Zwankendamme - fuel tanks

Map number

-

Location

This location is situatued along the Boudewijn canal linking Brugge to Zeebrugge on the territory of Zwankendamme.

Tactical function

Belgian/NATO fuels depot
Unit(s) 4 (BE) Pipeline Organisation (see below)
Troops ?

Weapons

?

Bunkers

3x bunker (each containing 4 tanks)
Remaining bunkers 3x bunker (each containing 4 tanks)
Radar -
Comments For the sake of clarity: as far as we know this location has never been used by the Germans, let alone been a German strongpoint. The bunkers were built before WWII by the Belgian army. Construction was interrupted by the German invasion and the occupation. The bunkers were finished after the war and served to supply the newly-established Royal Belgian Navy with fuel.  At that time the navy in Zeebrugge was located near the old cokes works.
Until 1984-85 the fuel tanks (12 in all) were connected to the network of the 4 (Belgian) Pipeline Division. This unit of the Belgian army was responsible for managing the NATO pipelines in Belgium and Luxemburg. The unit still existed in 2004. At some point after that, the name was changed into Belgian Pipeline Organisation (see below).

The 12 fuel reservoirs in Lissewege were only a part of a much larger network of fuel reservoirs in the Zeebrugge area. From 1952 the depot for fuels was called 532 Depot Kwartiermeester Klas III. It had four operating areas with no fewer than 38 fuel tanks:
Area 1: the current Kwartier Knapen with 18 underground fuel tanks
Area 2: the canal zone (the zone under investigation here) with 12 fuel tanks (closed today)
Area 3: the Zeematex zone with 8 fuel tanks (closed today)
Area 4: the Kwartier Rademakers in Lissewege (closed today)
These four areas were connected by an underground pipeline which could receive fuel from the Zeebrugge jetty and deliver this to customers (from the Zeematex for diesel and from Lissewege for petrol)
In 1968 the depot received a new mission; externally reconditioning jerry cans. For this purpose a special plant was erected with a capapcity to recondition 100,000 jerry cans each year.
In 1971 it was decided to erected a new complex in Lissewege (the current closed Kwartier Rademakers) and  to modernise the installations in Zeebrugge.
Thoughout the years the 532 Depot Kwartiermeester Klas III changed names and subordinations many times:An overview:
1952: depot under the command of the 53 Bataljon Kwartiermeester
1955: independent unit
?: subordinated to 34 Bataljon Kwartiermeester
1965: again subordiated to the re-established 53 Bataljon Kwartiermeester
1970: independent unit, known as Depot Lissewege
1975: depot integrated in the newly-estabished Depot Complex Lissewege
1984-85: the Zeematex and canal zone installations (including the zone under investigation here) were emptied and closed
1993: closure of the jerry can reconditioning facility, after the production of 2, 127,646 jerry cans since 1968.
1995: the depot received a new name: 930 Compagnie Klas III
2002: the 930 Compagnie Klas III was disbanded but because of existing stocks and environmental regulations the disbandment has been postponed until ?.
Currently, the 930 Compagnie Klas III is now a sub-unit of the 101 Compagnie Ravitaillering, itself subordinated to the 29 Bataljon Logistiek with the name 101 Compagnie Ravitaillering/Detachement Achterhoede Zeebrugge

Today the agency managing the NATO Pipeline System (NPS) in Central-Europe (including Belgium) is the Central Europe Pipeline System (CEPS), created in 1958. CEPS is managed on a day-to-day basis by the Central Europe Pipeline System Programme Office (CEPS PO) in Versailles (France)(since 2012; before that Central Europe Pipeline Management Organisation), represented in Belgium and Luxemburg by the Belgian Pipeline Organisation (the former 4 (BE) Pipeline Division, administratively a part of the Belgian Defence, with headquarters in Leuven (Parkstraat 36). CEPS does not cater only for military customers. Also civil organisations (e.g. civil airports) now receive their fuels through the pipeline system. Fuels transported are Jet Fuel A1 (kerosene), Diesel and domestic fuel oil.
Additions and/or corrections to the above text are very welcome.
Service Marc -
DOVO -

 

See this strongpoint on Google Earth


 

Below are some impressions of this strongpoint
The numbers below refer to the above maps
1. Southern bunker (4 tanks)
This picture shows the full size of only one of the tanks.
The rear side of the southern bunker
A brick construction between the individual tanks
In front of the bunker a pit, probably to refuel vehicles.
The right  and left front sides of the southern bunker
Who knows what the exact purpose was of these brick constructions and others on the site? Were they meant to make bombs bounce off? Why then were they constructed in brickwork?
The entrance to this bunker
View of the entrance corridor
2. Central bunker (4 tanks)
The second bunker is identical.
The front and bricked-up entrance of this bunker. 
3. Northern bunker  (4 tanks)
The third bunker
The entrance has been completely bricked up too.
4. Garage (north)
At the extreme northern end of the terrain we find a brick building,
which was probably a garage.
5. Garage (south)
An identical construction at the southern end
Refuelling pits
Spread across the terrain are these pits, most probably for refuelling purposes.