In the Netherlands quite a few Atlantikwall complexes where re-used as small villages after the war. Sometimes for permanent housing, but most of the times just as summerhouses. Reusing the bunkers – which in most cases were light constructions of the VF and Kuver types – started almost immediately after the war. In some places it was even a necessary evil because complete streets we’re demolished during the occupation, in order to construct the Atlantikwall. Families were then more or less forced to start over in the bunkers which were actually the reason why these people were homeless in the first place.
In several online archives you can find (professional) photographs from the North to the South of holland. First up: the Isle of Texel with the ‘bunkervillage Den Hoorn‘ .
photos by Jan van Wijk, courtesy of the beeldbank Texel
This bunker for communications in Schagen, Holland, was unfortunately demolished after the war. Luckily there’s this picture of what appears to be a thirties style house. What an effort to camouflage this bunker!
A random, but remarkable photograph.
Three explosions, three British Navy commando’s.
From now on I will try to post a random but remarkable photograph on a regular basis.
We received this great ‘shot’ from Steve Powell. Firing the 22cm K532 (f) gun in coastal artillery battery ‘Generaloberst Dollmann’ on Guernsey.
Since it’s June I found It interesting to share the following initiative that focuses on the Normandy landings through Photography.
On Flickr you can find ‘PhotosNormandie‘. A collaborative project for social indexing of historical imagery taken during the Normandy campaign from June 6 to the end of August 1944. Here photos from several archives are uploaded in high resolution for all Flickr members to provide them with extra information.
The Flickr account now holds 3044 black and white and color images. And among those are some very interesting images on the Atlantikwall.
Since the beginning I try to collect the most intriguing pictures, of which I will try to post several selections in the coming time. For the first post I will focus on the battered bunkers that we’re photographed just moments after the battle.
Below you can find 19 images. Click once, and you can discover extra information. Click twice, and you can view a higher resolution.
Have extra information? Don’t hesitate to let them know on http://www.flickr.com/photos/photosnormandie/
Preservation of bunkers has pros and cons. Sometimes there are moral dillemas. And for me that’s the Landfront of Vlissingen in Holland.
About ten years ago, a first part of the magnificent Landfront Vlissingen was made accessible through a bicycle path. The Bunkerbehoud (bunker preservation) foundation removed loads of earth. For the first time in Holland there was an important cooperation between local governements and bunker enthousiastics which cumulated into the idea of a bunker bicycle route. Although this was of course a great initiative, ten years later the bunkers are used as a hangout place for the youth, sprayed with graffiti and used as a dump.
In the following years the path has expended and there’s now a great bicycle and hiking route along the anti-tank ditch, which leads along several interesting bunkers and shows a Landfront which is unique in the world. But with the accessibility came vandalism with of course the visual form of it being graffiti, maybe the one thing we bunker archaeologists most hate ;).
In the past years the only exposed bunkers which were spared of unwanted visitors were the two 623 (021-153/154) near Valkenisse. For me it raises the question: is it wise to lead another path along two rather clean and original machine gun bunkers? To preservate bunkers you need to get the people’s attention, but isn’t there enough to show already? Eight bunkers in the Landfront, three museum bunkers and the Toorenvliedt park with its 618.
Bunkerbehoud isn’t the owner of any of the Landfront bunkers. It’s only a partner, giving historical advice and doing some small work on the bunkers, i.e. rebuilding the brick escape shaft, placing doors and unearth the bunkers.
The initiative of the bunker route was an idea by local governments and for a big part of touristic value for the area.
I wanted to visit the two 630 before the path is finished because I know, in about a year, the bunkers won’t look the same anymore. I hope I’m wrong but for now I’m glad I’ve made a last photoshoot, before the graffiti.
On 19 September a step back in time was made on the Forteiland in IJmuiden. Here’s an impression.
Sometimes you can still find nice details inside a rusty armoured turret. Although the two Sechsschartentürme of Pen-Bron (Bretagne, France) are not in the best shape, they are quite complete and show some of these details.
Written on the ceiling in pencil are firing directions for both machine guns. Each Scharte has a number, in this case also written with a pencil. Sperrfeuer is German for a barrage,where a large number of guns (at best a combination of MG/Pak/mortar) fire continuously. Its purpose of course, is to pin down an attacking enemy.
A regular armoured door, type 434P01.