Military Review

The Third Reich goes underground

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The Third Reich goes underground


No matter what they say, one thing is indisputable: there is no more extensive and more extensive underground fortified area in the world than the one that was dug in the river triangle Warta - Obra - Oder more than half a century ago. Before 1945, these lands were part of Germany. After the collapse of the Third Reich returned to Poland. Only then did Soviet specialists descend into the top-secret dungeon. We descended, were amazed at the length of the tunnels and left. No one wanted to get lost, explode, disappear into the giant concrete catacombs, which were tens (!) Kilometers to the north, south and west. No one could say for what purpose double-track narrow-gauge railway lines were laid in them, where and why electric trains ran through endless tunnels with countless branches, dead ends that they carried on their platforms, who was a passenger. However, it is known for certain that Hitler visited this underground reinforced concrete kingdom, coded under the name "RL" - Regenwurmlager - "Earthworm Camp" at least twice.

SECRET TUNNELS - IN NIKUDA

The spectacle is not for the faint of heart, when in the forest twilight from the viewing cracks of the old pillboxes and armored roofs are selected, fumbling and squealing, bats. Winged vampires decided that these high-rise dungeons people built for them, and settled there long and securely. Here, not far from the Polish city of Międzyrzecz, there lives the largest bat colony in Europe - tens of thousands. But this is not about them, although military intelligence has chosen the bat silhouette as its emblem.



There were legends about this area, they walked and for a long time there will be legends, one darker than the other.

“To begin with,” says Colonel Alexander Liskin, one of the pioneers of the local catacombs, “near the forest lake, an insulated output of an underground power cable was detected in a reinforced concrete box. drew a concrete well, which swallowed water that fell from a height. At the same time, intelligence reported that, perhaps, underground power communication was coming from Miedzyrzecz. However, it was not excluded the presence of a hidden autonomous power station, and also the fact that its turbines were rotated by water falling into a well, it was said that the lake was somehow connected to the surrounding water bodies, and there were plenty of them.

The sappers revealed the entrance to the tunnel disguised as a hill. Already in the first approximation, it became clear that this is a serious structure, besides, probably, with all sorts of traps, including mine ones. They said that somehow drunken foreman on his motorcycle decided to take a ride through a mysterious tunnel. I didn’t see any more of this. ”



No matter what they say, one thing is indisputable: there is no more extensive and more extensive underground fortified area in the world than the one that was dug in the river triangle Warta - Obra - Oder more than half a century ago. Before 1945, these lands were part of Germany. After the collapse of the Third Reich returned to Poland. Only then did Soviet specialists descend into the top-secret dungeon. We descended, were amazed at the length of the tunnels and left. No one wanted to get lost, explode, disappear into the giant concrete catacombs, which were tens (!) Kilometers to the north, south and west. No one could say for what purpose double-track narrow-gauge railway lines were laid in them, where and why electric trains ran through endless tunnels with countless branches, dead ends that they carried on their platforms, who was a passenger. However, it is known for certain that Hitler visited this underground reinforced concrete kingdom, coded under the name "RL" - Regenwurmlager - "Earthworm Camp" at least twice.

What for?

Under the sign of this question is any study of the mysterious object. Why was a giant dungeon built? Why are hundreds of kilometers of electrified railways laid in it, and a good dozen of various "why?" and why?"



The local old-timer, a former tanker, and now a taxi driver named Yuzef, taking a fluorescent lamp with him, set to take us to one of twenty-two underground stations. All of them were designated once by male and female names: "Dora", "Martha", "Emma", "Berta". The closest to Miedzyrzecz is "Henrik". Our guide claims that it was to his platform that Hitler came from Berlin to go from here on the surface to his field camp at Rastenberg - "Wolfsan". This has its own logic - the underground path from Berlin allowed to secretly leave the Reich Chancellery. Yes, and to the "Wolf lair" from here just a few hours away by car.

Józef drives his Polonez along a narrow highway to the south-west of the city. In the village of Kalava turn to the side of the Scharnhorst bunker. This is one of the strongholds of the defense system of the Pomorsky shaft. And the places in the neighborhood are idyllic and do not fit in with these military words: hilly copses, poppies in rye, swans in lakes, storks on the roofs, pine trees burning from the inside with the sun, roes roam.

WELCOME TO HELL!

A picturesque hill with an old oak at the top was crowned with two steel armored caps. Their massive slotted cylinders resembled Teutonic knight helmets, "forgotten" under the canopy of an oak crown.
The western slope of the hill was cut off by a concrete wall of one and a half human height, into which an armored pressure door was embedded in a third of the usual door and several air intake openings, again taken by armored blinds. These were the gills of an underground monster. Above the entrance there is an inscription sprayed from a can of paint: "Welcome to hell!" - "Welcome to Hell!"



Under the close eye of the machine-gun embrasure of the flank battle we approach the armored door and open it with a long special key. A heavy but well-oiled door swings open easily, and another loophole looks to your chest - frontal combat. "Entered without a pass - get an automatic burst," says her empty, unblinking look. Such is the chamber of the entrance vestibule. At one time, her sex was treacherously failing, and an uninvited guest flew into the well, as was practiced in medieval castles. Now it is securely fastened, and we turn into a narrow side corridor that leads to the inside of the bunker, but after a few steps it is interrupted by the main gas lock. We leave it and get into the checkpoint where the guard once checked all incoming documents and held the entrance door at gunpoint. Only after that can you enter the corridor leading to combat dungeons covered with armored domes. In one of them, there is still a rusty rapid-fire grenade launcher, in the other there was a flamethrowing machine, in the third there were heavy machine-gunners. masked escape route.



