The 'Monument Ammunition train’ in Oisterwijk is erected as a remembrance to the allied air attack on a German ammunition train in the village on 16 September 1944. As a result of this air attack the entire railway area near the Oisterwijk trainstation was destroyed together with two neighbouring farms, many houses, a shoe factory and a printing office. A miraculous total of only fifteen civilians were injured during the explosions. In a large area lots of roof tiles came down on the streets and many windows were scattered. During the clean-up of the railway area after the war remnants of the ammunition train and parts of the railway line came to surface and were later used for this monument.
The monument was revealed on 29 October 1989.
The above pictured 3x20mm shell casings are almost certain used by the Allied Typhoon
fighter aircraft which carried out the air attack on the German ammunition train.
These shell casings were found around 2002 by two Oisterwijk brothers during metal
detecting near the railroad tracks. In a field in the extension of the Nicolaas van
Esschstraat, between the railroad crossing Heusdensebaan and the railroad crossing
Nicolaas van Esschstraat, these kind of 20mm shell casings were found regularly.
20mm was a widely used calibre during the Second World War and was mainly in use
for the Hispano aircraft cannon of which several types of Allied fighters were equipped
with. Amongst those were the British Spitfire, Hurricane, Typhoon and American Mustang
and P38 fighter aircraft. Since the spot where these shell casings were found lies
directly beneath the approach route the allied fighter aircraft presumably followed,
and because there is no other explanation for the presence of these kind of shell
casings in the ground on that location, I can safely conclude that these shell casings
came from the Typhoon fighter aircraft that attacked and destroyed the German ammunition
train. The aircraft came flying in from the direction of the village Haaren, followed
the railroad tracks and fired their cannons and rockets at the moment they were in
range of the German ammunition train. That moment or point was near the beginning
of the Nicolaas van Esschstraat. While the aircraft fired their cannons the empty
shell casings fell directly down to earth and, in this way, ended up on the field
besides the railroad tracks. The cannon the Typhoon fighter aircraft was equipped
with was a ‘Hispano Mk.II’ cannon. The shell casings are all have codes on the bottom.
These codes tell in which year and in which munitions factory these shell casings
were produced, also the calibre of the casings is engraved in millimetre.
The codes and code translation are as follows;
ST-43-20mm: Royal Ordnance Factory, Steaton, UK
RH-44-20mm: Raleigh Cycle Co., Lts., Nottingham, England, UK
GB-1943-20mm: Greenwood & Batley Ltd, UK
Pictures of shell casings courtesy of Marco vd Berg