Geoff Walden

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Anlage Mitte / Anlage Süd Führer Headquarters

   In late 1940, before the anticipated invasion of the Soviet Union, the German military planned various command headquarters on the Eastern Front. Those to be used by Hitler as military commander were known as Führer Headquarters. Initially, three main sites were planned, known by the code names "Askania Nord," "Askania Mitte," and "Askania Süd," to disguise their functions as chemical factories. "Askania Nord" became Hitler's headquarters Wolfschanze, and "Askania Mitte/Süd" became Anlage Mitte and Anlage Süd (Facility Center and Facility South).

   While "Askania Nord" was planned as a permanent headquarters complex, Anlage Mitte and Süd were only temporary sites for the protected parking of Adolf Hitler's command train and Wehrmacht staff trains. Both of these sites had two similar complexes, a few kilometers from each other, built by Organization Todt. The complexes at Anlage Mitte were two long concrete bunkers for parking the trains, while Anlage Süd had one bunker site and one actual underground tunnel. All sites had an associated complex of bunkers for power generation and water supply.

   The only time these FHQs were used for their planned purpose was on 27-28 August 1941, when Hitler's special train "Amerika" was parked in the Strzyżów tunnel of Anlage Süd, while Mussolini's train was parked in the nearby bunker at Stępina. Some of the bunkers were used in 1944 for war industry production and munitions storage.

   Click here to proceed directly to the Anlage Süd site.

This concrete train bunker, 382 meters long, is located near the Polish village of Konewka, northeast of the town of Tomaszów Mazowiecki. Of the three train bunkers of Anlage Mitte/Süd, this is the only one laid out in a straight line (the Jeleń bunker is a shallow curve and the Stępina bunker has a slight bend in the middle). The reinforced concrete surrounding the train area is some 2.5 meters (8 feet) thick, and this bunker, like the Anlage Süd bunker at Stępina, has a "Vorbunker" area with double entry doors. A short distance to the east of the main bunker are the bunkers for power generation and ventilation (above right and below left) and water distribution (below right). These were linked to the main bunker by an underground services tunnel. This site is operated as a museum today.  (Google Maps link)

 

Some 14 km to the southwest of the Konewka bunker is this similar concrete train bunker, at Jeleń. In contrast to the other two train bunkers, this one lacks a "Vorbunker" at the entrance, with two sets of doors. This bunker has a simple entrance originally closed by one set of large iron doors (left above). The far end (right above) has a simple personnel exit. The bunker is 355 meters long, curved along its entire length. Except at the entrance, the rails have been covered over.  (Google Maps link)

 

The three concrete train bunkers have side tunnels running beside the train tunnel, all part of the same structure. The side tunnels were for service personnel, and had one or more exits to the outside. On the right above is seen the original tunnel floor configuration, with tracks to the left and the platform to the right.

 

Similar to the Konewka bunker, a nearly identical set of power/ventilation and water distribution bunkers is located near the Jeleń bunker. On the right above is the boiler room, with the exterior chimney for the boiler and furnaces seen on the left below. On the right below is a smaller concrete building of the complex.

 

Above is the power generation facility, with the ventilation section below. The windows of this part had a series of angled iron louvers for gross filtration of the incoming air, which have been cut away since the war (left below). The air filters were located on the upper floor of the ventilation room on the right below. The outlet to the services tunnel running to the main train bunker was from the floor of this room.

 

The water distribution bunker is adjacent to the power bunker. On the right is the pump room, with the water tanks beneath.

 


Anlage Süd Führer Headquarters

Some 250 km to the southeast of Anlage Mitte are the facilities of Anlage Süd. The facility at Stępina is a concrete train bunker, similar to the Konewka bunker of Anlage Mitte. In contrast to the straight Konewka bunker, this bunker has a slight bend at its middle. This was the location of the meeting between Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini on 27-28 August 1941. Mussolini's train was parked in this bunker, while Hitler's train was parked some 17 km away in the Strzyżów tunnel (see below). The entrance to the train bunker can be seen in the background of the period photo above, covered with camouflage netting. This bunker is operated as a museum today.  (Bundesarchiv)  (Google Maps link)

 

This bunker also has a "Vorbunker" entry area closed by two sets of doors. The original massive iron inner doors can be seen in these photos. The tunnel is 382 meters long, covered with reinforced concrete some two meters thick.

 

The views above show the back end from the outside and inside. The main train tunnel is shown on the left below, with the parallel staff and service tunnel on the right.

 

Several other bunkers were part of the Stępina complex. The power generation/ventilation bunker is at the left above. The bunkers at the right above and left below were service / air raid bunkers located at either end of the village. At the right below was a defensive bunker mounting machine guns, located near the bunker on the left.

 

A similar defensive bunker is located on a hill overlooking the village. The interior view shows one of the iron-mounted weapons firing apertures.

 

This train tunnel at Strzyżów, some 17 km east of the Stępina bunker, was the only facility of Anlage Mitte/Süd that was an actual underground tunnel, not a concrete bunker. As a tunnel, this was the only facility where a train could drive in or out going either direction (the concrete bunkers had no train exits at their far ends). The 472 meter long tunnel had double entry doors at each end, with concrete cubes covering the side personnel entrances to the platform inside. The western entry is shown above with the eastern entry below.
This is the most historic of the Anlage Mitte/Süd sites, as this was where Hitler's special train "Amerika" was parked over the night of 27-28 August 1941, when he met with Benito Mussolini. Hitler drove from here to meet with Mussolini at the Stępina bunker, then they returned here to dine in Hitler's dining car. From here, Hitler returned the next day to his Wolfschanze headquarters.  (Google Maps link)

 

The Strzyżów tunnel was made of poured concrete with a brick lined ceiling. This was the only facility with an emergency exit tunnel (although its primary function was a connecting tunnel to the power bunker). A stairwell from the covered entrance seen on the right above leads to a tunnel (below left) that proceeds about 120 meters, beneath the railroad, to an exit in the power bunker across the road (below right).

 

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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.


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