The Netherlands / Audiospot

Heavy artillery and fierce resistance





After the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, the Atlantic Wall was breached, and there was an opportunity to attack from land, also in the area of Delfzijl. The section commander of Emden, which included Delfzijl, had ordered that the coastal strip of Emden and Delfzijl be fortified with bunkers and guns. The work was to be done by local companies with the help of Russian POWs. The battery needed to be able to shoot targets on land now as well. The Germans built a so-called “Flak-hochstande”—bunkers built especially for the heavy 12.8 cm FlaK 40 anti-aircraft guns. The bunkers were placed in such a way that they could focus on land, sea and air targets behind the dyke. The battery eventually became the heaviest and most-modern anti-aircraft battery in the Netherlands.

During the Second World War, the German occupiers built bunkers near Fiemel. These bunkers were part of The Atlantic Wall, not an actual wall but a series of strategically located defences to prevent an Allied invasion. This defensive line of more than 5,000 km consisted of bunkers, flak guns and minefields, but was never fully completed. Construction of the line was a huge undertaking, with hundreds of thousand people working on it voluntarily—and non-voluntarily.

The bunkers at Fiemel served to defend the German city of Emden, located on the Ems estuary. On 15 April 1945, the residents thought that liberation was imminent because several discouraged German units had left. Large parts of the Netherlands had already been liberated. But their happiness soon gave way to disappointment when new and more fanatical occupiers arrived. The new occupiers built defence lines in the polders between Termunten and Woldendorp. The Canadians made their advance but had to withdraw after a violent confrontation with the Germans. Nieuwolda was bombed by the artillery near Fiemel and in the Carel Coenraad polder. The damage was immense, and many civilians and soldiers lost their lives. The landscape and the lives of the locals were in ruins.

The Canadians were more successful in a second attempt, which again had a huge impact on the surroundings. They opened fire on the position near Fiemel and attacked the Germans with tanks. Fear and uncertainty arose among the Germans, who decided to take a boat across the Ems to their homeland in the early morning of 30 April. On 2 May 1945, the province of Groningen was liberated, Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland were soon to follow

Tourist information

Visit the Dollard Visitor Center in Termunten