Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Our European correspondent tells us what he did for his summer vacation

 Editor's note: Our European correspondent went on summer vacation and happened to touch upon a Raised by Wolves obsession: old fortifications. Fortunately for me, he sent pictures and a narrative. Here it is:

Eff You European Correspondent
I hope things are well. As you might have noticed, traffic from Denmark has been a bit on the light side for a couple of weeks. We got the opportunity to borrow a “sommerhus” (a beach or summer house), and we took full advantage of that to get away from home for a bit. Internet access was spotty at best.

Not far from the house was an old Renaissance stronghold from the 1600s. I took a couple of pics, as you said at some point that you like old fortifications.

The place is called Hals Skanse, and is situated by the mouth of a fiord that serves as a channel into the interior of Jutland. A nice place from which to shoot up evil invaders attacking from the sea. (And what is Jutland, you ask? It’s the mitten-shaped bit of Denmark).
The fort is quite small and not much is left of the original buildings. It was built in the classical Renaissance “Star” shape, allowing for fire along the walls of the fort. The moat and some of the cannons are still there. The fort is in the middle of a small town.

The moat and earthworks:

A cannon from the period:

The cannoneer’s view. The harbour area visible on the photo was built centuries later than the fort:

A casemate for storing gunpowder:

The original layout of the fort:

The fort was attacked (and taken?) by the Germans, the Swedes and the Brits during a couple of centuries of warfare. The Germans again used it for their local commandant in the 1940’s, and the last Germans in Denmark surrendered here several days after the war was over in Europe.

The Nazi Germans built several bunkers of their own nearby. I briefly explored them with my son. They were in quite decent shape, and oddly, above ground. The Nazis built a gun emplacement, observation bunker, and two personnel bunkers in one cluster.

Nearby they built two bunkers for anti-aircraft guns. I believe a few Allied planes were shot down by fire from these AA guns. The AA gun emplacements were on the roof of the bunkers. I only took this one pic, as the camera battery died. This is my son approaching the lower entrance to an AA gun emplacement bunker:

This particular specimen seem to have been set on fire at some point after the war. Perhaps for fire fighting drills?

And that is how I spent my summer…

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