June 26, 2021

Tour Report: Bunker "The Minister's Deputy"

The beautiful forests of the German state of Brandenburg are riddled with military facilities. Some date back to the 19th century, while some have been built as late as the 1980s. Especially the bunkers that have been built during the Cold War are a display of the widespread paranoia in the military circles of the GDR and the USSR that NATO would be starting a large-scale attack any minute.

The bunker that we visited in September of 2018 together with our friend Toeppi is one of those bunkers.

My wife and I had contacted Toeppi if he was up for a spontaneous tour, and after he said yes, so we booked a hotel, hopped onto a train to Berlin and met the next morning.

A little more than an hour later, we arrived at the spot that we had declared our parking lot for this part of the tour. From there, we had to walk about half an hour until we got to the area where the bunker was. Area, because there is no way to exactly know where the bunker is if you don't have the exact coordinates. The facility is completely underground, and all above-ground parts have been completely demolished. Luckily, Toeppi had been there once before and did have the coordinates for the emergency exit. We still had to walk around a bit, as GPS coordinates are never one hundred percent exact, but after a short while, we heard a "thump" under our feet. That was the emergency exit - a round metal plate covered with sand.

We picked up the lid and climbed down the ladder. The first thing we saw was a long corridor. The bunker was huge. It consists of 40 prefabricated bunkers type FB-3, that could be operated independently, 5 monolithic bunkers and 6 tunnels built from prefabricated concrete parts. The central corridor has a length of roughly 250 meters, the total surface area of the bunker is about 2.100 square meters. I would estimate the total length of the corridor system to about 700 or 800 meters.

This was the former remote command post of the Deputy Minister of National Defense and Chief of the Border Troops of the GDR.

The sheer size of the facility was its most impressive feature. The rooms were all empty; except for a few remains of the ventilation systems, there was nothing much to see. We still took our time to explore the underground tunnels, making sure not to miss anything.

While walking the long corridors, I made a short video, which you can find towards the end of this post.

After about one and a half hours, we packed our stuff, climbed back up to the daylight and started walking back to the car - after all, there was another huge bunker complex waiting to be explored that day...

To find out about the history of this place and to check out all the photos, click the button below.

You can check out the short video I made of our exploration here:

June 6, 2021

Tour Report: The Medical Train

Towards the end of our summer vacation in 2018, we were more or less on our way home - only one more overnight stop at a friend's place was scheduled - and we decided to check if we could pay a visit to the so-called "Medical Train".

The "Medical Train" was a kind of mobile hospital in the GDR and was used especially during major military maneuvers under the Warsaw Treaty. It is kept by the "Eisenbahnfreunde StaƟfurt" and can be visited legally.

It was Monday, so we didn't really think that we'd get the chance to even enter the old railyard/museum where the trains are kept, especially since we knew that it's better to make an appointment in advance, but since it was on the way to our destination, we tried it anyway.

As we arrived, we were surprised to find the gate open, and we started looking around. Inside the engine shed, we found a couple of guys working on various old locomotives, and we asked them if it was possible to photograph the Medical Train. Since they were working, the asked if we could make an appointment and come back on the weekend, but when we explained that we were almost five hundred kilometers from home and that it was more or less the last day of our vacation, they made an exception and started looking for the key to the train. It took some time to find the key - and also to find the door which the key unlocked - but at some point, we were inside the train and started taking photos.

Of course, I had seen plenty of photos from the train in the past, but it's always different when you're finally there for yourself and have the chance to look in every corner for yourself, so we took our time to explore the train from front to back.

After we were finished, we said a big thank you to the guys that had let us in, and we left a donation, so this amazing place can be kept up for future visitors, and I'm sure that we will return sometime in the future to check out all the other trains that they have there.

To find out about the history of this place and to check out all the photos, click the button below.

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