Stp Hundius (Oostende)
Halve Maan (Ostende 01/V)
Post-War Signal Station (PWSS)

Map number

-

Location

This strongpoint is located immediately south of the eastern jetty of the port of Oostende.

Tactical function

The strongpoint contained a naval battery defending the port of Oostende against an invasion fleet, as well as a Flak unit defending the against low-flying aircraft. Some army soldiers must also have been based here. Further, several headquarters were also located here (see below). Finally, the strongpoint also had a post-war (Cold War) function (see below).
Unit(s) KRIEGSMARINE
Stab/Marineartillerieabteilung 204
(from early 1943 onwards. Before the headquarters had been located in the city at the eastern end of the Albert I promenade)
2. Batterie/Marineartillerieabteilung 204
(until 1 July 1943)
LUFTWAFFE
Stab/gemischte Flakabteilung 252(?)
.
The location of this headquarters here is uncertain, however, as there is some conflicting evidence. On the one hand, we know that until early 1943 the headquarters was undoubtedly located at the Stp Immelmann in the city of Oostende (near the promenade). A large command bunker L408 was even constructed there. However, a map of March 1943 shows the headquarters to have been moved to the Halve Maan. If this is correct the question can then be raised why the headquarters were moved. The only answer we can think of is that the headquarters were then located more safely in one of the 3 Panzerstützpunkte which was not the case with Stp Immelmann.
II. Zug/4. Batterie/Reserveflakabteilung 252
(until 1 February 1943, when the unit was located in Wenduine)
Zug/5.
or 6. Batterie/gemischte Flakabteilung 252 (from February 1943(?), first mentioned in an overview of 1 December 1943)
HEER
It is likely that a small number of army troops (possibly Festungsstammtruppen) were also located at the Halve Maan (if only to operate e.g. the R515), though there are no exact details in this respect.
Troops The exact number of troops to have been present is unknown

Weapons

The exact number of and type of weapons to have been present is unknown, but see below for the most important ones.

