Geoff Walden


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Berchtesgaden Area Flak Positions

   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.

These 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).  (Google Maps link)


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.

Two more 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.


On the 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 Maps link)


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 Maps link)


Rising 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)


These 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 Maps link)


Another 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.


Above the 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.  (Erwin 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 mountains.)  (Google Maps link)


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)



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Rstone.gif (1273 bytes)   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, SS guard houses, miscellaneous Obersalzberg buildings.

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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.