Mysterie van de vuurkonten rondom Ommen
V1 en V2 rondom Ommen (meer afbeeldingen volgen later)
21. De V1-startglijbaan bij de gemeentegrens op de Haarlerberg en nabij kamp Twilhaar.
Aan het eind van de oorlog werden vanaf meer dan 20 lanceerbanen in Overijssel en Gelderland vliegende VI-bommen, vuurkonten in het lokale dialect, gelanceerd richting Antwerpen dat destijds bevrijd was door de geallieerde legers.
Archeologie studenten van Saxion Next doen onderzoek naar resten uit de Tweede Wereldoorlog - Bron: Iris Delwel – V1 – katapult.doc - 19-6-2011 vraag naar Saxion Next
De archeologie van de Tweede Wereldoorlog staat de laatste tijd volop in de belangstelling. Ook de opleiding Hbo Archeologie richt zich op deze zwarte bladzijde in de geschiedenis. Onder de studenten bestaat veel belangstelling voor deze periode en een aantal kiest dit thema als afstudeeronderwerp. Eén daarvan is Iris Delwel. Zij doet in Oost Nederland onderzoek naar resten van VI-lanceerbanen.
Aan het eind van de oorlog werden vanaf meer dan 20 lanceerbanen in Overijssel en Gelderland vliegende VI-bommen, vuurkonten in het lokale dialect, gelanceerd richting Antwerpen dat destijds bevrijd was door de geallieerde legers. Zo probeerde het Duitse leger de havens van Antwerpen te vernietigen. Deze havens vormden aan het eind van de oorlog een belangrijke logistieke schakel tijdens het Ardennen offensief.
Van de lanceerstellingen zijn op diverse locaties nog restanten aanwezig. Iris onderzoekt samen met andere studenten van de opleiding deze overgebleven resten. Het gaat vooral om betonnen onderdelen van de stellingen die worden getekend en gefotografeerd. Ook wordt bekeken in hoeverre de archeologische informatie een aanvulling vormen op de historische gegevens. Tot slot wordt onderzocht welke criteria kunnen worden gehanteerd om één of enkele banen voor te dragen voor bescherming als archeologisch monument.
Hoewel er veel is geschreven over de V1's is er slechts een beperkte hoeveelheid historische bronnen beschikbaar. Het was de op de stellingen ingekwartierde soldaten namelijk ten strengste verboden om foto's te maken of over de werkzaamheden te praten. De schaarse informatie is vooral afkomstig van de inlichtingendienst van het Nederlandse verzet. Archeologisch onderzoek kan dus een belangrijke bijdrage leveren aan de kennis over dit oorlogserfgoed.
Naast het veldwerk bestaat het onderzoek uit het interviewen van ooggetuigen. Dit levert veel aanvullende informatie over de inrichting van de stellingen. Daarom is het belangrijk om, nu er nog ooggetuigen in leven zijn, zoveel mogelijk onderzoek te doen naar dergelijke resten en daarbij de ooggetuigenverslagen te betrekken. Tijdens het onderzoek worden ook enkele Duitse ex-soldaten geïnterviewd die op de banen werkten. Ook die kunnen belangrijke aanvullende informatie leveren. De aanwezigheid van de lanceerbanen had destijds trouwens veel impact op de omgeving. Mensen die in de buurt woonden waren erg bang voor de bommen omdat die nogal eens direct na de lancering in de omgeving neerstortten. Tijdens het onderzoek is gebleken dat, tegen de verwachtingen in, de stellingen niet allemaal hetzelfde waren. Ze verschillen van elkaar in de wijze waarop ze zijn aangelegd en ingericht. Met het combineren van alle beschikbare informatie kan een completer beeld worden geschetst van deze episode uit de Tweede Wereldoorlog.
