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Fliegerhorst Gilze-Rijen. Archaeology & Research.

Discussion in 'Living History' started by 272VGD., Dec 28, 2007.

  1. 272VGD.

    272VGD. Member

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    Hi all,

    As promised here a topic dedicated to my research, findings and collector items of the german Fliegerhorst Gilze-Rijen, and after that B77 in English use. I have searcht here in the environment about 3 years now with my metaldetector and did some nice finds. In the beginning the findigs were not so special and poor but in time more and more stuff has come to the surface. About some ammonition finds I have done here in the region, they were all reported to the police and right people!!! Note: I have little collector items regarding the airbase, mosty documents. But more and more is coming, but as you know. It's hardly to find.
    I am personally moving from Tilburg (City east of Gilze and Rijen) to Gilze in a new house, after the movement is done I'm planning to make a site dedicated to the airbase of Gilze-Rijen.

    Here some little information regarding the beginning of the airbase, so you know the history and some events of it.

    The airbase Molenheide was made in 1909 near Molenschot. Between Gilze and Rijen. On the August 18th 1910 it was official ready to be used. In 1913 the airbase Molenheide was to be take over by the LVA (Luchtvaartafdeling). Serveral pilots got their first brevet in the early years on this airbase.
    In time there was a need for an civilian airbase as wel. So just before the second world war started the ground west of the airbase Molenheide was suitable to make a second airbase, called Nerhoven.
    When the Germans invade in 1940 this airbase was still under construction.

    On the 10th of May 1940 the Germans invade the Netherlands, one of their main goals was to take out the Dutch airforce.
    On Molenheide and Nerhoven the 4th recconsquad of the LVA was located, with some FK51 and C-V airplanes positioned in the bushes around the landingfields. For the protection of the airfields the 2nd and 5th compagnies of the armedforces were at hand.
    At 04.00 am in the morning the first German aircraft was spotted above the airbase of Molenheide and Nerhoven! Serveral minutes later 16 German bombers were to take the airfield under hands. And 15 minutes later 15 more had to come. The attack ended around 06.45 am destroyng 2 C-V's and 1 FK51. And cousing a lot of damage to the landingfields.
    One hour later the commander of the 4th recconsquad was to get a order to move his planes and troops to the airfield of Hamstede.

    After the Germans take hold of the airfield on 13th of May they immediately began to repear the airbase for their use. Of the 2 airfields Molenheide and Nerhoven they were going the make one airbase with 3 ladingstrips of 1000 meters in length, and later in 1941 they added 600 meters on one of the landingstrips.
    Also a big planehanger was made, the well known "Junkerhalle", were several airplanes could be repeared at the same time. It was about 90 x 90 meters.
    About 95 wooden hangers were build south of Hulten and south and west of the landingstrips, and in January 1944 75 more were to come near the "Prinsenhoef". Several earth walls and shelters were made for ammunition, benzine, and army personel. Even a railroad was made towards the airfield.
    In the woods near Rijen was a big ammunition complex, but even a small one regarding the MASt (Munitions Ausgabe Stelle) that was located near Kaatsheuvel. Here the Germans had their own swimmingpool, soccerfield and shelters. Also huge barracks for airforce personel were located in Prinsenbosch (near Chaam) where they build shelters, with showers, kitchens and even a bowling-alley.

    And offcourse many Flak positions were located near the airbase, in particular 8,8 and 3,7 cm calibers, but after own research/findings also the French M36 7,5 cm, that were captured in the battle for France and used further by the German troops.

    In the beginning of September 1940 the airfield.... well now Fliegerhorst was ready for use! The first Heinkels were to land at the Fliegerhorst and soon it will form a force of approximately 40 bomberplanes.
    Quiet times were over for the people of Gilze and Rijen...

    After time and the Battle for Brittain was lost the based turned over for Nightfighterplanes... And the Heinkels disappeared...

    Here a map made by the resistance. Not in my possession. But to give you a look of the status back then in 1942.

    [​IMG]


    I'll soon post more, findings, things to see, some collector items... etc.
    This topic will often be updated!!!

    Grtz,
    Nick
     
    Otto and von Poop like this.
  2. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    very nice Nick!!
    I eagerly await more!
     
  3. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Excellent topic Nick. I'll be curious to hear what you have to say about the Nachtjagt.
     
  4. 272VGD.

