Stp Gneisenau (Wenduine)
Wn Blücher III (De Haan)

Map number

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Location

This important strongpoint was mainly located in the dunes of Wenduine just to the west of the western end of the promenade. It strechted west for some distance (see maps below). However, 3 parts of the strongpoint were (possibly) located some distance from the main strongpoint area (see maps below).
1) one of the  FuMG 65 Würzburg Riese radars of the Luftwaffe was allegedly located much more to the west (some 1600m from the western extremity of the strongoint and some 700 metres from the current town exit of De Hann). We are still looking for confirmation of this position.
2) An infantry position was located along the Driftweg (some 500 metres away from the Koninklijke Baan (see maps). Possibly, the function of this strongpoint was to defend the main part of the strongpoint against attack from the south.
3) The Klein Heidelberg onWassermann schwer radar was also located in a small strongpoint along the Driftweg, some 600 metres to the south of 1). This radar was established far away from the other radars, so as not cause interference. Even though this strongpoint tactically belonged to Gneisenau, it had a different name, Wn Blücher III

Tactical function

The strongpoint was primarily an important radar position for both the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine (with Flak defences). In addition, the infantry available protected the strongpoint from the south as well as the beach to the West of Wenduine.
Unit(s) HEER
7.4.41:
II Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 574/304 Infanteriedivision
21.4.41:
I Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 95/17 Infanteriedivision
18.5.41:
III Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 574/304 Infanteriedivision
28.6.41:
I Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 573/304 Infanteriedivision
2.8.41:
II Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 573/304 Infanteriedivision
18.8.41:
II Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 580/306 Infanteriedivision
18.10.41:
III Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 580/306 Infanteriedivision
24.1.42:
I Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 580/306 Infanteriedivision
15.5.42:
7 Kompanie/II Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 580/306 Infanteriedivision
9.10.42:
9 Kompanie + 1 Zug + 1/2 Gruppe von 12/III/Bataillon/Infanterieregiment 580/306 Infanteriedivision
20.11 42:
11 Kompanie/III Bataillon/Grenadierregiment 113/39 Infanteriedivision
12.42:
1. Kompanie/I Bataillon/Grenadierregiment 113/39 Infanteriedivision
15.2.43:
I Bataillon/Reservegrenadierregiment 216/171 Reservedivision
end of March-beginning of April 1943:
2. Kompanie/I Bataillon/Reservegrenadierregiment 216/171 Reservedivision
1944:
Grenadierregiment 127/48 Infanteriedivision
26.5.43:
At this time the 6. Kompanie/Festungsstammtruppen was headquarted in De Haan (with 189 men). It is possible that some of its soldiers were also based in Wenduine.
LUFTWAFFE:
January-February 1943:
6. Flugmeldeleitkompanie/II Abteilung/Luftnachrichtenregiment 52
4. Batterie/Flakartillerieabteilung 452
II/BN (Alarmzug)

1 June 1944:
6. Flugmeldeleitkompaniekompanie/II Abteilung/Luftnachrichtenregiment 52
Zug 142 (L)/XI/ Alarmflakbatterie Luftgaukommando BNF (2x 2cm Flak)(1 December 1943)

KRIEGSMARINE (1 June 1944):
1. Marinefunkmesskompanie
Troops The naval school in Wenduine consisted of 150-200 sailors. Other numbers are not available.  However, we believe there to have been another +/- 200 personnel of all services in the strongpoint, so that a maximum number could be fixed at 400.

Weapons

Exact numbers and types are not available.

