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In the days before - after the Germans had fortified themselves in the village Valkenburg [east of Leiden] itself - a number of minor Dutch assaults had been rejected. The Dutch made quite a lot of use of artillery to put the German defenders under pressure. The village suffered much from this frequent shelling and also the Dutch POW's were occasionally in harm's way. Especially when the church in which they had sheltered was hit by artillery-fire. When the Dutch had been ordered not to apply bigger units [beyond company strength] in offensive action [due to the ever lasting fear of renewed German air landings], the offensive actions against the Germans had become less impressive. Up to that point the actions failed rather from lousy coordination than German defensive quality. Time and again Dutch assaulting parties were fired upon by own troops or artillery.

Events on the fifth day

The German main-force was situated inside the village Valkenburg. But also in the communities around Valkenburg [like Albertushof and Rijksdorp] and in the dunes at Wassenaar some isolated German units had been able to sustain Dutch counter measures. At the 14th Lieutenant-Colonel Buurman - who commanded an incomplete regiment [4th Regiment Infantery] - had ordered firm offensive action against all these strongholds.

In the morning the Germans sent a delegation of civilians with a white flag to the Dutch lines. The German commander requested an evacuation of the civilians [younger than 16, older than 60], the transportation of wounded civilians and a three hour truth in order to burry the deceased. The Dutch commander refused these terms and demanded the unconditional surrender of the Germans first. The latter would only accept that if they were allowed a free passage to ... Germany! Obviously that demand was dismissed by the Dutch on their turn. After some time nevertheless a long procession of civilians appeared in front of the Dutch lines. The soldiers distrusted these people, for they were very anxious that Germans would dress up like civilians [of which many rumours had been heard]. But soon it became obvious that only elderly people and small children were amongst these refugees. They were allowed to pass through.

In the afternoon the commander of the 3rd Division requested a meeting with a number of officers of units under his authority in order to discuss major action against the German strongholds. Two major actions were planned: one against the airbornes in the dunes at Wassenaar and one against Rijksdorp. The actions would be supported by artillery and mortars. The advance bugle would sound at 1800 hours. It would not come that far. The capitulation would be announced just before that time.

4RI had been ordered to assault the Albertushof. They started to deploy for this action around 1600 hours. Mortars and anti-tank guns would support the assault. Soon the troop made its first contact with the enemy. Fire was exchanged and the anti-tank gun in the front line contributed intensively. The German defenders at the outposts were quickly sent running from the dense fire. Then the Dutch troop was ordered to cease fire and await further orders. At 1800 hours they were called back. Much to their surprise they were ordered to pack their gear and return to Katwijk [barracks]. Here they learnt about the capitulation.

At 1600 hours Lieutenant-Colonel Buurman received order to burn his files containing information about the coastal defences and the east-front of Fortress Holland. At 1800 hours the 3rd Division received order that all hostilities had to be ceased and that all troops should return to their barracks. Half an hour later news was received from the garrison commander of Leiden that the general capitulation had been announced. The units around Valkenburg and Katwijk could not believe the news. They had the enemy pinned down and waited for him to give up. And now they had to surrender? It was true though ...


The Dutch had lost 80 men at Valkenburg village and airfield. Another 18 at Katwijk aan Zee / Katwijk aan den Rijn. Two men KIA in Rijnsburg, one in Leiden. 13 Men had been killed in Oegstgeest of which ten from a bomber attack on a bus. In Sassenheim 19 men had been killed. Finally in Wassenaar and the dunes [Wassenaarse slag] 52 men KIA. A total of 185 men KIA. The number of killed civilians was high too, but their exact number is unknown (to the author).

The German losses were less than the Dutch but significant too. In the battle area around Valkenburg [including Katwijk, Wassenaar, Rijnsburg and Leiden] they lost 96 men KIA. Two more died in a Leiden hospital but had been transported from sectors elsewhere. In hospitals in Leiden were 147 wounded Germans, mainly from the Valkenburg battle. The Luftwaffe lost 81 Ju-52 alone at Valkenburg and the nearby dune area.  

The airfield at Valkenburg would be used by the Germans during the war [Fliegerhorst Katwijk] as an auxilary airfield. It was very briefly a fully operational base (during the later phase of the Battle of Britain), with a Gruppe Bf-109 fighters of III/JG54 stationed at Fliegerhorst Katwijk during the period October - December 1940. Until 1942 brief periods of permanent stationed fighters were experienced after which [in 1943] the terrain was abandoned and used as a decoy strip. At the end of the war the terrain was used for food drops during Operation Manna, end of April 1945.