bunkers II

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We struggled , a little , with the translation of ” narrow-gauge ” as we drove out to one of Marcin’s secret spots to explore WWII artillery installations still around , but hidden . He told me to wear clothes that could get dirty because we’d be climbing into bunkers in the woods .

This was a German artillery location near the Baltic coast town of Swinoujscie . Before WWII it was the German city of Swinemunde . We went to a couple of seaside forts that protected the entrance to the River Odra . One was bulit in 1854 and the other during WWI . Both were used during the Second World War and are now museums .BUNKERS 2 Swinosc 006

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The Germans had another facility a few mile away , hidden deep in a thick forest . That’s the place Marcin intended to show me . It’s still hidden deep in the forest . Marcin , the Polish soldier and WWII history buff , would be my guide . There were moments , I will report , when my guide stopped suddenly in his tracks , gazed up at the glitter of sunlight squeezing through the canopy of leafy trees , and paused . There seemed to be a Daniel Boone air about him for a few moments , I thought . Daniel Boone , an early American pioneer , was asked once if he’d ever been lost out in the wilds of Kentucky .. ” Never been lost , ” he said . ” I’ve been confused for weeks at a time ; but I’ve never been lost . ”

We had parked in a remote spot near rail tracks , had walked across the hiighway , followed abandoned railroad tracks until they came to an end a few hundred yards into the woods . Then we followed  narrow-gauge tracks that had suddenly appeared far into the thick woods until we came to the first  concrete .structure nearby .

We crawled around a few remnants of the cannon emplacement and ordinance bunkers . Narrow -gauge tracks ran from one bunker to another , from one gun emplacement to another , and to a concrete skeleton of a camoflage shed used to hide the ammunition train during air raids . .BUNKERS 2 Swinosc 013

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Deep in the forest , each structure was hidden under hillsides and by now obscured further by trees and other vegetation . . Concrete air vent covers were about the only parts of the facility visible  from above .

The guns fired shells far enough to protect the entrance to the river  a few miles away . I don’t think any enemy navies ever attempted to come in ; they sent bomber groups instead ; but , hey , the Germans  were ready .BUNKERS 2 Swinosc 021BUNKERS 2 Swinosc 027

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BUNKERS 2 Swinosc 040The German Army  later  sent the guns from this place to Norway , to defend Nazi interests there during the war .Most of  the tracks remain , although some lengths have  been stolen by vagrants to be sold as scrap . The gun emplacements remained . The armory bunkers remain .Tiled walls and flooring have been invaded by water , then frozen during the cold winters and broken ,  cracked and destroyed beyond recognition .

Perhaps the ghosts of long-gone artillery soldiers still wander the forest , watching the skies as they run through drills and wait for action  Perhaps they still inhabit these concrete rooms , maintaining a wartime diligence and discipline  , saluting Hitler , and following orders .

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There are several cdoncrete bunkers in that forest location . We saw a few . A few more are situated on a military reservation and , thus , off-limits . One that we passed was occupied by a cantankerous , formerly-homeless old goat of a fellow who doesn’t appreciate anyone , evidently , bothering his isolated concrete  home . Marcin advised me that we steer clear of him unless we wanted to stir up trouble . Not what we came for , we both agreed , and we let sleeping dogs lie .MINES

7 Comments

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7 responses to “bunkers II

  1. Haunting memories from history.

  2. Interesting history. I like to see the remnants of war crumbling into the earth and covered with moss, trees and ferns.

  3. Great photos Dan. A haunting reminder of a very scary period in history.

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