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Found 12 results

  1. The old Soviet military camp is one of my favourite ones in Germany. It was built during the Nazi era and later used by the Red Army. After the fall of the Iron Curtain and the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), the area has been abandoned. I´ve visited this place three times so far, because I´ve been so deeply fascinated by still finding so many authentical remnants of the past, and I´m sure there´s still more to explore.
  2. Prisoner of War Camp 116 was set up in 1941 to house Italian prisoners of war, and from 1943-1944 it mainly held German and Austrian prisoners. Camp 116 (Mill Lane Camp, Hatfield Heath) conforms to the so-called ‘Standard’ layout. Seeing as this was only my 2nd time of going out I wasn't too impressed. The gates were locked and there was barbed wire fencing sections off - Would prob have been better at night and with someone with more experience.
  3. After having checked out 4 local places and our Hotel in Disneyland, a run in with the police and a sealed monastery, I just knew it was time to go and have fun with the family and go have a look at some easy to access bits and bobs. This was my 1st time abroad and had planed on doing plenty, but as It goes when you are with the family, you just forget about time and before you know it, it is time to go home. Breendonk was something myself and my wife wanted to go and visit. It is right from the moment that you walk inside the buildings it just hits you in the face what happened there. We spent 3 hours walking around, and I would highly recommend that if you are even in the area to do the same. HISTORY Pinched from various websites. Breendonck and the fortified enclosure of Antwerp In the early 20th century, the need was felt to create a new line of fortified defence to protect the port and city of Antwerp, in addition to the “R�duit National†(national stronghold - decided in 1859, to the displeasure of the residents of Antwerp). Several proposals were put forward, by General Alexis de Brialmont among others, which eventually led to the adoption of the law on the “plan to defend Antwerp and develop the port facilities of the city†published in the Moniteur Belge on 29 April 1906. This law provided for a line of defence to surround the town, consisting of separate forts, constructed a respectable distance from the city (at least a dozen kilometres). In total, the line of defence extended over nearly 95 kilometres. The line included the forts of Stabroek, Ertbrand, Kapellen, Brasschaat, Schoten (1st sector), Gravenwezel, Oelegem, Broechem, Kessel (2nd sector), Lier, Koningshoo�kt, Sint-Katelijn-Waver, Walem (3rd sector), Breendonck, Liezele, Bornem (4th sector) and finally Steendorp and Hassdonk (5th sector). In the gaps between these forts, there were also the redoubts of Berendrecht, Smoutakker, Drijhoek (1), Audaan, Schilde, Massenhoven (2), Tallaert, Bosbeek, Dorpveld, Duffel (3), Letterheide, Puurs (4), Lauwershoek and Landmolen. The forts were of various types, according to the military jargon of the time: first and second rank forts, with composite or detached caponiers. Breendonck is a second-rank fort with composite caponiers, with the Liezele fort some 4 kilometres to the West and Walem fort 8 kilometres to the East. Between Breendonck and Liezele is the Letterheide redoubt, while a floodable area separates Breendonck and Walem. Construction only began in 1909. The excavation work alone was budgeted at 177,000 Francs. The fort was built in non-reinforced concrete. Nearly 41,000 cubic metres were needed to complete it, costing 719,385 Francs. In total, the Breendonck fort required an investment of around 2,200,000 Francs. Once the construction was finished, the moat was dug around the fort, with an average depth of 3.75 metres and an original width of nearly 50 metres. The mass of earth excavated was placed on the concrete structures in order to hide the fort from the enemy‘s view and protect it from direct hits. The height of the earth is nearly 14 metres in places. Artillery The fort is equipped with various cannons and howitzers, 33 in total: Two 150mm cupola guns, Cockerill model 1909, in central position. These cannons could fire a 39-kilo shell 8,400 metres. They were protected by a 22 centimetre steel cupola weighing nearly 55 tonnes. Two 120mm howitzers, Cockerill model 1909, capable of firing 20 kilo shells 6,400 metres. Four 75mm cupola guns, Cockerill model 1906, firing 5.5kg shells 6,000 metres. Seventeen rapid firing 57mm guns were used for close defence and flank shots. In addition to these guns and howitzers directed towards the South and therefore towards the potential enemy, 8 other weapons were situated on the flanks (in the place called the “traditore†battery) and directed towards the neighbouring forts to help them if needed. There were four 75mm guns and four 120mm guns on a 1909 model embrasure gun-carriage. These guns were capable of keeping the enemy at a distance from Antwerp, but were already outclassed at the time of their installation, by the heavy German 305mm and even 420mm guns. The Germans could easily bombard the Belgian forts while keeping out of reach of the Belgian artillery. A 15cm cupola without its guns cost 290,000 Francs at the time (as an indication, the daily wage for a worker was between 1 and 3 francs). No anti-aircraft equipment was installed. The troops Around 330 men, mainly infantry soldiers, made