On the floor below are depleted ammunition depots, a fire tank, an inlet trap chamber, it is also a punishment cell, a sleeping compartment for the shift shift, a filter-ventilation enclosure ... Here, too, is the entrance to the underworld: a wide - four meters in diameter - the concrete well plummets down to the depth of a ten-story house. The flashlight beam illuminates the water at the bottom of the mine. A concrete staircase descends along the shaft in steep narrow marches.



“There are a hundred and fifty steps,” says Jozef. We follow him with a sinking heart: what is below? And below, at a depth of 45 meters, there is a high-level hall, resembling the nave of an ancient cathedral, except perhaps it is made of arched reinforced concrete. The mine, along which the staircase was wound, is cut off here in order to continue even deeper, but already like a well, almost filled to the brim with water. Does he have a bottom? And why does the mine hovering above it rise right up to the casemate floor? Yuzef does not know. But it leads us to another well, narrower, covered with a hatch cover. It is a source of drinking water. You can even now scoop.

I look around the arches of the local Hades. What did they see, what was going on under them? This hall served as a Scharnhorst garrison as a military base with a rear base. Here, the main tunnel, as tributaries into the channel, "fell" bunk concrete hangars. They housed two barracks for a hundred people, an infirmary, a kitchen, warehouses with food and ammunition, a power station, a fuel storage facility. Trolley trains along the branch line leading to the main tunnel at the Henrik station rolled up through the airlock gas chamber.

- Let's go to the station? - our guide asks.



Jozef dives into a low and narrow corridor, and we follow him. Pedestrian rubbish seems endless, we are walking on it in an accelerated step for a quarter of an hour, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. And there will be no light here, as, indeed, in all the rest of the “earthworm holes”.

Only here I notice how chilled in this chasm dungeon: the temperature here is constant, that in summer, in winter, - 10oС. With the thought, under what stratum of earth our slit-trail stretches, it becomes completely uncomfortable. Low vault and narrow walls compress the soul - will we get out of here? And if a concrete floor collapses, and if the water rushes? After all, for more than half a century, all these structures did not know any maintenance or repair, they hold back, and in fact they hold back, and the pressure of the subsoil, and the water pressure ...

When the phrase “May we come back?” Spun on the tip of the tongue, the narrow passage finally joined the wide transport tunnel. Concrete slabs were like a platform here. It was the station "Henrik" - abandoned, dusty, dark ... Immediately I remembered those stations of the Berlin underground, which until recently were in a similar desolation, because they were under the wall that cut Berlin into the eastern and western parts. They were visible from the windows of blue express trains - these caverns of time frozen in half a century ... Now, standing on the Henrik platform, it was easy to believe that the rails of this rusty two-track run up to the Berlin subway.



We turn in a sideway. Soon, puddles began to sink beneath their feet, drainage grooves stretched along the edges of the footpath - ideal drinking bowls for bats. The beam of the lantern jumped up, and a large, lively cluster, molded from bony-half-half-half-doors, stirred above our heads. Cold goosebumps ran down the back - what a dirty trick, however! For nothing that is useful - mosquitoes are eating.

They say the souls of dead sailors are infused into the gulls. Then the souls of the SS should turn into bats. And judging by the number of nests beneath the concrete arches of the bat, the entire Dead Head division, which disappeared without a trace in 45 in the mezeritsky dungeon, is still sheltered from sunlight in the form of bats.

Away, away from here, and as soon as possible!

OUR TANK - OVER BUNKER


To the question "why was Mezeritsky fortified" created, military historians answer this way: in order to hang a powerful castle on the main strategic axis of Europe, Moscow - Warsaw - Berlin - Paris.



The Chinese built their Great Wall in order to cover the borders of the Celestial Empire for thousands against the invasion of nomads. The Germans did almost the same by erecting the Eastern Wall - Ostwall, with the only difference being that they built their “wall” underground. They started to build it back in 1927, and only ten years later they finished the first stage. Believing to sit behind this "impregnable" shaft, the Hitlerite strategists moved from here, first to Warsaw and then to Moscow, leaving Paris captured in the rear. The result of the great march to the east is known. The onslaught of the Soviet armies did not help to contain neither anti-dragon’s teeth, nor armored dome installations, nor underground forts with all their medieval traps and the most up-to-date weapons.



In the winter of forty-fifth, the soldiers of Colonel Gusakovsky broke this "impassable" line and moved directly to Oder. Here, under Miedzyrzecz, he fought with the "Dead Head" tank Major Karabanov’s battalion, which burned down in his tank. No extremists dared to break the monument to our fighters near the village of Kalava. He is silently guarded by the memorial "thirty-four", even though now it has remained behind NATO. Her cannon looks west - at the armored dome of the Scharnhorst bunker. The old tank went into a deep raid historical memory. Bats circling above him at night, but sometimes flowers are placed on his armor. Who! Yes, those who still remember that victorious year, when these lands, dug with the "earthworm" and still fertile, again became Poland.
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