Sunday, 25 August 2013

Back from holiday...Ah well.

While it's always terribly sad to get back home after a holiday at least I have the consolation of some very exciting projects waiting on my workbench for me - plus a couple of nice little parcels from the continent!

I had a wonderful time in Belgium and as you might imagine I visited some of the many museums dedicated to the many conflicts that have taken place in that little country. In fact there was something of a theme to my selection of visits as I chose to take a look at some of the coastal fortifications that were build by our later day enemies to defend them against we marauding Brits!

Its a rather novel concept to think of other continental nations preparing themselves for invasion by us, we normally think of the situation reversed. But Ostend - a seaside resort in Flanders - has been occupied on several occasions by Britain's historical enemies, notably the French and then the Germans (on two occasions).

My first visit was to the impressive brick bastion on the east of the town called - appropriately - Fort Napoleon. This beautifully renovated and preserved French fort protected the harbour from invasion from British forces during the Napoleonic period...

Wonderful aerial shot of Fort Napoleon (not mine I hasten to add)!
My next spot of historical tourism was to the west of the city and of much more recent construction. The Atlantic Wall museum, nestled in the sand dunes along the towns long coastal promenade. This museum actually covers both the fortifications build by the Germans during the First World War - The Aachen Battery - and the later coastal defences build during WW2 to defend against the inevitable Allied invasion.

Belgian 120mm (12cm K370b) artillery piece, captured by the Germans
and used in the Atlantic Wall battery at Ostend.
...On the 21st December 1943 Field Marshal Erwin Rommel visited the
Ostend Battery, here he is seen inspecting the above mentioned 120mm.
Both museums were a real treat for the amateur military historian to visit as they are in superb condition. I will be writing up a full report on these visits on my Milgeek Blog later.

But now it's back to funny little projects...See you soon!

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