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National Park De Hoge Veluwe: excursion Deelen World War II
 
Latest update: March 2019
 
National Park De Hoge Veluwe is located in a triangle between the cities of Apeldoorn, Arnhem and Ede and adjacent to military aviation terrain Deelen. Hoge Veluwe has the first right to buy MAT Deelen when the Dutch MoD should decide leave. However with the current security situation in the world and rising defence budgets after a period of 25 years of reductions this is unlikely. Dutch military aviation began at Soesterberg (July 1, 1913) with the activation of the aviation department of the Royal Netherlands Army. It was tasked with patrol of the borders with Belgium and Germany to safeguard Dutch neutrality. In support of its mission five support air bases were selected: Arnhem (Deelen), Nieuw Milligen (currently AOCS - Air Operations Control Station NM), Gilze-Rijen (currently Defence Helicopter Command), Venlo and Vlissingen.

One month prior to the invasion of the Netherlands the unpaved runways of Deelen were ploughed to prevent use by the Germans. On May 10 the German invaded the Netherlands leading to the capitulation of May 15 one day after the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) bombed the city center of Rotterdam on May 14.

During World War II the Germans build Fliegerhorst (air base) Deelen. Already before the war started the area was mapped by four Germans including an aviator. The later drew a map with three runways in a A-shape offering take-off and landings in all directions. Deelen was found very suitable to accommodate the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) due to its soil. Soon after The Netherlands was occupied (invaded May 10 and surrendered May 15 after the center of Rotterdam was bombed a day before). The Germans build Fliegerhorst (air base) Deelen with circumference of 25 km (4.000 ha) of which part was located of what is now national park de Hoge Veluwe. The runways were build in the letter A-shape providing for take-offs and landings in all directions. Except the runways the Germans build hangars, maintenance facilities and 60 covered aircraft parking places. To evade detection far-reaching integrated camouflage was used and the building walls were made of thick concrete to withstand damage in case of being bomed by the allied forces. Another camouflage tactic was the represent military facilities as farms.
The A-shape runway structure is still visible (Google Earth view).

In 1942 fliegerhorst Deelen construction of a railroad was completed. Two railway tracks were created in the west the so-called bommenlijntje (bomb line) and at the southern part sidings tracks, several loading and unloading platforms and two large storage sheds. Also in 1942 the Germans started to build a bunker named Diogenes in Schaarsbergen. It took 14 months to build and deliver the bunker which served as the operational flight control center for the Netherlands, Belgium and northern France. In the main hall a large map was constructed with all German radar installations and air bases. 600 female personnel were responsible for projecting allied airplane movements on the map. The Germans then directed their fighters for intercepts on the allied airplanes. Diogenes was also build on other occupied countries. In The Netherlands it was operational for roughly 12 months. In September 1944 the allies commenced operation Market Garden aimed at capturing five bridges the last being the Rhine bridge in Arnhem to secure a corridor to launch an attack on the industrial hart of Germany in the Rurh area. At the start of operation Market Garden the Germans blew up Diogenes which only resulted in the destruction of the inside of the building including the map however the bunker itself remained intact. The Germans also build a Flackstelle (anti aircraft artillery) located on what is now the Reemsterveld.

Different tracks still refer to the use by the Germans of Fliegerhorst Deelen on NP De Hoge Veluwe. These can be visted by registering on one of the excursions offered to this area. The location itself is mostly off limits as its serves as a wildlife resting area.

Hoge Veluwe area near Deelen (Google Earth view). 

1: During WWII platform to load and unload trains.
2: Remnants of the during infrastructure in the current landscape are still visible from the sky.
 
Photo gallery
 
Important note: all photos below are taken in areas off limits to the public as all these remnants from the German period at Deelen during WWII are located in a rest area for big game. National Park De Hoge Veluwe offers "Wandelexcursie Hoge Veluwe en Tweede Wereldoorlog" (Walking excursion Hoge Veluwe and World War II) to visit these locations. Please check their website and calendar for availability and prices.
 
     
Old bunker now used by bats.  Zinkgat rain drainage from the air base. View of "het Zinkgat"
     
     
Transformer hours.  View of "het Zinkgat"   Remnant of the old "bommenlijntje"  
     
     
Bomb line still visible in the landscape.  Bomb crater left after an allied mission.  Basalt and rock of former buildings. 
     
     
One of the old dispersal area  used to accomodate the Luftwaffe aircraft based at Fliegerhorst Deelen.
     
     
Remnants of the Lorenz beam a blind landing radio navigation system. Area used as train terminal during WWII.
     
     
Part of a tree covering a hole of which
several are
scattered in the area and mark old underground structures.