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Bunkers - Underground military fortifications

World War II Bunkers - Underground military fortifications.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Third Reich in Ruins, World War II Tours, WW2 Militaria, Hitler: Berghof, Eagles Nest, WWII ruins, Amazing metal detecting finds.

Abandoned Nazi bunker reopened as a clean energy plant in Hamburg
The last time Hamburg`s hulking air raid bunker saw use, it was 1945 - and locals were taking cover from Allied bombs inside its 1.8m thick concrete walls. That was 70 years ago. Now the bunker is supplying the city with renewable energy. After the war — only two years after the bunker was built — British forces occupying Hamburg attempted to tear it down. After blasting their way through a few of the massively thick floors, they gave up, fearing a catastrophic structural collapse. The structure sat abandoned for 65 years, a bleak reminder of the war years, until, in 2006, Hamburg`s city government commissioned Hegger Hegger Schleiff Architekten to turn it into a power plant.
(gizmodo.com.au)

WWII Bunker turned into renewable energy power plant in Hamburg
A WWII bunker is undergoing a major transformation. Long story short, the bunker is set to be turned into a renewable energy power plant in Hamburg. During WWII, the bunker helped shield countless people against aerial attacks. Once turned into a renewable energy power plant, it will help improve on Hamburg's ecological footprint. Inhabitat informs us that the bunker is expected to meet the heating demands of 3,000 households. Furthermore, the facility is set to generate sufficient energy so as to keep 1,000 homes up and running.
(softpedia.com)

First pictures of Mussolini's secret bunker built to protect him from RAF strike on his Rome headquarters
Pictures of Benito Mussolini's last wartime bunker that he built to protect him from an RAF bomb attack have been released for the first time. The reinforced concrete cell, constructed 50ft below the fascist headquarters in Rome, was so secret it was not discovered until 2011. Historians think Mussolini had the bunker built for himself and his mistress Claretta Petacci. The 9 room chamber was located so that it could be accessed within seconds of an attempted assassination attempt. It is due to be opened to the public for the first time, two years after it was discovered under the building, which is now a museum.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Long-exposure photography of World War II era bunkers
To fill the time during slow winter months, photographer Jonathan Andrew decided to follow through on an idea that he had a few years back: he started photographing old WWII bunkers. Based out of Amsterdam, he had several to work with close-by, but as the project has received more media attention, he`s taken the time to travel all over Europe, adding more haunting bunker images to his portfolio. Using a converted medium format camera, he takes 6-14 minute exposures, firing off a broncolor flash as many as 60 times to properly light the scene.
(petapixel.com)

Website explores Rome's World War II bunkers and military underground shelters
WWII bunkers built to protect Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and Italy's royal family in the heart of Rome can be explored by the public through a new website. The website www.bunkerdiroma.it locates each bunker on the map, gives a description of the shelter and includes links to video footages or images of the structure. With all but one of the bunkers closed to the public, the video footages offer a rare glimpse into the sites. "Mussolini liked reinforced, underground bunkers and wanted to copy Hitler, so 12 anti-aircraft posts were built during WWII," said journalist Lorenzo Grazzi, who set up the website.
(tuoitrenews.vn)

The Mareth Line: French Army built defensive line in Tunisia to thwart Italian attack
The Mareth Line, known as the Maginot Line, is located southeast of Mareth city in the governorate of Gabès. The site was once a fortification line, stretching from the Mediterranean coast to the 700m heights of Matmata. The reinforced trench is 45-35km long, and was built 1936-1940 by the French army to thwart Italian incursions from Libya, an Italian colony at that time, into the French protectorate of Tunisia. The trench was equipped with tank barriers, artillery casemates, and machine gun posts and played an instrumental role during the military operations conducted in Tunisia during the Second World War.
(tunisia-live.net)

