Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wolfsschlucht II

Before my friend's visit, a local friend had mentioned that Hitler had a bunker during World War II, located not far from where we live, and that it was open for visits. I had never heard of this before, or known that there were German bunkers located so nearby. It sounded interesting, so we showed up in Laffaux for the visit.

The land belongs to three different towns, Laffaux, Margival, and Neuville-sur-Margival. You can visit the association's facebook page if you're interested in a visit.

Wolfsschlucht II, Hitler's headquarters on the Western Front, was built in 18 months, by 22,000 forced workers, some of whom signed up more or less willingly for the job in occupied France, since it was a choice between work camps here where they lived, or work camps in Germany. The site was chosen because Hitler remembered it from when he fought in the area during World War I, and the hills and valleys made it a strategic location.

On June 17, 1944, 11 days after D-Day, Hitler, Rommel, and Von Rundstedt arrived at this headquarters to discuss strategy. Rommel presented his new secret weapons, with which he planned to win the war. Obviously things didn't go according to their plan, and since that time, the site has been used by NATO, and by the French army and special forces for training.

The bunker pictured at right was the Fuhrerbunker, Hitler's own bunker.

The soldiers stationed here also had a swimming pool. The helmets in the photo at right were inside one of the smaller bunkers, where six soldiers could stay at a time.

After the visit, the guide let the boys try on French medical officer hats. Benjamin said the tour was fascinating. So we'd be happy to take you there when you come visit us. The visits are free, but the association does accept gifts to help maintain the site.

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