up the garrison of the fort in wartime (80 in peacetime). They were responsible for defending access, by taking up position on the turrets which were sheltered by the raised earth. Here were twelve barrack rooms (12 x 5.5 metres), two kitchens (soldiers and officers), a bakery, cells (3), a shower room and separate toilets for the soldiers, officers and sub-officers. The First World War In July 1914, when war broke out, the fort – unlike its neighbours – was not finished. To clear the view for the gunners, Colonel G�nie Van Weyenberghe destroyed nearly 200 houses in the town of Willebroek on 9 August 1914 (Westdijck, Palingstraat, Oude Dendermondsesteenweg, Steenweg op Tisselt). The invasion of Belgium began on 4 August 1914. Preoccupied solely with reaching Paris as quickly as possible, the German army put all its might towards the South, only blocking off Antwerp. It was only on 9 September that the German High Command ordered General von Besler to take Antwerp: the siege artillery had been released by the fall of Namur and Maubeuge. The general had 120,000 men and a lot of powerful artillery: 42cm guns, Austrian 30cm Skoda mortar guns, 30.5cm howitzers and 21cm mortar guns etc. Although the fort was built to resist the French 220mm mortar gun, it could not resist the 305mm and 420mm German guns. The bombardment of the forts began on 28 September. Breendonk was bombarded for the first time on 1 October. As a breach had been opened up by the fall of Wavre-Ste-Catherine and Lierre, Breendonk was attacked from the East. On 1, 6 and 8 October, the Breendonk fort was hit by 563 Austrian 305mm mortar gun projectiles, shells fired by artillery some 8 or 9 km beyond the range of its own artillery. On 8 October, the fort underwent very heavy bombardment. 305mm shells rained down and one of them fell down a chimney before exploding between two barrack rooms. The Fort commander, Captain Wijns, was seriously injured and died shortly afterwards. The fort was taken the following day and the surrender of Antwerp was complete. The town of Willebroek was then occupied by German troops although the bridges had been destroyed. The proud survivors commemorated the heroic defence of the town with a bronze plaque which was affixed to the left of the postern in 1926. The Second World War On 10 May 1940 at 8.30am, King L�opold III, the Commander in Chief, arrived at Breendonk. He had been preceded by the first rank of the GHQ and the General Chief of Staff. It was from here that the King delivered his national proclamation on 10 May. It was also here that he received the commanders of the Seventh French army, placed on the right, and the British forces on the left, as well as General Billotte, the commander of the Group of Northern Armies to which the Belgian army reported as of 12 May. On 16 May, General Billotte ordered the abandonment of the Antwerp-Namur line, which had become untenable since the capture of Sedan. On 16 May at midnight, the General Chief of Staff left the fort; in the afternoon of the 17th, the whole GHQ was moved to the Ghent region. The SS Camp On september 20th 1940 Sturmbannf�hrer Philip Schmitt brought his first victims to Breendonk. The Fort became officially the Auffanglager Breendonk, a transit camp; a major centre for the Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst (SIPO/SD), the german political police. During the first year of the Occupation, the Jews made up half the total number of prisoners. From 1942 onwards and the creation of the � vezammelkamp � (reception camp) at the Dossin barracks where the Jews were assembled before their departure towards the east and the extermination camps, most of the Jews disappeared from Breendonk, which gradually became a camp for political prisoners and members of the Resistance. On the 22nd of September 1941, a first convoy of Belgian political prisoners was transferred from Breendonk and from the citadel of Huy to the concentration camp of Neuengamme close to Hamburg. Other convoys were to follow … Prisoners stayed on average three months at the fortress before being deported towards the concentration camps in Germany, Austria or Poland. The regime set up here by the Nazis hardly differed from that of an official concentration camp. The undernourishment and the forced labour wore down the body and mind. The ever-present physical cruelty sometimes caused the death of prisoners. Initially, the camp was only guarded by a few German SS and a detachment of the Wehrmacht. In September 1941, the Wachtgruppe of the SD arrived as back up. This time, these were no longer German SS but mainly Flemings. In total, around 3500 persons, including around thirty women, were subjected to the “Hell of Breendonkâ€Â, as Franz Fischer calls it in his memoirs. Around half of these 3500 did not come back from the camps alive. Trials of War Criminals The Malines Trial The case opened in the Malines trial in the spring of 1946 were on the one hand those concerning the Belgian SS men and on other hand the ones concerning the civilians and the prisoners who have behaved badly towards their fellow prisoners. The SS men Wijss, De Saffel, Raes, Lampaert, Brusselaers, Hermans, Vermeulen, the cowherd Amelinckx, the smith Carleer, the gardener Van Praet, the former prisoners Obler eand Lewin were sentenced to death. The Antwerp Trial On single german war criminals stood trial for what had been ciommited in Breendonk: commandant Schmitt. On November 25th 1949, he was sentenced to death.
