Duindigt Estate / Race Course - Wassenaar

In the second week of September, 1944, batteries from the 485 Battalion moved into the Duindigt Estate area to set up V2 operations. The access given by the roads, the houses and forested area provided an ideal location to conduct launching operations. This area had many different spots where the Germans could fire from. When one launching site was damaged by bombs or a failed launch, they would simply move to another spot, sometimes only meters away. There were, in total, about 30 launching sites on the Duindigt areas. The Germans used this site many times from November to February. The firm sandy soil of Duindigt provided a good base for the firing table.

In early March, British bombers blasted the launch sites with many bombs from the skies. There was no place on the grounds that remained undamaged and the roads were impassable. After this the Duindigt area was not used again. A few days later, some Dutchmen came to view the estate and they were overwhelmed. The once so beautiful estate did not exist anymore. 200-year-old trees were blown apart. The two large manors, five smaller houses and the farm were in ruins. Even larger than the bomb craters, were the craters made by former crashing rockets on the estate grounds (see photos below). After the war, it was possible to see the the aiming triangulation marks on the trees at many of the firing sites.

RAF Reconnaissance photos of the Duindigt launch sites during the war. The heavy bombing suffered by the estate can easily be seen, along with the larger failed V2 craters.
Duindigt Today

The day Ed Straten and I visited the launch sites in and around Den Haag and Wassenaar it was a typical busy Dutch day in the international city. The city was crowded with traffic. People were involved in various activities, including a day at the horse races at the Duindigt Race Course.

The grounds of the southern portion of the estate are today private property. It was not possible for us to visit this area of the Duindigt area. It was a pity because (as you can see on the map above) there were quite a few V2 launching sites in this area. But it is someone's home now and we encourage everyone who visits the Duindigt area to respect this privacy.

After a quick photo at the estate entrance gate, we continued on Waalsdorperlaan to the western side of the race course entrance. There were many participants, horse owners and spectators milling about this part of the track. We could see the length of the race course from its end. The grandstands were full of people enjoying the day at the "races".

We then drove around to the northern most portion of Duindigt (near the curve of Landscheidings) and stopped across Buurtweg in a large parking lot. The northern side of the race course is now a large camping area. The roads are the same as they were in the war, so we walked toward the race course, passed the campers, on the same road (you can see above) that was existing in 1944-45. On the that road also did some launchings take place.
Duindigt Gate
End of race course
End of race course
North of race course
North of race course
Middle of race course

Movie. Click below to download the MPG video clip of the Duindigt firing areas as it looks today. The area looks surprisingly the same almost as it was during the war.

Download Zip File (3715 KB)

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