Nazi bunkers and air-raid shelters converted into modern homes and working spaces
German architect Rainer Mielke lives in a luxurious penthouse atop a Nazi bunker in which his elderly neighbours remember sheltering during the Second World War. The architect has pioneered the art of converting the grim structures into bright living or working spaces, and his work is set to increase as Germany ramps up sales of the above-ground forts and air-raid shelters. But the work is not without controversy: Nearly all the bunkers were built with forced labour. And as bunkers become hot property, critics warn against treating them like any other real estate without acknowledging their past.
(nationalpost.com)

Guernsey history group opens one more World War II German bunker, this time at Cobo
A Guernsey history group has explored a WWII German bunker which has been untouched since 1947. Festung Guernsey entered the structure at Cobo in January 2012 and were able to locate part of a weapon mount. "It's that excitement of opening up a bunker you know nobody's been in and there's the possibility of finding little bits and pieces," said Ian Brehaut, of Festung Guernsey. Festung Guernsey has documented a number of WWII fortifications around Guernsey. Brehaut said: "We're running out of sites to do, but there are one or two that still haven't been opened, so we'll wait and see."
(bbc.co.uk)

Visiting a German WWII bunker on the outskirts of Antwerp at the Bunker Museum (14 pics)
Belgium had it tough in WWII. Unlike in the First World War, the Low Countries and France were quickly overrun by Wehrmacht. Nazi-occupied Belgium was soon covered with fortifications, because the Germans feared an Allied landing. In a park on the outskirts of Antwerp you can see a network of these bunkers at the Bunker Museum (There are 11 bunkers, including barracks, a hospital, a communications bunker, and two large command bunkers). One of the command bunkers has been turned into a museum. The roof is 2.5 meters thick. Inside are recreated sleeping quarters, displays about the war around Antwerp, and a large collection of parts from the V-1 and V-2 rockets.
(gadling.com)

Remnants of German Atlantic wall restored in France (video)
Remnants of German Atlantic wall fortifications restored in France (video).
(bbc.co.uk)

Huge Nazi-era bunker turned into a renewable energy plant in Hamburg (photos)
At times during World War II, up to 30,000 people would cram into Hamburg's Wilhelmsburg bunker to take shelter from Allied bombs. The enormous flak tower built during Hitler's Third Reich was nothing if not sturdy. Indeed, it was so robust that it even survived post-war attempts to demolish it with dynamite. Now, city planners are propelling it into the 21st century, turning it into a flagship renewable energy project. The revamp of the appropriately renamed "energy bunker" is currently underway.
(spiegel.de)

50-ton WWII bunker transported to the Military Technical Museum in Lesany, Czech
Two huge cranes lifted a 50-tonne military bunker from the Sverma coal mine and a lorry drove it to the Military Technical Museum in Lesany, Bohemia. No fortification from the interwar Czechoslovakia has been ever before moved to such a distance - especially not that heavy. "We are in the mine in which the subsoil is very soft. It was extremely difficult to lift the 50-tonne bunker without the cranes having crumbled." Light fortification bunkers were started to be built by Czechoslovakia in 1936. In all, 800 of them were constructed as a part of a defence line against the Third Reich.
(praguemonitor.com)

World War II German bunker discovered in Warsaw   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Workers laying a new tram line have uncovered a WWII German bunker in Warsaw. City archaeologist Barbara Piotrowska said it was a surprise that such a huge concrete and metal structure - which will be moved to a museum - had remained hidden for many decades in the city center. Wojciech Krajewski, a curator at the Museum of the Polish Army, explained it is one of 80 bunkers built by the Nazi forces in 1944 as part of their defense against the advancing Soviet Red Army. 30 of the bunkers are preserved in various parts of Warsaw.
(sfgate.com)

Touring Berlin's underground bunkers with Berlin Underworlds (Berliner Unterwelten)
"To find the real Berlin you have to go underground," explains Dietmar Arnold, a member of a group called Berliner Unterwelten (Berlin Underworlds) that maps out the city's subterranean topography. For 12 years, he has been leading expeditions and tours into the bunkers, tunnels and underground canals of the German capital, hoping that the Berlin underground becomes a tourist attraction, like the catacombs of Paris, the sewers of Vienna or the cisterns of Istanbul.
(washingtonpost.com)

