Saturday, April 14, 2012 there was an excursion into the area of the Second World War airfield at Deelen. Almost immediately after the capitulation in 1940 the Germans began the construction of Fliegerhorst Deelen, as well as other airports like in Venlo.

The runways were in the shape of an A. There were built hangars and buildings, but most impressive was surely the massive communications bunker, which was codenamed Diogenes.

Around the airport a number of heavy FLAK batteries were installed for security. There was a railroad built for supplies of fuel and ammunition. The branch was at Wolfheze. This was known as the so-called bomb line  The wagons were pushed by a locomotive that was under steam constantly and stood in a shed. This warehouse is now used as a barn and we have seen it.  There were also objects that the farmer has found over the years that date from the war. On the south side of the airport were a number of sidings and platforms for loading and unloading. From here a steam locomotive or locomotive engine pushed the wagons onto the field direction north-west corner where the ammunition and fuel depot. Although the airport was operational already in 1941, the  construction of all buildings and facilities went on until 1944
The designers of these complexes belonged to the Stuttgarter Schule who sought a development based on a contemporary interpretation of the traditionalist architecture. The buildings, with walls about 50 cm thick, are mostly buil in the so-called ‘Heimat Schutz Architektur’ of ‘Heimatstil’, a farm-like style, related to the Delft School. This style, which developed at the beginning of the 20th century, characterized by adaptation to local existing architecture so that the new buildings then seamlessly joined. By using red-brown bricks, red roof tiles, shield, saddle and wolf roofs the buildings fit perfectly into the countryside. The camouflage of the inconspicuous among the trees located workshops and hangars was further accentuated by the walls of painted windows, shutters and doors. During the war Fliegerhorst Deelen was the home base of several untis of the Luftwaffe, as well as dayfighters (Jagd Geschwader afgekort JG) , bombers (Zerstorer Geschwader, of ZG) and nightfighters (NJG).
Also the IIe Gruppe (about 36 fighters) of the new established 1e Nacht Jagd Geschwader had its home base on Deelen.
Because of its cental location in the Netherlands also the staff of '1st Nacht Jagd Geschwader' had its base on Deelen. From 1941 to 1943 Major Wolfgang Falck was the commander. Later he would transfer the command of NJG1 to Hauptmann Werner Streib, originating from the Ist Gruppe NJG1 stationed on  Fliegerhorst Venlo. Prior to the Battle of Arnhem Fliegerhorst Deelen was bombed twice. Prior to operation Market Garden Deelen was bombed twice.  On August 15, 94 Lancaster bombers of the 5th Bomber Group of the RAD destroyed the runways. One of the runways had to be restored by thousands of forced labores from Arnhem. The holes were filled with everything, from unexploded bombs to debris and waste. After three days the airfield was operational again. On September 3rd came the second raid by the RAF. Shortly after that the Luftwaffe left Fliegerhorst Deelen. Deelen remained in use as an auxiliary airfield and depot for the V1 that were brought by train to March 1945. After the V1 were made ready to fly they were brought to the launch area in the triangl Zutphen-Enschede-Deventer. Although the airbase was damaged by bombing raids and destruction by the retreating Germans, Deelen was punt back into use as air base quickly. Even a national airport was considered because of its central location, but because of protest of National Parck De Hoge Veluwe this plan was rejected and it became Schiphol near Amsterdam. The so-called 'Hoge Veluwe' returned its territory and it was agreed that light aircraft would fly on Deelen. Only in the years ‘57-’63 RF-84F Thunderflash jets of the 306 Tactical Photo reconnaissance squadron were stationed on Deelen. Then the airfield became home base for 298, 299 en 300 Reconnaissance and Helicopter Squadrons (including the famous Grasshoppers demonstration team) until the airbase was closed in 1996. Today the Militairy Aviation Area Deelen is training ground for the 11th Airmobile Brigade. Frequently the large Chinook en Cougar transport-helicopters of the Royal Dutch Airforce can be seen above the former airforce base.