Honderden foto's op het internet (volgen als het lukt)
De getroffen spoorlijnen in de bezette gebieden van Nederland werden echter door de Duitse pioniers tot eind maart 1945 onmiddellijk na elke geallieerde luchtaanval hersteld met als doel, zeker in het voorjaar van 1945, de bevoorrading van de troepen in de Festung Holland zeker te stellen. Dat geldt ook voor het spoorwegtraject in de gemeente Rijssen-Holten. Het kwam er voor de geallieerden dus op neer om het spoorwegtransport en de Duitse militaire oefeningen gevoelig te verstoren.[foto's volgen als het lukt]
Op een gegeven moment liep ik langs het kanaal toen ik opeens in een spervuur terecht kwam van Canadezen en Duitsers. Voor mij vielen twee mensen neer die aangeschoten waren. Ik kon de berm van het kanaal in vluchten.
[foto's volgen] http://www.holtensnieuws.nl/images/final/L2hvbWUvaG9sdGVuc24vcHVibGljX2h0bWwvaW1hZ2VzL3N0b3JpZXMvMjAxMC9hbGdlbWVlbi92MS1yYWtldC5qcGc=.jpg
Part of V2 launch site Hellendoorn (WWII)5
De V1 (Vergeltungswaffe) was destijds een zeer modern wapentuig, was ruim acht meter lang en had een totale breedte inclusief de vleugels van ruim vijf meter.
Vanaf deze plek werden de vliegende bommen gelanceerd door middel van een soort katapultinstallatie. Een pneumatisch kanon bracht de V1 langs een startbaan van ruim 46 meter met een helling van 6 graden in een vliegende baan. De snelheid van het vliegen was ongeveer twee honderd vijftig kilometer per uur bij de lancering. Vanaf 13 juni 1944 zetten de Duitsers hiermee vanaf de Kanaalkust in Noord-Frankrijk de aanval op Londen in. Door de oprukkende geallieerden werden de V1’s echter al op 5 september 1944 uitgeschakeld. Hierna begon op 16 december 1944 vanuit Nederland de beschieting met V1’s op de haven van het al bevrijde Antwerpen (het Ardennenoffensief).
De V1’s werden per trein in onderdelen op het emplacement in Deventer aangevoerd, vervolgens overgeladen op vrachtwagens waarna ze s`nachts over door bomen goed gecamoufleerde wegen, zoals Holterweg, Bathmenseweg en Oerdijk naar de basis gebracht werden. Vanaf deze plek gezien stonden aan de overkant van de Oerdijk, waar nu de Soestwetering stroomt, enige houten keten waarin en waarbij de onderdelen gemonteerd werden. Hierna werden de V1’s via een rail (smalspoor) met mankracht naar de lanceerplaats geschoven.
Vanaf deze plek werden in de periode van 16 december 1944 tot 29 maart 1945 ongeveer 400 V1`s afgeschoten. Op Witte Donderdag 29 maart 1945, s’avonds om 21.30 uur, elf dagen voor de bevrijding (maandag 9 april) van Lettele en Okkenbroek, hebben de Duitsers de baan opgeblazen; wie het verwrongen staal heeft opgeruimd is onbekend. De tien gezinnen die op bevel van de Duitse bezetter op zondagmorgen 5 november 1944, binnen 8 uur, hun boerderij of woonstee moesten verlaten konden hun min of meer gehavende eigendom weer betrekken. Toen pas werd duidelijk wat er in de vluchtrichting van de V1 in de nabije bossen was gebeurd.
In het Oostermaet zijn, nu nog zichtbaar, talrijke kraters van V1’s die kort na de start neerstorten en ontploften, ook een nieuw zomerhuis aan de Bathmenseweg en een boerderij aan de Cröddendijk waren getroffen en totaal vernield.
!!!!! SVP NIET IN HET BOS ZOEKEN !!!!!!
HEETEN/RAALTE - Henri Boerdam zoekt met een groep enthousiastelingen gestaag door naar resten van de Duitse V2-raket, die eind 1944 neerstortte aan de Breebroeksweg in Heeten.
