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Wolf's Lair


// Main Adolf Hiter's headquarter.

Wolf's Lair whose the original name is Wolfsschanze, was the chosen code name for one of the several headquarters that Adolf Hitler had during World War II in various parts of Europe.

The decision on the construction of the complex was made in the Autumn of 1940 considering several factors:

  • appropriate location to coordinate operations in the Soviet Union (after the German offensive during Operation Barbarossa) given its proximity to the border with the Soviet Union;
  • East Prussia was one of the zones most fortified in the Reich;
  • location away from main roads;
  • isolation thanks to closed forests of Masuria and the lakes of that region that served as a natural barrier against ground troops.
The initial construction of the Wolf's Lair that ended in 1941 was in charge of construction and engineering group founded in the years of the Third Reich: Organisation Todt. Later there was an expansion plan but which was never completed because the works were stopped a few days before the Red Army advance in November 1944.
The complex is about 8 kilometers away from Rastenburg in East Prussia (now Ketrzyn, Poland) in the Masurian woods and surrounded by minefields and barbed wire, which makes 6.5 km2 in occupied area.
The three security zones that constituted Wolfsschanze were organized as follows:
  • Sperrkreis 1 (Security Zone 1)
    • contained the Fuhrer's bunker;
    • 10 camouflaged bunkers and protected by 2 meters of reinforced concrete;
    • concrete shelters for the inner circle of Hitler such as Hermann Goering, Martin Bormann, Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Jodl.
  • Sperrkreis 2 (Security Zone 2)
    • military barracks and housing for important ministers of the Reich like Albert Speer, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Fritz Todt;
    • Hitler's escort battalion was also staying in the area.
  • Sperrkreis 3 (Security Zone 3)
    • security area of the complex with minefields, special forces troops and control towers.

The complex had its own power plant and was served by an air base and train lines.

Wolfsschanze was first used by Hitler on the night of June 23, 1941.
When he was there, the routine was to take a walk with his dog around 9 or 10 am and at 10:30 check the arrived mail. At noon, Hitler would have a meeting in the Keitel's and Jodl's bunker for a briefing which usually would take two hours. After that meeting, Hitler would have its lunch and always in the same place (between Jodl and Otto Dietrich and ahead of Keitel, Martin Bormann and Goering aide, General Karl Heinrich Bodenschatz).
Coffee was served at 5 pm, followed by a second meeting to review the situation with military Jodl at 6 pm. The dinner would begin at 7:30 pm and was followed by the viewing of films, monologues by Hitler for his entourage and, on occasions, Hitler and the rest of the entourage listened to symphonies of Beethoven, Wagner or other operas or even German music.

Since 1941, Hitler was 800 days in Wolfsschanze in the following periods:

  • June 24, 1941 - July 16, 1942;
  • November 1, 1942 - November 7, 1942;
  • November 23, 1942 - February 17, 1943;
  • March 13, 1943 - March 19, 1943;
  • May 9, 1943 - May 21, 1943;
  • July 1, 1943 - July 18, 1943;
  • July 20, 1943 - February 27, 1944;
  • July 14, 1944 - November 20, 1944.
The last day of Hitler in the complex was November 20, 1944 after the arrival of the Red Army to the border of East Prussia in the previous month. From there, the main headquarters of Hitler became Zossen near Berlin.
Two days after the departure of the Fuhrer, it was decreed that the complex would have to be destroyed but this happened only on the night of 24 to 25 January 1945 using many tons of explosive. For example, it took about 8 tons to demolish a bunker and there are reports of witnesses who observed cracks in the ice of Lake Siercze.
On the January 27, 1945, the Red Army took the complex without any resistance.
Clearing minefields around the complex (about 72 hectares of forest and 52 of land) was only completed in 1955 and more than 54 thousand pounds were discovered and deactivated.

Wikipedia.org, Wolfsschanze.pl

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