OVERVIEW OF THE ATTRACTIONS OF THE MUSEUM

War threat 1939

 

We start off with 1939. The threat of war rises in Europe, but the Netherlands are neutral. The marines, the military and the police troops guard the borders, tactical points and the royal house. The military uniform here is that of uncle Sjaan. At this time, he couldn’t know about the things that were going to happen to him during the war.

Room of the quartermaster 1939

 

During the mobilisation, the soldiers had to be quartered. They mostly did this in schools, town halls, barns and even private homes. The Quartermaster is responsible for receiving and distributing clothes and equipment. His residence was called the Quartermasters Stores. One of the uniforms in this scene was ordered by lieutenant Van Dissel. When the war broke out, only half of it was finished.

 

French and Belgian military help 1940

 

On the 10th of May 1940, the first day of the war, the first French troops entered the country from the south (two divisions in total), to help us against the German forces. The French fought bravely, and hundreds of them were killed. Many were buried in Kapelle (Zeeland). Besides the French, Belgians came to aid us too. The museum contains a soldier from of the Ardennerjagers and a lieutenant general, the highest rank in the Belgian army, just like King Leopald III.

 

Mobilisation 1939

 

With the threat of war increasing, the troops had to be mobilized in September 1939. The call-up times of the troops were from 1924 up till 1939. The mobilisation is pictured in the scene with a train. This way, soldiers were transported to their destination.

 

 

Practise with heavy infantry weapons 1940

 

Three heavy water cooled machine guns are on display here. The Vickers (E), the Schwarzlose (O) and the Maxim (D). The Maxim stands on a machine gun carrier. This was initially pulled by dogs, but in 1940 this was done by soldiers. The Lewis machine gun could be used against enemy aircraft.

German paratroopers near Den Haag 1940

 

On the same day, many German paratroopers landed at several places in the country. It was a big surprise. Here and there were victories. Den Haag (Ypenburg), is where it went wrong for the Germans. The intention was to capture the Government and the Queen. Instead of that, however, about 1200 German paratroopers were captured and taken to England. This was a great success for the Dutch military.

 

German Blitzkrieg 1940

 

This large scene symbolizes the rapid conquest of the German armies of Western Europe in 1940. The first scouts on motorcycles have disarmed the Dutch soldiers. Also, there is the SS infantry in camouflaged clothing, which was very modern at the time. They bring a 3.7cm PaK canon to repel attacks of tanks or armoured vehicles. Telephones and other communication equipment were used to maintain the communication.

 

 

German bunker “Atlantik Wall” 1942-1944

 

The Atlantic Wall was a German defense line, which was situated all the way from Norway to the Spanish border. The replicated bunker is a machine gun bunker of the type Regelbau H630. All items in the bunker, such as doors, pressure valves, ventilation and weaponry are original, and come from existing or demolished bunkers.

 

German occupation 1940-1945

 

The Germans were lord and master in Western Europe and they behave like victors. The Volkswagen, known in its military version as the Kübelwagen, stands dominantly in the middle, surrounded by SS men. In the corner stands a 2cm Flak 38 antiaircraft gun with crew. In the background, there is the bunker, which symbolizes the start of the construction of the Atlantic Wall.

 

 

German paratroopers near Woensdrecht 1944

 

This group of paratroopers, from the so-called Kampfgruppe von der Heydte, was located near Ossendrecht, Hoogerheide and Woensdrecht. Their task was to keep the passage from Zeeland to the rest of the Netherlands open for the German troops (the evacuation of the German 15th Army).

 

British and American parachutist near Arnhem 1944

 

The task of the British and American paratroopers was to capture roads and bridges between Eindhoven and Arnhem. In Arnhem, the resistance was so strong, that the English could not maintain control of the bridge. This was partly due to the escape from France of the earlier mentioned 15th German Army.

 

 

German command post heavy Flak battery 1944

 

From a so-called Leitstand, four heavy 10.5cm Flak guns were controlled. Around the Scheldemonding at Vlissingen and Breskens, four of these batteries were stationed. The guns themselves were placed underneath steel domes, to protect the controllers from fragments of their own fire.

Steel machine gun domes 1944

 

Sometimes, on strategic points, steel domes with loopholes for machine guns were built in or on top of bunkers. In Vlissingen, for example, three such bunkers were built. One of the bunkers still stands on the pier of the outer harbour. That has six shooting apertures. The bunker in the museum has three of these holes. The bunker is equipped with an MG-34 with a special mounting. This can be moved from one loophole to another by a rail system.

General Daser Middelburg 1944

 

General Daser was commander in Middelburg. He was persuaded into surrendering his command. In this scene, the British Major Johnson (who pretended to be a colonel in order to get the General to surrender), is leading the General out of his headquarters at the Dam in Middelburg.

Photo gallery Battle for the Schelde 1944

 

The photo gallery includes exclusive photos from the diary of the Canadian surgeon Hillsman. The Red Cross flag this doctor used at West-Kapelle can also be found in the museum.

 

 

 

Commando’s Walcheren 1944

 

The attack of the commando’s took place in Vlissingen and West-Kapelle on 1 November 1944. Commando’s from Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and England participated in these fights. Furthermore, they were assisted by soldiers from Scotland and Canada. This scene shows several commando’s marching through the dunes, after having cleared most of the mines in the area.

German booby trapped radio bunker 1944

 

The Germans have just left this radio room, after having booby trapped it. Even after the actual battle, many people fell victim of these kind of traps and other munitions.

 

Liberation by Canadians and British 1944-1945

 

Finally, after a long period of occupation, the hour of liberation came. The Germans have surrendered themselves, and are standing with their hands in the air. Their weapons are laying down on the ground, and the Canadians take their time to make a good pot of tea. In the background are several British soldiers. Next to the Canadians stand one of the most famous vehicles from World War II, the Willys Jeep.

 

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