Die vondst is mede te danken aan een van de medewerkers van Boerdam. ,,Ronnie Besten uit Haarle peilde vorige maand met zijn dieptedetector enkele grotere metalen voorwerpen'', vertelt de Raalter verzamelaar van oorlogstuig. Op 8 december is, onder toeziend oog van Boerdam en grondeigenaar Tibben, een van de gedetecteerde plekken afgegraven door Ronnie Besten en Gerard Pijnappel. ,,Op zo'n 60 à 70 centimeter diepte kwam een cilindervormig voorwerp tevoorschijn. Ik zag meteen dat het één van de tien persluchtflessen uit de raket was. Na het schoonmaken van de fles kwam al snel een zescijferig nummer met de tekst 'Pressluft' tevoorschijn, wat mijn vermoeden bevestigde.''
Na de vondst nam Boerdam contact op met Henk Koopman uit Diepenveen. Deze deskundige op het gebied van Duitse V-wapens uit de Tweede Wereldoorlog kon hem precies vertellen waar deze persluchtflessen voor dienden. De perslucht zorgde namelijk voor voldoende druk op de tanks van de waterstofsuperoxide ('T-stoff') en kaliumpermanganaat ('Z-stoff'), waarna beide stoffen onder de juiste druk samengevoegd werden waardoor oververhitte stoom ontstond die de stoomgenerator aandreef. Die generator dreef de zuurstof- en alcoholpompen aan. Die pompten zo'n 125 liter brandstof per seconde de verbrandingskamer in, waardoor een stuwdruk van 25 ton ontstond waarmee de raket werd voortgestuwd.
De persluchtfles is het tweede voorwerp dat van de neergestorte raket is gevonden. Begin vorig jaar werd een stuk van een grafieten straalroer in het weiland gevonden. In mei volgde een proefopgraving met een mobiele kraan. Maar het bleek een oude sloot te zijn, die was gedempt met veel metaalhoudend boerderijafval. Peilen met een dieptedetector door medewerker Johan ten Have leverde na het uitgraven geen V2-restanten meer op.
Dit jaar wil Boerdam met zijn makkers verder zoeken. Daarbij wordt het onderzoeksgebied vergroot, want de brokstukken van de raket liggen verspreid over een groter gebied. De raket is waarschijnlijk in twee delen neergestort: een aandrijfgedeelte en het deel met de explosieve lading (die mogelijk al in de lucht explodeerde). ,,In eerste instantie zoeken we door met eigen detectie-apparatuur. Mocht het nodig zijn dan gaan we misschien nog een grondradar inzetten'', aldus Boerdam.
Nog een zijstapje naar een tijdelijk krijgsgevangenenkamp bij Heeten - V2 Hellendoorn.doc
SS Werfer Abteilung 500 in Hellendoorn / Dalfsen, Holland - Rudi Velthuis - Tracy Dungan - Ed Straten - Cor Lulof - The locals noticed odd German troop movements on the afternoon of Nov. 16, in the forest on the edge of Eelerberg (Eelermountain) in Hellendoorn. The ground was still wet from recent rains as dozens of German rocket soldiers had arrived, under the cover of night, quite unexpectedly a few days earlier. - The German SS Werfer Batterie 500 motorized convoy came across the border and drove to Nijverdal and Hellendoorn on Nov. 13. The convoy split into two sections. One detachment moved into Hellendoorn and the other moved north to the forest at Archem.
This was the "Sonderkommando" of SS Hamptsturmfuhrer Miesel “Miesel (IVA)”, comprised of about 400 soldiers with 100 vehicles belonging to the Waffen SS, specially trained for months at the Mittelwerk and also in Poland for V2 operations. The troops of the "Vermessungsbatterie" had calculated the launch coordinates according to the "triangulation" procedure. Seventeen Dutch families, all within one kilometer of the launching areas, were evacuated from their homes. These homes were then immediately occupied by the German rocket troops. A command center was set up in Hellendoorn at the local parsonage [pastorie?-gb] -
On Nov. 16, 1944 the activity around the Eelerberg forest had increased. The giant projectile, that was the center of their attention, stood approximately 14 meters tall. The rocket, which was transferred to the firing troops from the technical troops at Archem, was placed on a small iron table (the firing table) at the edge of the tall Eelerberg trees. This activity by the Germans was followed by a long silence from the forest. An armored vehicle (Feuerleitpanzer) drove up near the launching site. Then around 15.00 hours there was heard quick, heavy beats, followed by a tremendous roar and scream unlike anything ever heard near Hellendoorn. The A4 rocket rose from its perch, slowly, spewing fire and smoke. It came up several meters, then twisted back and crashed into the wet earth. The resulting explosion shattered up to 150 windows of a nearby sanatorium hospital sending splintered glass fragments raining everywhere. Dozens of medical personnel inside of the building were sent scrambling for cover.
