Begun literally within days of France's surrender in June 1940, Germany's U-boat bunkers on the Bay of Biscay remain standing to this day as stark monuments to Nazi engineering skill, and Adolf Hitler's determination to protect his wolf packs and bring the Allies to their knees.
At 1515 on 21 June 1940, a jubilant Adolf Hitler stepped from his Mercedes touring car into the forest clearing of Compiègne, near Paris. After a mere six weeks of mostly uninspired fighting, France—his most feared enemy—had been defeated. Seated in the same chair and in the same railway car from which a victorious Marshal Ferdinand Foch had dictated humiliating surrender terms to Germany on 11 November 1918, the 22-year wait for revenge was over. Germany would occupy more than half of the country, including the strategic Atlantic naval bases of Brest, Lorient, St. Nazaire, La Pallice, and Bordeaux. In signing away national sovereignty, France was forced to allow the Kriegsmarine to base its feared U-boat flotillas on the Bay of Biscay.