First Battery and the Atlantic Wall

In the north-west corner of Hanstholm Nature Reserve are a number of bunkers that make up the first battery from the Second World War. These are the best kept German shore batteries in Denmark, and there is plenty of opportunity to explore them, as most of them are still open today. 

First Battery

This battery consists of 19 large bunkers, and these were the first permanent military construction built by the Germans in Hanstholm. On the night of 9 April 1940, the day the Germans occupied Denmark, the Germans had already laid mines in the Skagerrak to prevent allied ships from entering the Kattegat and the Baltic Sea. Inshore was a 10-nautical-mile-wide opening through which German ships could navigate. This opening was guarded from land by the First Battery, which was armed with four 17 cm naval guns, anti-aircraft guns, machine guns and searchlights. Initially the guns were placed outside on casted foundations, and they could not be moved to the bombproof bunkers until 1944. These bunkers have been preserved to this day. The battery had 148 crewmembers.

The Atlantic Wall

When, in 1942, the Germans fears of an invasion really began to make their mark, the building of the 5500-km-long fortress; Atlantikwall (The Atlantic Wall). The fortress was to prevent seaward approach from the allies from the west. The Hanstholm coastal battery, with its strategically important location in relation to the North Sea and the Skagerrak, became an integrated part of the embankment that was the largest military fortress in Northern Europe during the Second World War.