The Netherlands / Story

Flugwache Warffum, an unknown position in the Noordpolder




Between 1940 and 1955 there was a position on the middle dike north of Warffum: the Flugwache Warffum. From an observation post, German soldiers kept an eye on Allied planes to report their course to the German air force, which tried to intercept the English bombers.

In June 1940, the first group of soldiers came to build the lookout post on the Middendijk. They made an eight-meter-high tower and a crew quarter that were partly sunk into the dike. The seven men and a non-commissioned officer were somewhat older: not suitable for the front, but for quiet, but important tasks. In April 1941 the group was relieved by another unit.

The Fluwa van Warffum offered a clear view all around and the crew could see everything that flew from the west (England) in the direction of the German cities of Emden, Wilhelmshaven, Bremen, Hamburg and Kiel. The crew's shifts lasted twelve hours; the four of them worked at a time while the other four rested. The Germans of the Fluwa tried to maintain good relations with the local population. They regularly went to the cafe in Warffum, did their shopping and undertook small tourist trips. They also went into the polders to hunt or swim. The lookout post was not forbidden territory for the Warffumer youth: children from the polder who went to school in the village were allowed to walk across the site for a shorter route to the village.

In March 1942, the Fluwa Warffum, like other Flugwaches in the Netherlands, was ordered to prepare for possible defense of the site. In France, a similar post had been raided and valuable information had fallen into the hands of the Allies. Fluwa Warffum had to be equipped with barbed wire barriers, a machine gun nest and a bunker. The crew also had to be able to withstand an encirclement and therefore have supplies and their own drinking water supply. The implementation of the plans was delayed until the summer of 1943.

Barbed wire was placed around the bunker and a sign was placed near the road: 'Civilians who stay near these positions without evidence will be shot live.' However, the schoolchildren were still allowed to walk by. The Fluwa Warffum remained in use until October 1944. Then the modern radar station Gazelle near Veendam took over a large part of the tasks. The Fluwabunker at Warffum probably got another function as a defensible position. An aerial photograph from 1945 shows four gun emplacements next to the bunker, which the Germans could use against the Allies. However, the position was never fully completed and armed.

When the Germans retreated towards Delfzijl during the fighting for the city of Groningen, they tried to destroy the Fluwa Warffum. They threw hand grenades into the bunker, but it was only slightly damaged. In their haste they made no second attempt. After the liberation, Canadian soldiers in Warffum regularly used the bunker to 'celebrate' their freedom with Dutch girls. In 1955 the bunker was demolished. At the same time, an Air Watchtower appeared near the location of the Fluwa, which was supposed to observe Russian aircraft during the Cold War. The location of the Fluwa was therefore extremely favorable.

Source: Ties Groenewold, Flugwache Warffum, over een onbekende stelling in de Noordpolder

Warffum 9989 TE