Niederlande / Geschichte

The defense of Ochten




The Betuwe defense line was reinforced with artillery at specific spots with a view of the rivers Rhine (De Spees) and Waal (near Ochten). On the Waalbandijk in Ochten, in retrospect at the last moment, in April 1940, cannons were installed at three different places.

Cannons were installed to repel an attack over the dike, in flooded territory the only easily accessible road. On May 13, the defense line actually came into action shortly after noon. The guns repulsed an attempt by German soldiers of the 207th Division to bypass the Betuwe position via the Waal river. A German flotilla consisting of six ships, including a gunboat and two fast motorboats, came under fire. The motorboats sank; several other vessels were damaged.

In addition to the installation of guns and trenches, several casemates, sometimes camouflaged as a barn or hidden in a haystack, were built by the Dutch army in Ochten. By the afternoon of May 13 1940, the trench was empty, after the Dutch soldiers had received the order for a general retreat after several combat encounters with the German army. The command of the 44th Infantry Regiment, which was stationed in the Betuwe, was moved to Zijderveld near Vianen.