Road Trip ~ October 2017~ Day 1~The Atlantic Wall

Our road trip started on 16th October, and we headed from Calais straight to Belgium and to the Atlantic Wall open air museum. The Atlantic wall is a really long set of defences and fortifications along the coast that were built between 1942 and 1944 by Nazi Germany, when they were anticipating and preparing for an invasion by the allies.  As 1944 approached Field Marshall Rommel was charged to improve the wall’s defences. Believing the existing coastal fortifications to be entirely inadequate, he immediately began strengthening them. Under his direction, hundreds of reinforced concrete pillboxes were built on the beaches, or sometimes slightly inland, to house machine guns, antitank guns, and light and heavy artillery. Land mines and antitank obstacles were planted on the beaches, and underwater obstacles and naval mines were placed in waters just offshore. The intent was to destroy the Allied landing craft before they could unload on the beaches.  Which they did a lot of on D-Day, but not enough. 🙂

It was amazing to see how much is still left standing, and we walked through tunnels and along the coast to see it all. Phil was chuffed to see the guns in their places.

PAK 40 anti-tank gun inside a restored bunker

 

walking through the tunnels

as you walk through you come across bunkers where the soldiers were stationed

captains quarters

you could believe he’d be back in a minute!

They had a doctor and emergency room

and their comfy ‘homes’

communications dept

and weapon stores

Many constructions in the open-air museum are still in their original condition and have been refurbished with authentic objects and furniture.  Light and heavy artillery and searchlights can be seen in their original locations and the every day life of the soldiers is evoked in true-to-life dioramas. It was quite cheap to get in, 8 euro’s, and even cheaper for us as the chap behind the counter thought we were ‘seniors’ i.e. over 65!! 🙄 so only charged us 6 each. Obviously we are not wearing well 😀 .

More of my pictures of it are on my website HERE

The museums website is HERE

and theres an interesting bit on it at the Traces of War website HERE

 

After our long afternoon, we headed off to Bruges, and that I’ll save for the next post, so stay tooned!

33 Comments
  1. I’d say looking senior is worth saving 2 Euros. I never take offense to people thinking I’m older than I am, but I know some people do. Great set of photos and nice write-up. Bunkers that are made to withstand bombing are going to last a long awhile.

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  2. Love the photos, especially the combination of black and white and colour. Never heard of the Atlantic Wall!…a few friends of mine used to go to the cinema every Monday and after YEARS they found out the boy had been giving them senior discount all along!Mostly they were delighted with the discount but one pal was outraged and paid full price from then on…and tore the boy a new orifice too 😀

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  3. When I rejoined English Heritage earlier in the year I was offered senior rate. It’s the white hair, I know. I like to think my face doesn’t look that old, but I’m probably fooling myself.

    That looks like a really interesting place. I like museums that show how people lived and I like them even more when you’re looking around half-expecting the occupant to return.

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  4. I have seen bits of the Atlantic Wall but had no idea there was such an interesting, well-organised, museum there. If only I can get out of Britain for a little while… Fabulous shots – and there are advantages to being senior; I mean, there must be, surely? 🙂

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    • It’s so worth a visit if you are interested in WW2 history, they give you a hand held guide to explain what everything is, and it’s really well done. Am sure there are advantages, I’m looking forward to a bus pass!

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