Introduction

Bunkers in France – Introduction

The bunkers at Paderborn – Horses, cows and even little lambs wander the farmland of what was once the airfield of Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland. – Click to enlarge image.

In the summer months of 2013, 2016 and in 2018 I made three journeys to France to visit and photograph the remains of the massive Third Reich construction project commonly known as the Atlantikwall. You will notice the spelling of Atlantic ends in a “K” which is the German way of spelling it.

The 2013 visit concentrated solely on the Normandy region with a primary focus on Omaha Beach and the surrounding coastal batteries both Kreigsmarine and Heer (Navy & Army). The 2016 visit was more expansive concentrating on several key areas which included the Pas de Calais, Oye Plage, Gravelines, Marck, Dunkerque, Grand-Fort-Philippe and a number of other areas which will be touched upon as you make your way through this section. I also took the long but beautiful drive from Audinghen to Arromanches in Normandy. My second visit to the Normandy region touched again on Omaha Beach but focused on the British and Canadian Beaches as well. A number of open air bunker museums were visited as well as the varying bunkers that dot the surrounding region.

The 2018 visit was the most expansive to date covering almost 2,000 miles of French countryside, coastal ports and towns. We were able to take almost 10,000 photographs using both a Cannon 35 mm digital DSLR camera and again utilizing the iPhone Six S Plus camera.

During our latest trip to France I concentrated on the sites not visited in 2016 and expanded on the large coastal batteries found in Cherbourg and the Cotentin Peninsula. Some of the other areas covered were the areas of Le Havre, Honfleur, Oiustrehem, Ecqueville, Dieppe, Le Treport, Fort Mahon Plage, Berck, Merlimont, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Saint Martin Boulogne, Wimereux, Ambleteuse, Audresselles, Waringzelle, Framezelle, Audinghen, Wissant, Sangatte, Calais, Dunkerque and Belgium.

A tobruk on Utah Beach, Normandy.                 Click to enlarge image.

It’s important to note that not all bunkers are accessible, in fact a great many reside on private property or farmland. Some of the bunkers I have visited I could only take photographs outside of the boundary line or fenced off areas. The farms often have a large number of dairy cows roaming around the sites. Please be greatly respectful of this, the last thing you want to do is piss off a cow and his farmer! If your French is good enough and you see a farmer in his field as I often did ask him kindly if you can take photographs of the German Bunkers on his land, most are very kind and will let you do just that.

I will also note in the “Bunkers in France” section which bunkers are on private land and are accessible and which ones are not or as they say in German “strictly verboten”!

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