Bunkers

LUFTWAFFE:
L480 Unterstand für Wasserman (schwer), L479 Unterstand für Funkmessgeräteauswertung (Jafü) 'Anton', L408 Abteilungsgefechtsstand. An L486 Unterstand für ortsfeste Funkmessgeräte was planned but not constructed.
L409A
HEER:
2x R631 Schartenstand für 4,7cm Festungspak, R636 Befehlstand für Heeresküstenbatterie, R622(?), +14x Vf(2a?), +4x Vf7a, Toilet bunker(s?), +15x barracks, +10x storage, +2x garage, +8x open emplacement for Flak, +9x Tobruk or MG position.
Remaining bunkers Constructions still visible: see the photo report below.
Radar LUFTWAFFE:
1x Klein Heidelberg (auf FuMG 42 Wassermann schwer)(20 20.11.1943 it was reported as under construction)
1x FuSE 80 Freya
1x FuMG 450 Freya A/N
2x FuMG 65 Würzburg Riese
KRIEGSMARINE:
1x FuMO 214 Würzburg Riese (Seetakt)
1x FuMO 2 Calais B (Seetakt)
Comments The code name of the Luftwaffe radar position was BREMSE, while that of the Kriegsmarine was EMMA I.
Etude de Logistique WENDUINE-WEST
This position, occupied by a section of infantry, housed radars for the German navy and air force. The Albert Park, specifically, will be fortified most heavily. It includes:
-1 bunker in armoured concrete functioning as a guard bunker, camouflaged as a shop(?)(magasin), with a 60cm searchlight on top.
-1 identical bunker, camouflaged as a patisserie. In between these two bunkers the Germans placed a 4.7cm Pak
-in the bend of the dyke: 2x 5cm KwK
-another bunker also functioned as a guard bunker. It was camouflaged as a local house.
-a dozen or so bunkers for troops
To the south of this position, there was a circular MG position and 2x 2cm Flak guns. The strongpoint was surrounded by barbed wire and a generator, placed in a bunker, provided emergency power. In this position there were 2 navy radars, both of which with a bunker. The antenna on top was rectangular, 3m wide and 17.75m high
WENDUINE-SOUTH
This was a radio station of the Luftwaffe. Here there was a parabolic antenna with a 4(7?)-metre diametre and a cabin attached. The command post was situated to the right of this antenna, behind which there was also a radar with 2 antennae of 20m high, 100m away from the CP. A small bunker contained a powerful generator behind the CP.
A second radar installation is located more to the south, close to the main road with its CP immediately to its right. This strongpoint consisted of a network of (covered) trenches. Work was first started in 1943
Four emplacement for heavy guns were built, but never contained any guns. On the tops of the dunes several AT-positions were established, but only a few of these actually received a Pak gun
Some heavy MG and MGFlak positions surrounded this strongpoint, while the water tower served as an observation post.
The preventorium was used by the naval school and recruitment centre by the Kriegsmarine.  Between 150 and 200 sailors were based here.
To the west of this strongpoint there were 2 more radar installations using antennae identical to those of the previous strongpoints. Small bunkers contained the generators and the troops were lodged in wooden barracks. Not far from here to the West there was a powerful 150cm searchlight.
(Source: Francart (1988))
Resistance Service Marc: end of October 1942 (sketch not available):
Opposite the water tower there is a dummy position, with a barracks made of branhes and covered by a camouflage net. In the dunes to the north there is a large construction in armoured concrete with a height of 5 metres, a length of 10 metres and 1 steel door at the back, 50m away from the road and 400m from the water tower, which doubles as an observation post (a brick observation post was constructed on the roof).
Service Marc: end of October 1942:
Opposite the water tower there is now a 7.7cm gun, a new radar (in the form of a cone (15m high) as well as another small radar in the form of a cone 50 metres from the other. The brushwood along the main road has been removed over a length of 50 metres, but still camouflages 3 MG positions, to the northeast of which there is a radar as well as a military pigeon cote. 200 metres to the southeast, there is a battery of 150mm guns pointing towards Oostende.
Service Marc: 10.3.1943:
This report details 5 radars and 2 buildings for signal reception.
Service Marc: 10.5.1943
The German navy as 2 schools: one in Wenduine (for training young navy recruits) and one in De Haan (for training NCOs in radar techniques).
Service Marc: 5.10.43
200 metres NNE of the water tower there is a tubular structure, 30 to 40m high, with a diameter of 2-3m and a thickness of 8mm.
(Source: Francart (1988))
Etat-Major de Destruction The maps below show the constructions located after the war by the Etat-Major de la Destruction of the Belgian army. Even though it was a huge strongpoint with more than 100 constructions, only 7 were found to be of concrete.
TOP OVERLAYS
The numbers on the map below corresponded with the following constructions:
2. gun casemate flanking east
3. MG position (likely to have been one of the ex-Belgian MG cupolas)
5. Observation post
7. Gun casemate flanking west
10. Flak position
11. Gun casemate flanking west
12. MG position (likely to have been one of the ex-Belgian MG cupolas)
19. Emergency shelter/storage? with 1 entrance, 3 rooms and walls 1.2m thick (still visible today)
24. MG position
25. Open emplacement for radar (Calais B of Kriegsmarine)
26. MG position
27-29. Underground bunker with 1 entrance, 1 room, walls 1m thick and a protective wall
31. Bunket with 2 entrances, 2 rooms and walls of 1m
32. Open emplacement for mortar or gun
33. Open emplacement for Flak (still visible today)
34. Bunker with 1 entrance, 1 room, protective wall and walls of 1m
35. Same as 32
36. MG position
37. Bunker with 1 entrance, 1 room, protective wall and walls of 1m
38. Underground bunker with 2 entrances, 2 rooms, walls of 1m and protective wall
40. MG position
42. Bunker with 1 entrance, 1 room, protective wall and walls of 1m
43. Open emplacement for mortar or gun
44. Open emplacement for radar (Würzburg of Kriegsmarine)
45. Bunker with 1 entrance, 1 room, protective wall and walls of 1m
47. Open emplacement for mortar or gun
48. Toilet bunker
49-50. Bunker with 1 entrance, 1 room, protective wall and walls of 1m
52. Open emplacement for Flak
53-55. MG positions
56. Observation and command bunker
56'. Partially underground bunker with two entrances, protective wall and walls of 80cm
60. MG position
61. Partially underground telephone bunker with walls of 2m (L479)
66. Partially underground first aid bunker
69. Open emplacement for radar
71. Open emplacement for Flak
75. MG position
76. Open emplacement for radar
78. Open emplacement for Flak
91. Open emplacement for radar
BOTTOM OVERLAY
The numbers on the map below corresponded with the following constructions:
1. Demolished construction
2. Concrete bunker with 2 entrances, multiple rooms and entrance defences (headquarters)
3. Open emplacement for Flak (still visible today)
4. Barracks (still visible today)
5. Open emplacement for Flak
6. Garage (still visible today)
7. Large concrete bunker for Klein Heidelberg on Wasserman schwer (L480)
8. Concrete bunker (still visible today)
9. Concrete road constructed by the Germans (still visible today)
(Source: Francart (1988)

