Dutch Wateline

Werk aan 't Spoel

Location: 5157'32.26"N    511'25.50"O

Address:  Goilberdingerdijk 40
                   4106 LC Culemborg
                    0345-779900

Contact:     Anita van Zantvoort - 
                     spoel@veldkeuken.nl

't Spoel is the old name of the area.
The Dutch word "Werk" means work, in case a defense work.

It is situated at the south side of the river Lek, which runs mainly from the east to the west.

In 1759 there was already a defense work on this spot, being a Redoute (a to all sides defendable earth work), which was demolished in 1785.
in the winter of the first war against the French, in the winter of 1794-1795 there was a gap made into the Lek dike, to allow the water, to flood the land, to activate the old Dutch Water Line defense system against the French attack.

To prevent the French from closing the gap, a gun battery was made at the west side of the gap, near the location of the old Redoute.

The gun battery existed out of 10 cannon, protected by an earth wall.
The gun battery was called the "Dijkpost aan 't Spoel" (Dike post at 't Spoel).

On the layout at the left, you can see a Bastion shape  at the river side, then the wall is going straight on, crossing the river dike and at the land side, curving back a 180 degrees. Also on this side, the wall is protected by a small moat.

The advancing French have reached this post. In January 1795 some fighting has occurred at this post.
Between 1816 and 1824 at this location, the Werk aan 't Spoel was made, as part of the New Dutch Waterline defense system. A neat inundation sluice gate was made in the dike and the purpose of the Work, was to defend this sluice gate.

In 1848 is the work was revised, due to damage caused by high river water and illegal retrieval of soil, by local farmers.
Between 1867 and 1879 four thick brick masonry, so called bomb proof buildings were built into the Work.
Later on, also a wooden artillery shed was made and much later several sheds were erected on the Works premises. 

In 1939/1940 two casemates type G and several infantry group shelters type P were made in the Work. This layout shows the situation at the beginning of the 20th century.

After a modernizing action 1876, the armament of the Work consisted of:

- 6 canon, caliber 12 cm short.
- 4 canon, caliber 8 cm A.
- 4 mortars, type Coehoorn.

This is the canon 12cm KA. KA means "kort achterlaad" (short breach loading). Later on, this suffix was omitted, because at this time all canon in use in the Netherlands had become breach loading types.

This canon was still made of bronze and had an effective range of 3 km.

Canon of 8 cm bronze on Parapet carriage.

The exact caliber was 8,4 cm.
Later on, there was also a steel version.
This bronze canon was made by Oerlikon in Switzerland.

This canon had also an effective range of 3 km.

De Coehoorn morar. A waepon, that was used from the beginning of the 18th century and still in use at the end of the 19th century.

But now it was mainly used, to shot lighting balls.
Normally the Works and Fortresses of the New Dutch Water Line were unmanned.
A fortress keeper took care of them in peace time.
This Work was manned during French- German war of 1870-1872, during WW1 1914-1918 and at the beginning of WW2, during the mobilization of the army in 1939 up to the 15th of May 1940.

In 1940 the Werk aan 't Spoel was defended by 3-2-32RI (3rd company-2nd bataljon-32th regiment infantry) under command of reserve captain G. Jansen (photograph), added was a section of MC-2-32RI (machine gun company) under command of sergeant Weimar. However, the Netherlands had to capitulate, before the Germans reached this defense work.
As indicated on the layout, the Work had 4 bomb free buildings, 2 on each side of the dike.

After WW2 the the army's explosive clearance service occupied the Work. In 1960, by accident, there was a large explosion, that partly destroyed building B, which was then demolished.
In 1974 building C was also demolished.

Building A en D are still remaining and are recently restored.

On this picture, building A, at the riverside of the dike. From left to right, the building has a toilet, a gun garage for 2 canon and carriages, 2 troop rooms and a gun powder storage room.

This is the artillery shed and 2 concrete infantry group shelters type P are sticking out of the ground.

All shelters type P are marked with the year 1940.
It appears strange, that these shelters were build very late in this fore post of the New Dutch Waterline.

They must be built in January/February 1940, because in February 1940 it was decided to put up the main defense in the Grebbe line (20km to the east), instead of the New Dutch Water Line.
All work in the New Dutch Waterline seized immediately, they started with frantically building of small concrete casemates in the Grebbe Line.

Bomb free building D, has the same layout as building A.
An infantry group shelter type P.

The roof only is sticking out of the ground.

On the land side, against the dike, now an open air theatre has been made.

Behind it is a big house, that was first the sluice keepers house and later the fortress keepers house.

An other P-type, also called Piramide.

The extension on the roof is not a chimney, but it is a channel for a periscope.

The Work was surrounded by a mote, of which is a large part left.

This is a view from the soutwest.

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Last revised on 08-09-2014