History

These 21 Abandoned Military Bases Will Leave You Speechless

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When wars end, the casualties have been counted and the land has been divided, the military machinery and bases are often left behind.

Maunsell Sea Fort

These abandoned sites are located throughout the world, sitting as stark reminders of everything from the Great World War to the Cold War and beyond. What happens to an armored tank after it sits in the hot desert sun for a decade? What haunts the halls of military hospitals?

Do you dare to visit these abandoned sites? Read on to discover abandoned military bases throughout the world that will leave you in awe.

Devil’s Slide Bunker

Devil's slide bunker

Nestled in the Devil’s Slide promontory on the coast of California, the Devil’s Slide bunker sits as a ghostly reminder of the Japanese threat that loomed just across the ocean.

The bunker is just one of several buildings used to keep watch over the San Francisco Bay, and the military personnel would sit inside this observation post with binoculars, searching the waters for signs of enemy activity.

Flak Tower

Scattered throughout Germany, you can find 16 flak towers like this one. Part anti-aircraft defense, part air raid shelter, these giant towers served as multipurpose war command posts.

All of the towers were designed by architect Friedrich Tamms, and they were built using slave labor under Nazi control.

Maginot Line, France

Morten Jensen

France, like much of Europe, saw the writing on the wall years before the start of World War II, and it built a series of weapons installations, fortifications and obstacles throughout the countryside in preparation for war.

This line of military structures was named the Maginot Line, and it was hailed as an impenetrable work of genius. Unfortunately, the Germans decided to bypass the line completely, and the Maginot Line did not live up to its hype.

109th Iman Fortified

kfss.ru

The 109th Iman fortified region was just one of several targets bombarded by the Soviet military during WWII.

Barbed wire and observations slats are still visible today, though the structure remains largely hidden under vegetation and a layer of graffiti.

Saint Nazaire Submarine Base

Saint-Nazaire, formerly a busy harbor on the Atlantic coastline of France, was transformed into a pen for German U-Boats. The now-abandoned site originally held offices, dormitories, kitchens, bakeries, electrical plants and a hospital.

Today, visitors can explore the French submarine Espadon when visiting this historic site.

Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital

What’s more haunting than an abandoned hospital? One that treated Herr Hitler for injuries sustained during World War I.

But that’s not all it’s known for. The Nazis found this location to be the perfect spot for some of its famed medical experiments, and legend has it that this 60-building hospital complex has a few ghostly inhabitants who don’t want to let go of the past.

Duga Radar

A reminder of the Cold War and a testament to Soviet ingenuity, the Duga radar array system served as the USSR’s anti-ballistic missile early warning system. The radar arrays were operational from 1976 to 1989.

These massive metal structures are no longer in use, and they form giant metal skeletons along the quiet landscapes of Eastern Siberia and the former Ukrainian SSR.

Fort Tilden

The Borough of Queens is home to one of the most haunting abandoned military bases in the United States. Fort Tilden, was once used as a coastal artillery installation.

During the Cold War, the site was used for anti-aircraft guns and Nike surface-to-air missiles. Today, Fort Tilden is under the operation of the national park service, and it has become popular with fishermen and bird watchers.

Shivering Sands Maunsell Army Fort

Rising like giant beasts out of the water, the towers of Shivering Sands Army Fort stand as a remnant of World War II.

The towers were once used for anti-aircraft defense, but now the towers are mere ghostly statues keeping silent watch over the coast of England.

Željava Air Base

Situated on the border between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Zeljava Air Base was once used to house MIG fighter jets. It was abandoned during the Serbo-Croatian war in the early 1990s, and it was severely damaged in subsequent conflicts.

Today the base is used to train canine land mine detection dogs due to its number of active mines.

Balaklava Submarine Base

Built under the direction of Joseph Stalin, the Balaklava submarine base operated as a top-secret military facility during the Cold War. Like any good super-secret sub station, this abandoned base can’t be seen at any angle by boats at sea. The mysterious waterways running through the base look like the perfect backdrop for a James Bond movie.

Flak Tower

Remember those German flak towers that aimed to protect the country from air raids? Well, they were built in pairs. Each one boasted a command tower, or Leitturm, and a gun tower, or Gefechsturm. The command towers told the gun towers when to take aim.

These towers weren’t armed with just any guns; they had eight 128-millimeter guns capable of firing 48 shells each minute at incoming enemy targets.

