WW2 German Bunkers

Peter Gillson

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This may be in the wrong category but there is no sub-section for buildings which is why I have put it in weapons - after all many bunkers had guns!

In the picture quite thread I mentioned the clever chimney design. the obvious danger of a chimney is the risk of somebody dropping an hand grenade to the like down it, into the bunker. the Germans had a clever design to combat this:

Stove Detail.JPG
As the sectional elevation shows, anything dropped down would fall harmlessly outside the bunker often into the escape shaft where it would fall on sand/gravel and do no damage.

In answer to Jakko's question about which type of bunker had periscopes: in Guernsey at least the majority of 'front line' Fortress standard bunkers had them. These would include: the personnel bunker which is being converted into a house (see earlier thread), casemates housing 10.5cm K331(f), Casemates housing 4.7cm Pak 36(t), M19 automatic Mortar bunkers.

This link may be of interest - it is to the Festung Guernsey website. this is a group dedicated to restoring German fortifications:

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For anybody who is interested in German defences of WW2 this link may be of interest:

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The Commanding Officer of the German garrison, Lieutenant-General Graf von Schmettow commissioned a work which recorded details of the Island's history and fortifications. Completed in 1944 it is a unique document, in effect a combination of operating manual, articles and instructions, combined with hundreds of photographs, hand painted maps and beautifully crafted watercolour panoramas of the coastline. It also includes details of the armaments and personnel at each location as well as each location's tactical purpose.

I am not linked in anyway to this publisher.

Peter
 

minitnkr

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All the ones I saw in the Verdun complex had metal rain caps and were in large beds of tangle foot barbed wire secured w/iron stakes. Very nasty stuff still, after all these years. Excellent drawings & refs. Peter. There is a building subsection under Dioramas I think. PaulE
 

Mickc1440

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I remember watching a build on grand designs when someone took on a bunker in this country. The specialists needed to alter the buildings loved it :smiling2::smiling2::smiling2::smiling2: they were not designed to be messed with!!!
 

Jakko

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As the sectional elevation shows, anything dropped down would fall harmlessly outside the bunker often into the escape shaft where it would fall on sand/gravel and do no damage.
I couldn’t find a drawing online of the ventilation system I mentioned in response to your post about the chimney, and looking through some of my books I still can’t :sad: I’m almost certain I have a drawing of it somewhere …

In answer to Jakko's question about which type of bunker had periscopes: in Guernsey at least the majority of 'front line' Fortress standard bunkers had them.
On Walcheren, I get the impression only the heavier types of machine gun bunker etc. had them. The Regelbau 502 museum bunker where I live doesn’t even have the opening in the roof for it, for example.

M19 automatic Mortar bunkers.
However, I did find one of that last weapon, so I thought I’d scan it and post it here, for those who wonder how a mortar was mounted in a bunker:

M19 automatic mortar.jpeg

And the steel cupola being emplaced:

M19 automatic mortar 1.jpeg


This link may be of interest - it is to the Festung Guernsey website. this is a group dedicated to restoring German fortifications
I’ll definitely check that site out. Let me share the site of a similar organisation around my part of the world:
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(the English version of the site isn’t great, that front page especially, but use the menu at the top to explore).
 

Peter Gillson

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Jakko

Thanks for the link, I will check it out later.

That is a great photo of the 'bell' housing being installed. Unfortunately in Guernsey there was a scrap metal drive in the late 1940's when a lot of the metal in bunkers was taken for scrap. This involved parts as small as ventialtion pipes up to the metal M19 housings and the massive 30cm Mirus battery.

The Festung Guernsey guys are renovating and re-installing a M19 mortar. The compromise they made was to rebuild the 'bell' housing out of concrete rather than steel.

