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.
walking through the tunnels
as you walk through you come across bunkers where the soldiers were stationed
you could believe he’d be back in a minute!
They had a doctor and emergency room
and their comfy ‘homes’
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!