Hellendoorn - This was the introduction of the V-weapon, the A4/V2, to the counties of Twente and Salland in Holland. The Hellendoorn area was about to become linked in history with Hitler's vengeance weapon. The almost daily sight of the "huge torpedo shaped projectiles" rising from the forest, with an even longer mass of fire coming from the tails, followed by the long twisting trails of white smoke high in the heavens (frozen lightning), became a common occurrence for the citizens of Hellendoorn. Starting Nov. 17, V2 rockets were fired two to four times a day toward Antwerp. On Nov. 26, two rockets were fired simultaneously. - It all started in September of 1944, the SS-Werfer-Abteilung 500, under command of SS-Hauptsturmführer Johannes Miesel, was transported by train from the Tuchel heather via Freieinwalde in Pommeren to Rheine near the Dutch border. In a forest near Schöppingen (near Burgsteinfurt) at the launch site code named Schandfleck (stain, disgrace), the first V2 towards Antwerp was launched on Oct. 13, but the projectile didn’t fly farther than 3 kilometers, crashing in a meadow. –
Later, on Nov. 13, the batterie started in Hellendoorn (Overijssel). Until Dec. 14, they never succeeded in launching more than (4) V2s within 24 hours, but on that date (7) V2s were launched. After that they repeatedly succeeded in launching more than 4 rockets per day. They averaged one failure for every 5-6 rockets fired, many crashing near the launch area. - The strength of this SS-Werfer-Abteilung 500 was 8 officers and about 400 crew. There were about 100 vehicles of several types available. The classification of the division was as follows: firing battery, supply battery, flak-battery, carpark and I-Staffeln for repair and recovery of the vehicles (usually called technical battery) There were also an office, a nurseroom, field-kitchen, etc. The firing battery was divided in three groups (Schiesszüge) each of 30 man and these again in a special groups for the rocketpropulsion, the electrical installations and the Feuerleitpanzer, from which the projectiles electrically were fired. The fuel cars belonged to the supply battery. –
Because the Abteilung 500 was the only SS-Abteilung of the division, they received special attention of the division commander, SS-general Kammler. Repeatedly, he wished that the SS 500 would become the Abteilung with the highest average of launches per 24 hour period. But, it seems that the extended Wehrmacht Abteilung 444, that launched toward London, had achieved the highest result. - Kammler also made sure that the SS 500 received the best in equipment and training. The troops were educated for this special job in the Freiherr von Fritsch-Kazerne in Köslin in Pommeren, that under control of the Wehrmacht was started as the main education school for the V2 crews. Here were courses for the general tactics and technical head, also special courses for the firing, the electrotroops, the vehicle troops, for the leaders of the Hochfrequenzanlagen (High frequency devices) and for the battery-troops (calculating of the launch site, Brennschluss and Leitstrahlstellung, mounting of the V2, etc.) The education was both theoretical and practical, although of course no rockets were fired.
