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2011 SHARKHUNTERS Bunker Patrol in the Southern Redoubt - Tunnels and Bunkers!
Experts have estimated that for every item built ABOVE ground by the Third Reich, they built FOUR TIMES as much beneath the ground. Come with us as we travel back in time to some of these places - including one that we had never seen before.
We wish to give our sincere thanks to JEFF CARSON (7728-2007), the 'Tunnel King' for all his information, maps, charts and his help. Now, let's go exploring!
The Tunnel for the Treasure Train
Luftwaffe Chief Hermann Göring collected art treasures of all kinds and had a massive collection. As the war was in its final moments, he had all these treasures packed into a special train and hid it in a hardened tunnel in Berchtesgaden for his quick escape to Austria. The tunnel is still standing (in use by the Berchtesgaden street maintenance works) but the rails have long since been removed.
Photo above - this is the remains
of the plaque that commemorated the building of the tunnel.
Naturally the eagle and Swastika have been removed. This plaque is
on the side of the tunnel you see in the other two photos and was facing
the brown hotel by where the lamp post stands.
The Second Most Popular Book
Almost everyone knows that the most popular book ever written with the most copies sold in the world for all time is the Holy Bible but do you know what is the second most popular; the book with the second most copies ever sold? It is 'Mein Kampf!' written by Adolf Hitler and much of it was written right here on the Obersalzburg.....in what is now referred to as the 'Kampfhaus'. This was a very small house, rented by Hitler and he finished his work here. Only the foundation remains, but we are here to walk in the footsteps of history.
Two photos above and one left -
this is all that remains of the little house Hitler once rented and
where his book 'Mein Kampf' was finished.
Sharkhunters are here.
|Above - this is the top of the shelter, blown off.||Above - this is a large chuck of the shelter.|
Both photos below - the yellow arrow
points to more fragments of the shelter.
Random Works built by the Reich
A great deal of infrastructure and buildings were built by the Reich in a short time and contrary to accepted 'history', what we see here was not built by slave labor. These construction works were built by skilled stone cutters, masons, carpenters and other tradesmen who were paid a good wage and given housing during the construction. Without captions, let's just show some of what we saw.
Below - what a surprise! Two beautiful horses in the middle of nowhere, and 'recon RANDOLPH' had a biscuit in his pocket and gave it to one. He had a friend for life! Well, at least until we got over the next fence. This horse would have followed RANDOLPH home if he could have done so.
the Coal Bunkers
We have visited here before, despite the barbed wire and the sign that says 'Eingang Verboten' which we translate to mean 'Sharkhunters Welcome Here'. It is the same as 'No Pasar' in Argentina - right? The Reich, probably Bormann, devised a clever way to supply coal to the homes and buildings on the Obersalzburg. These massive bunkers were built onto the side of a mountain with an access road above and another below. Trucks would come with huge loads of coal and dump them into the bunkers from openings at the top. When coal was needed for a building, a truck would roll into one of the eight bunkers beneath a chute. The chute was opened and the correct amount of coal was poured into the truck which then delivered it to the building that needed it. It was a well devised system. Come with us to these coal bunkers.
We had to walk to the bunkers since someone placed huge boulders at the entrance to the drive. Guess they really didn't want visitors. Oh well. Note the large pile of rubble shoved in front of the 8th and last bunker. This was to keep people out since there is a door at the back that leads into the tunnel system. Couple years ago, HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) went over the pile of rubble to get to this door. It was difficult enough getting over the pile, but inside - they had welded the door shut! That just doesn't seem fair..................
A little way down the path we find
this door - an entrance to this tunnel system but it too, is locked.
We could feel air currents coming out of the holes in the door, so it is
obviously open somewhere else. Susie Siple is having the time of
Air Raid Bunkers
There were air raid bunkers all over the Reich, but some high level people had special tunnel and bunker systems.
|This is the escape door from Hitler's bunker system.||Hitler and Eva Braun had rooms
inside this door as well as
their library, a room full of phonograph records etc.
|Above & below - the red door is the escape door of Göring's bunker.||There was also a small house built here during the war years.|
The Road to Italy!
