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Thread: Die Alpenfestung - the Alpine Fortress

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    Die Alpenfestung - the Alpine Fortress

    Greetings!

    I would like to discuss the mystic alpine fortress. What is myth, what reality? In summer 1944 Himmler and his SS started to build this huge fortress in the austrian alps. Without the knowledge and approval of our great Führer.

    Was it treason or just a brilliant plan of Himmler? He wanted to withdraw with his SS and Waffen-SS divisions to Austria and negotiate peace conditions after the unholy alliance between USA/UK and Russia would have broken. Thus he held 10.000 important prisoners (jews and stuff like that) back from the extermination camps. They would function as hostages. Simultaneously he improved the infrastructure and industrial capacity of the region with the help of countless forced labourers.

    It seems to have been just a matter of weeks, that prevented Himmler from accomplishing his masterpiece.
    ------------------------

    Questions:

    1. Did Himmler betray Hitler? If so, did he have the right to do so?


    2. If the Alpenfestung would have been completed, what would have happened?


    - Would the war just have lasted several months longer?
    - Would the alliance have been broken?
    - Would Himmler have been able to negotiate an armistice?
    - If so, would USA/UK eventually have sided with Himmler (similar to post-war Western Germany) against the far greater threat of the east?
    - Would Himmler then have been able to restore the Reich (pre-war borders) as a bulwark against Stalin and have allied with the Western powers?

    Thanks for your time!
    "We were never more free than under the German occupation!"

    - Jean-Paul Sartre

  2. #2

    Post Re: Die Alpenfestung - the alpine fortress

    Well, lets go to your questions about the Alpenfestung first. Yes, Himmler was disloyal to Hitler in the end and in the end Hitler fired him. But Himmler did not construct the Alpenfestung (Alpine Redout) without Hilter's approval. In fact, Hitler appointed Col. Otto Skorzeny to prepare it during the final days of the war. Of course, it was not ready but is was under construction. The Italian engineer Renato Vesco describes it in one of his books from 1968. More recently several large underground facilities have been identified in the Alpine region of Austria and Bavaria. Also, according to Vesco, the Alpenfestung was to extend into Thuringia and include the Harz Mountains and the facilities at Jonastal (Jonas Valley). This arm of the Festung was to run North all the way to Nordhausen.

    The person who was really in charge of preparation of the Alpenfestung was Dr. Ing. Hans Kammler. Kammler was an SS general, having risen rapidly through the ranks based on his ability. His ability was in constucting vast underground facilities in record time. It was from these facilities that the Reich was to continue the war effort in spite of Allied bombing. In the northwest Kammler built "Der Riese" (Poland), in the Czech Rep. he built three large complexes, Robert 1,2,3 (Weserwerk?). In Thuringia he built several vast underground complexes, similar to those at Der Riese in the Jonas Valley. He built "Zement", Gmunden am Traunsee in Austria for the production of the A-9/A-10 which never got quite started. This was a similar concept to the Nordhausen, V-1, V-2 complex. Zement was also to build V-2s but they would be launched from Zement on an assembly line basis. Also in Austria, Kammler built his own facility, "Quarz". This was probably to be used for atomic weapons work as was Der Riese. There were many, many more underground facilities for production of weaponry and synthetic oil. Many were smaller as were those near Prag/Pilsen but no less important. Also, Vesco describes vast, underground hangers and whole airports underground with bomb-proof roofs like the facilities in Western France as well as the U-boat facilities on the Atlantic coast of France.

    Unfortunately for the Germans, Skorzeny found these facilities mostly in a state of unreadyness as he took over in March or April, 1945. He simply hung out in a local hotel until the Allies came. There was nothing else he could do.

    The fact is that most SS units were concentrated in the South in March-April, 1945. Their defense of Jonastal was tremendous. Gebirgesjaegger units and G/B-SS units were also concentrated in the South. If the Alpenfestung had ever got up and running, a whole new series of weapons systems would have come on line to protect it in the mountain valleys from Allied penetration (sound cannon, Motorstoppmittel, infa-red anti aircraft missiles). The Festung would have produced jet fighters, rockets and atomic weaponry of various types and from this positon Hitler hoped he could force a settlement of the war.

    The fact may have been that there were other ideas besides Hitler's. According to writer Thomas Mehner, Kammler, Speer and others intended to replace Hitler with a 4th Reich (Projekt Avalon) and do a deal with the Allies. This is why so many Wunderwaffe were never fielded. When Hitler finally found out, he went into a depression and failed to leave Berlin for Jonastal where he had a new and improved bunker. Betrayed, Hitler took his life.

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