Johnston Atoll

Johnston Atoll was “gifted” to the United States Navy by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934. It was to be used simultaneously as an air station and a bird refuge. While this may not sound all that haunting, consider this: the land was also used as an Agent Orange dumping site and a testing grounds for nuclear and biological weapons.

Kalama Atoll

Kalama Atoll is what the locals call Johnston Atoll, and the name sounds a bit more becoming of a land situated on a coral reef bed. Unfortunately, the land is contaminated from years of chemical weapons testing and storage.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service visits annually to monitor the situation, but it looks like this land will stay unoccupied, haunted by ghosts of the past.

Titan I

Designed to house the United States’ first multistage rocket intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), this series of three underground bunkers remain a creepy nod to the Cold War. Each of the silos doubled as a nuclear fallout bunker, and featured water treatment facilities, fresh air systems and food supplies to last the military personnel through the nuclear apocalypse.

Greenbrier Bunker

Buried underneath The Greenbrier, a 4-star luxury resort, is the former top-secret bunker intended to house the United States Congress in the event of a nuclear holocaust. Dubbed Project Greek Island, the facility was never used by the government. It remained active until an intrepid reporter announced the super-secret location.

Fort Ord

Camp Ord was built during World War I and was initially used as an artillery training field for the army. The camp was expanded in preparation for World War II, and was renamed Fort Ord. After being used for a host of different military training initiatives, this fort was closed in 1994. Many of the buildings sit unused and in various states of decay.

Fort Ord – Inside

If the outside of Fort Ord’s abandoned buildings weren’t creepy enough, the interiors are simply haunting. Layers of graffiti and garbage hide what was once the envy of the army’s training stations. The darkened buildings are a stark contrast to the sunny weather found at this Monterey Bay military location.

Nekoma

The pyramid in Nekoma, North Dakota may look like an abandoned alien landing site, but it was once a modern marvel of the military. This site was built as part of the Safeguard Program, part of the anti-ballistic missile defense system. One of several sites planned under the project, Nekoma was the only one that was operational.

Carlstrom Field

Carlstrom Field in Arcadia, Florida was built during World War II, and was used as an advanced pilot school. It was closed after the war, but was brought back into service for World war II. The site served as a hospital after the war, and in 2002, it became a juvenile detention center. Today, some of the original buildings from WWII are still standing, including the mess hall, canteen and band shell.

RAF Hethel, England

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RAF Hethel, located outside of Norwich, Norfolk, England, stands as a testament to the partnership of the Allies during World War II. The air base was built by the USAAF in 1942 for use during the war, and it was transferred to the Royal Air Force soon thereafter. The Nissen hut buildings scattered around the airfield were used as temporary housing for families that lost their homes during the war.

Hashima Island

Flickr: kntrty

Hashima Island, otherwise known as Battleship Island, is a completely abandoned site located near Nagasaki. The site’s concrete buildings have succumbed to the ocean air, plant growth and local wildlife. The island serves as a staunch reminder of Japan’s past; the site was built using Chinese prisoners of war and Korean citizens forced into slave labor.

RAF Stenigot, England

source: urban spaceman

RAF Stenigot served as a radar station during World War II, and it was designed to work as a long-range warning system for incoming air raids. Today, the site looks like an abandoned satellite dish graveyard.

Russian-English Base

source: english russia

The Russian military base situated on a remote island once served as a secret military base. From the fort, visitors can see abandoned tanks rusting in overgrown fields. Despite not being used for years, the ghostly lighthouse is still operational.

Outside shot of the Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital

Despite the frightening interior, the exterior of the Beelitz-Heilstatten Hospital is hauntingly beautiful. The buildings were used as a Soviet military hospital between 1945 and 1995, and part of the abandoned hospital was used as a set for the film “The Piano.”

RAF Upper Heyford

Built in 1916, the RAF Upper Heyford base wasn’t used until 1918 by the Royal Air Force. It remained operational until the start of the Cold War. The United States Air Force used the base during the Cold War years as a strategic bombing command center.

Ghost Fleet

Dubbed the Mothball Fleet by locals, the ghost ships at California’s Suisun Bay have been slowly rusting away for years. They are part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet, which were meant to be deployed in times of national emergencies. The ships have caused their own sort of emergency, with their paint chips causing the waters to become polluted. The government plans for all the ships to be removed from the bay eventually.

Abandoned Bunker of Monte Moro

Monte-bunker

 

The abandoned bunker of Monte Moro is situated in Genova, Italy.

