As part of a sea defense project ADEDE was contracted to do a UXO survey and clearance of the beach and intertidal area at Wenduine, Belgium.
The coasts of Western-Europe were in fact the front line between German occupied countries and the Allied forces operating from the UK, meaning that towards 1944 an intricate defense system was established. This defense system is best known as “Atlantik Wall” although an important part was of course bordering the North Sea. The popular image of the obstacles depicts the bunkers, steel and concrete obstacles on the beaches and stakes with anti-tank mines or shells mounted on top of them. It’s purpose was mainly to stop landing craft from landing on the beaches and ultimately to stop or destroy invading armies in their tracks at the landing grounds.
An overview of magnetic anomalies under the beach, represented by the bleu and pink marks in an otherwise neutral environment.
Manually relocating and pinpointing of magnetic targets
Not all magnetic targets represent UXO but still are remnants of war like these pieces of wreckage from a Heinkel He111 found amidst the Atlantik Wall remains.
The defenses were not supposed to be visible for the enemy so many of them were placed below the low water line and their explosive charge was buried. After hostilities ended the purpose of clearance was to restore normal use of the coastal areas. This meant that the parts of the obstacles that protruded from the surface or which served as trigger for the ordnance were removed leaving the charges under the sand. This is clearly visible in the case of the nutcracker mine in the main image on this page. However, when the soil and seabed are disturbed by means of digging and trenching the remaining ordnance can pose a serious danger to people working there. These are live ordances and strictly not UXO since they have not been fired yet. Because of the fact they were not exposed to oxygen for over 70 years their state of preservation is often excellent.