The Netherlands / Fortification
Because of the control of the Scheldt Estuary, Flushing gained an important position during the Second World War. The city became a so-called ‘Festung’. The German occupying forces strengthened the city as part of the Atlantikwall. Flushing not only got a ‘Seefront’ (Seafront) with heavy coastal batteries and air-defence guns, but also a ‘Landfront’; a kilometres long tank-moat with bunkers and casemates behind it, equipped with machine guns and artillery.
The ‘Landfront’ was designed to defend the fortress against rear attacks. The ‘Landfront’ began in the west, in the dunes near Valkenisse, and extended towards Koudekerke and further on in the direction of the Walcheren Canal. On the east side of the Canal, the front continued its way toward Ritthem. There it ended at Fort Rammekens.
During the Allied attack on Walcheren, in November 1944, the German defence line was not finished yet. However, the ‘Landfront’, with its artillery batteries, was such a threat that it was decided to inundate the island of Walcheren. Although the German defenders tried to retain the ‘Landfront’ for as long as possible by protecting the bunkers and casemates from the rising sea water, the defence line had to be considered as lost.
During and after the Second World War, the majority of the ‘Landfront’ was preserved. In 2013 it was designated a national monument.
Visit the Zeeuwse Ankers website (Zeeland Anchors) for comprehensive information, personal stories and videos about the Battle of the Scheldt.