 

After the war airforce base Deelen served as a miltary dump. The first Canadian army left more then 37.000 (!) vehicles on Deelen. Motorcycles, jeeps, scoutcars, tanks, trucs, artillery but also lathes and other equipment were put on and around Deelen.  In the museum Deelen airforce base you can see on pictures the large size. As far as you could see rows vehicles stood there. After some months of negotiation the Dutch government bought this material. All vehicles were restored as much as possible. Unusable components and steel (tanks and guns) were sold on auctions.

De bunker

The tour began with a tour of a huge bunker, located at the Koningsweg. This was the command center to coordinate the night hunt. Within a year this bunker code named Diogenes (D of Deelen) was ready. In de bunker 600 men and women of the 'Luftnachrichten dienst' worked  day and night dag- en nacht in three shifts. It was their job to gather, evaluate and to map all air movements in the Dutch air and most part of the German Ruhr area so that neighboring command centers,  Luftwaffe airfields, FlAK-batteries and civil airdefence could come in action in time. After the devastating attacks on Hamburg was the Luftwaffe was reorganized and the coordination of the day and night hunting came together in one command, the 3rd Division Jagd. In the bunker all lines of communication came together, such as telephone, telex and radio communications. These lines of communication were the connections to neighboring command centers in Stade (Hamburg), Döberitz (Berlin), Grove (Denmark) and Metz (France). But even with radar stations along the coast and inland, with countless listening and observation posts, the search lights and flak units, Civil Defense, etc. When the British landed not far away on September 17, 1944, the Germans have blown up everything in the bunker. After the war, the bunker was emptied and set up as an archive. We saw a diesel engine in the basement that the Germans have tried to destroy, but that was only partly successful.

During the fighting in September 1944, anti-tank shells fired at the bunker, the traces of the impacts can be clearly seen.

Prior to entering the bunker, we get an explanation..

Our guide shows the painting below how the command center of the Luftwaffe looked like. On the left there are the blitz mädchen who gave the information. On the right the glass plate on which the movements were tracked.

The same area after the Germans had destroyed everything

Blitzmädel working in bunker Diogenes

Luftwaffenhelferinnen

 

 

In bunker Diogenes the Luftwaffenhelferinnen or Blitzmädchen  support services. They formed the link in the connection between the bunkers and other command centers and gave messages. In England it was the WAAF's during the Battle of Britain who shifted the plot on the table. These were the movements indicated. The same did the girls who worked in bunker Diogenes.

Photoalbum Blitzmädchen

 

Blitzmädchen facing an uncertain future at the end of the war in May 1945.

This stage and below the access door were in the large space in the bunker, in which a glass plate to the wall hanging in which the movements of air were monitored.

From bunker Diogenes, the night fighters were led to their target.

In de kelder van de bunker staat een dieselmotor, die men geprobeerd heeft te vernietigen, doch dat is maar ten dele gelukt. De gaten van de granaten die zijn gebruikt om de motor op te blazen zijn nog zichtbaar.

In de kelder van de bunker staat een dieselmotor, die men geprobeerd heeft te vernietigen, doch dat is maar ten dele gelukt. De gaten van de granaten die zijn gebruikt om de motor op te blazen zijn nog zichtbaar. In the basement of the bunker is a diesel engine, which they attempted to destroy, but that was only partly successful. The holes of the shells which were used to blow up the engine are still visible.

We arrive in the archive which is in the bunker today.

In de bunker hebben diverse diensten hun archieven bewaard.

In the bunker various offices have their archives.

This is a hangar built by the Germans, now in use as a barn.

The same hangar during the war, with a German plane in front.

This airplane taxies on the runway after it is loaded with bombs. In the background you can see the bomb line.

To camouflage the exterior of the hangar was painted with windows. Such a painted window was still visible.

This is another former hangar Fliegerhorst Deelen.

Eye for the roof. Is still original.

In the barn is clearly seen that it was a hangar. Smoking not allowed ..

 On the wall there is still a red arrow indicating that there hung a fire extinguishing device.

More clearly there is another red arrow on the other wall, indicating that there hung a fire extinguishing device.