The Canal Raids

The DEK at Ladbergen

The story of the canal at Ladbergen is rather confusing and most accounts contain a range of inaccuracies.



The original canal in this area was single lane but, during the widening projects of the 1930s, it became two lanes. The channel on the right is the original route and the channel on the left is the result of the widening project.
This was the layout of the canal when it was attacked during the war. 
After the war the "new" route was repaired and the "original" canal was filled in.



The image above is made from two maps. The left hand map shows the repaired "new" route as it was following the end of the war.
The route of the "original" canal can be determined by the short spur just inside the lilac circle.
Between 1966 and 1983 a major widening project along the southern section of the Dortmund-Ems Canal was undertaken to allow larger "Euro-barges" to use the waterway.
The right hand map shows the present day and, by looking at the coloured circles on each map, you can see how the present day canal now runs along the course of the "original" canal. The "new" route has now disappeared. In the final development of the canal, the bridge within the blue circle has now been removed.



A wartime photograph of the two lanes of the DEK at Ladbergen. The Germans immediately realised the vulnerability of the canal at this point where an "aqueduct" carries the canal over the stream. The Ladbergener Mühlenbach (Mill Stream) was camouflaged but shows in the photograph as a series of small rectangles left to right across the photograph (inside the red area). 


The photograph shows the aqueduct over the Mühlenbach. A more accurate description of this structure would be a "culvert".
The Germans realised that they would have to attempt to camouflage the stream in order to avoid the RAF being able to pinpoint the target.



Camouflage netting was spread over the stream on both sides of the canal. This picture above shows the netting viewed from a similar location to the first image.



The same location seen today (2003) with a completely new structure.
The Mühlenbach continues to trickle peacefully by.....who would believe that this area had the greatest concentration of bombs dropped on it of any targets in WW2.

 

When surveying the area for the latest widening projects it was realised that they would need to follow the course of the original canal....which was now filled in!
This photograph was taken looking North (below point F on the "double" map above) with the village of Ladbergen on the right and the Münster-Osnabrück Airport on the left. The barges on the left are using the repaired 1930s route and, on the right, the latest construction follows the track of the original 19th Century canal.



The finishing touches were being put to the new canal when this photograph was taken in 2002. 
It is now impossible to see how the track of the canal has been altered over the years.