Tenerife Remnants of A World War

Mon, June 30th, 2014 - By Linda

If, as they say, I had a cent for every time someone has asked me about the weird and yet familiar (at least to my generation) structures that dot the El Médano beaches, I would be rich.

 

WW2 bunker, El Medano

 

Most people of my age recognize the structures for what they are, WW2 bunkers. Youngsters are curious because they’ve never seen anything quite like them. Perhaps my childhood memories are still sharp, because it didn’t occur to me for a long time that they were anything out of the ordinary, because I’d seen them around the Blackpool coast when I was a kid.

Although historians now believe that the relationship between Spanish dictator, General Franco and the infamous Adoph Hilter were less close than thought believed at the time, there certainly was a connection, and the German navy used Canarian ports, particularly, it seems, Gran Canaria, though, the extent of that usage is still debated.

 

WW2 bunker, El Medano

 

Both the Allies and Germany, in fact, had plans to invade the Canary Islands. They occupy, after all, an important strategic position, between the Americas, Africa and Europe. It made sense to construct bunkers along the coasts to keep an eye out for invading forces.

For Tenerife it wouldn’t have been the first time the British had attempted to invade. Back in 1797 Horatio Nelson had tried, and it cost him his arm, although he apparently received a cask of Canary wine for his trouble, so perhaps not such a loss! That was the last of three important attempts to invade, the others being in 1706 and 1657 – so, you can see how necessary it was thought to construct defences. In the end, however, in the 1940s, both sides considered outright invasion would stretch supply lines too far.

 

WW2 bunker, El Medano

 

Operation Puma was the code name for the proposed Allied invasion, which was to happen only if Germay or Spain invaded Gibraltar. As we now know, neither happened, and the only British or German invasion happened post WW2 when the islands were invaded by thousands of tourists from both countries.

Of course bunkers were constructed all around the archipelago, but it seems that the ones in El Médano for some reason or other have been better preserved. So if you want to see a slice of WW2 memorabilia, in this important year for its history, take a walk from La Tejita to the beach at La Jacinta and see how many you can spot. One, on the flank of Montaña Roja has a historic marker, showing how they were manned.

 

WW2 bunker, El Medano

 

Today, these relics make interesting photos to show when you get back home. They provide interesting foregrounds for seascapes or sunrise photos, and, as you can see from the photo, some folk have found new uses for them. In summer they are mostly used as sunbathing spots, and the guy sitting atop one in the picture was there meditating every morning for several weeks when I walked my dog.

Posted : Monday, June 30th, 2014 at 10:25 am
Category : about tenerife
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