Bunkers

4x R515, R612, R631, R610, L410A, L421A, R656, Fire control post and observation bunker, Ammunition bunker, 19thC gun powder storage building, WWI generator bunker, 7x Brick quarters, WWI guard building, WWI quarters, Canteen building, 2x Brick construction, 2x Open gun emplacement, 3x Open emplacement for Flak, Post-war IFF building, Post-war observation post
Remaining bunkers R515, R610, L410A, L421A, R656, Fire control post and observation bunker, Ammunition bunker, 19thC gun powder storage building, WWI generator bunker, 7x Brick quarters, WWI guard building, WWI quarters, Canteen building, 2x Brick construction, 2x Open gun emplacement, 3x Open emplacement for Flak, Post-war IFF building, Post-war observation post
Radar After WWII the Belgian Navy installed a radar station at the strongpoint (see below).
Comments The name Halve Maan refers to the form of a semi-circle. As early as 1601 Spanish canons were located here to defend the port and city against Dutch and English ships. In the second half of the 19th century, the Belgians established a redoubt here with 5 canons. Some buildings of this period still remain (see below).
From 2 Noevember 1941 the Germans established Batterie Eylau on the site with 1 10,5cm, 5 88mm guns, 2 5,2cm guns and 3 3,7cm guns . The battery played a major role in combatting the British blocking attempts in April and May 1918. After the liberation of Oostende, the Allies installed 2 10,5cm French guns here on 29 October 1918, in order to prevent an enemy operation. Some constructions of this era still remain on the site today (see below).
Before WWI the site was home to a Belgian battery equipped with 4x 12cm guns.
Retracing the history of this strongpoint during WWII is a bit of a challenge, since its name and, particularly, its place in the larger organization of Oostende changed quite a lot  over the war years. We will first sketch the situation in June 1944, after which we will say more abou the earlier war years and about the post-war cold war function of the strongpoint.
JUNE 1944
At the highest level of fortfication Oostende was a Stützpunktgruppe, NOT a Verteidigungsbereich or Festung. The main reasons for this were the limited unloading capacity of the port, the navigationally unfavourable waters in front of the port/city and the many inland waterways, which meant access to the city from the interior could easily be blocked.. Yet, the city and port installations were deemed important enough to further divide the Stützpunktgruppe into 3 Panzerstütspunkte:
- PzStp Ostende-Hafen
(probably coded Ostende 017)(defending the port)
- PzStp Blaue Schleuse (coded Ostende 015)(defending the eastern land access)
- PzStp Stene (coded Ostende 014)(defending the southwestern approaches)
In what follows we will only concentrate on the Stp Ostende-Hafen. This strongpoint was delineated by the outport in the west, the sea in the north and the Spuikom in the south. The eastern boundary of the strongpoint was constituted by an anti-tank wall between the Spuikom and the sea. There was also an anti-tank ditch running from the Spuikom past Stene to Mariakerke at the western side of Oostende. The relatively high level of fortification was due to the presence of important naval installtion, notably the Schnellboot base and the naval battery Hundius.
The most important strongpoint within the Panzerstützpunkt Ostende-Hafen was the Stp Hundius, coded Ostende 01. This large strongpoint was itself subdivided in (probably) 5 sectors:
- Ostende 01/I located around the maritime hospital
- Ostende 01/II with the Marineküstenbatterie Hundius
- Ostende 01/III and Oostende01/IV, which have not yet been located with any certainty.
- Ostende /V encompassing the site of the Halve Maan
1940-JUNE 1944
The importance of the location was realised immediately by the Kriegsmarine for the second time in a century. Where the Batterie Eylau had been located in WWI (see above), the Germans installed captured Polish 75mm guns as early as June 1940. Captured 12cm Belgians guns may also have been located here.
In November 1941 the Batterie Hundius was equipped with 4x 75mm captured Polish field guns. Also located here was the Wn Willy. A detailed map of Oostende, dated 17 May 1942, clearly shows the Batterie Hundius and the Stp Willy to be 2 distinct entities, with the latter situated west of the former. Also shown on this map is the lighthouse, functioning as Marinesignalstelle. A map of 9 October 1942 again clearly shows the Stp Willy and the naval battery, the latter occupied by the 2. Batterie/MAA 204.
In December 1942 the Stp Willy, the Stp Batterie Hundius and the Flak unit (see below) were unified into one strongpoint, called Stp Hundius.
On a map of the 39 Infanteriedivision showing the situation at the end of 1942 - beginning of 1943) the 2/MAA 204 is shown to be equipped with 4x 105mm Polish guns.
In 1943 the port installations became Panzerstützpunkt Ostende-Hafen. In addition to the MKB Hundius an important strongpoint within this larger whole was the Stp Hafen, of which the command post was located in the R610 command bunker and of which the Halve Maan site was initially apparently a part. This can still be seen today: even though the German bunkers contain the code Ostende/V, the latter Roman numeral was clearly added at a later time (contrary to, e.g. the bunkers in the new MKB Hundius).
On 1 July 1943 the naval battery moved to its new location between the lighthouse and the Fort Napoleon. It was re-equipped with 4x 105mm SK L/40 guns. However, the Luftwaffe Flak remained at the Halve Maan position. A Flak unit had been present here for some years: the II. Zug/4. Batterie/Reserveflakabteilung 252 equipped with 20mm and possibly 40mm Flak (captured British guns). According to one source the Flak strongpoint briefly became independent in 1943 (Stp Uhu). In 1944 the Flak unit present was a Zug of the 5. or 6. Batterie/gemischte Flakabteilung 252. It was equipped with 2 cm guns for protection against low-flying aircraft.
POST WAR (COLD WAR)
The history of the Halve Maan site does not stop with the end of WWII. In 1950 the Belgian Navy started using the site and installed a so-called PWSS (or Post-War Signal Station). The purpose of this station was to identify, control and guide ships and convoys in a war-time situation. The bunker R610 was converted into a naval command post. This activity ceased in 1990. Some buildings still remind us of this post-war function (see below). Until the 1960s the Halve Maan was also the location of a MUD (Mijnenuitkijkdetectie) beacon which enabled the military to pinpoint where a mine had been dropped by using trigonometrical calculations.

