“Schleswig-Holstein” Battery (Coastal Defense Museum)

The conquest of many European countries and Germany's preparations for war with the USSR meant that careful attention was paid to the defense of the newly conquered Atlantic and Baltic coasts.
In 1941, the construction of batteries for the defense of the Bay of Gdańsk and the Kriegsmarine base in Gdynia began in Hel. It was the first of the three largest German 406 mm coastal artillery batteries.

Where does this name come from?

This battery was numbered 2./119 M.A.A. and the name “Schleswig Holstein” commemorating the actions of the battleship shelling Westerplatte and Hel in 1939. 406 mm (16 inch) guns were used, produced for the unbuilt German H-series super-battleships. The standard 1,020 kg shell had a range of 42.8 km, and the 600 kg light shell had a range of 56 km.

In 1941, were built

  • three firing positions with dimensions of 65 x 35 m , which housed technical facilities, crew quarters and ammunition supplies.
  • two additional ammunition storage shelters
  • and a 9-story rangefinder tower connected to the fire control station were built nearby.

Technical shooting was carried out in spring and summer, but after the successful attack on the USSR, the 406 mm guns became redundant in the Baltic Sea and in September the decision was made to move them to France. (In the first half of 1942, a new heaviest battery was built near Calais called “Grossdeutschland”, later changed to “Lindemann”).

Fortification trail on the Hel Peninsula. Coastal Defense Museum in Hel. photo: M. Ochocki

Fortification trail on the Hel Peninsula. Coastal Defense Museum in Hel. photo: M. Ochocki

An interesting fact is that during the attack on the USSR, the artillery on the Hel Peninsula was supplemented with 220 mm mortars captured from Poland. After the war, the battery facilities were used by the Polish army as a communications post and various types of warehouses (one of them was the best-hidden warehouse for carrots and potatoes). Currently, the Coastal Defense Museum is operating in the B-2 “Bruno” site and the fire control site, a nature museum is being built in the B-1 “Anton” site, and the B-3 “Caesar” site is being prepared to take over the role of an ethnographic museum.

The Hel Peninsula Railway Museum operates in the 406 mm ammunition warehouses.

Fortification trail on the Hel Peninsula. Coastal Defense Museum in Hel. photo: M. Ochocki

Fortification trail on the Hel Peninsula. Coastal Defense Museum in Hel. photo: M. Ochocki

Stand B2

  • an exhibition about the history of the Naval Air Squadron, illustrated with models of seaplanes.
  • “Medicine in the Army” exhibition, – a modern, multimedia exhibition devoted to the 32 days of the defense of Hel.
  • a multimedia exhibition about Commander Zbigniew Przybyszewski, the great commander of Laskowski’s battery in the September Campaign of 1939,
  • an unrivaled, largest pomegranate exhibition in Poland.
  • a constantly expanded armament exhibition, including an original 406 mm projectile weighing approximately 1,030 kg, along with a shell and additional equipment.

Nine-story fire control tower

From its top there is a beautiful view of the peninsula and the sea surrounding it. Each floor presents:

  • “Artillery Curiosities” exhibition dedicated to the largest guns in the world.
  • a seven-meter plastic map of the Hel Peninsula.
  • souvenirs of the great and popular Polish mariner
  • Captain Karol Borchardt in the form of a reconstruction of his apartment and an exhibition devoted to his work and creativity.
  • military communications exhibition.
  • modeling exhibition dedicated to armored vehicles.




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