World War II


I AM BLESSED WITH FINE WEATHER when I visit the Lorient submarine base in Brittany on the northwestern coast of France. The Atlantic Ocean sparkles under the sunshine, and in the marina an armada of yachts, dinghies, trimarans, and catamarans add their own bright colors. Men and women busy themselves repairing sails, painting hulls, and swabbing decks, while on the quayside those feeling less energetic sit eating and drinking.

It could be a scene from any of the myriad ports along the 2,130 miles of French coastline but for several incongruous intruders on Lorient’s Keroman Peninsula: three enormous concrete U-boat bunkers, built by the Germans as a base for submarine attacks on Allied shipping in the North Atlantic. From a distance, their sheer size and the thickness of the concrete make them look like the gap-toothed

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