No, this was not a movie with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. This was going to be a real road. Under Hitler's highway program, a two-lane highway was to be built from München to Italy, passing through this area.
This was one of the pedestrian walkways built prior to the actual construction of the highway, which would pass overhead. The walkway was completed, the road never was and now the pedestrian walkway stands alone, connected to nothing - almost like a 'bridge to nowhere'.
"Going to the Theater"
A theater hall was built for entertainment but in the final winter and under an extremely heavy snowfall, the roof collapsed. With the war going badly for the Reich, there was no effort to rebuild and so there is now nothing remaining but massive blocks - and haunting history.
|Our first view of the ruins||We are getting closer|
When looking at the size and number of these massive support pillars, it is easy to note that this was a huge theater hall. Nothing remains but the stones - and perhaps a ghost or two.
........and now - TUNNELS & BUNKERS!
Beneath the Hotel zum Türken....
.......we find probably the best preserved bunker system on the mountain; probably anywhere in the world. Although the signs says not to take photos, the hotel is owned by INGRID SCHARFENBERG (3308-A/LIFE-1993), a longtime LIFE Member and a dear friend and she said it was okay, but just for us. Join us - you don't need lights, shovels or special clothing - it is pure history!
There was no combat here, but shortly after the end of the war,
some jackass fired his bazooka through this wall - for fun!
|Note the round gas lock above the door.||Close up of the gas lock to prevent gas from coming in.|
|Entrance to one of the machine gun nests.||Susie Siple can feel the history here.|
For what it is worth, these photos in the zum
Türken bunkers are taken about 200 feet beneath the surface.
the so-called 'Deep Tunnel'
This tunnel is built a long way into the Alpine woods - a LONG way from nothing. This was to be Adolf Hitler's escape through the mountains to safe haven in Austria if the leaders of the Reich had made a last-ditch stand in this place that the Allies called the 'Southern Redoubt'. Only Göring was here at the end, and the tunnel was never completed. It runs about half a mile into the mountain, makes a zig to the right and goes on for another quarter of a mile then abruptly ends - the war was over and there was no reason to continue. There are grooves cut into the floor every meter or so for the railroad ties that were to be installed for the small rail cars, but that too was never finished. We even found sticks of dynamite still in their blasting holes in the wall! Once at the far distant end of the tunnel, we turned out all our lights to experience total darkness. It was eerie, but very peaceful.
|The entrance is very difficult to spot unless you know where to look.||We are Sharkhunters, afraid of nothing - so in we go!|
As we get further and further into the tunnel..........
.....the entrance gets smaller and smaller...........
.............and smaller and smaller..........until it is
totally gone! We hope someone left a trail of breadcrumbs!
Left - Mineral deposits leaching into the
tunnel. Right - Photo shot when exhaling in the cold air; these are not
spirits - or are they?
The NEW Tunnel!
As we walked along a path, RANDOLPH SIPLE (4684-1996), a former U. S. Army reconnaissance officer (Captain), spotted something that didn't look normal and he called our attention to it. What we found looked like nothing more than a utilities room - until..........
|This is what 'Recon RANDOLPH' spotted in the hillside.||This is the tiny hole at the top of the debris pile.|
|HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983)
stuck his arm through hole
with the camera to see what was inside. This is what he saw.
|If you look closely, you see
COOPER's left foot as he
slides through the hole and into history.
Above and below - there were many rooms off the main corridor
that ran back about a mile into the mountain.
This main corridor ran back about
a mile into the mountain as seen in the two photos above. Then
there was a "T" intersection. To the left, it appeared that the
tunnel stopped after about 100 yards. To the right there was a
debris pile that blocked passage. There was a small hole at the
top and it appeared that COOPER could make it through that hole
and continue onward - but he decided not to go further. He was
about one mile into the mountain, he was all alone, had only one light
and no way to contact those on the surface if anything went wrong - such
as if his one and only light had quit. COOPER would
probably still be in that tunnel and while some might lament this turn
of events, there are others who would certainly rejoice.
|Yep, that's COOPER coming out that little hole.||He does look somewhat relieved.|
Fortunately there were no injuries, but those
clothes were shot!
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