Luftschutzbunker am Kanal Gent-Brügge (Steenbrügge, Brügge)
Unternehmen Seelöwe

Map number

-

Location

Thisstrongpoint is located along the Westdijk, which borders the Brugge-Gent canal. Some bunkers are located more towards the northwest near Steenbrugge, while the others are closer to Moerbrgge more to the southeast. The best place to park is near the bridge spanning the canal at Moerbrugge. One bunker is located further west close to the old entrance to the la Brugeoise factory.

Tactical function

The bunkers provided air-raid protection for soldiers maintaining the boats moored along the southern bank of the canal which were assembled here for the planned invasion of Britain, Unternemen Seelöwe (see also elow). The westernmost bunker may have provided shelter for the Brugeoise factory.
Unit(s) Unknown
Troops Unknown

Weapons

Unknown

Bunkers

5x bunker Luftschutz, 2x (more?) storage bunkers
Remaining bunkers 5x bunker Luftschutz, 2x storage bunkers
Radar -
Comments The story of the bunkers here is really the story of operation Seelion, the planned onvason of Great Britain. In the autumn of 1940 the operation was not cancelled, but rather postpoed until the Spring of 1941.
In major ports along the Channel coast, boats were initially assembled for the operation, but in hese highy visible locations they became easy targets for British air attacks, during which a number of these boats were damaged or destroyed. Presumably in order to make them less of a target, some boats were also dispersed further inland. This was also the case along the Gent-Brugge canal close to Brugge.
The Belgian ports of Antwerpen, Zeebrugge and Oostende did play a role in the intial plans for the operation, albeit a les important one. We do know that the following units were destined to leave from these ports in 1940:
From Oostende: Tow formation 2 (commanded by KzS Walter Henneke) and Convoy 1 (commanded by KzS Wagner). These units were to transport the initial elements of the  17 and 35 Infanteriedivisionen as well as the headquarters and corps troops of the XIII Armeekorps.
From Antwerp: Convoy 3 (commandedby KzS Wesemann), transporting the initial elemens of the 1 Gebirgsdivision and the 7 Infanteriedivision as well as the headquarters and corps troops of the VII Armeekorps. Presumably, these ships would first move from Antwerp to Oostende via the inland canals.
From Zeebrugge: a motor torpedoboat flotilla
In order to protect the labourers and guards from air attack, the bunkers were constructed presumably in 1941. They also served as storage.
The bunkers have a wall thickness of 110cm and a roof thickness of 140cm. Each bunker had three stacked walls inside, each 50cm thick. Each bunker is 25.7 metres long and has four rooms. A grass mat was laid on top of the bunker to conceal it from aerial detection.
Today, the bunkers are used as winter shelter for the local bat population.
Further information on this strongpoint is also available on the site Atlantikwall from the Belgian coast to Boulogne.

 

See this strongpoint on Google Earth



Yellow indicates existing constructions
Red indicates
disappeared or more or less invisible constructions. Some positions may be approximate only.
 
Below are some impressions of this strongpoint
The numbers below refer to the above Google Earth map
1.Luftschutz bunker
We start our trop from the parking area close to the bridge at Moerbrugge. Walking in an easterly direction, this is the frst bunker we come across.
The rear of the bunker
One of the entrances located at the front
The two entrances located at the rear sidesof the bunker.
2. Storage/reservoir bunker
Walking further east towards bunker no.3 we come across this construction. Its precise funcion is unclear, though it looks like a storage or reservoir bunker, possibly for water or fuel.
3.Luftschutz bunker
This is the most easterly air-raid bunker. The distance between this bunker and no. 1 above is some 1300 metres.
The rear
The entrances
The bunkers are normally closed off. However, in the past, bunker associate T. Cools was able to photograph the inside of this bunker. The thumbnails above link to the page on his Atlantikwall from Belgium to Boulogne site.
4. Luftschutz bunker
For the bunker above, we return to the parking area close to the bridge at Moerbrugge and follow the canal path in a westerly direction.
The rear of the bunker
The entrances
5. Luftschutz bunker
Some 500 metres further to the west we find the fourth air-raid shelter
Entrances at the front
The rear of the bunker
The entrances at the rear.
The front of this bunker was damaged by some impact.
6. Luftschutz bunker
Again some 500 metres further to the west from bunker no. 5 we find the fifth and last air-raid shelter
The rear of the bunker
One of the entrances at the rear
This door was open: some pictures of the inside of the bunker.
7. Storage/reservoir bunker
This construction is similar to no. 2 above.
8. Mooring post in concrete base
Closer to the bridgeat Strobrugge, we find this construction. It would appear to be a mooring post, but what is special is that it would appear to be sitting on a concrete base. In the area other mooring posts can be found but not with a concrete base.
9. Luftschutz bunker
This air-raid shelter can be found much more to the west, on the other bank of the canal. Its relationship with the other bunkers is unclear. Possibly, the bunker was meant to provide protection for people at the Brugeoise factory, since it is located very close to it.
The various sides of the bunker. Note the typical roofs designed to minimize the risk of a direct hit.
A number was painted on the bunker (7,982), its precise relevance and meaning unknown.
One of the present-day entrances to the bunker.
Inside the bunker. Note the Rauchen verboten on the wall