All members of the Wehrmacht, officers and crews, also met the V2 here. Only the SS crew, meant for a special SS division, had already received a special education. A part was detached in the underground factory in Nordhausen, where the projectiles were made. In Köslin the lessons were given by civil engineers. The fact, that the SS-men on specific orders, received an extraordinary education at the rocket factory of Nordhausen, proves that Kammler wanted to give his SS-Abteilung an advantage over the other Abteilungen that all belonged to the regular army. - The A4/V2 rockets were transported from Germany by rail and delivered to Nijverdal. Nijverdal had been used for unloading V2’s and local residents had only seen rockets passing through by road and suggested that they were unloaded west of Nijverdal on the hill. The Dutch residents at Archem reported that rockets were unloaded at a siding in the woods between Marienburg and Ommen. Two long sidings existed to the south of the main line running from Marienburg to Ommen in the woods, these sidings served as a main unloading point for rockets. –
After unloading, the vehicles usually went to the presumed launching site, but occasionally returned to a parking place in the wood for a short time before going to the launching site. Within one or two hours of the departure of the vehicles to the launching site, a rocket launch usually took place. - Rockets were not unloaded at Ommen station, although alcohol or some other liquid had at times been brought there. The Heino station appears to have been used mainly as an unloading point for fuel. –
At Eelerberg / Hellendoorn there were at least 6 - 7 firing sites, maybe a few more. Several were located in the Eelerberg forest 1.8 kilometers northwest of Hellendoorn (Feuerstellung Nr. 410) another closer to the local sanatorium, and another (reported) about 1000 meters from the sanatorium behind an old castle-like estate. The Eelerberg woods, which are entirely coniferous, were crossed by a number of roads and all of the firing sites were on or beside these roads. Some of the actual firing platforms were built on pine logs cut to equal size, trimmed and bound together with wire and some were leveled sand only. - The SS officers stayed at House Eelerberg, under the command of Kommandant Miesel while the men were housed in farm buildings near the sites.
The second firing platoon was billeted in a house very near the launch sites, and their vehicles were parked behind the house. During the launching periods, men arrived day and night and there was a constant coming and going of people carrying boards and map cases and bringing in reports. - The launches occurred regularly near Hellendoorn until a break on Dec. 30. The total rockets fired up to that point at Hellendoorn was 126, with 15 rockets crashing during or shortly after lift off. The troops returned to the Eelerberg / Hellendoorn firing sites on Mar. 08, after a short stint in the Dalfsen area to the north.
The unit returned about 07 March from Mataram and fired from 09 – 27 March. At the end of activity, the daily rate of fire reached its peak on 17 March when 11 rounds were fired, all of them aimed at the Remagen Bridgehead. - On 17 March, the firing crews stated with great elation that they had been firing against the Western Front (the Remagen bridgehead). This was a matter of common knowledge in the neighborhood and it was even said that Hitler had sent his personal congratulations to the crews for hitting and destroying the Remagen Bridge. All the evidence of three residents' diaries and the tracking by British Type 9 Mark V Radar proves conclusively that all the eleven rounds which fell in the Remagen area came from the Eelerberg / Hellendoorn sites. -
Click here to view large map of Eelerberg / Hellendoorn launch area -
Boys in the Forest - Cor Lulof was a nine year-old boy at the time of the V-Weapon activity near Hellendoorn. During these months a normal child's time would have been occupied with school, but in Holland during the occupation things were different. The Wehrmacht used Cor's school as a barracks, so kids around Hellendoorn were taught at home by their parents and had much free time on their hands. Leather was not available, so they were wearing wooden shoes. Food was rationed, in fact everything was rationed and the Wehrmacht confiscated all leather, non-ferro-metals, horses, bikes, grain, cattle, radio sets, etc. Electricity was cut off, so at night there was only candlelight. Windows had to be blinded against air attack and everybody out on the street after eight o’clock PM without a permit was shot. -
Cor's father worked for a "Wehrmacht related firm" and managed to avoid the Nazi’s who were rounding up slave laborers. By using all kinds of fake permits (Bescheinigungen) to confirm his important work for the Wehrmacht and to keep his bicycle, Cor's father was not removed from his family. Cor owned a small bicycle, too small to be confiscated, so he joined his father every weekend on a quest for food. Food was traded against wool, stolen from the Wehrmacht-related firm he worked for, wool was a precious article in those days. -
Cor's 'Uncle Bats' had a son called Henk, who was a bit older, and the two of them used to roam through the woods in the direction of the sanatorium (a pre-war fresh-air centre for tuberculosis-patients), while their fathers talked about the war and drank Ersatz-coffee and smoked home-grown tobacco. Late in ’44, between Sinterklaas (5th of December) and Christmas (25th of Dec.), Henk told Cor a confusing story about big guns and aircraft and lots of smoke and fire, seen on occasion half a kilometer to the north, and they started to cross the wooded terrain into that direction. - They did not follow the road west to the sanatorium because the intersection was guarded by German troops and there was occasional German traffic on that road. Walking through the woods, they soon heard a horn or claxon signal some distance ahead of them and seconds later heard a tremendous roar and saw a big cloud of smoke rise above the trees. The roar increased to a thundering noise, they did not only hear it, but could feel it pounding in their chests. Then from the cloud a big dark, grey-green burning thing the size of a church tower rose into the air, trailing a huge flame, on top of a pillar of gray smoke. They ran away as quickly as possible, shocked and stunned by the experience. Running all the way back to the farm, they were looking up into the sky and seeing that strange, kinky, broken contrail. Cor had seen (frozen lightning) many times from Almelo, but without knowing what it was.
