The prospect of living closer to a hidden airbase may be more realistic than you might think. According to reports, there are hundreds of secret underground hidden airbases in various locations around the world.
Many of these airbases are from World War II and are buried deep underground in the United Kingdom and other European countries. Others have become large bases for modern military operations and are still shrouded in mystery and intrigue.
Secret Bases Around the World
During the Second World War the British Army built more than 600 underground bases to help fight the invasion of the Nazis.
Many of these once top-secret units have collapsed and fallen into disrepair. To the unsuspecting passer-by they may look like mere badger holes but in reality these hidden military bases harboured many secrets and were vital in repressing Nazi assault.
Take a look at the following five fascinating secret military airbases that can be found scattered across the UK and Europe.
Porton Down, England
Porton Down is a military science park close to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Boscombe Down Airfield in Salisbury. The military base was constructed more than 100 years ago during World War I in response to the gas attacks carried out by the Germans.
This 7,000-acre site is used by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to carry out top-secret military research on biological, nuclear, radiological and chemical welfare.
Today Porton Down employs more than 3,000 scientists and is allocated a £500million budget a year. As the BBC notes (1):
“It [Porton Down] is the most controversial, most misunderstood, and, some say, most-feared scientific institution in Britain. Though many will have heard of Porton Down, few will have much idea about what goes on inside.”
Buchel Air Base, Germany
Buchel Air Base is a military air base in Germany.
Since 1985 the Panavia Tornado has been operating from the base. The (2) Daily Mail reports in an article related to the US Army’s secret military bases around the globe that many bases revealed on Google and Bing are, “capable of delivering B61 weapons which are stored and maintained by the USAF.”
The Buchel Air Base is now the only site in Germany which has nuclear weapons. (3)
RAF Stenigot, Lincolnshire, England
RAF Stenigot was built in Lincolnshire, England during World War II as part of Britain’s Chain Home Radar warning systems. What is now an eerie and deserted site, comprises of microwave dishes some 20 meters in length lying abandoned since the 1980s.
The financial cost of moving the disused satellite dishes proved too costly, hence why they still lie abandoned at this once secret military site.
The majority of the site has been demolished, except from the Grade II-listed radar tower, which is now used by the Erector School for recruitment purposes. As Sergeant Dean Davies of the RAF’s Aerial Erector School, told the BBC (4):
“The 360ft high mast is ideal training because we can test students’ physical stamina and ability to work at height.”
Saint Nazaire Submarine Base, France
Hailed as the seventh most impressive abandoned military airbase in the world is Saint Nazaire Submarine Base in France. The Nazis built this large fortified U-boat pen in Lorient, France during World War II. The site is one of five large submarine bases which were built by the Third Reich in Occupied France.
Demolishing the site would be too expensive so instead Saint Nazaire has been reinvented into a cultural site, where visitors can muse through museums related to WWII and have lunch at the site’s restaurant.
Flak Towers, Germany and Austria
In contrast to hidden bases underground, Flak Towers were huge, above-ground, anti-aircraft gun blockhouses built in Berlin, Vienna and Hamburg. Hitler had ordered the towers to be built in order to boost the air defence of German cities.
As well as acting as platforms for batteries of anti-aircraft guns, the Flak Towers also served as air raid shelters for up to 10,000 people.
These eight giant WWII fortresses that once fired 8,000 rounds a minute, are now home to thousands of pigeons.
As (6) Top Secret Writers wrote in 2012, whilst many of these once vital military airbases may now have been reduced to housing pigeons, decaying underground or as the home of nuclear weapons, with the threat of global catastrophe arguably growing instead of diminishing, they may indeed still be a market for these once clandestine military bases and bunkers.