Defense of the Third Reich 1941-45 (Fortress)
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During World War II Germany was subjected to the growing threat of Allied bomber attack, from RAF night bombing to American daylight bombing. From flak artillery to fortified structures, this book focuses on the land-based infrastructure of Germany's defense against the air onslaught.
The Third Reich created the most lavish Flak defenses of any country in World War II. This book provides an overview of the Flak artillery, with a special emphasis on how Flak was deployed and some of the unique fortified structures that were created to enhance Flak performance such as the legendary Flak towers of the German cities. It also briefly examines the revolutionary potential of anti-aircraft missiles for Flak defense that were on the verge of deployment at the end of the war. Although the artillery element of Flak is the most widely known, Flak effectiveness was highly dependent on advanced electronic sensors, especially radar, for fire control and precise targeting. This book examines how the Third Reich deployed radar and other advanced sensors in its defensive belts such as the Kammhuber Line.
Besides active defense against air attack, Germany also invested heavily in passive defense such as air raid shelters. While much of this defense was conventional such as underground shelters and the dual use of subways and other structures, Germany faced some unique dilemmas in protecting cities against night fire bomb raids. Some cities were located in regions where the soil conditions and lack of bedrock did not permit deep underground bunkers. As a result, German architects designed massive above-ground defense shelters which were amongst the most massive defensive structures built in World War II.
The success of the US Army Air Force offensive against Germany industry in early 1944 threatened to crush German military production. A program was initiated in the spring of 1944 to defend the industry by dispersion and fortification. An elaborate program was created to house the most vital industries in underground shelters. Some of these were located in caves or tunnels, but in other areas, large reinforced concrete structures were created where caves were not a practical solution. These structures were amongst the most advanced for their day, and in many ways presaged the heavily reinforced shelters created during the Cold War for protection against nuclear attack.
organizing air-raid-protection services, mainly managed by the Ministry of the Interior through the police. Popular organizations such as the Deutsche Luftschutz-Liga (German Air Defense League) attempted to drum up popular support for a more vigorous defense effort. These early endeavours were intended to inform the general public about the air threat, to formulate plans for the construction of air-raid shelters and the manufacture of gas-masks, and to encourage voluntary public participation in
right angles to one another. This was a standard tactic of World War I trench design and was intended to prevent the entire structure being destroyed if only one section was penetrated by a bomb. Enclosed trench shelters were supposed to be completely buried for the best protection, but some were constructed in a partially submerged configuration, and others were built entirely on the surface with earth packed around them. These enclosed trench shelters were the second most common form of
III in the Humboldthain district completed in April 1942. As in the case of the Tiergarten towers, Gefechtstürm II was used to house the treasures of the Kaiser Wilhelm museum. The fourth complex was built in Hamburg in the Heiligeistfeld area and was built on the same pattern as the Berlin towers. During the course of construction of the first Flak complexes, Tamm’s team had developed a simplified and smaller tower for future construction, variously called Typ 2 or Bauart 2, which was used for
this had been short-sighted. The instructions for a dispersal program were delayed until the last minute, and not issued until February 1944 after the USSTAF had begun its Pointblank attacks. The plan ordered the dispersion of the 27 main airplane plants into 729 small plants and the 59 aircraft engine plants to 249 locations. From the initial American raids in February–March 1944, it became evident that the bombing attacks were more destructive of the factory buildings than the large machine
conventional labour sources, Project Ringeltaube 4 Steven Zaloga, German V-Weapon Sites 1943–45, (Osprey Fortress 72, 2008) 56 © Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com soon began to use forced labour to speed up the programs, mainly from Dachau and its satellite camps. Of the 30,000 labourers working on the Landsberg site, about 14,500 died from malnutrition and abuse. These bunkers were quite expensive to construct, each costing about RM 20 million. Although nearing completion, none