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More air-activity


In this section we shall address the matters related to airforce and airdefence.

Souburg AFB

The 7,5 cm AAA guns at Souburgh AFB had been detected by the Luftwaffe on the second day. They were attacked a number of times by German fighters.

No damage was done to the battery, and none of the crew was hit. One of the planes was hit, however it could not be confirmed as actually being crashed.

One He-111 of 7./KG27 crashed near Flushing, but cannot be positively linked to the AAA claim. Possibly this He-111 flew in a joint mission with 8./KG27 that was also seen overhead and shot at. Of that squadron one plane was so badly shot up by the AAA around Flushing that according to the squadron report the plane crashed during an intended emergency landing on its homebase, killing the entire crew.  

RAF activity

British Hawker Hurricanes were spotted a number of times over the Zeeland coast and to the south near Breskens. They managed to shoot down a German Ju-88 bomber [around 1030], which crashed at Retranchement.

Later in the afternoon Hurricanes of 17 Squadron were seen in the north of Zeeland which ran into a squadron of the JG51. An intensive air-battle unfolded that ended close to Dordrecht.

No less than six Hurricanes were claimed to be shot down around 1500 hours. In fact only four actually crashed, flown by Fl/Lt M.S. Donne, P/O P.D. Hulton-Harrop, Fl/Sgt J.A.A. Luck and F/O G.W. Slee. Three came down around the city of Dordrecht, the fourth unvoluntarily hit the ground at Numansdorp.  

Three Bf-109's of 3./JG51 were shot down, with confirmed crash sites. They crashed near Dordrecht [Zevenbergschen Hoek, Zwijndrecht and Dordrecht].

Random events

At the island Schouwen-Duivenland the ground forces had not been able to enjoy a night of sleep. Early in the morning airborne-alarm was given. Patrols were sent out and found no trace of the reported enemies. At Haamstede AFB a passing German Ju-88 was shot down around 0600 by the 4 cm guns of the 162nd battery. The plane crashed on the beach at Renesse. The entire crew - but one - perished.

The three G-1 crews - who had landed on the Oostvoorne beach at the 10th - had to be disappointed when their request for assistance reached the base commander. AFB Haamstede [as well as AFB Vlissingen] was only able to deliver juice for the engines, but ammo was not available. The AFB commander did however start an inquiry operation to get the required material from elsewhere within the Fortress Holland. When the required materials would actually arrive - at the 13th - the three precious planes had just been shot to pieces by predators of the Luftwaffe.

Around 1430 three He-111's [a Kette] raided the airfield Haamstede with 50 kg bombs and machineguns. The planes made several runs over the field and caused much light and medium damage. The large KLM hangar was heavily damaged by a series of bombs, and some planes got damaged from machinegun fire and shrapnel. A number of planes was destroyed. One man got wounded.

Since the base commander had held his command post in the hangar, he was forced to move to an alternate location. This move was however witnessed by shell-shocked troops [of the guarding unit] who thought this was a signal for retreat. Some units completely lost their heads, disabled their arms and fled into the dunes. A typical reaction of poorly trained troops to the first real explosions around them. It took the officers quite some time and energy to reorganise these units and repair the disabled weapons.

German bombers dropped a series of bombs on the junction of the Bathline and the Kreekrakdam between 1500 and 1600 hours. Both the road and the railway were seriously damaged. Two of the army barracks were destroyed and the local waterworks and telephone lines were temporarily disabled. It was a bizarre phenomenon that Dutch soldiers [3rd Railway Company with sections in Goes and Roosendaal] were ordered to repair the damage of the railway right away, but were two days later ordered to blow up the railway again to prevent German use!

One heavy machinegun casemate was nearly missed by a 50 kg bomb, which did not destroy it, but the entire structure was tilted. The new funny angle of the fire window could however not prevent the casemate to remain manned and ready.

French intervention

At around 1745 hours a flight of French Morane 406 [modern] fighters intercepted [over Zuid-Beveland] two squadrons of He-111 on their home flight. The German bombers had attacked targets in Zeeland and north of Antwerp. The He-111's were of the 1/KGr126 and 3/KGr126. At least two He-111's were shot down close to the point of interception. One crashed near Oosterhout, another at Woensdrecht. The last crash costed the lives of two crew-members. All surviving crew members were taken prisoner by the Dutch. A third He-111 was pursued and intercepted over Breda. It was so badly shot up by the attacking Morane fighter, that it crashed northeast of Antwerp. The French fighters could enjoy their air-victories without own losses this time

Earlier in the day French 25 mm AA guns had downed a He-111P of the 3/KG54 northwest of Hulst which had attacked targets over Belgian soil. One crew-member was killed, the other three were taken prisoner and later transported to England.

We already addressed - in the navy section - the clash of French navy Potez's and German Bf-110's.

Civilian toll

Many civilians perished due to the collateral damage of the continuing German raids, especially in the harbour-quarter at Vlissingen. A considerable number of them - especially the ones living close to the harbour - fled to a safe haven.

The civilian population suffered dearly, but amazingly enough they tried to have the normal life have its way like nothing happened around them. The sober and down-to-earth spirit of the Dutch people showed itself in a very typical way during these few days of all out war around them. If only the local Dutch soldiers would have copied that example ...