Fort des Dunes is an old fashion type of fort which originates from 1878, it’s goal was to protect Dunkirk and her port. Fort des Dunes was build after de defeat of France during the France – Prussian war in 1870.
The fort is an earth wall with bricks type of fort about 50.000 square meters big and it housed 450 men. It had underground barracks, a bakery, water tanks, ammunition magazines, a kitchen, and air supply facilities. Due to the rapid change of weaponry and war tactics Fort des Dunes was obsolete before it was finished. The fort was used as shooting range and barracks until World War Two. At the beginning of the western armed conflict in World War Two it was used by the English 12th Motorized Infantry Division under General Jansen and was heavily bombed by Stuka dive bombers from the German Luftwaffe and it was under constant artillery barrage from the Whermacht.
After the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force it was used by the German Kriegsmarine who upgraded the fort with machine gun posts, and a radar unit was installed together with heavy guns. In the fort, which was now part of the Atlantic Wall and was used as a prison, eight French resistance fighters were executed by the German occupiers.
In the aftermath of the war Fort des Dunes was a base for 3700 German prisoners of war who had to clear the beaches and dunes of landmines and other types of explosives. In front of the fort is a French Cemetery with a memorial for the French forces who fought and lost their lives in this area.
Fort des Dunes is a museum today, check out the website if you like to visit the Fort. Unfortunately we did not enter the fort and can’t tell you much about the inside.
Fort des Dunes: Chemin du Fort, 59495 Leffrinckoucke, Frankrijk