Due to the collective power of volunteers, a retractable turret has been uncovered at the Kunstfort terrain at the end of November 2012. The turret played an essential role in the near defense of the Fort bij Vijfhuizen as well as the Stelling van Amsterdam.
During the German occupation in the Second World War the turret was brought to an explosion by the Germans, reportedly to detach the steel from the construction and transport it to Germany. There, they would have melted the steel to use it for the production of weapons.
In the past centuries, parts of the fort have been overgrown. Therefore it hasn’t always been clear what the original function was of some, deteriorated, remains.
Remnants from two extension in the front barrier were remains of which the function was unknown. It was suspected that the extensions were not independent, and thus there ought to be corresponding buildings on the terrain.
When volunteers started poking the layer of sand with sticks in 2013, they indeed felt the contours of constructions. Two almost identical storage spaces with underground rooms were then dug up and partly uncovered. Clues about the original function of the remains were looked for on historical maps and design drawings, but nothing was found.
The only clue about what these underground rooms were used for, came from a historical document from the National Archives. In a letter directed to the “gentleman commander of the Stelling van Amsterdam” a description was given of various tasks of the Stelling during the First World War. In this letter, dated April 4, 1918, a report is given about the following construction work at the Stelling:
“Creating a performance at Vyfhuizen, designing the work at the CRUQIUS, creating grenade-free shelters for machine guns with panels at the front barrier of the fort bij Vyfhuizen.”
The description of the location (“in the front barrier of the fort”) matches the position of the excavated buildings with underground rooms. Assumed is that these are indeed grenade-free shelters for machine guns.
The machine guns (no longer present) were, when they were in use, placed on a so-called machine gun chair and hid outside the shelters. Unfortunately there were no machine guns found during the excavation.