Fliegerhorst Havelte



In May, 1940 the †Luftwaffe†took over the captured Dutch airfields. They were soon enlarged in the framework of the war against Great Britain. At first, only two new airfields were constructed: Volkel in North-Brabant and Peest in North-Drenthe near Norg. The last one was ultimately not used due to the ground water of the place. Only in the end of 1942 was construction started of a third new airfield, at Havelte in Southwest-Drenthe.

To the east of Steenwijk and north of Havelte lie remnants of the once mighty Fliegerhorst Havelte. A Fliegerhorst was in the Luftwaffe a large airport that was fully equipped for all sorts of airplanes. Between the forests and heaths still lie blown up bunkers, a dug under communications bunker at a children's playground, a water well for the fire brigade and houses built in the Heimatschutzstil near the former entrance of the airfield. The former runway runs from west to east over 1,400 meters and is 80 meters wide. Nowadays it ends in a golf course. The runway is situated right north of the post war neighbourhood De Meerkamp in Havelte. The bombs that were placed by the Germans in the runway in order to blow up the runway when they had to retreat, only were defused in the beginning of the nineties of the last century. Nowadays the former runway is covered with trees and groves. Before the new neighbourhood could be constructed, unexploded bombs were removed by the explosives removal unit, the EOD.

From October,1942 onwards the German occupier built a completely equipped airfield for all types of aircraft, a Fliegerhorst, on 600 hectares or around 900 soccer fields on the Drenth heath near Havelte. Four thousand forced labourers or contract workers, 20 million guilders, a same amount of paving bricks and ten kilometers of narrow gauge railway were deployed. Money, sweat nor labourers were spared. After the war, 36 locomotives and 745 freight lorries were found on the terrain.

Over 80 km of trenches were dug. Around 30 Flak positions and machine gun nests were constructed. Twenty hangars, 51 accomodations and 15 car boxes were built. The military presence varied from 150 to 700 men. All buildings were connected to the sewers, which was a novelty at the time for that area.

Earthenwork draining tubes can still be found. A few hangars with high earthen walls, the so called Ypenburg halls are still well visible. Former taxi ways or†Rollbahnen†are conspicuous because they are broader than normal paths. On the Kolonieweg, a former Rollbahn†that was narrowed after the war, one can still see the "broodjes", the paving bricks. The area is littered with 2,000 bomb craters. On the edge of the Van Helomaweg southwest of the former airfield is a cross of sandstone that commemorates a French pilot, First†Lieutenant†F.R.M.F. baron Picaud de Moras díAligny, 24 years of age, who was shot down here on 7 April, 1945 and who died in his Spitfire IX.


Consisted mostly of two or more regiments. Could operate independently or as part of a division. Sometimes they were part of a corps instead of a division. In theory a brigade consisted of 5,000 to 7,000 men.
Flieger-/Flugabwehrkanone. German anti-aircraft guns.
German air force.
machine gun
Machine gun, an automatic heavy quick firearm.

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The infrastructure of the airfield. The second runway is not marked.The main runway is situated from west to east, is 1400 meters long and 80 meters wide.
(Source: Peter ter Haar / Google Maps)

Remains of the German airfield. Railway and crater.
(Source: Ab Logtmeijer)

Crater next to the railway.
(Source: Ab Logtmeijer)


Translated by:
Peter ter Haar
Article by:
Peter ter Haar
Published on:
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