Luttenburg Incident - On Dec 04, an A4 rocket was fired from Hellendoorn. Shortly after lift off, the rocket malfunctioned and plummeted to the earth about 5 kilometers southwest of Hellendoorn, near the small town of Luttenberg. Many civilians witnessed the crash and hurried to the impact site to get a look at the curious machine. Local residents had heard the noise of previous A4 rockets blasting into the heavens for many days, but had never seen the weapons up close. - Mr. A Kleine-Toereers remembers, "…It was on the afternoon of Dec. 04, 1944. I suddenly saw an incredible sight of this thing falling from the sky. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, probably a German V2. My neighbor came over on his bicycle and we went together to see. After we had rode some distance, we could finally see the big hole in the land where the thing had fallen. I placed my bicycle near the ditch and walked some 10 meters across the field and there I looked into the deep hole. I could see a fierce flame burning. Around the rim of the hole I could see many others who had gathered to see the object. Men, women and even children were standing very close (local newspaper says that some people actually were sitting on the remains of the crashed rocket when the warhead exploded), when suddenly an enormous bang – and then we were all pushed to the ground. Perhaps I had lain there between the dead and dying for about 10 minutes and I was still dazed when I left. I could not hear anyone groaning, as they might, because I was totally deaf. I took my bicycle and was only a little on my way when I met two acquaintances. They told me that my clothes were still burning at the top. I looked down to see that my trousers were vanished altogether, I was wearing only the top portion of the trousers." -
A local nurse saw the rocket when it was launched. Her and her relatives were terrified because they never before heard anything like the V2. The nurse immediately got the feeling that there was something wrong. After the rocket came down in the meadows, nothing happened. About 15 minutes later, there was a huge explosion. The windows of the farm where the nurse was, about 800 meters away from the accident, were broken. The farmer Heuven said: "Oh, noe bint ze allemoal dood" (Oh, they are all dead now). Immediately the nurse got her first aid kit and ran outside. On the way she saw several sons of the this farmer Heuven, some other boys and her Brother-in-law. They weren’t at the accident. Luckily, they saw the thing smoking and knew that something was not right. Their upper cloths were, even still, blown away.
When the nurse saw the accident site, she felt like it was an unbelievable movie. Everywhere there were torn apart bodies. She then asked a person to go get bed sheets for the wounded. At that moment, the Germans arrived with about four German and French made ambulances. The doctors immediately started to nurse the victims. As soon as possible they were injected with anti-tetanus. The doctors asked what she was doing there and who she was. She explained that she was a nurse, which they accepted, then they all did what they could for the wounded and dying. - After talking with the German doctors, the nurse realized that they immediately left after the launch and following crash to help some wounded people if possible. Near Luttenberg, they took the wrong road and they went in the direction of the village.
Just at the moment they noticed their mistake, the explosion occurred. Then it was easy to find the place. The nurse noticed Lady Heusen who kneeled at her son who was heavily wounded. The son told the nurse to leave before the rocket would explode a second time. So far as the nurse can remember, the injured people were moved to Almelo as soon as possible. Later, the Germans asked her if she knew if any of the injured were already at home. Fortunately, she knew many local people and she knew where they lived. Doctors left the "undergrounders" alone. Even still, many of people that went underground were victims. They left the scene because they were afraid of the Germans.