Maunsell Forts: Britain's strange sea defense against the Nazis in the Thames and Mersey estuaries (photos)
To defend the Thames estuary, engineer Guy Maunsell suggested building 7-story offshore towers, each with 120 men, two 3.7-inch AA guns, and two 40mm Bofors guns. For Mersey estuary he had a different vision: Seven 750-ton towers - 30 meters apart, connected by steel pipe walkways - constituting a fort.
(spiegel.de)

German WWII bunker relocated to make way for new Polish road
Polish workers have relocated a 500-ton German WWII bunker with 2 cranes in Witramowo. The bunker, part of a 100km-long defense line built by Germans, prevented the construction of an expressway between Warsaw and Gdansk. (No photos available so far.)
(monstersandcritics.com)

Switzerland's World War II bunkers - designed to stop Nazi invasion - get a second life
Switzerland had been neutral for 4 centuries, but when the German war machine was unleashed in 1939, the tiny nation battened down the hatches and the Swiss military dug over 20,000 bunkers in the Alps to defend the country in case of a Nazi invasion. The government maintained the WWII-era military fortifications until the end of Cold War. Now these WWII bunkers are used as hotels, banquet halls, seminar centers, museums, stables, storage rooms, etc. Bunkers are also used during special events like Swiss Army Nights, where history buffs rough it out on military bunk beds like the soldiers in the 1940s.
(time.com)

Photographs of destroyed WW2 bunkers -thread at Axis History Forum
Photos of destroyed World War II bunkers -thread at Axis History Forum.
(forum.axishistory.com)

For sale: World War II bunker converted to holiday home with 360-degree views
A WWII bunker, turned into a 4-bedroom holiday home with 360-degree views, is for sale. The lookout was built as a part of Britain's defence against the Nazi invasion, and after the war it was used by a farmer as a potato store - until it was acquired by a developer. The property, named The Bunker, is located at St Levan in Cornwall and was positioned to give the armed forces a bird's-eye view of Land's End. Developer Liz Strutton converted it into an underground home with great views from its grassy roof. Reg Fowler, who is marketing The Bunker, said: "It's very well camouflaged... you can be completely cut off from the world. It is the ideal hideaway."
(telegraph.co.uk)

Winston Churchill's underground wartime headquarters in Whitehall were not bomb-proof
Winston Churchill complained he had been "sold a pup" when he discovered his underground WWII headquarters in Whitehall were not bomb-proof. A letter revealing his annoyance when he discovered this is on display at the Cabinet War Rooms. In spite of his protests, Churchill continued to work from the bunker during the Blitz. The letter, written in Sept 1940, says the war rooms "cannot be made bomb-proof in any sense". The Cabinet War Rooms, now open to the public, were used as an underground command centre during World War II. An exhibition, opening soon in the HQ, will show how unsafe it was - and how fortunate it was never to have received a direct hit.
(bbc.co.uk)

Photographs and video tour of Churchill's emergency war bunker
Naval helicopters flew over Dollis Hill on their way to the Greenwich celebrations. Had their pilots gazed down, they might have seen a line of civilians awaiting a special tour of military heritage. The Paddock bunker sits high up on Brook Road, Dollis Hill. You'd never know it was there - the only surface sign is a brick box beside a housing estate. But inside is a 2-level bunker designed to hold Churchill's War Cabinet in the event of an attack on Whitehall. The bunker offers a glance of a long-gone age - its rundown interior has been left mostly untouched since the war.
(londonist.com)

Nazi bunker is opened for first time since World War II
A perfectly preserved Nazi bunker which defied bombardments by RAF and the British Army has been uncovered in France. Called "military historian's Aladdin's cave", it includes a German 47mm Pak 32 field gun which was used throughout World War II. The concrete bunker has been hidden under piles of debris and sand at Le Portel, near Boulogne. When British and Canadian troops entered the town in 1944, engineers laid charges in the bunker, but again it survived. Now, as the 65th anniversary of D-Day approaches on 6 June, the bunker's doors have been forced open for the first time since the war.
(thisislondon.co.uk)

