During the Second World War the German made several military fortifications in Denmark. One of the most important was the bunkers of Hanstholm which were built in the beginning of the war. In the early stages of the war the Germans were far superior at land compared to the small British army – but at sea the Royal navy had the overhand. Hence the Germans had to protect the sea to prevent a British surprise attack deep in the heartland of Germany.
The most important place to stop the Royal Navy was to prevent them from sailing from the North Sea into the Danish water and from there into the Baltic Sea and the north coast of Germany. To stop the British Navy the Germans made two giant gun positions – one in Hanstholm and one on the south coast of Norway. From here the two gun positions could almost shot half the way across the water between the two countries. The rest of the sea was covered by a large minefield preventing the British navy from sailing into the Danish waters and further into the Baltic Sea.
The gun position had several different guns ranging from small shorter range guns of 17 cm up to some giant 38 cm guns from the damaged German war ship Gneisenau. The guns could fire a cannonball of 495 kilos out to sea up to 55 kilometers and a larger shell of 800 kilos 42 kilometers out to sea. This way they could stop even large ships from sailing through the waters into the Baltic Sea.
The old guns were scrapped but on the museum ground of the Hanstholm fortress you find a giant gun which were intended for the Tripitz fortress located further south in Denmark protecting the harbor of Esbjerg. After the war one of these guns were moved up to the Hanstholm fortress museum.
When we went to the museum it was closed – but the land around the museum were still open and it was worthwhile to visit the area.
We walk in and see the position of one of the large guns – even without the giant gun the position look impressive. After seeing the gun position we take a small hike in the area to see some of the bunkers of the area.
We follow some rail tracks a lot of the way. These tracks were small local tracks only used for the gun position – when you have some guns which fire shells of 495 or 800 kilos you need some form of transport to get them from the storage bunker to the gun bunker where they are needed for action. You don’t just carry a shell like this on your back so you needed a small railway.
During the summer there is a tour with the rail way but for the moment the rail tours has been cancelled so we can safely walk along the tracks – I guess people walk along the tracks even if the train is going on tour so hopefully the train drive slowly.
After a bit of a walk we get to a giant bunker – this bunker is probably one of the strongest bunkers in Denmark with a roof of 3,5 meters which is the highest class of the German bunker system. The bunker was so strong because it was the storage of the shells and the gun powder for the guns.
There are no doors so we can go inside the bunker and explore what it looks like – well we do need a bit of light to see what is going on inside the bunker. The bunker is actually a bit familiar since it was used as a location of the third movie in the Olsen Banden movie franchise which is the longest running and most popular Danish movie franchise through all time. The third movie was partly filmed at this location and at the Vigsø Battery which is only a short drive away from Hanstholm.
We finish the walk through the area and get back to the museum after having enjoyed the bunkers and the view of Hanstholm from the highland around the bunkers.