ADEDE were contracted for a survey and subsequent clearance of the beach and tidal area in preparation for the extension of Calais port.
Calais was strategically very important during both world wars since it was the closest sea port to the British shores and it borders the narrowest shipping lane in the North Sea. Its position thus made it obvious for heavy defenses, both artillery and denial areas in the shape of (sea) mine fields and of course the ordnance rigged coastal defense system we know as the Atlantic Wall in WW2. In addition Calais was the scene of heavy ground combat in the defense of the Dunkirk pocket in 1940. Finally its proximity and potential threat to the UK made it a prime target for allied tactical bombing missions towards the end of the war.
Nutcracker beach obstacle on its side. The rail, when hit by a ship, triggers the ordnance encased in the concrete.
Some of the harvest: artillery shells flanked by rigged depth charges.
An impression of what the beach at Calais may have looked like in 1944.
It is safe to assume Calais would yield a substantial amount of UXO under its beaches which was confirmed by the survey results showing a high volume of magnetic anomalies, each of which could represent a UXO. Soon after the clearance work began it became clear that the concentration of UXO was high as one in four targets represented UXO. We found French, British and German shells, remotely activated depth charges, anti-tank mines and the so-called nutcrackers.