Some mil history questions about Berlin

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Mr Happy, May 26, 2006.

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  1. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    Some mil history questions which I've not managed to find the answer to about Berlin, can you help?:

    1. Whatever happened to the huge Berlin flak towers?

    2. I understand why the Russians got to Berlin first, I understand that they took it. What I don't get is why they then gave some of it the yanks and some to the Brits - and the corridor for access - what was that all about?
  2. The answer to question 2 is that the four powers agreement was established at the Yalta conference between Churchill, Roosevelt & Stalin. They agreed to divide Germany into 4 sectors and Berlin was divided into 4 sectors as well.
  3. I'm shure there are remains in Berlin - Friedrichshain rings a bell, possibly also Humbolthain. I lived there for years and we definitely went to look at something like this as a kid.

    Edited to add:

    Is this it?

  4. The Flak towers are mostly still there. They could only be demolished using explosives but you'd need so much that you'd end up levelling Berlin all over again.
  5. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    I'd read they were massive, one in the zoo? One in a park somewhere?

    quite tall and bristling with AAA

    I'd also read they were gone now and I figured that it they were that big, it would have been very difficult, and what must they have looked like. I imagined a concrete tower block with AAA guns and searchlights on balcony;s... Concrete thick enough to rebuff 10,000 pounders...
  6. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    OK, I think that solves the flakturm's, I really thought they'd gone. Looks like aweekend in Berlin with the boys is coming sooner than I thought.
    Thanks guys
  7. There were actually three access corridors from West Germany, the most used being the one from Helmstedt-Marienborn to Dreilinden-Drewitz. This was also the most interesting, since after passing into West Berlin, you had to drive along a stretch of city freeway called "der Avus" which was actually a racetrack (originally it was a car test track). There was even a big spectator stand at the Charlottenburg end and I watched a couple of races there in the 1970s - particularly the "Alfa Romeo Trophy".

    Another "access corridor" went from a small enclave in the south-west corner of Berlin called Steinstücken. It was originally right out in the ulu and could only be reached by helicopter, but negotiations took place and eventually the GDR conceded a single access road, which they fitted up with the usual concrete walls on either side, replete with watchtowers. It was quite an eerie feeling driving along that narrow road. Like being in a tunnel, but being able to see the sky.

  8. Each nationality had 3 corridors, road, rail and air. The Berlin train ran from Helmstedt to Charlottenburg every day of the year except Christmas day. It was the result of the Russians blocking the raod and rail links in 1947 that started the Berlin airlift to keep the city supplied.

    On the flak towers, one of the towers in Vienna is now connverted into a Aquarium. There is also a tower in the main park in Hamburg. :wink:
  9. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    I spent several years wohnen in Frankfurt and sadly there's no tower to see (which might be one of the reasons the place looked like this in 1945) [​IMG]

    I remember going as a guest to a Bundeswehr officers club presentation where they showed a history film about the 'needless' bombing of FFM (in that the main bombing effforts came in 1945 and Germany was on its knees) and its effects on civvies and so forth. I distinctly remember wondering if I could E&E out of the first floor window should they get the hanging-rope out. I neglected on this occasion to point out that Goering shouted about 'TOTAL WAR' in about 1943/4 and that they (the NAZI's) were launching V1 and V2's at London 'needlessly' in 1945 killing nothing but civilians for no purpose.
  10. It actually ran to Braunschweig. Helmstedt was the first stop for the train outside of East Germany and really only stopped there to exchange the East German engine and conductor for a Bundesbahn version and allow passengers for Check Point Alpha to get on and off. Before air-trooping was introduced to Germany, the train originated from Hoek van Holland, soldiers getting the ferry over from Harwich.

    Their was also a Freight version of the train - that only ran Helmstedt to Berlin, but not to Charlottenburg, that ran around to Berlin-Spandau Gbhf.
  11. Can I suggest you stay at the Express by Holiday Inn that's right beside Anhalter Bahnhof?
    (As shown in the top pics here - ooops, here -
    It's about 50 Euro per night for a room (sleeps at least 3) and all you can eat for brekkie. Not far from Checkpoint Charlie and not far from
    the Technical Museum either. And right outside there's a bus route into Centrum, or of course there's the U-Bahn a few mins walk.

    Need I say any more?
  12. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    Cheers Very Much.
  13. I think you mean the one in "Planten und Blomen". However, there are two more huge towers on the "Heiligengeistfeld" in St. Pauli. Instead of turning left into the Reeperbahn, you carry on up Budapester Straße and they're on your right.
    The Krauts tried to blow them up in the early Seventies, but all they succeeded in doing was breaking everybody's windows in a radius of about two clicks. And when all the smoke cleared, the towers hardly had a scratch on them. Apparently they'd been built so that all detonations were vented out of the holes in the lower floors.