 

See this strongpoint on Google Earth


 

Below are some impressions of this strongpoint
The numbers below refer to the above maps
Overview (from rear)
Overview (from rear): details
The above pictures provide a very nice overview of the rear end of this strongpoint.
1. Brick quarters
We start our tour in the southeastern corner of the position with this brick quarters.
The entrance
The long side of the construction
On the eastern side an overhang has partly collapsed.
2. R656
The R656 was an Unterstand für 15 Mann.
The back side of the bunker and the entrance to the Tobruk
The inside of the Tobruck and view from it
One of the ventilation openings
The bunker number is still clearly present: Ostende 01 - 134/V.
It can be clearly seen here that the V was added at a later time (see above).
The entrance corridor with the Eingangsverteidigung
Adjacent is a partly demolished brick annex
Some pictures of the inside
From here a staircase leads down again
3. Brick quarters (sanitary)
Coming down the stairs and turning right we find this building
Some pictures of the inside
The presence of tiled walls would suggest a sanitary function.
Some of the post-war electrical and communications equipment is still present.
Further pictures of the inside of this construction
4. Central passage
A central passage leads all the way to the top of the dune.
5. Brick construction
Just left off the passage is this small construction. Its exact purpose is unknown.
The entrance (left) is protected by a brick wall (right).
The inside
6. Brick quarters
This is the first of the two quarters at the back of the position, west of the central passage.
Some pictures of the inside of the quarters.
7. WWI quarters
This is a most interesting building as it dates back to WWI. In 1918 the Germans established an Einfahrtskommando at the site, in order to be able to blindly guide ships into the port with the aid of radio. The installation consisted of an observation bunker (disappeared now) and this quarters with one or two antennae on the top.
The sides of this building
From here a set of stairs leads up to a higher level.
8. Ammunition bunker
This ammunition bunker has a protected entrance corridor.
Close-up view of the entrance corridor
The picture of the right shows the entrance to the western ammunition room
Pictures of the inside of the western ammunition room...
... and of the eastern ammunition room
Here we see a Eingangsverteidigung of the bunker.
From the ammo bunker, a long staircase leads up to a higher level
9. Brick quarters
Taking this staircase we see this brick quarters mid-way on our right
10. Open emplacement for Flak
At the top of the staircase we find the first of three open emplacements for Flak at the site.
The entrance to the emplacement
These pictures clearly show that the base is much more robust than necessary for a German 20mm or 37mm Flak gun. The reason for this is that the Belgian navy reinforced these bases after the war to install 75mm guns
11. Concrete block
This concrete block is remarkable, but its precise function or origin unknown.
12. WWI generator bunker
This construction needs to be linked to no. 7 above as it was actually the WWI generator bunker for the antennae of the Einfahrtskommando.
The entrance to the bunker is shielded by two brick walls.
The entrance
The inside of the bunker
13. Brick construction
This brick construction is located very close to the L410A bunker below and be regarded as an annex of the latter.
The entrance
The inside of this construction shows one room.
14. L410A
The presence of three Flak emplacements (one Zug) necessitated the presence of a Zugbefehlsstelle. Hence the presence of this L410A Unterstand mit aufgesetztem Geschützstand für 2/3,7cm Flak mit Zugbefehlsstelle. Clearly visible in the pictures is that the bunker was constructed with Formsteine instead of the concrete being poured.
The bunker is only accessible through the left entrance. The door is post-war and the picture on the right shows the entrance to the gas lock with behind it the Nahkampfraum.
Inside the Nahkampfraum
This is a view of the inside of the Funkraum or communications room.
These pictures show the first Bereitschaftsraum or crew room
The left picture shows the inside of the Funkraum (communications room), while the right picture shows the inside of the Unteroffiziersraum
Here we see the second Bereitschaftsraum
From the latter room we can walk through to the other (bricked up) exit/entrance 
A set of stairs leads up to the open emplacement for the Flak gun 
Middle-left in this picture we see the open emplacement on top of the bunker. 
15. Open emplacement for Flak
This is the third open emplacement for a Flak gun 
The entrance to the emplacement 
Again, note the extra reinforced base to accommodate the post-war 75mm gun (also see above) 
16. R515
In the northwestern corner of the position we find this R515 MG-Kasematte am Vorderhang 
Stairs lead down to the single entrance. 
The entrance and the long corridor to the Bereitschaftsraum and the Kampfraum. 
The bulgy part is the crew room. Note the presence of a large emergency exit.
The front of this bunker with the Scharte. It stil has its armoured plate, i.e. 2x 7P7, which together provides a thickness of 20cm.