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The history of the bunker is largely shrouded in mystery, but some of the remaining artifacts provide a few clues to its original use. The basements once held ammunition, but how a burned-out car got in the bunker is anyone’s guess.

Abandoned Sand Filled Bunker of Jastarnia

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The Vulture Bunker in Jastarnia, Poland was built as a fortification in 1939.

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The bunker was meant to defend the country against the Germans, but it was instead used by the invading army as an air raid shelter and observation post. Today, the bunker is filled with sand due to its location on the beach.

Soviet Union Military Bases

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While the Soviet Union has been gone for years, many of the military bases it opened still stand as remnants of the cold war.

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These bases are located throughout Egypt, Syria, Libya, Ethiopia and Yemen. Here are just a few pictures of what the Soviet military complex left behind.

Russian Weapon

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The Russian military built up a significant presence both at home and in other countries. As it abandoned different locations, it left many weapons of war behind. This hunk of metal and gears sits near the northern Russian coast line, where it is slowly becoming one with the greenery.

Barnton Quarry

source: Ben Cooper

Barnton Quarry was meant to be fit for a queen, should the Queen of England be near Edinburgh during a nuclear attack. Its super-secret location was revealed in 1963, just 11 years after its construction. With the cat out of the bag, the Queen likely had to look for refuge from Soviet nuclear attacks elsewhere.

Cape May Bunker

source: Chris Kelly

The bunker at Cape May seems to defy logic and the laws of gravity. The World War II-era structure boasts 7-foot thick concrete walls, yet remarkably sits balanced on wood pilings. The abandoned bunker sits on the beach, giving visiting tourists a bit of a scare.

Submarine Wreckage from WW2

source: aberlady

Aberlady Bay in Scotland is home to the wreckage of two midget submarines. Their skeletons peek out of the sand during low tide, and are partially covered with water during high tide.

Aircraft Graveyard

Russia’s abandoned military machinery includes this aircraft graveyard, where fighter jets and other aircraft sit unused.

Pointe Du Hoc

source: Wimbledonian

Pointe du Hoc was the highest point between Utah and Omaha beach during WWII. The German army fortified it with casemates and gun pits to prevent the Allied Forces from invading. American troops captured Pointe du Hoc, helping to win the battle. Today, some of the observation bunkers still stand.

RAF Lympne

RAF Lympne was a Royal Air Force base used in WWI and WWII. Among its various uses, it gained notoriety as the potential landing point for the German aircraft meant to kidnap Adolf Hitler. The plan failed, but some of RAF Lympne still remains.

Châteaudun Air Base

Chateaudun Air Base was a French Air Force base that served as a storage facility and maintenance depot. It was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe, and was abandoned a month later. The Germans occupied the base and used it for air raids on England. Today, it sits as an aircraft boneyard.

British Army Field Hospital in Falkland

Ajax Bay played a key role in the Falklands War. It was originally a refrigeration plant built by the Colonial Development Corporation, but its proximity near the fighting made it ideal for use as a military field hospital. The remnants of the building stand as a reminder of the brutal fighting.

Abandoned War Tanks

When armies move out, they often leave behind some rather large reminders of their presence, including tanks. Click through these images of abandoned war tanks from throughout the world.

Chita, Russia

darkbear_ru via livejournal.com

Chita is Russian city situated along the Chita and Ingoda rivers. Its location on the Trans-Siberian Railway makes it an ideal location for the military. In addition to current military forces in the district, Chita is home to this decaying tank graveyard.

Asmara, Eritrea

The tank graveyard in Asmara, Eritrea is filled with Russian tanks left behind by the Ethiopian army. The site is looked at as a way to remember the nation’s struggle for independence.

Asmara, Eritrea

In addition to tanks, the graveyard at Asmara, Eritrea is home to piles of spent shells and stacks of military trucks. The equipment is a reminder of the 65,000 lives lost in the decades-long war.

Afghanistan

Ilya Varlamov via varlamov.ru

Afghanistan has been the setting for multiple conflicts over the years, and the numerous tank graveyards scattered throughout the country have remained long after each battle has ended. These tanks appear as though they were abandoned mid-battle.

Afghanistan

Ilya Varlamov via varlamov.ru

Another view of the abandoned tanks of Afghanistan. The field is littered with tanks, which were once used to wage war in the country. Click through to see even more haunting images of tanks in Afghanistan.

