My next post from Texel’s Air Force and War museum is all about the remains and former parts of the defensive batteries that were built around the region during World War II.
There are two main information boards that go with a series of quite amazing models, made by a “B. van Leersum” they show all of the defenses as they would have been in 1940.
If I am totally honest I am curious about the models but less knowledgeable about the technical details that go with them, so I have written up the information that went with the display, and will leave my dear readers to hopefully make better sense of it than I did.
“The North Battery
This was called by the Germans the “Marine Battery Eierland”, “Nordbatterie” or “Batterie Texl-Nord” and was located near Marker Pole No. 28.
The battery was operational as early as 1940 and was used to fire on the channel between Texel and Vlieland. The weaponry consisted of three 15cm cannon, originating from the former Dutch coast battery of Den Hoorn.
On the outer dunes, three open firing positions were built for it. Later on in the war this battery formed part of the Atlantic Wall. Four more advanced 10.5 cm cannon and concrete bunkers were also installed together with a command post bunker with aiming equipment.
In the dunes behind these bunkers there were a number of smaller bunkers, among others for ammunition storage and to house soldiers etc.
After the war the bunkers suffered from coastal erosion and some even fell onto the beach. They were a risk for coastal sea defenses, so they were demolished, and therefore why there is not much left today.
This model shows the situation of 1944 with the three foundations of the 15 cm weapons, the four cannon bunkers with the 10.5cm cannon and the command post bunkers.’
” Coast Battery Den Hoorn
This Dutch battery of 3 x 15L35 was constructed 1938-39 in the dunes near the village of Den Hoorn but was part of the “position of Den Helder” which formed a defense around Den Helder to protect the strategically important navy post and the Texel channel.
This battery consisted of the following constructions: Command Post, three firing positions which were also used as ammunition storage, an ammunition lift, a waiting room for soldiers, staff accommodation, three measuring posts and a workroom.
This battery was made for indirect firing so that the cannon did not have to be positioned on the outer dunes. From the command post and the three measuring posts, the distance and the direction of the target were defined.
This information was passed on to the workroom where with the help of a type of mechanical computer, the data was transformed into aiming information for the soldiers manning the cannon.
German occupiers repositioned the cannon as early as 1940 to the north battery, the command bunker was still used for observation. The command post on the Loodsmansduin, the three firing positions in the nature reserve de Bollenkamer and the southern measuring post near beach post number 8 in the inner dunes are still present.
This model shows the parts of the battery that are mentioned.”
The Second World War was very far away from my family in New Zealand, and yet uncomfortably close for my Dutch family members. Looking at things like this helps me to try and make sense of the things that they went through, what occupation of their country was like and how the experiences of those times shaped and changed a nation. It’s a sobering time in Dutch history, a catastrophic time in world history … where the battery didn’t just apply to these structures being built, but also to the battery that the country was taking.