Print this page

The airforce bases and air-defences elsewhere in Zeeland


In this section we shall elaborate on the Luftwaffe activies over Zeeland and the events around the Dutch AFB's in Zeeland.

Flushing AFB

Flushing AFB was attacked by the Luftwaffe at around 0430-0500 hours. The nearby Vickers 7.5 tl AA guns opened fire on the enemy. German planes of the types Do-215 [recon] and Bf-110 [fighter-cruiser] buzzed around the airfield. The fighters strafed the 26 parked training planes [Fokker S-IV and S-IX] several times, while they were shot at by the AAA and AA machineguns. One of the Messerschmitts later crashed around the area of Goes due to the sustained damage of the joint AAA measures around the AFB and the harbour. The battery also claimed it shot down a Ju-88 bomber that crashed close to Flushing [it is also possible that the navy units were responsible for this claimed kill], but evidence of this German loss was never found.

Around 0800 a Dutch Fokker T-V bomber [ 858] of the BomVA from Schiphol AFB - which had downed a German bomber over Ymuiden seaport before - made an emergency landing on the barricaded field. Later when the plane had been refuelled and had taken off for its return to Schiphol AFB, it was damaged by Dutch AA fire over the navy seaplane base at Veere, after which it had to make an emergency landing on the also barricaded AFB Haamstede. There the heavy damaged bomber was stripped from its machineguns and written off for any further action. It would be the only kill the Veere AA could claim during the war days ...

Haamstede AFB

Haamstede AFB was an airfield on the island Schouwen (currently Schouwen-Duivenland) and existed since 1930 as a KLM satellite of Waalhaven (near Rotterdam). That satellite service was in 1932 moved to the airfield near Flushing, but Haamstede remained in service as a main commercial airfield. In 1939 the secondary stage flying school was moved to the airfield after which it became an AFB. Today its is still in use as a sport strip.

At Haamstede AFB a battery [3 guns] of the modern 4 cm Bofors guns defended the base. A company of auxilary guarding troops was assigned as an improvised protective ground-force.

Haamstede AFB was the home base for the secondary pilot training group. This group consisted of five Fokker C-V, ten Koolhoven FK-51, three Fokker F-VIIa, one Fokker S-IX and one Fokker C-IX training planes. All (with exception of the F-VIIa) were bi-planes and with exception of the five C-V's, unfit to perform any kind of war sortie. Moreover, the five C-V's were not fitted with bomb-racks. All operation-ready planes were parked outside the base, in order to protect them from raids by enemy planes.

In the early morning a full squadron of [twelve] Bf-110's appeared over the base and started strafing the airfield facilities in particular. Six planes - all of them parked in the major maintenance shelter - were destroyed by the Bf-110's fire; eight planes were damaged to some degree. One member of the ground-crew perished from shrapnel of the 20 mm plane-guns.

Later in the morning the remains of 4th Reconnaissance Group - from Gilze-Rijen AFB [at Tilburg] - landed on Haamstede AFB. At Gilze-Rijen AFB the Group had been punished by the Luftwaffe and since that base lacked any AA devices and the Germans had managed to penetrate the Peel-Raam line already, it was decided to evacuate the Recce Group to Zeeland. The squadron had only five operable C-V's left. At Haamstede AFB tt was reinforced with the four remaining C-V's of the training group.

Around noon of that first war-day the landed C-V's were ordered to perform a ground attack mission against the occupied Waalhaven AFB south of Rotterdam. Only two C-V's could be assigned with this task due to lacking qualified airmen. Both bi-planes were shot down by German He-111 bombers when they came close to Waalhaven. One plane made an emergency landing after sustaining heavy damage, the second one was destroyed mid-air, causing the instant death of its pilot and fatal wounds to the bailed out observer.

The two companies of guard-troops that had initially been stationed at Gilze Rijen [Noord-Brabant] arrived on the island in the late evening. These troops were a welcome reinforcement and they were assigned several duties around the AFB and the adjacent village.

Veere navy airfleet camp

The small navy camp at Veere was defended by a platoon of airforce AA machineguns and a platoon [3] of navy 2 cm AA guns. Six Fokker C-XIV-W seaplanes [of which two in storage] - maritime reconnaissance planes - were stationed there. Two platoons [70 men] navy auxilary troops guarded the base itself. Together with the base personnel the entire occupation of the small base was 120 men and 3 officers.

German planes - that were seen in large numbers but usually at medium high altitudes - were sometimes shot at, but without any result. As mentioned before the single target that was hit, was nothing less than one of the scarce modern Dutch bombers ...

AAA Battery at the Zanddijkline

The last AA unit in Zeeland to be addressed here was situated near the Zanddijkline. It was equipped with three old 7,5 cm AA guns, which were assisted by an obsolete fire directional system. These guns were Dutch modifications of Krupp field artillery pieces, which had entered service shortly after WWI.

The battery fired all day long at the flood of passing enemy planes. Although the battery claimed to have damaged or shot down several planes, none of these claims could be confirmed.


In total about seven German planes were claimed to be shot down by the combined fire from land- and naval based guns at the 10th. Mostly these planes were shot down over the harbour and city of Fushing.

Only three of these seven claims were actually confirmed [one He-115B minelayer shot down by AA battery HMS Johan Maurits van Nassau; one Bf-110 C-1 of 4/ZG1 by AA fire from Souburgh; one He-111 P of 8/KG54 at Sluis], of which the last one is quite uncertain as whether it was downed by Zeeland batteries.

In the morning of the 10th three Dutch G-1 fighter-cruisers from the 3rd JaVA [Waalhaven] had landed on the beach of Oostvoorne, north of Zeeland. These three G-1's had taken off from Waalhaven when that base was attacked and managed to shot down no less than seven German invaders [2 Ju-52, 1 Ju-87, 2 Bf-109's and 2 unknown]. Since they had nowhere to land after their tanks had run dry, the three pilots decided to land on the beach. The pilots endeavoured to arrange fuel at Haamstede AFB.