These are perfect remains located to the north of the famous Atlantic Wall erected by the Wehrmacht, from the Basque Country to the Netherlands, to try to prevent the Allies from landing during the Second World War. Restoration work on the dunes of the town of Knokke-Heist, located on the shores of the North Sea, has just revealed three intact bunkers built by the German army between 1942 and 1944 on the orders of Hitler who wanted to protect what he called “Fortress Europe”.

These three military constructions, made of reinforced concrete and steel, were found on the dunes of Heist Willempark, on the Belgian coast, near the border with Holland. As early as the First World War, this area of ​​the park was chosen by the German army to install heavy artillery batteries known as “Freya” and “Augusta”. They also served as an observation point for maritime traffic between the English Channel and the North Sea.

It was only from 1942 that the Wehrmacht decided to reinforce its old batteries in order to transform them into anti-landing bunkers. The German military will call this northern area of ​​the Atlantic Wall the “Stützpunkt Heyst”, literally the base of the Heist dunes.

According to the press release from the municipality of Knokke-Heist, the three bunkers were discovered by the Agency for Nature and Forests during a restoration project called Life Dunias. Excavations at a depth of only a few feet (32cm) revealed three “Gruppenunterstand” (group shelter or shelter in French) of type VF2a. The VF2a was designed to protect a “Gruppe” (the smallest German unit made up of 10 soldiers), which here had, among other things, responsibility for an anti-aircraft radar. These military constructions of the Heist Willemspark measure 6 by 7 meters on the outside, and are topped with a reinforced concrete roof measuring 1 meter thick, itself covered with a layer of steel.

Dune restoration also uncovered evidence of brick trenches, a fragment of a concrete track and large quantities of rubble containing objects such as utensils, ammunition, cables and water pipes. The manager of the Life Dunias project has already given a historical explanation for this discovery: “These ruins illustrate the desire, after the war, to completely erase the military history of the park. The lighter structures were demolished and reduced to rubble, while the heavier bunkers were covered with a layer of earth and hidden, as if they had never existed.