Stützpunkt Groede

Back Gerard de Moorsweg 4, Groede

Eleven bunkers (different types, and painted like houses) and one tobrook

The bunkers at this German military base were built in two phases. The first was that of the pre-Atlantic Wall, when many thin-walled bunkers were built in the coastal areas, two of which at Groede are from that initial phase.

Then came the permanent bomb-proof bunkers, each bunker of this type having its own number and full construction plan. Nine bunkers of this type were built at Groede. The construction numbers visible at the entrances to a number of bunkers were modified in the course of the war years. This renumbering also took place with the bunkers in Breskens. One of the type 134 S bunkers (hospital bunker) at Groede with the name ‘Moselland’ is a modified version and the only bunker built in this way in Zeeland. The through corridor is 40 cm wider and the access to the rooms has been levelled off. As a result of this modification it was possible to access the bunker with a stretcher. Groede was also a Red Cross town. After the war there was a plan to create a deer park in the ‘Bunker Village’ because the cost of demolishing the bunkers (300,000 guilders) was far too high. The Ministry did allow the demolition of the German concrete roads, the three artillery platforms and the stone annexes, while the Bureau for the Registration of Defensive Works had to be given the opportunity to survey the bunkers at this base. In the 1970s the deer park was renovated. Following municipal reorganisation the deer park became the responsibility of the municipality of Sluis and plans for ‘Groede Podium’ were launched, an educational and recreational meeting place for all. The bunkers were excavated and included in the plan. When excavating the site a significant amount of ordnance was found and (camouflage) wall paintings came to light, but a Tobruk and an open platform were among the structures destroyed.

The developments of the former bunker village continue to this day. The plan now is the full or partial restoration of two bunkers and bringing back the wall paintings on the outside of the bunkers.

The site, conspicuously situated on the flats, can trace its existence back to 1942. This was when an area of agricultural land was expropriated by the occupying forces for the erection of bunkers to form part of the Atlantic Wall. So it was that the Stützpunkt Groede, known locally as the bunker village, came into being. Its construction began in 1943.

There were 11 bunkers, grouped like a small village, complete with streets and grass verges. The bunkers were camouflaged as houses and also had appropriate names such as Villa Saarland and Villa Freundlich. But it was far from friendly, because of the substantial amount of artillery set up here.

On 25 October1944 the bunker village fell into the hands of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade, which was initially under the impression that it had captured a small hamlet.

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