Vuurwapen On Ice

I apologize to those readers who clicked through hoping to read that Andrew Tuohy had taken up figure skating, the rest of you can breath a sigh of relief that you won’t be seeing Andrew in a lycra skating outfit. This post is instead about two curious photos of Dutch soldiers training with ice skates during World War II.

These photos are said to be from early 1940 in an unknown location along the New Dutch Waterline. The Waterline was a defensive line designed to protect the Netherlands from land-based attacks. It is named the Waterline because dykes, flooded land and moats were used to keep attackers at bay. The original Old Hollandic Waterline dated back to the 17th century. It was rebuilt in the 19th century after the Napoleonic wars and again modernized after WWI.

During winter it makes sense that soldiers would skate over the ice to quickly move about the frozen lakes or to pursue a retreating enemy.


Like the more famous Maginot Line, these static defenses were obsolete as soon as they were built. A few months after this photo take taken Germany invaded the Netherlands. The German Luftwaffe dropped paratroopers behind the defensive lines to capture key strategic points and then used bombers to bomb the country into submission.


Many thanks to WhaleOil for the pics.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Vaughan

    Skating with loaded firearms. What could possibly go wrong?

    • wunskroolooz

      So long as they keep fingers off triggers. Not unless they’re holding grenades with the spoons down and the pins out. Imagine stumbling with one of those…”BOOM!”, I would think.

  • MOG

    If ice skating had been a requirement, I would have been a 4F.

    • FourString

      ‘4F’ makes me think of ‘FFS’ for some reason.

  • Studenta ot Sofia

    Are u sure it should protect from western attack? Is it not attack from East?

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Fixed. Thanks.

    • wunskroolooz

      Either way it was “moot and academic”. The Nazis completed their conquest of the Netherlands anyway, in 17 May 1940. Stayed that way until 1945.

      • Anton

        The worst is that we, the Dutch, are remembering those days as “heroïc” and that even after capitulation ‘we’ resisted the Germans by any means.

        There were only few of those ‘heroes’. Of all countries West of Germany, it was the easiest to get rid of the Jews here, because most people collaborated without question. They only recently started putting thát in the history books. Some saw the Germans as liberators.

        I am proud to have an ancestor (that I happen to be named after) that resisted but sad to report that he was shot by the Nazis. At the door while his pregnant wife was watching. He was ‘executed’ without trial for hiding resistance members and people who didn’t want to participate in the arbeitseinsatz. He never actually partook in violent action himself and was notably unarmed. He was betrayed by a fellow community member, basically a neighbour. I think it is of utter importance to remember these stories and not face away.

        Sorry to get all serious on a post that looks so quaint and dare I say a bit adorable. 🙂

        • wunskroolooz

          Apology accepted, sir. I know where you’re coming from, having had the same WW2 experience here in the Philippines. Over here, it was the elite collaborating with the enemy in betraying the the lower class who were fighting the invading Japanese. And guess what, the current president here is actually a descendant of one of those traitors. Go figure.

  • orly?

    Bombers you say?

  • Lance

    Yeah skate and shoot at the Panzer MK4 yeah that will work. LOL

    • BryanS

      instantaneous retreat!

  • Maj Banjo

    That just proves that the Germans are smarter than the Dutch, the static defenses are useless as soon as they were built, because German Luftwaffe dropped paratroopers behind the defensive lines

  • Cymond

    Ok, I can’t be the only one who wants to see a video of soldiers skating & shooting. Recoil control seems like it would be a challenge while sliding around on narrow steel blades.

  • Fred Johnson

    Imagine the sinking feeling you’d get if you were on the ice when artillery fire starting coming in.