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Why fortificate Hanstholm?

In September 1940 the Highcommand of the german Kriegsmarine decided, by request from Hitler, to place a heavy gun battery in Hanstholm.

At the same time, a similar battery in Kristiansand, Norway was planned.

Theese two batteries had each a range of 55 kilometers and could allmost cover Skagerrak. On the remaining 10 kilometer small "stripe", massive minefields were laid down.

The purpose of building these two batteries was primary to prevent the british navy from disturbing the german traffic to Norway and secondary to prevent penetrating into the Baltic Sea through the Skagerrak.

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Mines in Skagerrak

During 1940-1945 the german Kriegsmarine laid and maintained a mineblockade in Skagerrak in the area between Kristiansand and Hanstholm.

The purpose of the blockade was to prevent allied navyships access to Skagerrak. The germans consider it extremely important to keep the english navy out of Skagerrak because of the important traffic connection between Germany and Norway.

The first mines were laid out on April 9. and during April over 1.600 mines were added to various minefields in the area.

A passage approx. 10 nautical mile wide was made under the coast, where german ships could sail in and out of Skagerrak without hitting any mines.

The passage were on both sides guarded with artillery guns on land and guardships at sea.

Fortification Area

The fortification in Hanstholm covered in 1945 an area of over 9 square kilometers.

The germans had classified the area as "Verteidigungsbereich" (Defence Area) which meant that the fortification should secure an area of special importance, namely the 17 cm and the 38 cm gun batteries (1/MAA 118 and 2/MAA 118).

The area had several hundreds bunkers, where the heaviest had a wall thickness of up to 3,5 meters.

Besides the 2 main batteries, where were over 60 AA-guns with calibres from 2,0 cm to 10,5 cm.

For perimeter protection the area were covered by over 30 mortars of various calibres, 11 anti-tank guns and over 150 machine guns nests.

Aside the active protection, the whole area were packed with mine fields, anti tank trenches and lots of barbed wire.

To man the installations, where were approx. 6.000 soldiers from the german Kriegsmarine (Navy) and Heer (Army).

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1 = 5/MFlA 814, 2 = 1/MAA 118, 3 = 2/MFlA 814, 4 = 2/MAA 118, 5 = MAA 118, 6 = 4/MFlA 814, 7 = Mammuth Radar
8 = 3/MFlA 814, 9 = Cheating Battery, 10 = 1/MFlA 814, 11 = Würzburg Riese Radar

Photo of the moment

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Atlantic Wall Books