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Battery Hälsingborgs

history

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Ransonering med Marie AndréeRansoneringen år 1940-45
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The Emergency Museum preserves and displays Batteri Hälsingborg. So far, two of the four bunkers with cannons, Cannon Maja and Cannon Brita, have been restored for display. The hospital bunker is also restored. The battle command center is used for the weapons history exhibition at the Preparedness Museum and for other exhibitions. The cannon Sonja is under ongoing restoration, as are anti-aircraft fire emplacements and anti-machine guns. 

Batteri Hälsingborg is a unique facility. The history of the facility is as follows.

When Denmark is occupied on 9 April 1940, Sweden suddenly has enemies on the other side of the strait. A fixed coastal defense in northwestern Scania is needed immediately. Djuramåsa outside Viken is considered to be the most suitable location for what will become Batteri Hälsingborg.

On April 28, construction will begin. The large coastal artillery installation will consist of four piece defenses, firing table rooms, machine gun defenses, anti-aircraft towers, shelters, barracks, mobile searchlights, observation points and measuring stations. All resources are deployed, thousands of people work around the clock. It's in a hurry and it's secret.

Never before has a Swedish military facility been built with similar resources. As early as June 5, the facility's four cannons were test fired. Two days later Battery Hälsingborg is reported ready for battle. By then, 47 days have passed since the coastal artillery installation began to be erected.

Battery Helsingborg was originally called Battery Hälsingborg. As a result of spelling reforms, Battery Hälsingborg is eventually spelled Battery Helsingborg, just as Djuramåsa changes its name to Djuramossa.

The information on the historical pages is taken from the book "The cannons at Djuramåsa". 

"A fort without guns is like a body without a soul"
Brigadier General Stephen V. Benet, US Army Chief of Ordnance, 14 December 1874.

On April 9, 1940, life changed for Sweden. Denmark and Norway are occupied. All previous military planning is overturned. Previous war scenarios have assumed that the threat is greatest on the south coast. Now you can clearly see how the risk has increased for a possible German attack from Denmark across the Öresund into Skåne. 

On Thursday 19 April it was decided that a fixed coastal artillery battery should be established in Djuramåsa between Helsingborg and Höganäs. On Saturday, April 28, the first work forces arrive at the small agricultural village and begin work. Skånska Cementgjuteriet has been given the task of building the battery, with the condition that the facility must be combat-ready within four weeks from April 22, i.e. Sunday, May 20, 1940.

For the construction, Skånska Cementgjuteriet deploys a workforce of over one thousand (1,000) men, in three shifts, day and night. From the defense side, a task force is commanded with soldiers from KA 2, Karlskrona. In addition to these soldiers, a guard force consisting of soldiers called up for readiness from the 1st Army Corps is commanded. According to oral information, at most close to 2,000 workers and soldiers are said to have been employed at the same time with the construction of the future facility. 

The person put in charge of the entire construction is the legendary civil engineer Robert von Bahr. He has a reputation for handling large projects and completing them on time. von Bahr draws up the guidelines for how the most important parts of the battery must be completed within the agreed time. His workforce toils day and night to complete the battery's various facilities. There are stories of truck drivers who drive around the clock without sleeping, resulting in accidents and accidents. Everyone involved in the construction is fulfilled by the same goal; to complete the facility in the shortest possible time. War can come to Sweden at any time.

On Tuesday, June 5, the battery's four pieces are test-fired with four bar-loaded semi-armor grenades each with charge 2. The purpose is to functionally test the pieces to see that everything works without problems, and it does. Before the shooting, the military orders all farmers to move their livestock from the nearby farms to a safe distance. All windows and doors are opened to avoid shock wave damage to the houses. Despite careful preparations, two deaths occur. A farmer has forgotten two cows walking in a pasture near the pieces. When the cannons fire, the two cows are so badly shocked by the sound and pressure wave of the pieces that they sink down and die on the spot. Furthermore, all the windows in a nearby greenhouse are blown out, the bottom is pressed out of a herring barrel, stable windows are smashed and a house wall cracks inside one of the farmers.

On Thursday, June 7, 1940, Battery Hälsingborg reports "Ready for battle". In total, it has taken 47 days to complete the battery to combat-ready condition, a work performance hardly surpassed even today. Battery Hälsingborg is at this time one of the most modern batteries in Europe with the next Bofors to offer in pieces.

The completed Battery Hälsingborg is finally inspected on August 23-24, 1940. The final inspection protocol from October 1, 1940 ends with the following lines: 

"As the contractor performed his duties with care and promptness and with commendable interest contributed to a good result, I confirm that the Navy Administration approves the facilities."

The period after the end of the Second World War, until the year 1990, is usually referred to as the "Cold War". The wall between East and West. The great interest in Swedish military exercises. The presence of alien submarines. KGB. Spies.

 

Battery Helsingborg was a central part of the north-west Skåne defense during the Cold War years. The tasks for Batteri HB were to assert Sweden's neutrality in the event of conflict with a foreign power. The defense's eyes were mainly directed at the then Soviet Union and its military alliance the Warsaw Pact. 

Battery HB underwent extensive renovations and received more modern weapons systems, in order to meet a possible nuclear threat. In 1982, Battery HB's fixed guns fired for the last time during a major military exercise. An extensive renovation costing several million kroner took place in 1988, when, among other things, the fire control system was replaced with modern laser technology. When the Eastern Bloc fell in 1990 and later the Soviet Union, Battery Hälsingborg also fell after more than 50 years of guarding our Scanian coast. The battery's facilities were emptied of their equipment and sealed with concrete. 


The assembly site, SPL,  was the part of Batteri HB that was in operation until 1990. The assembly site was first renovated in 1968, 28 years after construction. The world was in the middle of the "cold war" and Sweden feared attack. 

The SPL was rebuilt into a nuclear-proof combat command center, five meters of concrete as shell protection around the entire SPL, a gravel and sand bed around the concrete, the emergency exit was filled with sand, own water was drilled, diesel generators for electricity supply. 

The SPL was completely self-governing. The idea was that if Northwest Scania were to be subjected to a nuclear attack, those who were in the SPL would escape the attack. They could survive without outside help for 30 days.

In 1988, it was again time to renovate the SPL. The  20-year-old equipment was lifted out and replaced with state-of-the-art equipment. When the renovation was finished, SPL at Batteri HB was considered one of the most modern in Sweden. The renovation had then cost approximately SEK 10 million.

In 1989-90, the Eastern Bloc collapsed. As a result, interest in Batteri HB also fell. The state-of-the-art equipment in SPL was lifted over to other facilities and  Battery HB was walled up again.

 

Batteri Helsingborg was decommissioned in 1990. The assembly site was emptied of all equipment and walled up again. Anti-aircraft fire emplacements as well. The barrack camp in the forest was demolished. Three of the four pieces were bricked up again. The fourth piece, Maja, was allowed to keep its steel-clad surface, should anyone ever be persuaded to turn the piece into part of a museum....

read more aboutHistory of the Emergency Museum here.

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