WWII Ruins, Bunkers, Battlefields & Historic sites.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: D-Day tours, Ruins of Third Reich, Nazi memorabilia for sale, Tanks: Vintage Military Vehicles, WW2 Tours, WW2 bunkers, UK Ruins, Bunkers, Ruins, Bunkers in US.
France fears for ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane, where Waffen SS massacred the entire village
Robert Hébras stepped through the crumbled ruins of the village where he once lived. Almost 70 years after this idyllic rural village near Limoges burnt down, there are still traces of life. Not far from Hébras's old house, the carcass of the mayor's Peugeot 202 is still parked. "When I come here, I see faces, people, not ghosts," he said. But for the French state, this is Europe's most important ghost village and there are fears that its ghosts are under threat. Oradour-sur-Glane is unique in Europe: a fully preserved, ruined village that was the site of the worst Nazi massacre of civilians carried out on French soil. 642 people were shot or burnt alive on 10 June 1944. Hébras, who hid under a pile of dead bodies, was one of only a handful of survivors.
A rare look into abandoned WWII site on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan
On June 29, 1945, American fighters launched a raid on the Sasebo Naval District, a base on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan. The Japanese defenders fired 600 artillery rounds from 13 air defense posts and 167 rounds from 3 heavy machine guns. They felled 4 American aircraft but were ultimately unable to stave off the attack. The base suffered severe damage in the raid. However, a sprawling underground tunnel complex remained intact. Today, thanks to time and a lack of human interference, the command center is well preserved, offering a good window into the Imperial Japanese war machine of the day.
Harperley WWII PoW camp owners' hope for investor
When foot-and-mouth disease wiped out their herd of pedigree Highland cattle, Lisa and James McLeod decided to turn their hands to something completely different. A nearby WWII POW camp, with 49 derelict huts and 20 acres of land, was up for sale in County Durham. So in 2001 the couple used £400,000 from the sale of their farm to buy Harperley PoW camp. But 10 years down the line, and having poured almost £1m into turning the camp into a tourist attraction, the site has been mothballed and left almost derelict once again. At the height of its popularity the site was taking £60,000 a week and had regular attractions like camp tours.
World War II bomb shelter opens for tours in Singapore
What is possibly the last WWII-era civilian air raid shelter in the area will welcome its first groups of visitors in guided tours soon. The shelter, occupying the ground floor of Block 78 Guan Chuan Street in a corner of Tiong Bahru, has had an anonymous existence all this time. No signs have pointed passers-by to it, and from the outside, the brick walls would have betrayed little of what the 1,500 sq m space was built for. But it was this space that gave 100 people from the neighbourhood shelter during the Japanese air raids between December 1941 and January 1942, shortly before Singapore fell.
Stalin's secret WWII weapon: Underwater tunnel connecting the banks of the Dnipro River
To Soviet leaders Josef Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev, it was one of 2 top secret underwater tunnels being built to connect the banks of the Dnipro River, a potential ace-in-the-hole to win World War II if the Nazis destroyed all of the river bridges. Over 12,000 employees worked under tight watch, even using the word "tunnel" in a conversation was enough to get sent to a labor camp for 10 years. The tunnels were planned to extend 6.5km underwater, allowing the unseen movement of tanks, soldiers and supplies. During the war, no one working in the project was sent to the front to maintain secrecy.
Restored Pointe Du Hoc observation post reopening in fall 2010 (photos)
The observation post at Pointe du Hoc, the historic World War Two battle site in Normandy, will reopen to the public the fall of 2010. It has been closed to the public since 2001, because it was in danger to fall into the sea due to wind and sea erosion. Pointe du Hoc - 4 miles west of Omaha Beach - is the historic site where Colonel Earl Rudder and the U.S. Second Ranger Division scaled cliffs to defeat Nazi gunners. Pointe du Hoc draws in the second-highest number of battle monument visitors in the world – after the Normandy, explained Max Cleland, of the American Battle Monument Commission (ABMC).
The Maginot Line: History buffs travel to France to tour the forts of massive WW2 relic (Article no longer available from the original source)
In the 1930s the Maginot Line was a military marvel, an unbeatable network of underground fortifications along France's border with Third Reich - build to stop the Nazi offensive and avoid a repeat of the WW1 trench warfare. But in 1940 the Wehrmacht simply bypassed the staggeringly expensive network of bunkers, tunnels and artillery batteries. Now history buffs travel to France to tour the underground forts - largely abandoned after WW2 - which began reopening for tourists in the 1980s. Guided tours are available from April to October, and, as an example, 40,000 people a year take the guided tour of the fort of Schoenenbourg, located near Strasbourg.