Benito Mussolini's World War II bunker in Rome transformed into art gallery
The bunker that fascist dictator Benito Mussolini built in the EUR neighbourhood in Rome will be used as an art gallery where artists will show their work. Il Duce had workers build under his private residence in Villa Torlonia, and under his office at Venice Palace, two of the largest underground enclosures in Rome, apart from the bunker at EUR. Located under the "Palazzo degli Uffici", built by Il Duce as the site for Rome's World Fair in 1942 (which never took place because of the war), the construction of the bunker was solicited by Mussolini himself to protect workers and high ranking officials in the building.
(artdaily.org)

Nazi bunkers surface in Denmark - Filled with beds, boots, stamps featuring Hitler
Tommy Cassoe looks like a Indiana Jones as he crawls out of a WWII bunker buried under the sand, one of 7,000 the Nazis built along Denmark's western shores. 4 Nazi bunkers, buried under the dunes of Houvig since 1945, were discovered by 9yo boys after a fierce storm. "What's so fantastic is that we found them completely furnished with... the personal effects of the soldiers who lived inside," says Jens Andersen, the curator of the Hanstholm museum that focuses in Nazi fortifications. Archaeologists raced to the scene to empty the bunkers of boots, socks, badges, bottles, books, inkpots, stamps featuring Hitler, medicines, keys, hammers and other objects.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Nazi fortress overlooking the strategic port of Cherbourg to be museum
A fortress described as a "treasure trove of Nazi memorabilia" is to be opened as a museum in France. The complex was a nerve centre of German resistance after D-Day. 200 soldiers lived inside the fort, which was linked by 2,000 ft of corridors to 4 gun batteries aimed at the English Channel 300 ft below. During the bitter hand-to-hand combat that took place after the Allied landings on June 6, 1944, the troops set up so fierce resistance that they held out for 3 weeks. Adolf Hitler was so impressed that, even after the fort's surrender, its commander Rear Admiral Walter Hennecke was granted a Knight's Cross.
(telegraph)

Baffled by a bunker - A secret command centre for the Home Guard?
Historians and archaeologists have been left baffled by a unique WW2 relic in Shooters Hill that might have been a secret command centre for UK forces. The area was a significant defensive outpost for the Home Guard and the focus of a Time Team investigation. But the archaeologists were unable to solve the mystery of an elaborate underground air raid shelter that spreads across two back gardens in Ashridge Crescent. Responses have helped shed some light on the structure's use, but experts still do not know if it was one used for official reasons, such as a communication centre for the Home Guard.
(icsouthlondon)

Artists Bring Light Into Dark of Former World War II Bunker
While most of Bonn's residents have forgotten the WWII bunker intended to protect the population, a group of 10 artists has turned it into an art exposition space. "We had World War II and we had the Nazi Regime which ended in a bunker. We wanted to use a space ... which provides a very special atmosphere. I really went into the Nazi story because this bunker, although it was changed and maintained, is really a World War II bunker," said Gabriele Lutterbeck. Her series of blue sketches are a reaction to the Lebensborn Project – a Nazi SS program for women of "pure blood" bear children who fitted the Nazi's preferred racial profile.
(dw-world)

Siegfried Line: Wehrmacht World War II bunkers turn into wildlife haven
Attracted by the calm of long-abandoned machine gun posts, rare animals have been settling in the ruined bunkers that make up the Siegfried Line Adolf Hitler built to protect Nazi Germany's western border. Now wildlife groups are battling to stop bulldozing of this giant legacy of the Nazi era. The Siegfried Line, the 630-km network of bunkers, is finally serving a purpose: as a quiet haven for rare species. After the war the Allies blew up most of the 18,000 bunkers that made up the "Westwall." This relic of the Nazi era was ignored until the 1960s when authorities began ordering the removal of the remains to make way for construction.
(spiegel)