  4. Only the cinema and the bowling alley have Topics... 1. KaserneBenelux01 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 2. KaserneBenelux02 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 3. KaserneBenelux03 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 4. KaserneBenelux04 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 5. KaserneBenelux05 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr 6. KaserneBenelux06 von MiaroDigital auf Flickr
  5. Well, after seeing other reports about this place I decided to take a trip there to have a look myself. Early start this morning and it was a bit fresh... especially on a m/bike at 0600hrs! I can't find a great deal of history about the place and I don't like to just "copy & paste" someone else's hard work, so I'll try and put together what I can find out. The camp at Hatfield was originally commissioned to house Italian POW's c.1941 and there were two other smaller camps at Matching Tye and Bishop's Stortford. The camp at Hatfield Heath accommodated approximately 750 Italian POW's who, because they posed no risk as Nazi's, were collected by transport daily and taken to various areas of farmland to assist with agricultural work. By 1943, however, this had changed and the camp now housed German and Austrian POW's. Like their Italian predecessors, the POW's were also taken out of the camp each day to 'earn their keep' by working the local farmland. This must have been a welcome break for all the inmates who more than likely found POW life quite monotonous. The conditions in the camps within the British Isles were in total contrast to what 'our lads' were enduring while incarcerated elsewhere in Europe and the rest of the world. On a lighter note, while I was looking for information about this site I stumbled across a very interesting quote from an American Government Issue pamphlet on how to behave when in mixed company with British citizens (I can provide the link for this particular source if anyone would like it). The area around Hatfield and in particular, Bishop's Stortford, saw a huge influx of American GI's in the latter years of the war and they were pretty much conditioned on how to behave whilst guests in our 'foreign land'... here it is: Care should be taken on swearing in mixed company, the word ‘bloody’ being one of their worst swear words. Don’t call their money ‘funny money’. They sweat hard for it (earning much lower wages than Americans). Don’t mock pounds, shillings and pence. American soldier’s pay is the highest in the world. Don’t brag about the fact to the British ‘Tommy’. Don’t be misled by the British tendency to be soft-spoken and polite. If they they need to be, they can be plenty tough. The English language didn’t spread across the oceans and over the mountains and jungles and swamps of the world because these people were panty-waists. Sound advice... the Yanks were always quite wary of the Tommy's and still are to this day! Anyway, here are a few of the shots I managed to get from today's visit... I apologise for the 'full-on mono assault' but I am a bit of a sucker for mono and considering the type of site this is, I felt it fitting to have them in black and white. Enjoy! I think this is the main mess hall for the British troops stationed here to look after the POW's. This looks like a serving counter. POW116_8 by andyf30501, on Flickr Tower block. This was empty except for a couple of large diameter pipes and valves and the upper stories are inaccessible due to the ladders being blocked. Another time maybe, the view from the roof must be worth checking out! POW116_16 by andyf30501, on Flickr The valve, mentioned above (tower block). POW116_18 by andyf30501, on Flickr A shot of the main concourse. POW116_23 by andyf30501, on Flickr Farm machinery inside one of the old Nissan type huts. POW116_2 by andyf30501, on Flickr Even grafitti artists prefer good grammar! POW116_11 by andyf30501, on Flickr More machinery... POW116_21 by andyf30501, on Flickr Solitary resident. POW116_4 by andyf30501, on Flickr Plenty of doorways. POW116_19 by andyf30501, on Flickr A badly decomposed Hillman... I think it'll 'buff out'...! POW116_25 by andyf30501, on Flickr This is my first post on this site so I hope everything goes ok with it. Thanks for looking and again, apologies for the 'mono-overload'... I just can't stop myself! If there are any more 'Essex-Urbexers' who fancy exploring local sites (and ones further afield), please, feel free to get in touch! Keep safe, y'all... U*N
  6. War department POW I recently ended up at this war department POW location that has morphed over time in its type of usage And has now gone back into private hands. In no way wanting to appear to be secret squirrelish I wont be naming it on the basis of what remains there today and hope people can respect that and use the system in place to cater for that. My first visit was over two years ago and was gob smacked with what remains there. The site is very signals orientated ​ Now for pic batch 2