Pointe-du-Hoc memorial: US to spend millions restoring legendary D-Day landmark
The US is leading a campaign to stop erosion from destroying the clifftop of Pointe-du-Hoc on Normandy coast, an area that has become sacred ground for the American sacrifices of June 6, 1944. New efforts are being extended to stabilize the cliff, on top of which sits a monument and a Nazi bunker. Decades of tides, rain and wind dug deep into the rock forced the Pointe-du-Hoc memorial to be closed in 2000. However, the memorial site should reopen in 2011. Historian Stephane Simonet, of the Caen Peace Museum, called it a memorial to American valor, as just 90 of the 225 Rangers survived attacking the insurmountable cliff.
Tarawa: World War II battleground is filled with garbage and trash
A Malibu man's personal campaign to clean up a trash-covered beach 5,000 miles away will gain national attention when it is the focus of a tv documentary film. For over 3 Leon Cooper has attempted to pressure authorities into removing rubbish from Red Beach on the Pacific atoll called Tarawa - site of one of the America's bloodiest WW2 battles. The beach, which Cooper calls "hallowed ground," has become a dumping ground covered by garbage, generated by the fast-increasing population of the South Pacific island nation of Kiribati. Actor Ed Harris narrates the documentary, titled "Return to Tarawa, the Leon Cooper Story."
Caen: Untouched caves reveal civilian nightmares during the D-Day battles
A boy lowered by rope into a deep cave is watching the sky shrink to a small patch of blue. That hole was home for a month for Gerard Mangnan and lots of others - saving their lives. While they crouched underground, Allied and Nazi troops above were engaged in one of the fiercest battles of the D-Day. Now the story of how caves became bomb shelters is being brought alive by an amateur archaeologist, his photographer colleague, and the recollections of survivors. Relics hunters with metal detectors have long scoured Normandy's battlegrounds, but now Laurent Dujardin and Damien Butaeye have discovered caves that had been undisturbed since the war.
World War II caves which sheltered thousands of civilians discovered below Caen
The time capsule labyrinth lies deep below Caen, which was destroyed by British guns around D-Day, June 6th 1944. The bunkers still contain reminders of a terrified population whose only thought was survival. Many spent a month deep below the constant shelling from Royal Navy ships and RAF bombing. Caen Memorial historian Marc Pottier said the lost world was a testimony to what ordinary people experienced during the war. On D-Day Caen was the target for the British 3rd Infantry Division and was the scene of intense combat right up until August. The old city, many buildings from the Middle Ages, was ruined, with 75% of buildings reduced to rubble.
Protests over planned demolition of historic World War II jail
Plans to destroy Malaysia's historic Pudu jail, where allied POWs were imprisoned and executed during the Japanese occupation, have World War II veterans up in arms. The site of POW tortures, interrogations and notorious modern-day hangings is set to be torn down. "Pudu jail should be preserved. So many Australians and allied soldiers died in places like Pudu, defending democracy and the lives of the people of Malaya," said Charles Edwards, a private in the Australian 8th Division, part of Commonwealth forces that defended Malaya, at the outset of the 1939-1945 war.
Forgotten submarine caves - Jeju Island could have become another Iwo Jima (Article no longer available from the original source)
Finding the Alddreu airfield was no easy task. Now Alddreu is a potato field, unrecognizable as the military installation that the Japanese built in the 1930s during the colonial period (1910-1945). The small hills stuck out of the land like green pimples. Each had an entrance shaped like a thick cross and was large enough for a small plane to fit inside, which had been the purpose once upon a time. It's not easy to id these abandoned hangars: the Japanese military worked hard to camouflage the area. Located on the seashore are 16 caves cut into the grey cliffs - launching bases for special mini submarines.
The ruins of Oradour sur Glane are reminder of wartime atrocity
France is full of pretty little villages - but Oradour sur Glane is not pretty. On June 10, 1944, possibly as a reprisal for the death of a German officer, Nazi troops encircled the village, then rounded up every person they found and killed them. Next they burned the village. Not long after, France was liberated and the French leader General Charles De Gaulle visited the site. He declared Oradour sur Glane should be left as it was. The ruined and abandoned village remains unreconstructed today, its burned buildings and remnants of automobiles a memorial to the victims.
Tours in secret World War II nuclear city - Oak Ridge was not on maps
Visiting a nuclear city may be an unusual attraction but the U.S. Department of Energy is finding interest in a uranium plant once so secretive it had no address and was not on maps. From June to September visitors can tour parts of the facility at Oak Ridge which was set up in 1943 and ran 24 hours a day separating uranium 235. It was part of the Manhattan Project that produced atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945. But during World War II staff recruited there had little idea how their work fitted into the bigger picture. "I didn't know what I was doing or why I was doing it.," said Gladys Owens.
Historic Place: WWII tank tests at Packard Proving Grounds (Article no longer available from the original source)
The Packard Proving Grounds, where World War II tanks and military aircraft were tested, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Packard Motor Car Foundation, the nonprofit group working to restore the site, hopes to create a museum that tells the story of the proving grounds. Plans also call for a "National Arsenal of Democracy" museum, which will tell the story of how American industry mobilized to help the war effort during WWII. Detroit was nicknamed the "Arsenal of Democracy" because its automobile plants were retooled to manufacture military vehicles and engines.