Germans fight to save hidden Nazi bunkers of Westwall - Siegfried Line
Concealed in a thicket of brambles in hills of Cologne, a relic of Germany's Nazi past has been neglected for 60 years. Under layers of wood and leaves lies part of Hitler's Westwall (the Siegfried Line), a 630km defensive line of bunkers and anti-aircraft defences that once ran the length of Germany's western border. But in the last few years, some locals in the Eifel region have tried to stop bulldozers annihilating these concrete fortifications. "It's important to keep the bunkers as a reminder for future generations, and also to preserve the wildlife," said Sebastian Schoene. North Rhine-Westphalia state still has 2,000 bunkers.
(reuters.com)

Germany Sheds Its Past - Former Bunkers Now Up for Grabs
The German Interior Ministry has announced it will sell 2,000 bunkers and shelters - saying such rooms were no longer necessary because threat scenarios had changed. Maintenance for the bunkers and shelters has cost 2 million euros per year. Most of the structures were built during World War Two, and some of them were integrated into an "Emergency Program" developed during the Korean War in the 1950s. Some historians hope at least some of the bunkers will be kept intact so future generations can visit the structures. Shelters to be sold include those located in subway stations in several major cities.
(dw-world.de)

Eben Emael: Few visit the scene of one of Hitler's greatest victories
A small band of paratroopers mounts a daring assault on a huge underground fortress. Swooping down silently in gliders, they disable its big guns with secret weapons and force the 1,300-man garrison to surrender. Sounds like the plot of a action movie - In fact, it's what happened on May 10, 1940, to Fort Eben Emael, one of the world's most powerful fortifications which Allied war planners counted on to halt the Nazi Germany's attack on Western Front. Dug into a limestone cliff the fortress was regarded as impregnable to surface attack or aerial bombardment. Its fall was the key to the Nazi victory in the West.
(pr-inside)

Underground tours in Berlin Nazi-era bunkers, shelters and tunnels
For decades after World War II, 300 nazi-era bunkers that had survived allied bombers and Soviet artillery fire lay ignored in Berlin. Citizens were kept in ignorance of the precise whereabouts of Adolf Hitler's fuehrerbunker - until the Berlin Underworlds Association break a taboo by erecting a shield pinpointing the bunker site. German authorities were nervous the Führerbunker, off the Wilhelmstrasse, might become a shrine for neo-Nazis. Similar thinking led to Spandau Prison being torn down after the suicide of Rudolf Hess in 1987. Nowadays, in addition to maintaining an underground history museum, the association arranges tours of WW2 bunkers.
(monstersandcritics.com)

Tours of Berlin`s underground, including WWII bunkers, draw crowds
This year the Berlin Underworlds Association is expected to guide more than 100,000 visitors on special underground tours. More than 300 bunkers remain from World War 2, and while many are filled with debris or blocked, others are in pristine condition. Last June, the Berlin Underworlds Association broke a German taboo by erecting a marker in the city center that points out the location of the most notorious underground site: the Fuehrerbunker, the fortified shelter where Adolf Hitler sought refuge from Allied bombers and then killed himself. During WW2, Berlin had 1,000 underground bunkers.
(washingtonpost)

Angry sea uncovers a piece of military history - WW2 bunker
From the eroded Garvies Beach on the Bluff juts a piece of military history which, until high waves hit the KwaZulu-Natal coast, was hidden by the sand. The waves have revealed a concrete slab off which to cast their lines to be the roof of a World War II coastal defence bunker. Hamish Patterson, of the South African National Museum of Military History, said that type of bunker had provided a protected enclosure for troops to fire at invaders. There had been the danger of Japan attacking Durban from Dec 1941 to July 1942 and the shore defences had been strengthened with the bunkers.
(iol)

Road trip to Adolf Hitler's World War II bunker complex
Justin Leighton and Maia Sissons's road trip is halted by Lithuanian border guards, which means a diversion to Adolf Hitler's WW2 bunker complex - the wolf's lair. This is the 27-acre complex of huge bunkers where Adolf Hitler spent the majority of the war years and survived the July bomb plot of 1944. These concrete structures were blown up by the retreating Nazis, and have lain untouched. pic1, pic2
(guardian)

