143. Gilze-Rijen airfield

143. Gilze-Rijen airfield

28-10-1944

Rijksweg 115, Rijen, The Netherlands
Liberation Route Europe

143. Gilze-Rijen airfield

During the war, the Germans expand the air field and it becomes one of the largest in Europe. This has farreaching consequences for the local residents. Houses and land are seized and the bombing raids cause casualties. On the 28th of October, the Poles were the first to liberate Rijen. The British 4th Armoured Brigade soon followed.

Before the occupation of the Netherlands, the German army command must already have had plans for the existing Molenheide airfield, as immediately after the German invasion, the construction of a large airfield was begun here.

Before construction began, hundreds of acres of land were confiscated, people were evicted from their homes and many houses were demolished. Many were forced to participate in the construction and maintenance of the airfield.

The Germans stationed bombers at the airfield, which were deployed to attack England, as well as fighters which had to intercept Allied bombers on their way to targets in Germany.

The airfield was very often the target of Allied bombing, which also resulted in civilian casualties. On the 28th of October 1944, Rijen was liberated by Polish and British units.

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143. Gilze-Rijen airfield

Before the occupation of the Netherlands, the German army command must already have had plans for the existing Molenheide airfield, as immediately after...

Rijksweg 115, Rijen, The Netherlands

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