Czech Moravia | Bunkers – hidden and forgotten

At Slavonice take the S409, along the Austrian border, which is just a stone´s throw away. After a while one recognizes a spot like a small island in the middle of a field. Getting closer, you’ll notice a small bunker made of concrete. Driving further east, more and more of these tiny protective bunkers appear along the roadside, in the middle of the fields and meadows.

On my vacation last summer I passed Czech Moravia on my way to Slovakia. The streets, far away from the big cities, are quite empty down here in the south-east of the Czech Republic. The region is intensively used for agriculture, there are patches of forests and a few villages here and there.

A guest contibution by Norbert Baer

They are part of the Czechoslovak defensive line built between 1935 and 1938 as a protection against Nazi Germany (and Austria). The completion of this fortification system was stopped by the Munich Agreement, which meant for the Czechoslovak Republic the secession of a large area of its territory to the German Reich. As a result, the country lost its military stronghold along the German, Austrian and Hungarian border.

Altogether about 10,000 of these small bunkers – and bigger ones- were built in one or two rows during this time. The most common type „A“ had two loopholes, which were placed to protect the neighboring plant by gun fire. The protection wall to the front line was made of 120cm, the other three sides were made of 60cm and the ceiling of at least 50cm thick reinforced concrete and they were to withstand grenades up to a caliber of 15cm. The room offers space for two to seven men. The soldiers were armed with rifles and light to heavy machine guns.

The farmers plow their fields very close to the surreal-looking dwellings in the midst of a dreamy landscape. Only a few were obviously taken care of. On one of them a high seat for hunters was built, but most of the plants are overgrown with grasses, shrubs and trees.

With the end of the S409 in the tiny town of Šafov the small bunker plants disappeared – as suddenly as the had shown up – from the picturesque landscape again.

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