Kandahar, Afghanistan

Kenny Holston via flickr.com

Kandahar, Afghanistan was the location for fighting during multiple conflicts. Pictured here is a graveyard of Soviet tanks abandoned after the Soviet-Afghan war, which lasted from 1979 to 1989.

Soviet Tanks in Afghanistan

Kenny Holston via flickr.com

The tanks abandoned by Soviet forces sit in neat rows, covered in layers of rust and graffiti. The military precision of the tank rows is particularly haunting.

Near Chita, Russia

darkbear_ru via livejournal.com

The graveyard near Chita, Russia is expansive. Piles of caterpillar tracks sit next to even more tanks, showing just how many pieces of equipment have been abandoned at this site.

Paderborn, Germany

multi-board.com

Paderborn, Germany is set against the backdrop of the Rhine River. Despite its peaceful visage, it is home to a ghostly reminder of the country’s loss in WWI. A tank graveyard filled with Imperial German Army tanks sits abandoned, but not quite forgotten.

Paderborn, Germany

multi-board.com

The tanks used during WWI were modern marvels at the time, but they did boast some head-scratching configurations. This unique tank from the Paderborn, Germany graveyard stands out for it’s distinct design.

Ussuriysk, Russia

kfss.ru

Repair Base 77, located in present-day Ussuriysk, Russia, was built in 1936. The site was initially used as a tank and tractor repair facility, but it became an armor repair plant later. Abandoned tanks litter the property, creating a post-apocalyptic look in the Russian countryside.

Ussuriysk, Russia

kfss.ru

Piles of tanks and tank parts sit on the land outside this abandoned repair base in Ussuriysk, Russia. The location is no longer operational, and the tanks remain waiting for repairs that will never come.

Chernobyl Zone

vwvortex.com

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was established in 1986 after the disaster at Chernobyl. These tanks sit quietly in the zone, part of an entirely abandoned city. The entire area serves as a reminder of just how quickly disaster can strike.

Chernobyl Zone

Nicholas Lativy via flickr.com

More tanks from the Chernobyl zone, these vehicles look as though they were abandoned in the middle of a military exercise. As plant life begins to return to the area, it is quickly overtaking the tanks.

Kabul, Afghanistan

warhistoryonline.com

Kandahar isn’t the only place the Soviet troops ditched their tanks. This graveyard in Kabul provides a hint of just how big the Soviet Army was in the 1980s.

Kabul, Afghanistan

SWAMPFOX_REDLEG via flickr.com

Soviet tanks sit next to dilapidating buildings in Kabul. The city as the starting point for the conflict, with 700 soviet troops occupied the major buildings in the city, including the military training center.

Camp Taji, Iraq

nationalguard.mil

Camp Taji, or Camp Cooke, was established by the coalition forces near the town of Taji. The camp came under attack numerous times between 2004 and 2011. The desert-camouflaged tanks remain abandoned, though the base is now home to the Iraqi Army and National Guard.

Camp Taji In Iraq

The Pine City Pioneer via presspubs.com

In addition to tanks, the graveyard at Camp Taji also houses several other U.S. military weapons. The military used M102 Howitzers, which can fire up to 10 rounds of 105mm artillery each minute.

Gulf War In Kuwait

Natalya Marquand via 1000amazingplaces.blogspot.hu

Operation Desert Storm resulted in its share of military litter, including these tanks located in Kuwait. When the invading forces left, the tanks remained as remnants of the fierce fighting.

Gulf War In Kuwait

Natalya Marquand via 1000amazingplaces.blogspot.hu

Inexplicably, some of the tanks left behind in Kuwait appear to have been stacked on top of each other. The heavy machinery sits in the desert sun to rust and decay.

Tank Graveyard, Germany

Batram via flickr.com

Cold War-era tanks sit ready for scrapping at this graveyard in Germany. This facility houses tens of thousands of tanks from all over the world. What were once powerful symbols of force are reduced to scrap and rubble at this facility.

Tank Graveyard, Germany

Batram via flickr.com

The field of tanks waiting for disassembly at this German tank graveyard is awe-inspiring. The camouflaged paint blends with the natural surroundings, adding to the creepy factor for this graveyard site.

Russian Tanks in Kharkiv, Ukraine

paul_itk via livejournal.com

A secret tank depot in Kharkiv, Ukraine serves as a reminder of Russia’s immense military presence in the surrounding region. A factory floor is filled with tank engines that have fallen into disrepair, while the outside of the facility is surrounded by massive tanks.

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