Dortmund Travel Tip:
The Möhne Reservoir is an artificial lake in North Rhine-Westphalia, some 45 km east of Dortmund. The lake is formed by the damming of two rivers, Möhne and Heve, and with its four basins stores as much as 135 million cubic metres of water. The dam was built between 1908 and 1913 to help control floods, regulate water levels on the Ruhr river downstream, and generate hydropower. Today, the lake is also a tourist attraction.
The dam (51.489307°N 8.058772°E) was destroyed by RAF Lancaster Bombers (“The Dambusters”) during Operation Chastise on the night of 16–17 May 1943, together with the Edersee dam in northern Hesse. Bouncing bombs had been constructed which were able to skip over the protective nets that hung in the water. A huge hole of 77 m by 22 m was blown into the dam. The resulting huge floodwave killed at least 1579 people, 1026 of them foreign forced labourers held in camps downriver. The small city of Neheim-Hüsten was particularly hard-hit with over 800 victims, among them at least 526 victims in a camp for Russian women held for forced labour.
Though the Organisation Todt quickly repaired the dams with forced labourers commandeered from the construction of the Atlantic Wall, the impact of the raid on German industry in the Ruhr valley and indeed on the civil population was significant. In the Möhne and Ruhr valleys, 11 factories were totally destroyed, 114 seriously damaged, 25 road and rail bridges were destroyed and throughout the region power, water and gas supplies were seriously disrupted. Industry production was back at normal level by September, however.
Tags: Möhne Reservoir, Dortmund, artificial lake, Möhnetalsperre
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More Dortmund Travel Tips
Dortmund is a city in Germany, located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr area. Its population of 587,830 (20 June 2005) makes it the 7th-largest city in Germany, and 34th-largest in the European Union.
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