A lot of the cold-war stuff was rather secret and simply build into the design of public buildings.
My school (from age 6-14, not sure what that’s called in English) had really wide hallways, wide doors, wide elevatory and a huge basement full of stuff that no one outside of the school administration really knew what was. Turns out my school had been designed and build to be converted into a hospital in the case of nuclear war.
Later when I attended the next step in my education, my gymnasium had a water leak. To everyone’s surprise the city closed the entire school for a week and brought in specialists to fix it even though it would typically be up to the local administration to do so. 25 years later we learned that the command center bunker for our region was located under the school.
My story might sound special, it’s not. Almost every public building from that period had a secondary cold-war purpose, but the extend of it has only recently been revealed. It really impresses me, just how prepared our society was, and that my generation never really noticed. Maybe our parents did but mine have never shared much about their cold-war experiences.
Ironically the secrecy didn’t actually work. Recently when Russia opened their soviet archives, it was revealed that they knew every location of every command centre bunker we had, or at least admitted to having.
If Russia knew the location of every command center bunker with less than 100% certainty, then it did work. If instead of the actual command center they knew the location of the 10 potential alternate locations, then they would need to spend 10 nukes instead of 1 (pretty much any concrete bunker is able to withstand anything but a direct hit from a megaton-size nuclear bomb). That complicates a lot the nuclear calculus, even when you have thousands of warheads. In the end, this may have been a small factor in the fact WW3 never happened.
In Sweden every new building with more than so many occupants had to have a 'skyddsrum'. Local government also had skyddsrums they could manage the civil response to emergencies i.e. attack from.
This is all quite separate from the military bunkers.
And all this isn't quite like these pillboxes that are littering the Albanian countryside.
One country that did build lots of pillboxes after WW2 is Switzerland. If you visit, locals enjoy pointing out various buildings that look like normal mountain chalets but actually have several-meter-thick ground-floors with gun emplacements hidden inside.
The article mentions Albania, which is forever etched in my memory from a skit on the old tv show 'Cheers'. I probably hadn't seen the show for 25 years, but I can still remember every word of this short ditty about Albania:
The power of music!
‘Treasure’ of a different sort turned up in one bunker in 2004. Some 16 tons of mustard gas canisters were found in a bunker only 40km from Tirana – the US had to pay the Albanian government some $20m to safely dispose of the weapons.
No doubt USA used corruption in the 90's to buy Russian secrets or weapons. General "Dimitri" takes suitcase full of cash and screw the glorious motherland.
Strictly speaking, the US did not have to pay. They chose to pay as they preferred that to the alternative: unsecured chemical weapons sitting around waiting for anyone to take them.
There's so much steel in there that it is economically feasible for people to destroy them to sell the scrap. A lot of them met their end this way.
Again, they are not everywhere, randomly. Now roads have changed and may seem that way, but the idea was to harass an invading army. You and your father as soon as you learn the news via sirens and media, grab guns, go to a bunker and start shooting at US Imperialists ;)
Interestingly enough - in line with your last comment. My son cut his leg deeply on that trip and we needed to take him to a doctor to get it fixed up. That was not difficult and the doctor was a really nice guy but at one point he said to my son, "Not long ago my job would have been to kill you." I thought it was funny but my son didn't enjoy it as much.
Also, the vast majority of them are the size of a small igloo barely big enough for two, with foot thick reinforced concrete - and they’re everywhere in an onion like structure.
The idea then is that the infantry man retreats to the next layer (some 100 yards or less).
Sure an aircraft an destroy anyone of them. But there are more bunkers than any Air Force can blow up.
Meanwhile the invader has hundreds of kilometers of layers of bunkers to walk through.
Most of the igloos are for rifle men. Every third igloo is open in the back - that’s the RPG guy for the tanks.
Those big bunkers in the photos are quite rare.
Finally, the “commissioning” of the igloo bunker was done by having their designer sit in one of them while the artillary hit it - they’re tough little things.
It would be such a little thing to dump the earth they excavated when building the bunker back on top of the thing and spread it around so grass grew etc, hiding the damn thing.
Imagine being a soldier sat in one. It would give the feeling of 'please shoot at me!' rather than the feeling of security, surely.
For accounts of this by survivors,
"D Day Through German Eyes" by Eckhertz
"Increased ambient environmental temperature from burning napalm has been known to cause the deaths of individuals in raid shelters as a result of radiant heat and dehydration. This was a frequent cause of death in the bombing raids carried out over Hamburg, Germany, during World War II."
But the air force dropped a very small conventional bomb, sucked all the oxygen out of the air, and put out the fire.
It was in the news a bit. A quick google finds
Easier said than done, and I don't think camouflaging them was ever a priority. Even today, you can see the excavated material spilling down the hill in front of large bunkers 70+ years later, which makes them fairly easy to locate: https://www.cios.org.je/assets/images/other/noirmont-headlan... (this location is also easy to spot in wartime RAF reconnaissance images that I've seen)
"Its roof (3.40 to 7.0 metres (11.15 to 22.97 ft) of steel-reinforced concrete)"
"Because it seemed impossible to destroy Valentin by bombing it, the decision was made to destroy it by blasting. This idea was later abandoned because the blasting would have caused severe damage to the nearby villages of Rekum and Farge including the power-station in Farge. In 1960 the bunker was taken over by the German Navy, for use as a storage depot. "
"It was the most powerful non-atomic aerial bomb used in combat until 2017"
"The Lancasters attacking Valentin each carried a single large earthquake bomb – seven carried the 5 ton 'Tallboy', thirteen carried the 10 ton 'Grand Slam'. Two 'Grand Slam's hit the target and penetrated about half-way through the 15-foot (4.6 m) thick ferrous concrete roof before exploding. The explosions blew large holes in the remaining thickness of the roof and brought down around 1,000 tons of debris into the chamber below. Workers who were inside the bunker at the time survived, as the bombs did not penetrate the roof before detonating."
A bunker cannot maneuver or adapt under fire, meaning it's very vulnerable to modern warfare techniques. Mostly it just winds up as a trap for the unfortunates in it.