British force sent to help Franco resist the Germans. Franco had intimated to the British Ambassador (Sir Samuel Hoare) that he would welcome such help. Upon arrival in Gibraltar the team became known as the Joint Intelligence Centre.

TACA was established to collect, record and preserve details of the unique aspects of growing up as the child of a serving soldier in the British Army, whether that growing up was done during the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth or the twenty-first century.

Northern Defences
This area is one of the most significant section of Gibraltar’s defences which includes extensive tunnelling dating back to 1789 as well as surface fortifications. These are listed below.

UndergroundSurface

Hanover Gallery

Bomb Proof Battery

Kings Gallery

Star Chamber

Commons Hall

St. Patrick’s Chamber

Orillon Battery

Queens Galleries

Hanover Battery

Castle defences

Crutchets battery

Hesses Demi-Bastion

Kings Lines Battery

Kings Lines

Princes Lines

Forbes Battery

Queens Lines

18th Century Tunnels (Middle Galleries)

This impressive series of galleries is clearly visible in the sheer cliff face above the Northern Defences and connects with the WW2 system adjacent to Princess Anne’s Battery.

City Walls and Fortifications
Gibraltar’s fortifications have more history associated with them than possibly any other walled city or town in western Europe. These fortifications still stand today in the form of a great wall built around the city, it represents over 800 years of Moorish, Spanish and British history. From the moment the British occupied the Rock, the fortification of its perimeter was expanded and Gibraltar was transformed into a military super fortress.

Below is a list of the various items covered in this section.

(A) Landport Gate, Grand Battery, North Battery, West Place of Arms, Grand Casemates

(B) Grand Casemates Gates, Waterport Roundabout

(C) Old Mole, Devils Tongue Battery

(D) Montagu Bastion, Montagu Counterguard, Montagu Curtain

(E) Orange Bastion, Chatham Counterguard, American War Memorial

(F) Prince Alberts Front, Zoca Flank Battery

(G) Line Wall Promenade, City War Memorial

(H) Kings Bastion

(I) Sir Herbert Miles Promenade, Wellington Front Right and Left Bastions

(J) South Bastion, Ragged Staff Gates

(K) Southport Gate

(L) Flat Bastion, Prince Edwards Gate

(M) Jumpers Bastion

The alphabetical list below provides links to other Batteries or Fortifications not included in the sections above.

100 Ton Gun

This exhibit presents the Victorian 100 ton supergun. In a well maintained complex of rooms you will find excellent information and artefacts relating to the period. The location is also known as Nelson’s Anchorage due to its view across Rosia Bay where HMS Victory was anchored after the Battle of Trafalgar with the body of Admiral Lord Nelson onboard.

Devil’s Gap Battery

Although not an official tourist exhibit, the battery is the first significant large gun emplacement which is reached via the old public footpath from the town. The 6 inch guns are still in place and the location offers great views over the town and bay.

Douglas Path WW2 Observation Post

Most of the tourists choosing to walk along the Douglas Path will explore this observation post ruin. It is not an official tourist exhibit and care should be taken amongst the rubble. Because of its strategic position with its all-round view, this was the Fortress Commander’s Command Post.

Farringdon’s Battery

See Princess Anne’s Battery below.

Green’s Lodge Battery

Green’s Lodge Battery

sits over 1000 feet up on the sheer North Face. It was constructed in 1776 and saw action during the Great Siege of 1779-1783.

Hayne’s Cave Battery

See Royal Anglian Way below.

Levant Battery

This now derelict 9.2 inch gun battery stands above the southern plateau and was part of the Windmill Hill batteries. Named because it was sited below the Levanter cloud, thus having a clear field of view when the higher batteries on the ridge were obscured.

Lord Airey’s Battery

See O’Hara’s Battery below.

Middle Hill Battery

Middle Hill is an area littered with a variety of military buildings and facilities. In 1727 Middle Hill Battery had a Signal gun and by 1859 there was still only one gun but by 1900 six 10-inch RML guns were in position.

Military Heritage Centre (Princess Caroline’s Battery)

This is a small exhibit in the underground facilities at Princess Carolines Battery (pre WW1). The exhibit contains artefacts from the period as well as the Memorial Chamber containing the Roll Call of the Regiments that have served in Gibraltar since 1704.

Moorish Castle

The Moorish invasion of Europe started from Gibraltar in 711, a conquest lead by Tarik Ibn Ziyad. The Moorish Castle Complex is made up of various buildings, gates, fortified walls and its most dominant feature, The Tower of Homage.

O’Hara’s Battery

The massive 9.2 inch gun at O’Hara’s Battery has a range of 16 miles which effectively closes the gap between Europe and Africa. This battery and its underground facilities can be visited by arrangement with the Gibraltar Tourist Board.

Parsons Lodge

Rising above the cliff at Camp Bay is one of Gibraltar’s most impressive batteries. A number of well maintained features of the site make it a valuable source of information to military historians. There is a small labyrinth of tunnels which have seen many configurations of guns over the years.

Princess Caroline’s Battery

See Military Heritage Centre above.

Princess Amelia’s Battery

See Princess Anne’s Battery below.

Princess Anne’s Battery

This is the only intact battery of 5.25 inch AA guns anywhere in the world. The section also includes information about Princess Royal’s Battery, Princess Amelia’s Battery and Farringdon’s Battery.

Rooke Battery

See Royal Anglian Way below.

Royal Anglian Way

This path can be found on the main road which leads from Jews Gate to the upper Rock. The path provides access to the now derelict Rooke Battery and Hayne’s Cave battery.

Princess Royal’s Battery

See Princess Anne’s Battery above.

Signal Hill Battery

The top cable car station is built on the site of Signal Hill Battery, however Signal Hill military station consisting of service buildings is in ruins and can be explored upon leaving the cable car station, it is not an official tourist site.

Spur Battery

The 9.2 inch gun preserved and displayed by the Imperial War Museum at Duxford Airfield was recovered from Spur Battery, Gibraltar in 1981. By then the 9.2 inch guns at Gibraltar were the only surviving examples of this type of weapon, which had been installed around the turn of the century at strategic points throughout the British Empire.

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