What is the heaviest battery

Termunten in wartime

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The German support group Delfzijl is part of the Emden Fortress during the Second World War. Emden is an important port of shipment, including for the Ruhr region, which is located far inland. The anti-aircraft batteries in and around the city form a protection for the port of Delfzijl, but are mainly used to fight enemy fighters and bombers before they drop their cargo over Emden. Emden was heavily bombed during the war and most of it was destroyed, as were many other northern German port cities. The flak batteries on Groningen land could not prevent that. However, many victims fell in the air. The anti-aircraft batteries are the most effective way to combat Allied bomber formations.

    Termunten battery (source T. Groenewold - Middelstum War Museum)

    The anti-aircraft battery at Termunten with four 12.8 cm cannons, together with the battery in Nansum, is one of the heaviest batteries on Dutch territory. Initially, there is a simple position in front of the dike on the Punt van Reide peninsula. But this is not a good place to build bunkers and place heavy material. During storm surges and ice drifts in winter, the position is inaccessible and isolated.

    In 1944 it was therefore decided to move the battery to the dike near the tiny village of Fiemel. Four platforms are being created here (Ring stands) for the heavy anti-aircraft artillery. These are gun emplacements made of concrete on a high base structure, three in the dike and one behind it. In addition, concrete beds are being created for lighter 10.5 cm guns. A special addition is the ammunition store for the heavy Fl 317 battery (Ammunition refill space for 12.8 cm anti-aircraft battery), the only one ever built in the Netherlands.

      Militairen op de dijk bij Fiemel, Termunten battery (bron T. Groenewold - Oorlogsmuseum Middelstum)

      Deployment of the Canadian Army

      On March 28, 1945, the 2nd Canadian Army Corps began to march north to liberate the provinces there. At the beginning of April the corps reached the borders of Friesland and Groningen, on April 15th the first Canadian units arrived in Leeuwarden. The city of Groningen is still fiercely contested at this point in time. On April 18th, this city is also liberated. Then the Canadians advance towards Delfzijl. The port there is important for the importation of goods from overseas as well as for the attack on Emden. Meanwhile, the German occupation flooded a large area around Delfzijl. An attack on the city is only possible from the south via a narrow strip along the Ems. There the Canadian army only meets the battery at Fiemel.

      The battle for Delfzijl

      The gun in the flak batteries can also be used very well as a flat-fire gun. In the air, this gun has a range of nearly ten miles, but when used as a flat-fire gun, more than twenty kilometers can be reached. The Battle of Delfzijl lasts from April 23rd to May 2nd. The last part of the occupied Netherlands is defended with all their might by German soldiers. Fierce battles are fought over the city and the defensive lines. 88 citizens, 102 Canadians and 185 German soldiers lose their lives in these battles. The surrounding villages are badly damaged and the population is forced to flee. Hundreds of people try to get to safety in the direction of the already liberated Finsterwolde and Winschoten. In the night of May 1st to May 2nd, the Germans finally gave up the resistance. They disappear silently to the other side of the Ems to continue the fight there.

      The remains of the Termunten flak battery, which the Germans used to defend Emden from the air, are located in an 8,000 hectare nature reserve. The nature conservation organization Groninger Landschap tells the story of nature, landscape and military heritage.

      The nature conservation organization's visitor center is the starting point for a number of routes along visible and less visible remains of the Atlantic Wall. Visitors can experience these memories of the war in a number of ways. The entire position can be seen from a vantage point in the visitor center.

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