Paesi Bassi / Audiospot
During the Second World War, the Eems and Dollard coasts were part of the German Atlantic Wall. The anti-aircraft battery at Nansum was one of the heaviest on Dutch territory and mainly served to defend the German port city of Emden. The bunkers that remained after the liberation, such as those in Nansum, are reminders of this fierce battle.
Contrary to what the location would suggest, the artillery along the Ems and Dollard coast was not intended to prevent an attack from the sea. The Wadden Sea was too shallow for an invasion fleet. The artillery in and around Delfzijl had to fight enemy fighters and bombers. This was mainly to defend the port city of Emden, on the other side of the Ems, less than 20 kilometers away.
During the Second World War, Delfzijl was an important German fortification. Shortly after the Dutch capitulation, the installation of an anti-aircraft battery on the Eems coast was started: the Batterie Delfzijl. A few years later, German artillery was also placed at Nansum, Fiemel (near Termunten) and in the Carel Coenraadpolder. The batteries at Nansum and Fiemel were the heaviest on Dutch territory.
Following the Allied landings in Normandy, the German occupier started in the summer of 1944 with the construction of bunkers for artillery emplacements on the Eems and Dollard coasts. Likewise, in Nansum. The concrete shelters had to provide protection for soldiers and ammunition during air raids. It is clear that an attack over land was expected, because the entrances to the bunkers were on the side of the dike.
That attack came in the spring of 1945. After the liberation of the city of Groningen on April 16, the Canadians advanced to the 'Delfzijl Pocket'. That's what the Canadians called the area around Delfzijl, where the German soldiers were trapped. There was heavy fighting for two weeks, but on May 2, 1945, the last shots of the war took place in Farmsum. The remaining bunkers along the Eems and Dollard coast, such as in Nansum, are reminders of this heavy battle.