Peter
 

Jakko

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That is a great photo of the 'bell' housing being installed.
It was on the next page to the drawing in the book I scanned it from, Atlantikwall in Zeeland en Vlaanderen gedurende opbouw en strijd 1942-1944 (“Atlantikwall in Zeeland and Flanders during construction and combat 1942-1944”) by H. Sakkers and J.N. Houterman, Middelburg: H. Sakkers, 1990, ISBN 90-9003302-5. This is a pretty detailed account of exactly what the title says, with all sorts of pictures of bunkers under construction, bunker plans, various original technical drawings, and a detailed text about all of this.

Unfortunately in Guernsey there was a scrap metal drive in the late 1940's when a lot of the metal in bunkers was taken for scrap. This involved parts as small as ventialtion pipes up to the metal M19 housings and the massive 30cm Mirus battery.
Much the same on Walcheren, though in most of the bunkers I’ve been in, they only took what was easily removed. Entry gates, blast doors, etc. were nearly all gone in all the bunkers, though one we used to play in as children still had its gates and doors, wedged half open by at least half a meter of sand and then rusted in place. In one I visited about fifteen years ago, I remember the steel doorframes also being gone, but the one right next to it still had those.

The Festung Guernsey guys are renovating and re-installing a M19 mortar. The compromise they made was to rebuild the 'bell' housing out of concrete rather than steel.
There’s (apparently — I’ve never been to it) an M19 bunker in Vlissingen, still pretty much intact, a Regelbau 633 like this:

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Ian M

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there is a section for buildings! :-P
However, as this is actually one of the few true reference posts in the reference section, it is totally fine here!
Interesting as well.
 

Peter Gillson

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Hi guys

I hope this will be of interest, particularly anybody interested in building a model of the inside of a bunker: a number of photos of a restored communication bunker.

During 1943 the decision was made to build permanent bunkers and work began during the autumn of 1943 on a complex of three bunkers which were built to Fortress Standard, all external walls and roof being of 2 metre thick reinforced concrete. The first completed was the Signal’s Headquarters which was under the command of the Naval Signals Officer (“M.N.O.”), Oberleutnant Willi Hagedorn and was operational on 1 February, 1944. The location was excavated manually, and the construction firm Oelting (with Organization Todt) used 48,000 cubic feet (1,400 cubic metres) of concrete and over 50 tons of steel reinforcing rods. The adjoining Seeko-Ki bunker and the separate generator bunker were completed at a later date.
The MNO, operating under the station call sign “Flu”, handled all of the important radio traffic for all German forces in the Channel Islands, especially after the Islands were isolated by the D-Day landings. Messages were transmitted using Enigma encrypting machines with the Naval codes being used.

The Signal HQ (MNO) was restored by members of the Channel Islands Occupation Society (Guernsey) in conjunction with the Fortress Guernsey project. Many original features are still in situ, including the ventilation pumps, doors, heating boiler and toilets. The cleaning up uncovered many original stencilled instructions which were carefully traced before the walls were repainted.
The walls of the operation rooms (and Officers bedroom) were originally clad in wood and so 3,000 meters of timber were used in recladding these rooms. The ceilings were originally covered in asbestos sheets – for safety reasons white painted plywood was used rather than asbestos. The colour of all the painted metal was matched to small samples of the original paint, interestingly it was slightly lighter, and gloss rather than the normal satin finish found in most local bunkers. The timber floors were replicated and stained the dark, near black colour.
The Society was fortunate to be able to make contact with Willi Hagedorn who, having supervised the construction of the bunker was able to provide detailed information on its design, equipment and operation. Additional information was provided by Herr Hans Sinn and Herr Hans Schiffers who, as teleprinter operators, were able to recall even the smallest details of the Teleprinter Room, enabling the Occupation Society to be very confident that the restoration is as close to how it was in 1944 as possible.

Here is a plan of the bunker:
Plan.jpg

I will post a series of photos of the main rooms in the MNO bunker, referencing them to the numbers in the plan.

The first room will be room 1 - the entrance.

This first photo is looking down the steps into the entrance room. facing is the entrance defence - an opening through which any defender could fire up the steps.

1b.JPG

View of the inside of the entrance defence gun port. The sliding block was backed with felt to give the airtight seal when the red knobs were tightened.

