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The ammunition depot near Hoog Soeren




In 1941, the Germans established a large ammunition depot in the forests of Hoog Soeren to have more ammunition available for the troops in the Netherlands and in case Allied forces were to attack via the Dutch coast. As the Canadians approached Apeldoorn in April 1945, the Germans detonated a large portion of their ammunition depot in the night of April 16-17.

In 1941, the construction of the large German ammunition depot named Lützow commenced. The forests of Hoog Soeren were chosen due to their secluded and elevated position on the Veluwe. The trees concealed the depot, and it was close to a station, Halte Assel, for quick ammunition transport. The ammunition depot belonged to the largest category for a while, known as 'Heeres Munitions Lager'. In 1944, the ammunition depot was given the codename Mia, which was used alongside the name Lützow. The 'Sperrgebiet' (restricted area for the surrounding residents) around it covered an area of ​​350 hectares.

The ammunition was stored in over 270 semi-buried storage areas. Each depot was constructed of wooden poles with asbestos plates around them, covered with a metal plate with sand on top. Most depots measured six by six meters, and each depot stored 100 to 300 tons of ammunition.

As the Canadians approached Apeldoorn in April 1945, the Germans attempted to transport much of the ammunition away and prepared the remaining ammunition for destruction. On April 16 at eight o'clock in the evening, the residents of Hoog Soeren were ordered to leave the village because all ammunition would be blown up. The residents hastily gathered their belongings, opened all windows and doors, and left. Explosions were heard throughout the night. In the morning of April 17, the residents returned. Men working in the ammunition complex had sabotaged the destruction of the ammunition as much as possible, resulting in not everything being blown up. The damage to the village was limited to broken windows and blown-off roof tiles. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

Later that day, the Canadians came to inspect the ammunition depot. They found a scene of devastation. Remnants of ammunition and packaging were scattered everywhere. In the months following the liberation, efforts were made to clear the minefields and ammunition. They destroyed ammunition almost daily in various explosive pits, sometimes utilizing German prisoners of war. In the forests of Hoog Soeren, near Kruisjesdal, stands a memorial monument. What happened here? On April 12 and 13, 1945, sixteen resistance fighters were executed in an empty ammunition bunker. Just a few days before the liberation of Apeldoorn on April 17. They were shot by the Germans without any form of trial. After the liberation, forest workers discovered the victims' bodies in late May 1945.

Since 1998, efforts have been made to clear the remaining ammunition in the forests of Hoog Soeren. By 2020, 400 hectares had been cleared, 80 hectares of heath had been stripped, 1.3 million items had been found, and 350 tons of scrap metal had been removed.