World War 2 , early ’40s. Romania, Axis Powers. Starting from the extremity of Constanta Port, Cuibul Reginei (The Queen’s Nest), continuing to La Vii (The Vineyard), to Southern Constanta, where it was placed the famous 280 mm Tirpitz battery, the Romanian Army, along with the German allies has developed a strong coastal and anti-aircraft system.
In the area of La Vii (now named Poarta 5) , the remains of four AA batteries are still standing.
The AA foundations stretch over 50 meters along the cliff, North to South. There are placed in pairs, the distance between twin foundations is 10 m, and the distance between 2 pairs is approx. 25 m. The AA batteries substructures are made of reinforced concrete and have the shape of a decagon, where one side is open. Each side is about 2 m, and the distance between equidistant sides is 3.25 m, so we can approximate area to 35 m2. Four sides form massive bulges, creating spaces whose use apparently was to provide ammo storage or shelter for the flak operators.
There are poor information regarding Romania’s Axis campaigns in World War II, in those 50 years of communism, logs were destroyed and the history was monstrously distorted. We’re now gathering together bits and pieces to create an image of the pre-August 1944 Romanian WW2 contribution. It’s hard to say what kind of AA gun was mounted on these sites. Personally, I think a 20 mm caliber weapon, as this was the case with many similar design AA foundations, part of the Atlantic Wall. We can not exclude bigger caliber artillery, as these constructions were very solid, but it’s unlikely.
From what has stood the test of time, we see that these AA emplacements a featured a 8 bolts gun carriage retention system and a central axis. Carriage’s base diameter was about 1 m, which makes me think that 20 mm AA artillery was fit there.
Generally speaking, AA guns do not cause so much recoil compared with the big cannons and an extremely reinforced location is not necessarily, but these 4 “nests” are very solid. They’ve poured massive concrete blocks, and although these 4 soldiers have turned 70, it seems they can easily reach 100.
All 4 AA emplacements are identical and at the floor level there are rectangular openings, positioned in opposite pairs. All are now filled with debris. Two of these “holes” are quite large, estimated length 1 m / width 75 cm. These openings seem pretty deep because I could not probe deeper due to debris probe deeper, but at 1 meter I did not reached the base. I can not say for sure, but these could be simple “pits” with technical role, or we may have to deal with vertical shafts to a room / tunnel under the flak line. There are actually other two pairs of 2 smaller pits, and probably had a role in anchoring the AA gun.
These releases are still available (and 100% full of trash and vegetation) on AA1 and AA2 only. As for AA3 and AA4,”the holes” have been filled with concrete.
And because we’re talking about shafts and secret tunnels, these AA batteries have their share of mystery. Between AA1 and AA2 sites there is an opening (currently without cover), that communicates with a subterranean chamber. The enclosure is completely flooded and is one of the most fetid places that you’ll find in town. I have been exploring basements, shafts, pillboxes, bunkers and plenty of tunnels, but I have never been around of such disgusting matter. This does not mean I did not photographed inside of it, and thankfully I’ve did that, because in the rooms wall I’ve noticed a piece of OSB, which initially I thought it was used in concrete shuttering (that would have dated the abominableness to the ’90s), but no… That piece of OSB was nailed to the wall and sustained a larger, horizontal OSB board, which happened to be the ceiling! A 1.5 cm OSB board sustaining all that ground above. And the photographer!
It’s time to leave these old ladies AA batteries. That area is littered with traps, fetid beyond imaginations under that black-outed plywood roof, also, the area has a dozen pretty deep shafts (15 m), also without caps. All hidden among the weeds and trash. 70 years after the war and “La Vii” AA batteries are still “dangerous area”.
Second pic – 70 years ago, it might have been like this…
There are no writings on the walls to date the foundations. The only are 5 characters scratched on the walls, barely visible, of whom I could identify only three: _273_. There is no guarantee that is a genuine WW2 writing, however, is definitely an old “engraving”.
Second pic – a bit of a “technical side” on the AA emplacement.
For those who want to try the AA experience, a 360° panorama.
(use the mouse to navigate, scroll to zoom)
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