1c.JPG

This next photo is from room 2, looking back into the entrance room. the steps would be on the left. the shower is a decontamination shower which would be used before entering into the gas proof part of the bunker. on the left is the 2-part 'stable' door. ou can just make outthe grey gas proof seal, when closed and locked the doors would create a completely gas proof seal, sealing the inside of the bunker from the outside.


1d.JPG
 

Peter Gillson

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Part two of this series of postings is a number of photos of room 4 - the main operations room:

4a.JPG

Note the Naval ships' clock on the left hand wall, manufactured by Jungans it was specifically designed for radio use, the red sectors signifying the listening times when all stations had to monitor for emergency messages.
4b.JPG

4d.JPG
 

Peter Gillson

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The Signal Officers Room, (5) “Achtung! Feinr Hort Mit!” translates to “Danger! The Enemy is Listening!”

5.JPG

A view through the communications hatch from the Signal Officer's room (5) into the communications room (4)
4e.JPG

View from the signal Officer’s room (5) towards the gaslock (2) note the original greatcoats on the coat hooks. the entrance to the bunker is to the right ofthe modern fire extinguisher.
5a.JPG
5b.JPG
 

Peter Gillson

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Teletype room. (7) The machine in the case is a T52 teleprinter, basically a commercial machine made by Siemens and Halske which was adapted to encrypt and decrypt messages. Less well known that the Enigma, it also included rotor wheels as part of the coding process.
7.JPG

7a.JPG
 

Peter Gillson

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Room 9 is the ventilation room - fresh air was drawn in via the large exterior vents located next to the entrance and circulated by a fan contained in the ducting. In the event of a gas attack the air valve on the far wall would redirect the air to the two pumps. If the air was contaminated large charcoal filters would replace the standard Bakelite tubes. These would purify the air before circulating it around the bunker. The metal ceiling can be seen, this was not for structural reasons, but to stop chunks of concrete falling on the personnel if the bunker was attacked.

9.JPG

9a.JPG

9b.JPG

9c.JPG

9d.jpg

9e.jpg

9f.jpg

9z.JPG
One of the external air vents:

DSCN3300.JPG
 
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Peter Gillson

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Room 10 Heating - Hot water and central heating was provided by the solid fuel boiler, water for heating being pumped around the bunker to each radiator which were standard pressed steel Design. this design was found in many bunkers. Hot water for sinks and the shower was produced by heating the water in the large wall mounted tank with water from the central heating boiler. Fresh air was drawn in from the outside, and the large valve at its base allowed this to be closed in an emergency. The heating was only used once, the heat generated by all of the electrical equipment being sufficient.

10a.JPG

The chimney design would have been the same as in the diagram in my first post - cleverly designed so that any grenades dropped down the chimney .would be in effective,
 

Peter Gillson

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for convenience here is the plan again:

Plan.jpg

The next photo is looking down corridor 11 from left to right, the first door on the right is not room 9

11.JPG
Bunks would have been mounted on these walls for personnel use under battle conditions. The mounting hooks can be seen in the photos on the right.

Below a closer view of the hand basins. the door on the right leads to the toilets - see the next post.

11b.JPG
some of the re-painted signage:

11c.JPG11e.jpg
 

Jakko

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Indoor toilets … Most bunkers would instead have had a compost toilet (see, they were modern and ecological in the 1940s too!) in the dead end of area 1.
 

Peter Gillson

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Jakko - this was a bit of a unique bunker being the main communications bunker for the Channel Islands, which I suppose justified the luxury of indoor toilets.

A few years ago a lot of bushes and scrub were cleared from around a flak emplacement where the remaines of a little, wooden toilet block was found. It consisted of a single wash hand basin and single toilet cubucle. Unfortuntely after 60 + years being overgrown almost all of the wooden had either rotted away or had been removed just after the war. I am guessing that such wooden 'outbuilding' type of toiles would not have been unusual.
 

stillp

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A pit with a plank over it would have been common!

Pete
 
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