    272VGD. Member

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    Thank you guys, I was typing for over 2 hours for that small story to get it in "proper" English.:eek:

    Skipper, as I said I'm moving to another house, so at the moment I can't use my own computer. Where I have much information about the airbase of Gilze-Rijen...
    I have some plans soon to go spit in some archives here in the village, hopefully there more information for you about the Nachtjagd, and as well for me offcourse. I am also looking for the book "5 jaar luchtfront" ... there are 5 parts regarding this book ... but so hard to find. Looking for over 3 months now.:(
     
  5. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I believe they have a copy of the five volumes at your local archeaological museum. if you don't know the place I can try to find the address again for you. I have been trying to get hold of the 1944 volume, but no success. I once saw one for sale on the Marktplaats auction site, but I missed it.
     
  6. 272VGD.

    272VGD. Member

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    Hey Skipper, if you know the adress you're help will be welcome!
    On some dutch site the book was also for sale.. I think I send about 10 emails.... but no reply.
     
  7. Sturmkreuz

    Sturmkreuz Member

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    272GVD. Can't wait for more, it really gets my interest!

    I'll try to search to, I know someone who has many books so I'll try to find it for you.
     
  8. 272VGD.

    272VGD. Member

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    Thanks man!
     
  9. 272VGD.

    272VGD. Member

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    Here are my German photo's of the Fliegerhorst. It's one grouping.
    The 2 Flieger photo's were made in June 1944. I think the other pics were made some time before. To see by the winterclothing.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    These are realy nice pictures of a training session (possibly the theme of the day was "grenade throwing in combat condition" because they all wear one at their belts and they throw grenades on one picture. There is some flying personnal there but I wonder if some of them are Flak soldiers . Any idea of the unit?
     
  11. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    This is a fascinating topic, Nick - I hope that you will be able to add more.

    The history of Gilze-Rijen ( and of other Netherlands airfields ) is of great historic interest.

    ( A smaller, lesser-known event at Gilze-Rijen : 'Dambuster' Lancaster AJ-S ( ED865 ) flown by P/O L J Burpee RCAF crashed on the airfield en route to the Dams. None of the crew survived ).
     
  12. Sturmkreuz

    Sturmkreuz Member

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    Nice Photos!!
     
  13. 272VGD.

    272VGD. Member

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    Hi Skipper, many is written on the back of the photo's but I can't tell what exactly. I will look of for a photo of the back side. I will post it in the research topic nowadays.


    Hello Martin, that information wasn't known by me. Thank you for your share. I have to say, this is a very nice forum with people who are not affraid to share information. Great!

    And here a "nachtjagd" find done by me some weeks ago, it was found in a bomcrater south of Rijen. Its a part of a FuG16.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    oh my! Erich's going nuts when he sees these great pictures. You have little treasures at home! If you can scan me a few backs of the pictures, I might be able to decypher the old Sunderlin handwriting for you. I am not really familiar with it, but have quite an experience at reading it and can understand some.
     
  15. 272VGD.

    272VGD. Member

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    Hi Skipper, I posted some photo's in the research/information topic!
    Thank you for your compliment.
     
  16. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I found the address of the library for you. The 5 volumes are there!

    bibliotheek van heemkring Molenheide in 't Oude Raadhuis, Nieuwstraat 22 in Gilze

    http://www.heemkringmolenheide.nl/bibliotheek.htm

    If you have a chance to spot the 1944 volume I would love a copy of Jan 7th 1944 crash. I have been looking for this for ages. It might be interesting for you as well.
     
  17. 272VGD.

    272VGD. Member

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    Thats in the same street I'm going to live! What are the chances??
    Thank you very much! And a copy is going your way as soon as I visit the heemkring Molenheide and find the 1944 version. I think it will be early next week ...
    I allready send a email for more information about some planecrashes that maybe mentioned in the book.
     
  18. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    No way, I can't believe I got you an address that's only a few meters away from your new home. I know where you are going to spend your free time! If you need my email for the Jan7 stuff don't hesitate to send me a pm.
     
  19. 272VGD.

    272VGD. Member

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    I'm serious, thats almost my neighbour! Maybe a small 10 houses away!
    I will send you a PM when I have the information you need.
     
  20. 272VGD.

    272VGD. Member

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    Here just a few things to see.
    The airfield seen from "Het Blok" (woods) near Hulten (Village North-East of the airfield).
    [​IMG]

    An old building also in the woods near Hulten. Here the Germans storrage ammunition etc.
    See the bullet holes!!!!!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Some small and not interessting finds near the building. Many 7,92 mm cartridges, 13 mm MG131 plane ammunition, securitycaps for the ELAZ (Elektrische Aufschlagzunder = Electric Impact bomb detonator) and flare signal munition, dated.
    [​IMG]
     

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