Geoff Walden


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Mauerwald OKH Headquarters and others

   For security reasons, the several subordinate headquarters associated with Adolf Hitler's field command headquarters on the Russian Front - the Wolfschanze (Wolf's Lair) - were dispersed around the countryside, so that a single bombing attack or paratrooper assault could not strike all of these headquarters simultaneously. By far the largest of these was the headquarters of the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) - the Army High Command. This site was built some 20 kilometers northeast of the Wolfschanze, on the shores of the Mauersee (Mamry) Lake (this area is called Mamerki today). Built by the Organization Todt, similar to the Wolfschanze but on a larger scale, the Mauerwald headquarters had over 200 structures with some 30 reinforced buildings and bunkers as air raid shelters. When Hitler was at the Wolfschanze, the Wehrmacht and Army high commands, as well as the Chiefs of the General Staff, took up residence at Mauerwald (as opposed to their main command center at Zossen, south of Berlin). Various commanders such as Gens. Halder, Brauchitsch, Paulus, and Guderian, along with staff officers such as Stauffenberg and Gehlen, lived and worked at Mauerwald.

   The Mauerwald complex was divided into three areas: Zone 1 ("Quelle") on the east side of the road near the lake was a quartermaster and logistics operations center. Zone 2 ("Fritz") on the west side of the main road that bisected the area was the command and staff center for the General Staff. Zone 3 ("Brigittenstadt"), also on the west side but to the south, was the location of the main communications center on the Eastern Front, code-named "Amt Anna." Most of the reinforced buildings and bunkers were in "Fritz" and "Quelle;" most of the buildings in "Brigittenstadt" were of wooden or light construction. In contrast to Hitler's Wolf's Lair complex, the buildings at Mauerwald were not destroyed by the retreating Germans in January 1945, and the concrete buildings remain intact today (the wooden buildings, particularly the "Brigittenstadt" section, no longer exist).  (Google Maps link - parking area at "Quelle")

   Other Third Reich leaders had their own headquarters areas from 10 to 70 kilometers from the Wolfschanze. Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring had a bunkered headquarters complex called "Robinson" near Goldap, on the Russian border 70 kilometers northeast of the Wolf's Lair, and another Luftwaffe headquarters area near Breitenheide, 70 kilometers south of the Wolf's Lair. Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop installed his headquarters in a palace at Steinort, 15 kilometers northeast of the Wolf's Lair. Intelligence officer Gen. Reinhard Gehlen had a facility at the Boyen Fortress in Lötzen, 36 kilometers southeast of the Wolfschanze. SS chief Heinrich Himmler and Reichskanzlei leader Hans Lammers had headquarters bunkers in the vicinity - click here to see these sites (below).


The route from the Wolfschanze to the Mauerwald headquarters area contains some stretches of the original cobblestoned military roadway. The Mauerwald area has several different types of bunkers. This one in the "Quelle" area (object 24, a power station) has a basement. (Like at the Wolfschanze, the numbers painted on the Mauerwald buildings today have no period meaning, but they are a convenient way to refer to each ruin.)


The Mauerwald concrete bunkers were of two general types - the "V2" bunkers had two rooms inside while the "K5" bunkers had five rooms. Bunker 8 seen here was of the "V2" two-room style. These photos show the general layout of these bunkers - two entry doorways protected by machinegun positions, then turning through metal doors to a central hallway, from which the small interior shelter rooms were reached.


The "Quelle" zone has two large air raid bunkers more similar to the large bunkers at the Wolfschanze. In common with many of the Wolfschanze buildings, Bunkers 5 and 6 at Mauerwald, originally of the smaller "V2" and "K5" types, had 2-3 meters of additional concrete added to their walls and roofs in 1944, resulting in huge concrete monoliths on the outside, with very small rooms on the inside (below right). Also in common with the large Wolfschanze bunkers, these Mauerwald bunkers had metal rung ladders running up the outside walls to reach the roofs. Bunker 5, seen at the left above, was used by Quartermaster General Eduard Wagner.


The interior spaces of Bunkers 5 and 6 retained their original layouts, the same as Bunker 8 shown previously (above).


In addition to the traditional bunkers, Mauerwald had several reinforced concrete buildings that served various other functions. These photos show two transformer bunkers: No. 3 (above) in the "Quelle" sector, and No. 10 (below) in the "Fritz" sector. As with the Wolfschanze bunkers, many of the Mauerwald bunkers were coated with a tough mixture of cement, gravel, shavings, and sea grass on their outer surfaces.


This building was a heating plant in the "Fritz" zone, adjacent to the transformer bunker 10 above. The label on the wall seen at the left below, leading to the basement (seen on the right below), is an original Third Reich marking indicating that unauthorized entry was forbidden.


Adjacent to the heating plant seen above was a generator station (object 12), with several mounts for electrical generators in its large interior room. Object 7 (below right), centrally located between the "Fritz" and "Quelle" sectors, was a pump house for drinking water distribution.


These photos show two of the typical Mauerwald bunkers used by high ranking officers in the "Fritz" sector. Object 13 (above and left below) was a "K5" type bunker used by Gen. Reinhard Gehlen. The somewhat larger "K5" bunkers had double machinegun ports at the entry doors (contrast the "V2" type Bunker 8 at the top of this page). Object 16 (below right) was used by Gen. Rudolf Gercke, chief of the Army General Staff transportation office. This bunker apparently had a wooden structure or second floor added to its top.


Bunkers 28 and 30 in Zone 3 "Brigittenstadt" were for communications personnel. These two bunkers house the museum displays today, with a tunnel running between them and beneath the post office building (object 29, below right). (The "U-Boot" referenced in the site sign is a somewhat-to-scale model U-Boot located in another building.)  (Google Maps link)


Heinrich Himmler's "Hochwald" Headquarters

SS chief Heinrich Himmler had his own command bunker complex called "Hochwald" about 27 kilometers from the Wolfschanze, near the town of Großgarten (today's Pozezdrze). Himmler had the largest bunker, which was badly damaged by demolitions at the same time as the Wolfschanze's destruction in January 1945.  (Google Maps link)


Hans Lammers' "Wendula" Headquarters

Dr. Hans Lammers, chief of the Reichs Chancellery, had a small bunker compound about 10 kilometers from the Wolfschanze, near the village of Rosengarten (today's Radzieje). (courtesy Tom Lewis)  (Google Maps link)


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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.