Friday, 17 December 2010


On August 27 1943 bombers of the US 8th air force attacked a large construction site at Eperlecques. The bombers dropped almost 380 one ton bombs causing extensive damage to the site and tragically killing large numbers of the slave labourers used by the Germans to build the site.

The site was the blockhaus at Eperleques near Calais and the purpose of this huge bunker was to build and launch V2 rockets at London. Unfortunately the Nazis were soon rebuilding the bunker using even more sophisticated construction methods to build a bomb proof bunker.

In June of 1944 it was the turn of the RAF to try to destroy the Blockhaus and the British launched two raids dropping about 30 5 ton "Tall Boy" bombs. One of these enormous bombs scored a direct hit and yet incredibly did virtually no damage to the reinforced structure. However, the shockwave from the bomb created a mini earthquake causing the machinery foundations inside the bunker to shift and in July the Nazis abandoned the site realising that sustained bombing would make it unusable.

The Blockhaus is now a fascinating museum and a moving memorial to the slave labourers who died there. The site has a series of excellent multilingual audio commentaries at various locations throughout the site and I took great pleasure in visiting the site at the same time as a group of Germans - I made damned sure I always got to the language selection button before them so they had to listen to all the commentaries in English.

I visited the site during a wet and windy morning in June and these photographs were taken with a Holga loaded with Delta 3200 and XP2 400. It is difficult to get an idea of the sheer size of the blockhaus from these photos - the Holga's fixed lens made it difficult to fit all the building in.

The bunker is like a head quarters of the baddies in a James Bond film and I hope these photographs the size and the air of menace of the blockhaus.

You can see the full set of travel photographs by following the link.

1 comment:

The Holgatron said...

Artistic AND historically informative! Excellent, but remember “don’t mension ze vor”.