17. IFF building
This room housed the post-war IFF antenna. IFF is short for Identification Friend or Foe and was meant to interrogate ships as to their friendly or hostile nature. 
The inside of this building 
18. Brick quarters
Close by is another brick quarters. 
One has to descend a flight of stairs (back) to get to the actual entrance of the building. 
Some of the installations are still present.
Immediately opposite lies this small construction. 
19. Brick quarters
These brick quarters (pre-WWII?) lie adjacent to the main path running through the middle of the position. 
20. L421A
Following the path further down we come across the L421A Unterstand für Befehlsstelle. This bunker would have been the headquarters of the gemischte Flakabteilung 252, if it was ever located here at all (see above). 
The entrance to the bunker. The original armoured door has been replaced. 
The clear bunker number Ostende 01-132/VI. Again note how the V was clearly added at a later time (see also above). 
The corridor leading towards the other (bricked up) entrance. 
The Eingangsverteidigung is present here. 
Pictures showing the inside of the right-hand side room. This was the Bereitschaftsraum
The Eingangsverteidigung now seen from the other side.
Here we see the left-hand room of the bunker. Here the Arbeitszimmer or work room was located. Some of the ventilation pipes are still present.
The Eingangsverteidigung in this room was bricked up 
Message warning that any connection of an electrical appliance is forbidden 
The Arbeitszimmer had a small extension
which functioned as Vermittlung or communications room. 
The tiled floor of this part of the room 
Some details 
21. WWI guard building
This is the third WWI-construction present on the site. 
22. 19th-century gun powder storage building
Of considerable historical importance is this gun powder storage building, which dates back to the 19th century. Indeed, from 1860 onwards the redoubt De Halve Maan was constructed here. It consisted of 5 canons and this building. 
The 2 entrances of this remarkable building 
The inside of this large building. 
One of its windows 
23. R610
To the northeast of no. 22 lies the R610 Gefechtsstand für eine verstärkte Kompanie oder für Batterieoffiziere. This bunker housed the headquarters of the Panzerstützpunkt Ostende-Hafen. The pictures show the rear of the building with the entrance. 
The offener Beobachter was closed after the war. 
The entrance to the bunker 
The Nahkampfraum (left) and one of the post-war doors (right). 
View into the right-hand side room.  
Views from both ends of the passage between the two crew rooms. 
The crew room was completely refitted by the Belgian army after the war. The bunker functioned as the command centre for the Post-War Signal Station (PWSS). 
These pictures were taken in the left-hand side crew room. This room was turned into a situation room where the data of the PWSS could be processed. Impressively, some of the large plotting boards are still available and some of the texts can still be made out.
Further details of the walls of this room. 
The 2 Eingangsverteidigungsscharten were kept...
... though new ventilation systems were installed. 
24. Post-war observation post (with generator room)
After WWII an observation post was built on top of the bunker. 
Still present on the ground level are two large generators to provide a guarenteed power supply in case of an electrical failure.
There are other rooms behind the generator room 
All the rooms clearly had a technical function.  
Some of the original equipment is still present. 
The staircase leading to the observation room. 
The inside of the observation room.
From here you can get a wonderful overview of a large part of the strongpoint. 
There is also a side corridor 
25. Open gun emplacement
Here we see one of the open gun emplacements of the original location of the Batterie Hundius. Amazingly, the original degrees for aiming painted in white on a red background are still in near-perfect condition.
26. Brick quarters
Located between the two open emplacements are these brick quarters. 
The entrance ...
...and the room inside 
27. Fire control post and observation post
Adjacent to the eastern open emplacement (no. 28 below) are 2 constructions. A curved passage leads to the fire control post of the original Hundius battery. More to the front (and visible on the right-hand side picture) we see a covered brick trench leading to an observation post. The latter construction must have been added later.
28. Open gun emplacement
The second open gun emplacement of the original Batterie Hundius, with the degrees again present in near-mint condition.
29. Canteen building
The last building on the site is this one which functioned as a canteen. 
Bow section of HMS Vindictive
Quite recently, the bow section of HMS Vindictive, commemorating the Ostend raid of 1918 has been moved to a very prominent position on a jetty opposite the strongpoint.
Commemoration plate
This plaque commemorates the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Ostend. Its shows Rommel during a visit to the Halve maan strongpoint.