One of the defense blocks discovered off Wissant, in Pas-de-Calais.


Philippe Desplat / French Navy

A confined municipality, but not because of the coronavirus.

This Monday, the group of mine clearance divers (GPD) from the Channel, belonging to the French Navy, intervened to neutralize war machines, in this case defense blocks dating from the Second World War.

In the morning, significant security measures were put in place for this operation.

Within a radius of 1.5 km around the seaside resort of Wissant, in Pas-de-Calais, "all residents were ordered to stay at home, shutters closed, to avoid potential splinters", indicates the maritime prefecture , in a press release.

A total of 60 kg of TNT equivalent

In total, five defense blocks were discovered and neutralized by the clearance divers.

"A first block was discovered on September 16 but, once in the area, this morning, the GPD discovered four other blocks" which were treated in one go, specifies the maritime prefecture.

These blocks contained three anti-tank mines and two shells representing a total of 60 kg of TNT equivalent.

“For this operation, we had to wait for high tides in order to be able to access the area on dry land.

The deminers first opened the concrete blocks to extract the ammunition.

Once these last releases, they were countered, according to the press release.

In the Channel and the North Sea in 2019, 1,748 historic vehicles (at sea and on the foreshore) were thus put out of harm's way.


The demining operation uncovered French ammunition used by the Germans


The village of Wissant confined due to demining

  • Second World War

  • Demining

  • Lille

  • Bomb