When most people think of World War II, they think of Europe, Africa, and Asia. Few people think that the pristine coastal waters of Delaware could have anything to do with the war.
Heading down the Coastal highway (Route 1) in Delaware you will see some fascinating old structures which, at first glance, look like old farm silos.
During a recent trip to the, I had the luxury of walking barefoot on the sands of Bethany Beach, and staring out into the wide Atlantic Ocean. My thoughts were interrupted by the sight of these captivating, sterile looking towers.
Approaching the old towers, it was apparent they were much more than discarded grain silos. They had small slits in them, and seemed much more ominous.
To my surprise, a sign infront of a tower advised me that these towers were infact artillery watch towers erected during World War II. The towers were erected between 1940 and 1942 to allow United States military to keep watch of the coastline in the event that German U-Boats came close enough to launch an attack.
Inside each tower was a large metal staircase which led to the observation decks of the tower. Like most war time accommodations there was little luxury. There was no electricity in the towers and heat during the winter was provided through coal heaters. The “spotters” in the tower would have used a hard-wired land line telephone to contact local artillery batteries to give them co-ordinates of where an invading ship or U-boat was located.
Sadly the tower I visited was bricked up, and I was unable to peer inside to see what the ravages of time had done to these lonely sentinels of peace.
It is unfortunate how quickly the world seems to forget that it was only a few decades ago where some of the bravest men and women of history worked tirelessly against the advances of Nazism.
The Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation is making a solid effort to restore these towers to their original glory, and help to preserve American war history. Their website is: http://savethetower.org