Following the beginning of World War
II, it was decided to protect the Nazi complex on the Obersalzberg from air
attack by installing anti-aircraft (Flak) batteries. Several of these positions
were built in a ring around the Berchtesgaden area, mostly on higher elevations.
The batteries consisted of large caliber flak guns in the 8.8cm and 10.5cm range
for engaging heavy bombers, along with smaller caliber guns of 2.0cm and 3.7cm
bores, to deal with low flying fighter-bomber aircraft. The fire of the flak
batteries was coordinated from the underground command
post on the Obersalzberg. Some of these batteries, principally those on the
Roßfeld (see below), engaged the British bombers on 25 April 1945.
photos show light flak
positions on the Weinfeld hillside below the summit of
the Lochstein. These small concrete emplacements for 3.7cm guns enjoyed
a scenic overlook of Berchtesgaden. In common with most of the other
flak positions, there is no trace of these emplacements today. However,
there is a dugout in the hill behind, that appears to be the ammo bunker showing as an opening in the near hillside in the
left-hand photo below (the modern photo is not from the same angle).
This photo is included as an example of
how much these sites can change and become unrecognizable
over the years. The photo on the right above, showing the ammo bunker, was taken
in 2006. The photo
directly above, taken in 2019, shows that a tree has grown up and the ammo
bunker is now hidden from view.
period views of the flak positions on the Weinfeld. The foundations of
the barracks buildings seen in the background can be found today in the
woods at the sharp bend in Weinfeldweg street,
going up the hill to the Cafe Lochstein.
Obersalzberg itself, a flak battery was located on the Antenberg
hill. This position consisted of several 2.0cm and 3.7cm guns, along with barracks buildings. These barracks buildings
and other buildings of the workers camp can be seen in the March 1945 aerial photo on the
right. Arrows point out what appear to be flak gun positions. (U.S. National Archives) (Google
|Also in the
Obersalzberg area were four 3.7cm
flak guns on the ridgeline behind the Kehlsteinhaus.
Reportedly, Martin Bormann did not want any flak guns to ruin the
ambiance at the Kehlsteinhaus, but they were considered necessary in 1944,
and the location was ideal to provide protection against low-flying
aircraft approaching from the south or
southeast. These concrete artifacts found
today a short distance off the main path leading uphill behind the house
on the Scharitzkehl side may be remains of these flak gun
positions. Note: Some sources indicate these concrete objects may
have been the upper mount for a cable system used during construction,
to ferry building supplies from the valley below; and in fact, they do
not seem to be ideally located as Flak positions. (Google
out of the village of Oberau, northeast of Berchtesgaden, is the
beginning of the Roßfeld Ringstraße, a high alpine road. A site along
this road was chosen for a position for small-caliber flak guns. These
period photos show two of the gun positions of this Oberau battery.
Notice the helmets lined up along the berm at the back of the concrete
positions, ready for instant use. In the background of the two photos
below can be seen the terrain features and houses that are seen in more
detail in the photos in the groups further below, which allowed me to
determine the location of the guns seen in these period photos. (all
period photos from author's collection)
photos established the exact locations of these gun positions - on a
hillside next to the road leading to the Roßfeld Ringstraße,
overlooking the valley of the road leading from Oberau, near the area
called Am Sattl. The background looking north can also be seen in the close-up
view of the gun position on the left in the group above, and the
buildings seen below can also be seen in he gun position close-up on the
right in the group above. (The buildings have been remodeled, but they
remain in the same locations.) (Google
of the collection of period photos, taken from one of the gun positions
looking northwest toward Oberau. The terrain remains the same but
several more houses have been added on the hillsides along the valley.
Alpenstraße is the Roßfeld Ringstraße, a high alpine road that runs along the border
between Germany and Austria. This is today one of the most popular scenic drives in the
area, rewarding the visitor with spectacular views of the Untersberg mountains and vistas
far into the Austrian Alps. In the 1940s it was an ideal site for anti-aircraft guns, and
the once peaceful Roßfeld high alpine pasture area became the location for the largest
concentration of flak guns defending Berchtesgaden. Eventually, some
eighteen 8.8cm and 10.5cm
guns were emplaced here. These guns engaged the British bombers on 25 April 1945.
Brandt, "Der Freiwillige," April 1975) (This view will be
familiar to fans of the movie "The Sound of Music" - this is the
location of the final scene, as the Von Trapp family escapes over the
concrete remains shown here, at two different sites along the Roßfeld
Ringstraße, were apparently associated with the Flak positions on the
Roßfeld. The artifacts above formed the upper terminus of a cable
system to transport materials up the side of the Ahornbüchsenkopf peak
- the route of the cable system through the trees can be traced today
near the Ahornkaser restaurant. The purpose of the concrete mounts below
is unclear. They may have been associated with a different cable system,
as the site in the two lower photos is on the hillside above the object
seen directly below. (Google
Maps link - site below)
Aerial photo of a Berchtesgaden area
Flak position taken from a U.S. aircraft in 1945. Visible are six main gun
positions (probably 8.8cm Flak guns); other positions possibly for smaller guns,
rangefinders, or other battery
equipment; troop barracks; and zigzag trenches for protection from bomb shrapnel
and attack by low-flying
aircraft. There appears to be another gun position at the upper right edge.
These positions may have been in
Schönau, southwest of Berchtesgaden, but I have been unable to find the exact
spot. (author's collection)
Continue to see further
Berchtesgaden area buildings and sites.
Visit the Berchtesgadener
Hof hotel, then and now.
Continue to the Obersalzberg sites - Hitler's
Berghof, Bormann's and Göring's houses, Platterhof, Gästehaus and Kampfhäusl, Hotel Zum Türken,
Gutshof and Teehaus,
Kehlsteinhaus, SS barracks, bunker system, miscellaneous Obersalzberg
Return to the Third Reich in Ruins homepage
book to Third Reich sites in the Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg area has
been published by Fonthill Media.
Berchtesgaden" is available at Amazon and other retailers ( the
Kindle version is also available from Amazon).
For personal guided tours in
English of Third Reich sites in Berchtesgaden and on the Obersalzberg (and other
local sites) from a certified and accredited local tour guide, contact:
- Historic Films About Berechtesgaden and the Obersalzberg