world war ii bunker

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An interesting contrast between the damage to the flight decks of USS Bunker Hill (top) and HMS Formidable (bottom) after 550lb-bomb-carrying Kamikaze hits amidships.

On Bunker Hill, the exploding bomb and burning fuel killed 389 and put the carrier out of action for four months. On Formidable, the exploding bomb and burning fuel killed nine and put the carrier out of action for six hours. America’s Midway-class aircraft carriers which entered service in late 1945, did so with armoured flight decks.

Thousands of bunkers were built during World War II along the French coastline to forestall an Allied landing. The so-called “Atlantic Wall” was decommissioned after the Allied invasion of Normandy and now lies abandoned.

Paul Virilio (°1932, Paris) stumbled upon these relics with his camera and began a study that would continue for 30 years. His book Bunker Archeology (1975) became an inquiry of war and its structures and a personal memoir of exploration, merging technical analysis with philosophical questioning.