Some nice finds: 1st Manchesters at Antwerp

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by vestingjager, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. vestingjager

    vestingjager Member

    Right after the liberation of Antwerp in september 1944, the 53rd Welsh Division arrived in Antwerp.

    The 1st Manchester Regiment, the heavy weapons unit of the division, made its quarters in the old Fort2 at Wommelgem, which had been used as a barracks and vehicle workshop since 1918, first by the Belgian Army, afterwards by the Luftwaffe.

    As a guide in this fort, I keep on searching for information on the units who were once stationed there. After discovering the picture of the flag of the Manchesters on the fortress entrance, I ordered the war diaries and found out some more.

    Recently we were doing some research on the original graffiti on site and were also restoring a travers (bunker where a gun was placed during artillery fire). The travers was a of a triple type, but one was destroyed by something that could only be direct fire. We found some vehicle parts around it:

    [​IMG]


    From the war diary, I found out that on 15 september 1944, one soldier was wounded and 3 vehicles damaged (triple travers, remember?) by direct 88mm fire from Merksem. As I know the exact location of the guns, I could work out the line of fire, and it is quite possible that they fired straight into this travers from Merksem!

    [​IMG]

    Only this week, working on the graffiti project, we came upon this nice little gem in one of the gun bunkers:

    [​IMG]

    Finally hard evidence, apart from the photograph, of the 1st manchesters in our fort!
     
    Giberville, dbf, smdarby and 2 others like this.
  2. vestingjager

    vestingjager Member

    Here is the line of fire of the 88mm on a recent map:

    [​IMG]

    I know that this looks rather strange, as you see the built-in area of a much bigger city today. That's why I did the same on a map of the war years:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, there weren't many buildings around in 1944, and about where the word 'Ruggeveld' is, was the position of British Divisional and Corps Artillery. Was it an accidental overshoot of the artillery postions or did a German FOO saw some movement in the fort?
     
    Giberville and Tricky Dicky like this.
  3. vestingjager

    vestingjager Member

    This link shows the 1st manchesters' regimental flag over the artillery entrance of fort2: Regiment Image Archives
     
    Tricky Dicky likes this.

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