Forgotten Cannons of Sine Saloum – Mar Lodj, Senegal - Atlas Obscura

At the beginning of the Second World War in Europe, between May and September 1940, the government of Vichy France took the decision to shelter the gold reserved in the vaults of the Banque de France—the French equivalent of Fort Knox—so that neither the Allied nor the French resistance led by General De Gaulle could take control of it. Indeed, such a treasure could have represented a huge strategic advantage in the midst of hostilities.

Part of this gold (about 1,100 tons) ended up hidden in Kayès, an African city in present-day Mali, which was then a French colony. One of the access roads to Kayès is maritime: it is a delta of mangroves located on the Atlantic coast, called the Sine Saloum, which is part of present-day Senegal.

Vichy France took the decision to fortify this access road and had cannons, bunkers and military camps set up all along the maritime canal, in order to be able to repel a possible Allied expedition. These guns are mostly located along Cap Marniane, to the southwest of the island of Mar Lodj, Senegal. You can still see some of these cannons today. Most were rendered inoperable (their barrels were punctured) and have rusted in place. No invasion ever happened, and it is said that these guns never fired.

Know Before You Go

The cannons are all along the canal in Cap Marniane, Senegal.

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August 31, 2022

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