“The Bunkers” – France

“Is that a tank…?”

“…ah, yeah, it’s a tank…”

The sort of words you only imagine hearing while exploring an abandoned bunker…

Enjoy.

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For obvious reasons, I’m going to be vague about the whereabouts of this bunker, sorry if you are genuinely interested in the history.

This former stone quarry has a long history of use as a military bunker, we know it was used during both WW1 and WW2. The most recent owners moving out sometime in the late 70′s.

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German 77mm Model-1896 WW1 cannon

Finding something like this has been a dream for a long time, two WW1 vintage canons carelessly bulldozed into a corner. We are pretty sure they are German 77mm field cannons, model 1896. Comparison with photos of intact units (see gallery below) seems to confirm that. I’m still trying to think of a way to get one home.

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The former quarry is extensive, and until recently a small part was used for commercial cultivation of mushrooms. The photo above is of a section used to store waste from the mushroom growers.

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The ‘crew’ in the main emergency exit stairway of the bunker. It ends five stories higher at an unassuming pill-box in the forest, if you find that, your tantalizingly close…

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It is sad these vehicles have been abandoned here, in the constantly wet environment of the quarry they will be nothing more than piles of rust in 10 years. At the moment they are decommissioned but basically functional, the gun turrets of the tank and amoured vehicles could still be easily turned.

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An extensive section of the old bunker was formally used as administration, communications and eating areas. All of which are in decrepit condition but none the less photographically interesting.

Thanks again to Gilles and JPG.

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20 thoughts on ““The Bunkers” – France”

  1. hi this kinda thing has facinated me since a young age (wish i was that age again and know what i know now, i would be right beside you’s in these pics) the whole site is brill i have had a great read and still wanting more, it dont matter where your reports from paris , london , etc everyone is just as enjoyable as the next, thanks for something different and all the best.

  2. Great find, kudos!

    Some friends of mine just north of Paris recently discovered a pillbox-like structure in the forest behind their home. When they looked inside they found a tunnel, roughly 3km long, which ended in a derelict house in the adjacent village. It’s believed to have played a part in the resistance movement during WWII but may have been constructed much earlier. I must get over there more often ,,,

  3. Those vehicles, especially the the two armored vehicles are considerably more modern than WW2. It looks to me like this was used well into the cold war.

  4. I did some web searching, the tank is a version of the ERC 90 Sagaie. Which was not in production until the late 70s, and early 80s. So this place was in service even late into the cold war.

    the long “something” with the medical interior is a Panhard VCR, which also cam out in the mid 70s.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ERC_90_Sagaie#Production_history

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panhard_VCR

    super awesome find, you found a military installation that apparently had been in use from at least ww1 to the late cold war era.

      1. My best estimate is that based on the model of the armored vehicle, it was most likely abandoned a few years before the fall of the Soviet Union, if not after. The ERC 90 Sagaie is still in service even today, and that Panhard VCR went into service in 1979 in France, so I’m guessing the bunker was abandoned in 1991 at the latest, 1980′s at the earliest. That’s my best estimate. It was not abandoned in the 70′s.

        Which means the bunker is probably still in French military records as a contingency bunker in the event of a nuclear apocalypse.

        Fun fact about the Panhard VCR: It was developed at the request of the Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq war, to provide a platform for ATGM launchers.

        1. What’s also worth noting is that the tires of those APCs haven’t gone flat from decades of disuse – which is usually the case for most. That tells me that you guys really got lucky and that those APCs are in near-pristine condition apart from the occasional vandalism (missing headlights, etc). You might even be able to secure the ERC 90 Sagaie and sell it back to the military for a pretty penny, or even use it as your own personal Zombie Apocalypse ride.

  5. OMG jealous does not even come close! This place is an urbexers wet dream ha! Cant imagine what it must have felt like to see those things looming out of the dark! Maaan! Take me there haha!

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