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.
Ruegen island - Revamp of massive Kraft durch Freude building
On a corner of Ruegen island in the former east Germany stands building of massive proportions. Stretching nearly 3 miles along the coastline, it was built by Adolf Hitler to offer seaside holidays to strengthen and refresh (Kraft durch Freude) workers of the Third Reich. Its scale and cubic forms have made it an example of Third Reich architecture and a metaphor for Hitler's quest for power. Now it has buyer, Ulrich Busch, the son of a 1920s anti-Nazi campaigner who fled from Nazi Germany. He plans to revamp the concrete hulk into flats - fulfilling the building's initial purpose after some 70 years.
Uncertainty hangs over Germany's last Nazi-era church (Article no longer available from the original source)
Berlin's Martin Luther Memorial Church - referred to as the "Adolf Hitler Church" during World War II - stands shrouded in scaffolding, its future in the balance. Mariendorf is split about what should be done with Germany's last remaining Nazi-era place of worship. Others argue that it has to be preserved as a reminder of a dark chapter in history, when a number of clerics and tens of thousands of churchgoers supported Adolf Hitler's National Socialist Party 1933-1945. Its organ was played at the Nazi Reichsparteitag in Nuremberg in 1935. One of its then officials said in 1935 that, "...the German people have in Hitler been presented with a great Fuehrer."
Okinawa tunnels of Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters (Article no longer available from the original source)
The Battle of Okinawa is often remembered as the final battle of World War II. Okinawa, just 64 miles long and two-18 miles wide, had numerous caves and other features that the Japanese utilized in constructing defenses. Col. Yahara initiated an ambitious campaign of digging enough tunnels and caves to move the entire 32nd Army and Navy underground. The Japanese were able to construct 60 miles of tunnels and numerous caves with no mechanized tunneling equipment. The most elaborate of the caves were the headquarters for the Imperial Japanese Army far below Shuri Castle.
Trooper of the Japanese Imperial Army - Battlefield Kuala Pak Amat
At midnight on Dec 7, 1941, Japanese transport ships carrying 5,300 men had anchored off Kuala Pak Amat and Sabak beaches. By 12.25am the next day, the first wave of Japanese shock troops had landed, meeting by fierce resistance by the British units. The onslaught against Kuala Pak Amat was one and half hours before Japanese dive-bombers attacked on the US naval fleet at Pearl Harbour. "The battle was fierce ... to the extent that the water turned red due to blood from the bodies of dead soldiers." A monument to mark the first landing of Japanese invaders in the country may be be set up soon, with the conservation of 7 British war-time bunkers in area.
The Sandakan death march is marked by heritage trail
One of the most brutal episodes of the Second World War, the Sandakan death march in Borneo, has been marked with a heritage trail. Tourists will be able to trek the same route taken by the POWs, who were forced to walk 155 miles. The Japanese soldiers guarding the ragged column were ordered to execute all those who faltered. Even those who made it were not safe. They were later shot by Japanese commanders who wanted to cover up the atrocities. Some were executed 12 days after the war had officially ended. Of the 2,434 British and Australian POWs, only 6 escaped, all Australian.
Builder pledges to preserve WWII battlefield Green Ridge (Article no longer available from the original source)
Green Ridge, the WWII battlefield with its war trenches and machine gun nests still intact, will remain undisturbed. Green Ridge is one of three ridges where an outnumbered British battalion put up a brave but futile four-day stand against the invading Japanese army in the Battle of Kampar. Leow said surveyors had spent more than two years studying the historical site to ensure it would not be damaged by construction works.
Site of British surrender in WW2 to be preserved as national monument (Article no longer available from the original source)
The old Ford Motor Factory in Upper Bukit Timah Road will be gazetted as a national monument from February 15th. It would then be exactly 64 years since the historic surrender of the British at the site to the Japanese during WWII. It was there that the meeting between General Percival and General Yamashita was held and the surrender document signed on 15th February 1942. Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill called it the "worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history" and it was widely seen as a turning point for anti-colonialism by destroying the myth of European superiority.
For a Nazi Outpost of Vidkun Quisling - An Ethical Retrofit
Vidkun Quisling was the head of Norway's collaborationist government during the 1940-45 Nazi occupation, and the imposing Villa Grande was his home and headquarters. "This is a house that has a strong aura of power and an authoritarian style." In spring of 1945, Norwegian resistance fighters entered Oslo. They made their way to the wooded peninsula on the fjord and surrounded the villa. Quisling had planned to fight, but his supporters deserted him and he surrendered without a shot fired. Within months, he was tried by a Norwegian court, branded a traitor and executed.