 

See this strongpoint on Google Earth



Maps of this strongpoint
(post-war)
(Winrar and password required)
click here

 

Below are some impressions of this strongpoint
The numbers below refer to the above maps
BUNKERS AT THE COAST (north)(Stp Gneisenau)
1. Guard bunker or emergency shelter/storage?
The exact function of this bunker (no. 19 on the maps above) is unclear. However, the bunker was claimed to have one entrance, three rooms and walls of 1.2m thick. Either it was a guard bunker (camouflaged as a store) or an emergency shelter/storage bunker.
Stairs lead to a higher level. Were these stairs built by the Germans?
2. Vf2a bunker (?)
Again, the exact nature of this construction is unclear. What we see, however, looks like the covered entrance section of a bunker, possibly a Vf2a.
The adjacent flattened terrain would seem not to have had any constructions on it.
Was his perhaps the parade ground?
From here, stairs (German-built) lead south to a highr level
3. Open emplacement for Flak gun
There is little doubt as to the funtion of this construction:
an emplacement for a 20mm Flak gun (no. 33 on the maps above)
4. Unidentified bunker (personnel/storage?)
This bunker is visible on the map drawn by Etat-Major de la Destruction (just left of no. 36). Its exact function is unknown, but personnel or storage are good possibilities. The bunker is located high up but close to the present-day chalet on the site. It is also visible from below as the last picture proves.
5. Unidentified construction
This construction is not visible on on the map drawn by Etat-Major de la Destruction.
Its nature or function are both unknown.
6. Unidentified construction
This construction is not visible on the map drawn by Etat-Major de la Destruction.
Its nature or function are both unknown.
BUNKERS ON MILITARY GROUNDS (South)(Wn Blücher III)
The following bunkers are located on miitary grounds and access is strictly prohibited.
A warm thanks to the military for allowing me access to this site.
This strongpoint was called Wn Blücher III
7.Concrete path
The concrete path leading up the hill was constructed by the Germans (no. 9 on the maps above).
8. Garage
This garage was originally built by the Germans (no. 6 on the maps above).
9. L480 (remains)
The building on the top of the hill today houses the guard dogs in service with the Belgian army. The L480 bunker is partially underneath the construction (left) and partially underneath the open space in front (right). Here concete can still be found in the ground (no. 7 on the maps above).
10. L409A
A small set of stairs leads to the L409A Unterstand mit aufgesetztem Geschützstand für 2 oder 3.7cm Flak. (no. 8 on the maps above)
These pictures show the open Flak emplacement on top of the bunker.
The entrance of the bunker with the Verteidigungsscharte or entrance protection.
The crew room has been demolished as a result of an explosion.
Here we see the passage from the crew room into the storage room.
Inside the storage room
This is the other end of the Eingangsverteidigung (with text!).
The next room in the bunker is the Munitionsraum.
A view from the Munitionsraum back into the storage room.
11. Barracks (brick)
The entrance towards the barracks (no. 4 on the maps above)
The barracks are completely surrounded by a concrete protective wall
This is the room hiding behind the brown door in the picture above
The rear side of the barracks, still very well protected by the concrete wall.
On the western side there is a passage into the concrete wall.
It gives access into a very small room.
Some of the room inside.
Before the new dog compound was built the guard dogs stayed in these barracks.
There is also a technical room.
Back outside, this picture shows that only the roof of the barracks stuck out.
12. Open emplacement for Flak
Nearby there are the remains of an open emplacement for a Flak gun (no. 3 on the maps above)
13. Concrete bases for the Heidelberg/Wassermann radar.
The radar antennae were attached to concrete bases on three (four?) sides.
Each side consisted of 1 heavy or 2 small bases (?).
The 2 small concrete bases on the southern side.
A big concrete base on the western side
What was attached to this plate?
And the last large concrete base on the northeastern side.