With the Germans, the nurse went to all those people. The injured were helped very nicely without any hassles. There weren't asked for their papers. The Germans did their jobs like doctors. For all the other concerns they left the victims alone. The nurse said later, "You can say whatever you want to say about the Germans, but the Germans doctors really did their duty. One can be very anti-German, but what the Germans did to ease the suffering was extraordinary." - When she came home that evening to the farm of Heusen she thought about what she saw that day. She was broken and sobbing.
The next morning, she went to all addresses where she nursed victims the day before. Then she received word of those that died that night. The son of farmer Heusen, an undergrounder from Haarlem called Lobry, a cousin of the family Heusen and several others had not survived. The victims of the accident were buried several days after the accident. On December 7, the Catholics were buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery in Luttenberg. Several others were buried in the General Cemetery in Raalte. The son of the family Heusen that passed away on December 20, was buried on December 23, in the Roman Catholic cemetery. After the accident, the nurse was asked if she would like to stay in Luttenberg. After the war, she was to unveil the monument to the disaster. -
Nineteen people died at Luttenberg that afternoon when the warhead of the V2 rocket, which remained unexploded after the crash, detonated with the crowd surrounding it. After the war, a monument was erected at the crash site in memory of those who perished that day. The monument reads as below- - In Memory of the V2 disaster on 4 December 1944 - On this place lost their lives- The Luttenburg monument still stands today as a testament to the V-weapon activity in the area and the sacrifice of the Dutch civilians. (Photos © Ed Straten)-
Dalfsen Area - Hessum and The Mataram - In late December of 1944, the SS troops pulled out of the Hellendoorn area. It seems that, V1 launching crews near Hellendoorn were protesting the fact that V2 trajectories crossed right over the V1 launching sites just southwest of Hellendoorn. The Luftwaffe crews did not want the SS launched missiles crashing down upon them. It was also felt that the many failures could be seen by Allied aircraft as large scars in the forest from above and this would reveal the firing locations. -
It appears that another reason launch operations were moved to Dalfsen (a few kilometers northwest of Hellendoorn) was the arrest of resistance militant Chiel Dethmers from Almelo on December 8th. Dethmers (19 years old) had made complete drawings of the launch sites in Hellendoorn, which the Germans captured. Chiel Dethmers later died in a concentration camp. He died on Mar. 08, 1945 in the Reyerhorst concentration camp. -
In area Dalfsen, there were V2 firing sites in woods near Hessum and also in the forest at the estate of Mataram. These were used when the batterie pulled out of the Elerberg / Hellendoorn area. Many of the local Hessum / Dalfsen families had to vacate their homes for the SS soldiers. One of these was Jaap Janssen, a local forester. Another was Willem van Leussen, whose farm was used for the placement of the Leitstrahlstellung (V2 guiding beam) for targeting. This apparatus was connected to a telegraphing antenna that was mounted in the meadows. The SS 500 Battalion used the Leitstrahl guide beam apparatus to increase the accuracy of the rockets, and in each case - when the firing units moved, so did the wireless troops associated with them. -
The firing sites at Hessum (Madrid) were close to the tiny town, which itself is situated in a forested area. A group of four firing platforms were close to each other in a coniferous wood on the right of the road from Vilsteren to Dalfsen. All four platforms were on or beside old established roads or paths, the firing points being made of cut tree trunks buried in the soil for firmness. For the launches at Hessum, the warheads were fitted to the rocket at the field store at Archem. The complete projectile was then brought by road on a long trailer (Vidalwagen) to Hessum. -
On one occasion a rocket toppled over just before taking off and a terrific tongue of flame 50 meters long shot from its tail, causing severe casualties and doing much damage. Eyewitnesses stated that on this and similar occasions when a rocket fell back on the firing site, the warhead exploded 10-20 minutes later. - The first V2 launch from Hessum occurred just after midnight on New Years Eve. About 19 of the 118 rockets fired near Dalfsen crashed nearby. On the land of local resident Von Martels zu Dankern an impact crater was made that was 30 meters wide! The launches were soon moved to the county seat of Mataram in February. -