Buildings in the Berlin underground   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Berlin's Olympic Stadium, AEG-Test tunnel, Spree tunnel Stralau, Axis crossing Tiergarten, Gasometerbunker Fichtestraße (The Fichtebunker in Kreuzberg is the only surviving large bunker of its kind in Germany), Potsdamer Platz, The Tempelhof airport (planned by the architect Ernst Sagebiel and built 1937-1941. At the time of its completion, it was the worlds second largest building, featuring extensive subterranean installations. The airport was part of Albert Speer's plans for the German capital. According to Hitler's ideas, Berlin was to become the capital of Europe and be renamed `Germania` by 1950.
(berlinerunterwelten)

What's the story behind hidden World War II bunker
For the past 24 years, Amolat Singh has been taking daily walks around the forested area of Mount Faber. But he has never noticed or even heard about the hidden World War II bunker that is located less than 30m from the Seah Im Road carpark. Some Singaporeans, who lived in the area during WWII, believe it could have been used to hold prisoners of war (PoWs) before they were executed. When The New Paper showed Mr Amolat pictures of the bunker, which is the size of three carpark lots, he was surprised that he had never noticed it before.
(skyscrapercity.com)

The latest bunker theory: An underground riflemen hideout   (Article no longer available from the original source)
An underground hideout used by riflemen during World War II is the latest theory to emerge about the Torquay bunker. Historian Jim Ferguson said the Coast was dotted with bunkers believed to have been used by Australian soldiers protecting the coastline in the 1940s. He said a letter from a gun sergeant Syd Bent of the 10th Australian Field Regiment stationed at the Coast supported his theory. Mr Ferguson showed us the only concrete bunker still intact. The bunker is nestled into the side of sand dunes and is about 1.5m in height.
(geelonginfo)

Dead Man in the Bunker - The head of a Nazi death squad
Martin Pollack's father was found murdered in a bunker in the mountains of Austria shortly after the end of Second World War. He was carrying false papers and attempting to escape to Italy. He had been the head of a Nazi death squad in the city of Linz. With the aid of diaries, photographs and official records, he retraces his father's rise through the Nazi hierarchy and his leadership of extermination programs.
(smh)

Mussolini's villa, secret bunker go on display
Villa Torlonia, the 19th-century Villa of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, opens to the public for the first time, allowing visitors to see his elegant frescoes, intricate chandeliers and his hidden bunkers and anti-gas chamber. Mussolini, who lived lavishly and entertained guests at the Rome residence, built the underground chambers to protect himself and his family from possible air raids. Mussolini dug the bunker 23 feet deep, burying a 10-foot thick concrete box with bare cylindrical corridors and multiple escape routes.
(seattletimes)

Hidden for 60 years: the Nazi beach bunker found by Briton
A secret underground military complex abandoned by the Nazis as allied forces stormed Normandy after D-day has been found by an English amateur historian. He came across the series of bunkers that had lain untouched for more than 60 years after buying a second world war map from an old American soldier. Armed with his map he visited the area near the Normandy beaches of Utah and Omaha, where he found the entrance to the military complex hidden under bramble bushes. He was astonished to discover a labyrinth of bunkers, control rooms and equipment abandoned by the Germans.
(guardian.co.uk)

Switzerland's hidden labyrinth of fortresses and camouflaged bunkers
Villa Rose is a camouflaged bunker from World War II with 7-foot (2.5 meters) concrete walls. False garage doors open to reveal cannon emplacements and heavy-duty machine guns. The fortress is part of a vast, little-known system of fortifications built during WWII to repel an invasion by Nazi Germany. Villa Rose was positioned to protect against a German attack over the Jura Mountains from Nazi-occupied France, or over the Alps from fascist Italy.
(-)


See also:
Third Reich in Ruins
World War II Tours
WW2 Militaria
Hitler: Berghof, Eagles Nest
WWII ruins
Amazing metal detecting finds.