Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Atlantic Wall / Koksijde Belgium

  My Guard Unit was stationed at Koksijde Belgian Air Force Base for annual training in 1985. We were there as part of a NATO exercise called Volant Partner. The people are very friendly to Americans. They still remember our sacrifice for them in World War II. It was a basic training base for the Belgian Air Force and it was fun watching the new recruits going through their training. It looked like a piece of cake compared to the American Air Force basic training. There was an air-sea rescue helicopter unit stationed there and the Airmen were constantly wanting to trade with us. Primarily patches, insignia or whatever else we were willing to trade. The funniest thing I saw was when I passed a car full of Belgian Airmen proudly displaying a Confederate license plate on the front of their car. I knew then and there that the Tennessee Air National Guard was in town.

  The area was rich in history. The base was built by the Germans in World War II and evidence of the German occupation was everywhere. The base was smack dab in the middle of the Ypres salient where several huge battles were fought in World War 1. It was also near Dunkirk where the British and French were successfully evacuated under the noses of the Germans in 1940. There was a beautiful British War Cemetery within walking distance where men killed in both wars are buried. Since this is the anniversary of D-Day evidence of Hitler's Atlantic wall was all up and down the coast. Hitler began building it in March 1942 along the coasts of Holland, Belgium, and France. General Irwin Rommel began reinforcing it in early 1944 with barbed wire, beach obstacles, and underwater obstacles. Although this area was not attacked on D-Day it is near Calais France where Hitler and his generals thought, until the last moment, that the real invasion would land. It was logical because this area is the closest to England. Because of British and American deception through the use of double agents and an imaginary army commanded by George S. Patton the Germans were completely fooled. The invasion would have failed and been much bloodier if the Germans had not been deceived. The first two pictures are two pill boxes near Ostend Belgium and the third is a German bunker on Koksijde BAFB.

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