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Rest in Peace: Wartime Relics Reclaimed by the Land and Sea

German photographer Dietmar Eckell traveled to 14 countries, photographing abandoned and decaying military installations and equipment.

. In many ways Dietmar Eckell's series "R.I.P" is a utopian vision. His images of abandoned and neglected military installations and equipment around the globe suggest a peaceful world where these instruments of aggression, no longer needed, have been left to rust or sink into the sea. Since there are no people in the pictures, however, it's easy to imagine the series as a post-apocalytpic future where pieces of military hardware remain as monuments to mankind's folly.

ABOVE: A U.S. Sherman tank off the coast of Saipan in 2014 has been the playground of reef fish since World War II. Dietmar Eckell

. Like the wrecked planes in Eckell's "Happy End" series, these military installations are in the process of melting into the landscape. Both series are part of a broader project called "Restwert," the German word for residual value. Eckell says the project underlines "the temporality of manmade objects, human endeavors and visions by capturing them embedded in grand, reclaiming nature." Eckell has travelled to 14 countries to photograph “R.I.P,” which he began in 2010.

ABOVE: Soviet radio telescope, Latvia, 2011 Dietmar Eckell

. The North Field runways on Tinian Island, Mariana islands, 2014

This airfield was the launching point for the atomic bomb attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, at the end of World War II. At one point it was the busiest and biggest airport in the world. Dietmar Eckell

. Tower forts built during World War II to defend against air attacks off the coast of England, 2010.

The towers are credited with eliminating 23 bombers on their night missions to London. Dietmar Eckell

. Former airplane storage facility for Yugoslavia's military, Croatia, 2011.

There are over 2 miles of tunnels inside the mountain, enough space for 1000 people and 30 days’ worth of food at the time. Dietmar Eckell

. A bunker in Latvia, 2011. Dietmar Eckell

. Safeguard anti-ballistic missile system, North Dakota, 2011.

The complex, built with the Cold War-era intention of shooting down Soviet missiles before they ever reached their intended targets, was deactivated after less than a year of operation. Dietmar Eckell

. Experimental listening devices, Denge, England, 2012

These concrete shells built in the 1920-30s were intended as acoustic mirrors that would enable early detection of incoming enemy aircraft. Dietmar Eckell

. Abandoned Soviet MiG fighters at an airfield in Ukraine, 2012. Dietmar Eckell

. Fort Drum, the 'concrete battleship,' at the mouth of Manila Bay, Philippines, 2014.

The immovable concrete structure was built by U.S. forces in the early twentieth century to defend Manila. Dietmar Eckell

. An abandoned NATO submarine base in a man-made cave in Norway, 2013. Dietmar Eckell

. Maralinga nuclear testing station in Australia, 2012.The British tested their nuclear program at Maralinga in the late 1950s but luckily never used a nuclear weapon. The indigenous people who lived there were resettled and 30 years later the land was returned after clean-up but the testing areas still can't be inhabited.
Eckell's series "Happy End" about abandoned plane wrecks where all on board survived the crash was previously featured on NBCNews.com. After a successful online crowdfunding campaign, Eckell published the series in a 53-image volume. Dietmar Eckell