At Mataram five firing platforms were located in the woods of the estate of Baron Von Vorst. Vehicles were parked near the site and a number of hard standings with shelter walls were built in addition to those required for the Feuerleitpanzer. One V2 crashed at the entrance to a fire control – Feuerleitpanzer) vehicle shelter and caused a large crater, and smashing the vehicle. - In Vilsteren, near Dalfsen, V2s were tranferred from the train to the Vidalwagen road transport trailers. When firings were being conducted at Mataram, the storage / field store seems to have been the old launch sites at Hessum. - All personnel engaged in rocket activities did not live on the sites, but were billeted in nearby houses and villages. A senior NCO, or junior officer, according to Mr. Janssen, was billeted in the large house near the entrance to the park Mataram. He appeared to be in charge of the site and had a telephone line to his direct superior who lived in the village of Dalfsen. -
The units flak batteries were positioned behind the cichorei factory in Dalfsen. There were many forbidden areas for the local population. The Germans took resident's horses and wagons for the transport of gravel to firm the roads (for the rockets) just past the Poppenallee. Whenever a convoy of rockets would arrive, the residents in Dalfsen could see the camouflaged rockets in Dalfsen, the SS soldiers milling about listening to the BBC on their radios. -
Surprisingly, many local stories of the German rocket troops stay in Hellendoorn and Dalfsen include statements to the effect; that the SS soldiers were not cruel to the residents. Some tell of the Germans handing out food, glass for the shattered windows and good care of occupied houses. Some eyewitnesses believed that many of the soldiers were tired of the war - and the "strict rules" were sometimes relaxed on the Dutch for no apparent reason. -
One German soldier even spoke of returning to Dalfsen to live after the war. He did not, so he probably did not survive the war. However, other residents told of Dutchmen without proper work papers being deported to work camps and even SS soldiers "shooting on sight" anyone who ventured too close to the operational areas.
SS-Abteilung-500 Summary - The launch operations were located near Hellendoorn until Dec. 30, 1944. In January, the SS-Abteilung-500 commenced operations at Hessum and The Mataram, near Dalfsen, before returning to Hellendoorn on Mar. 08. The last firings near Hellendoorn occurred at the end of March 1945. The exact locations of the Eelerberg, Mataram and Madrid firing sites had been reported repeatedly by partizan-organisations to allied intelligence, but no Allied attacks on those sites ever occurred. - The SS-Werfer-Abteilung 500 left Hellendoorn in three groups on March 28, 1945, because of the approaching Canadian troops. Some of these SS troops were, in the last phase of the war they were equipped with Nebel-Werfers (15 cm, Do-Werfer) and received orders to go to a Panzer Division staging area. From there they were supposed to proceed to Berlin and battle with the Russians. Arriving at the staging area they could not find the Division they were to join, but continued toward Berlin anyway. They moved at night due to the constant air attacks. The collapse of Germany caused much confusion and it is not clear if any of these SS troops actually reached Berlin. There is some indication that they had expended their ammunition for the Nebel-Werfers in battles with the Allies along the route to Berlin. - The fate of SS General Kammler is still unknown. (An exhibition in Antwerp recently reported that Kammler had himself shot by a soldier to prevent his capture - this is not confirmed)
Other Photos - (Some photos are NOT specifically from Hellendoorn / Dalfsen.)
Donderdag 27-2-14 op radio NL1 een reportage over de berging van een V1 waarin het Amerikaanse verdedigingsprogramma Antwerp X V1 werd genoemd, waavan ik nog niet eerder had gehoord:
During this time, the last great German offensive, Operation Wacht am Rhein (also known as the Battle of the Bulge) occurred. Although antiaircraft units participated in a ground defensive role, it eclipsed the Antwerp-X effort. But the German V-1 attacks continued and even escalated during and after the reduction of the Ardennes salient.
As a historical example of matured air defense doctrine and tactics, Antwerp-X stands out. It is an example of the versatility of combat troops and of interbranch, inter-service and international cooperation to meet and defeat a significant threat--like the threat that exists today
hoofdstuk #12 - bergen rondom Ommen en duinen aan zee