A giant landing craft used by the US Army durig World War 2
A giant landing craft used by the US Army durig World War 2

Visiting the Oorlogsmsuem in Overloon

Luckily we only worked in the morning today, because heavy rain started from midday. As this was already apparent early in the morning, Rudi and I decided that we wouldn't even start with the grouting, but first of all clean an overflowing gutter in the supply building of the youth meeting center. It turned out that the gutter was full of dead leaves. In addition, it did not have enough slope to let the rainwater run down to the downspout. When the gutter was cleaned, the water ran down the outside of the downpipe. Because the sewer pipes in the ground are probably also clogged, so that the water is standing in the downpipe. Looking around, I noticed that the gutters of the other accommodation bungalows were clogged as well. We therefore extended our cleaning work to all buildings. Everywhere the leaves of the whole year were still in there. Many were already rusted through and nowhere did the water drain properly.

After lunch we got into the coach, which was provided by the Bundeswehr (German Army) with two drivers for this work assignment of the Volksbund War Graves Commission, and drove to Overloon, about 20 kilometers away. There is the Ooorlogs Museum, the war museum dedicated to the period of World War II and the German occupation. In addition, extensive collections of military technology from that time are on display.

The first part of the exhibition dedicates to the time of the German occupation and is museographically of the very finest and designed with numerous interactive elements. We also had a museum guide who led us through this part of the museum, unfortunately, with a very low voice and some word-finding problems. We then explored the numerous military vehicles, tanks, guns and planes on our own. In this part of the museum, collecting and preserving outweighs explaining and classifying. Thousands of grenades and projectile cartridges are lined up next to each other over an entire wall, without a single explanatory sign to be found. On another wall are about 50 radios with no further clues. I assume that private collections have been inherited by the museum on the understanding that they must be made available to the public. Of more interest was a giant US Army landing craft. I don't assume that I'll be able to steer this with my driver's license and my sports boat license.

Also of note are the engineering and supply vehicles used by the US Armed Forces during World War II. They form the backbone of the fighting force, but are rarely shown in military history museums. A unique feature of the Oorlogsmuseum Overloon is the public cycle path that runs right through the exhibition hall. That should be unique in the world.

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