Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by Martin Bull, Sep 21, 2003.
Yes indeed - fascinating stuff !
Welcome. Thanks for the knowledge. Love this stuff.
I just got back from staying in Oberammergau and - inspired by this thread - I thought i would go and take a look for the tunnels.
So, the first thing to say is that the tunnel entrances are not on military land and you can walk right up to them without any risk of being shot at or arrested, although the risk of being flattened by falling rocks is not to be ignored. If you look on goggle maps it´s easy to find. I drove up "Am Rainenbichl" (off Ettaler str.) to where it crosses the stream, the Labergraben, just before the army facilities. I parked my car and walked up a likely looking path and came to a clearing. I went towards the bottom of the cliffs through the trees (as it seemed like the best place to build tunnels) and started to notice that this landscape was not so natural as it appears. There were some walls and a lot of rubble among the trees, although very overgrown with moss and leaves and i noticed that i was standing on flat concrete in one spot. When you get to the base of the cliff there´s a small path in some places, so i guess that i was not the only one looking for these tunnels. In fact i could see where somebody might have been digging at some time. First i walked to the north end of the cliff and found an obvious entrance that was blocked with a lot of concrete and then went back the other way. There were some walls and what i guess were demolished entrances, but it was all such a mess, it was very difficult to make anything out. I got as far as i could go when i came to a fence, and on the other side there was another concreted entry way, under a big overhang of rock. It also looked like somebody might have been digging in this spot and may even have had the possibility to have got inside. But, i didn´t seriously consider trying that - I was alone, had no torch or any kind of equipment and didn´t fancy my luck crawling through wet mud into an unstable old tunnel system.
I might be dumb, but i´m not THAT dumb.
Anyway, here are a couple of photos...
Northern most entrance
Demolished entrance with pipework coming through concrete.
Walls at the base of the cliff...
Southern entrance. This is at the top of a steep slope (maybe rubble from demolition?) and under a big rock overhang behind a fence. I think the fence is there to stop you getting squashed by falling rocks as much as anything. It didn´t look too stable, so i didn´t linger.
Personally I would have tried my luck if there were an opening. Did a similar thing when I visited the Reimahg-A ME262 production facility near Kahla a few years ago. All was going well until I fell down a 2ft deep hole that some lunatic had decided to dig in the tunnel systems floor! :-(
Luckily all that was damaged was my motorcycle leathers but it could have been much worse.
Wasn't there a large SS Junkerschule located at Oberammergau? I thought I read that some where. When I was stationed in Germany, I meant to visit Oberammergau but unfortunately never found the time. All this is very interesting though
Nope, there was a SS headquarters in the Hotel Alois Lang that is now an OAP home, I used to work there as a waiter and never had a clue about its history. The SS Junkerschule was in Sonthofen. there were 2 others, one at Vogelsang and another in the North Eastof Germany. The Barracks in Oberammergau was set up as a Signals school, it used to get buzzed quite often in the 1980´s, some daft sod happened to report in the Stars and Stripes that it was used as a NBC training school and courses were done on how to makes nukes live and disarm them, then they wonder why the Soviets were interested!
some new photos
Great to read about the continued interest in the "Messerschmitt Caves"... the opening in the second photograph by "Horrido" looks to me like the same opening I used 60 years ago to get into the caves. I have been to those openings several times in the last 5 years, and they still look accessible. There are the formal "closings" of concrete but whoever did that work apparently did not know about or find the entrances I and my friends used.
Also, please note that there are a couple of WWII air raid shelters located in Oberammergau that are still there and quite visible if you know where to look. They are closed now with heavy metal bars, but the insides are still visible. Back when I was there I found a couple of gas masks inside of one of them... it was being used at that time to store bier which was accessed from a different door than the bricked up one I found and entered. I never took any bier out of there since that would have been a bad thing to do to the users.
Referencing some previous posts, there have been no gebirgsjagers in the kaserne since before the end of WWII... the kaserne was taken over by the Messerschmitt folks in 1943 or so and the mountain troops never returned. About 150 of the O'gau mountain troop soldiers died in WWII in Crete, Russia, Austria and other eastern European locations. That is a lot of folks out of a village that at the time was maybe 3,000 inhabitants.
The buildings you saw was the German Kaserne that became Hawkins Barracks after the war. It was the site for pretty much all USAREUR schools in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s. In 1936 or so it was built for the mountain troops and called Hötzendorf Kaserne, the home station of the 54th Mountain Signal Battalion of the Wehrmacht's 1st Mountain Division.