Letter: Deceptive bed of nails

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The Independent Online
Sir: Tony Barber's article on the Albanian mushroom bunkers (13 July) fails to say that the vast majority of these bunkers face west (the direction the government expected the enemy to come from). In the latter stages of construction, it was recognised that the enemy could come from the air (as, in fact, the British had done once before during the Second World War - by parachute). To counter this threat, millions of stakes were planted on open ground in areas for possible parachute landing, and used to support climbing plants and vines. But at the top of each stake is a razor-sharp spearhead. Thus, an innocent-looking vineyard is a bed of nails.

There is a happy ending to the story of the bunkers, though. In a poverty-stricken country, it is difficult to manufacture and buy steel reinforcement rods. The people have now started to break up the mushrooms so they can recycle the steel bars, or use them for home security.

Yours faithfully,


Baystonhill, Shropshire