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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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The IJssel Line at Arnhem - Concrete Sherman Tank Bunkers

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In Arnhem, an area called "Meinerswijk" was off limits to everybody during the early years of the cold war. It was part of a secret Dutch defensive line to stop the Soviets called the "IJssel-line, named after the nearby IJssel river which forks off the Rhine river.

The idea was to stop the flow of the Rhine river by pushing in a concrete box (caisson) and sink it in the middle of the river, causing the Rhine river to flood which would create a water barrier that could not be penetrated by Russian armor. 

Since the Netherlands was still rebuilding the damage from World War II there were not enough resources to build proper bunker so aging Sherman tanks were used as part of the defensive works. All non-essential parts were removed, engine, tracks etc and then they were set in concrete and then dug in on elevated positions. The main gun was removed and exchanged for a machine gun and the crew would live inside the engine compartment. 

The line was activated in 1954 and deactivated in 1964 when the Dutch Army realized it was a rather pointless way of defending "Fortress Holland".

In the Meinerswijk area, 14 of these tank bunkers were placed of which now just 4 remain.  

One of the remaining Shermans:


Just to show you the high ground on which the Sherman has been placed. 


Another Sherman:


Some of other defensive works in the area, a gate that could be used to let the water in (or out).


A bridge which also served as a dam.



2017-10-01 14.14.57.jpg

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