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One of the key advantages of working with different photographers is to be able to work with a lot of equipment and accessories. Of course, each photographer has his own set of accessories, but that's not enough when you want a real photoshoot in military style.

Military and security themed photoshoots are single day events or are included in the Shooting Days. This is one of our previous military photoshoots in an old military base.

Historic overview

Nearly all the german bunkers (second world war) were destroyed in the seventies in Belgium. People wanted to forget about the atrocities of the war, and the bunkers were an ugly rememberance of the war. The people in charge at that time were well aware of the attrocities and they decided to remove them all. The only bunkers that are left on the Belgian Coast are on private ground, like those at the Zeepreventorium De Haan.

Nowadays, the war generation has passed by and the new generation is eager to learn about the war and all the remaining bunkers are protected by decree. Even the small one-person shelters are protected.

In France, none of the bunkers were removed after the war. Some of the bunkers were transformed in a war museum (La Coupole, le Blockhaus d'Audinghen (Batterie Todt), le Blockhaus d'Eperlecques, le Musée de la mémoire 39-45 (Calais) and the V3 bunker at Mimoyecques). But most of the bunkers are just part of the landscape.

Battle of Dunkirk
(Operation Dynamo)

The germans invaded the lowlands in May 1940. The year before, Hitler had invaded Poland, but the allied forces were not prepared for the invasion of their country. They were outnumbered by the germans who combined tactical choices and new technologies like the hollow charge, the combined use of tanks and airplanes,...

The invasion began at the border between the Netherlands and Belgium. The allied forces were hurried to the border, but they were unprepared for the fight and were not able to hold positions. But the german invansion is only part of the whole picture. In the meantime, a second attack is taking place through the Ardennes, an area the military thought impenetrable and that was left nearly unprotected. All the allied forces were moved to the front, and there were only some reserve troops left over.

The germans reached the coast in one week at Abbeville (région of Picardie). The river Somme would be for some weeks the no-man's-land between the invading germand and the feeble remains of the french army.

But the main action is situated between the belgian border and Dunkirk. All the allied forces are locked up in the region, and there is no way to get out. What's left of the french army South of the Somme river is not able to break the encirclement.

The French were entrenched at the "Fort des dunes", nearby Leffrinckoucke (this site cannot be visited, the french don't like to be remembered of their failures, so it seems). Operation Dynamo is a plan to get the military out of Dunkirk by means of all available boats. 340.000 people were evacuated out of the encirclement at the beach between Dunkirk and Leffrinckoucke.

Operation Fortitude

There are still a lof of bunkers in the Pas-de-calais (and also in Normandie, the place of the allied landing in 1944. Operation Fortitude was a plan to force the germans to keep most of their troops in the North region, even after the landing had taken place. The net result of Operation Fortitude was that the germans tought that the invasion in Normandie was just a lure, not the main attack.

To get the germans to believe the landing would take place in the Pas-de-Calais, the allied bombed intensively the region. Bridges and roads were destroyed (this had the advantage of blocking german troops in the region while the landing took place somewhere else). False rumors were spread and the french undercover army was activated. But a landing was not possible in the region, there were far too much bunkers, too much tanks and army divisions.

An invasion is only possible if the allied forces can be protected by the english spitfires. The only regions that are close enough to the english coast are the Belgian coast (up to the french département of the Somme) and part of Normandie.

The Atlantic wall was breached a second time in Zeeland (the Netherlands). The aim was to free the waterway (Schelde) to Antwerp, and that was only possible if all the german troops were removed from the coast and South Netherland islands. Most of the french ports could not be used, while Antwerp was situated near the front line. Antwerp was nearly intact because it was freed by belgian forces some days in advance of the regular troops. The german were taken by surprise and had no time to destroy the site.

Fotoshoot military and security

The shooting took place at Leffrinckoecke (not with real arms but with Canons). This village is now part of Dunkirk. The french trenched were situated 500m inland and are made of bricks and plain mortar. The german used reinforced concrete for their bunkers (they had plenty of polish manpower at their disposition). Their bunkers are situated on top of the dunes. Some of the bunkers are now on the beach.

Then we got to the port of Dunkirk (écluse Charles de Gaule) for a water shoot (it was really cold) and in the evening there was a shooting at the digue du Braeck: at one side the blast furnaces of Mittal, at the other side the sea.

The “Batterie de Leffrinckoecke” is well known. Its a complete set of bunkers (another set of bunkers can be found nearby the Pointe de la Crèche, but it's on private grounds. A group of parisian students were making a videoclip and they used our models. We exchanged our business cards (actually, i gaven them my photographers card). After two years, i'm still waiting for a youtube link to their videoclip...

Military & security 2012

Google pages selection that could be of some interest to you