  7. Christmas has been a bit quiet for me splore wise and I was clucking for a couple of hours out. So it was a quick visit to a couple of local splores __________________________________ POW CAMP 116 - MILL LANE - HATFIELD HEATH Prisoner of War Camp 116 was set up in 1941 to house Italian prisoners of war, and from 1943-1944 it mainly held German and Austrian prisoners. The POW's were allowed out to work on the nearby farms and one local has this memory of it...... "The Austrian and German prisoners of war were kept in a camp at Hatfield Heath and sent out daily to 'help on the land'. Our first batch were Austrian and they were hard workers and Mum was so sorry for them she looked at their ration for the day and promptly invited them to share our food - they even ate with us. The next lot were German and all but one of those were also polite, hard workers and they too shared our food and ate in the kitchen with us. My biggest impression was the way they stood whenever Mum got up and would never sit until she too sat down. Dad corresponded for some time with one of them, a Walter Scheile from Beilefeld in Germany." The English Heritage Document entitled "PRISONER OF WAR CAMPS (1939 – 1948)" has this to say about it Camp 116 (Mill Lane Camp, Hatfield Heath) conforms to the so-called ‘Standard’ layout, with the guards’ compound consisting of MoWP huts, while the living huts are all timber Laing huts.
  8. Hatfield Heath POW Camp - 116 Prisoner of War Camp 116 was set up in 1941 to house Italian prisoners of war. However from 1943 it mainly held German & Austrian Pow's.
  9. I had half an hour free and decided that as I was passing I'd nip in The site is now used for Airsoft on weekends
  10. Superb explore indeed...set on the southern part of the Isle of Wight,this 60`s style camp finally closed its doors in 2007.Complete with beach access,2 outside pools,2 tennis courts,a football pitch and camp site next door,Atherfield catered for all.Boasting a large hall for discos and a stage for entertainment,many a good holiday was no doubt enjoyed here.In 2005,Channel 4 made a Hi-de Hi type programme called Wakey Wakey Campers"..it featured a group of people from present day being made to experience a 60`s holiday regime..it was quite entertaining!We visited early 2010. And that folks,is Atherfield Bay..as we were driving out,the site owner was driving in..polite wave and we were off! Many thanks for looking.
  11. The 21-hectare site was used by the Ministry of Defence as an Army training camp until October 2004 when it became surplus to requirements. The site had accommodated up to 1,000 personnel at its peak along with tanks, mechanized vehicles and a small arms firing range. From the early 1940's it was used by the British and American armed forces and a significant number of barrack buildings, vehicle stores and other structures remain on the site. The 21-hectare site was used by the Ministry of Defence as an Army training camp until October 2004 when it became surplus to requirements. The site had accommodated up to 1,000 personnel at its peak along with tanks, mechanized vehicles and a small arms firing range. From the early 1940's it was used by the British and American armed forces and a significant number of barrack buildings, vehicle stores and other structures remain on the site.
  12. Hi guys, a bit of a rare appearance from me into the Military Section, but I'm told that you don't bite POW CAMP 116 - MILL LANE - HATFIELD HEATH Prisoner of War Camp 116 was set up in 1941 to house Italian prisoners of war, and from 1943-1944 it mainly held German and Austrian prisoners. The POW's were allowed out to work on the nearby farms and one local has this memory of it...... "The Austrian and German prisoners of war were kept in a camp at Hatfield Heath and sent out daily to 'help on the land'. Our first batch were Austrian and they were hard workers and Mum was so sorry for them she looked at their ration for the day and promptly invited them to share our food - they even ate with us. The next lot were German and all but one of those were also polite, hard workers and they too shared our food and ate in the kitchen with us. My biggest impression was the way they stood whenever Mum got up and would never sit until she too sat down. Dad corresponded for some time with one of them, a Walter Scheile from Beilefeld in Germany." The English Heritage Document entitled "PRISONER OF WAR CAMPS (1939 – 1948)" has this to say about it Camp 116 (Mill Lane Camp, Hatfield Heath) conforms to the so-called ‘Standard’ layout, with the guards’ compound consisting of MoWP huts, while the living huts are all timber Laing huts. In one of the outside barns was a Massey Harris combine harvester And a few old classics (I'll sneak these in and see if they get past the "All Seeing Eye"
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