The period of occupation in the Søndervig-Houvig-Lodbjerg Heath area

When the Second World War broke out, there were 2 inhabitants in Søndervig. They did not pass by when the country was occupied. They could see up close the German armed forces building the many bunkers, which can still be seen all the way down the west coast. They were originally built in the dunes, but now almost all lie on the beach or out in the water as evidence of how the sea is eating into the mainland.


Kryle-Rigelnatter The fortifications from the Second World War

Bunkers1 (1)Already in the afternoon of April 9, 1940, a few German vehicles and motorcycles reached Søndervig, where the Danish telegraph cable to England was cut off.

For fear of invasion attempts from the west, the west coast of Jutland became strategically important for the Germans during World War II. In December 2, the Germans decided to arm themselves against any attempts and built the "Atlantic Wall", which stretched from the Norwegian mountains in the north to the Spanish border in the south. On the west coast of Jutland, the construction of the fortress really picked up speed after the defeat at Stalingrad in January 1941.



Bunkers2 (1)One of the Germans' main points came to be at Kryle in Houvig. More than 60 years after the end of the war, from the high dunes at Esebjergvej you can still see more than 50 concrete structures within a radius of a few hundred meters.

At Kryle itself was the artillery, and a little further south the Luftwaffe. The whole area was dotted with bunkers, barbed wire and minefields.

During the war, the powerful anti-aircraft battery in Kryle shot down many Allied aircraft. The last plane shot down by the guns south of Kryle crashed into the sea west of Søndervig on 20 April 1945 (Hitler's last birthday)

About a very powerful periscope that was set up on an observation bunker, it was said in local vernacular that it was so powerful that "you could see the chickens walking around on Hindø".

Bunkers3 (1)For decades it was assumed that Denmark's probably smallest churches were built at Kryle, respectively a Protestant and a Catholic. Two small churches built together, each 3 x 10 mtr. It has since turned out that the two rooms were not used as churches, but as storage rooms for potatoes. To this day, crosses are still placed, very often homemade, in the two rooms, in the belief that they were once churches.

The commander's room in the largest of the bunkers differs from the others by having painted walls with a red stripe on the ceiling. One of the rooms was converted into a cinema after the war!


Bunkers5 (1)Ringing nights

South of Kryle were Luftwaffe installations called "Ringelnatter". Radar towers and installations were intended to detect aircraft formations at a distance of several hundred kilometers and direct German fighters against the Allied aircraft as well as the control of anti-aircraft fire.

German surrender

The surrender on 5 May 1945 in the morning took place in the headquarters bunker to a group from the resistance movement in Ringkøbing.

There had previously been a tacit advance agreement on "a reasonable arrangement in the event of capitulation", and the agreement was successfully adhered to. It could very easily have resulted in very violent battles, as there were 1.000-2.000 German soldiers in the area with both heavy and light weapons and approx. 500 freedom fighters under arms.

The minefields

Bunkers6 (1)During the war, a mining accident occurred in the area, in which one of the Danish workers lost both legs. After the war, two refugee boys were killed at the same time by running into a minefield that had not yet been cleared.

German pioneers had otherwise been commanded to, together with Danes, clear the minefields they themselves had laid out. During the demining on Lodbjerg Hede, 7 German soldiers were killed, when a German was working at a mine, six others gathered around him to talk and they were all blown up beyond recognition. A total of 33 men lost their lives as a result of mining accidents after the war.

The refugee camp

Just a few days after the Germans capitulated, the first refugees arrived. Up to 500 refugees were accommodated in Krylelejren's many buildings. The refugees were for the most part from East Prussia, and of course they were not particularly popular in Denmark, where the Danish authorities had to provide for their accommodation and food.

During 1946-47, the refugees were sent back to Germany, and thus a sad chapter in Holmsland's history was ended.

Source: Atlantvolden at Ringkøbing, Bent Bågøe Anthonisen

The bunkers