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Today, the majority of bunkers in West Germany are sealed and no longer accessible but in the east its a different story; there is less money and high unemployment.
Initially many of the bunkers and their associated military complexes were taken over by the German Army (Bundeswehr) but the majority of them were soon declared surplus to requirements and abandoned.
This location was chosen, amongst other reasons, due to its reasonable proximity to the Wehrmacht's experimental site and laboratories in Kummersdorf, close to Wnsdorf and lying some 45 km south of Berlin (small quantities of the incendiary agent - see below - were produced initially in Kummersdorf).
This site was originally designed at the end of 1938 with construction following in mid-1939, under the auspices of the Army's Armaments Office (Heereswaffenamt) as a military factory.
It destroys glass and quartz except at low temperature; glass wool catches fire in the vapour immediately.
Organic substances react at once with inflammation, one drop of the liquid sets fire to paper, cloth or wood.
The production facility itself was the bunker complex as we know it and was used for the production of an incendiary agent, chlorine tri-fluoride (Cl F Somewhat nasty, N-Stoff was of interest to the Wehrmacht as it was an extremely effective incendiary agent and when contained in iron vessels, it formed a passivating layer on the inner side of the container and could thus be stored.
This also meant, of course, that it could be stored in artillery shells and bombs.
During our first visit to East Germany in 2001 it was quickly apparent that the country was literally littered with bunkers of every size and type serving a multitude of different agencies.
A large number of bunkers were built during WW2 but during the Cold War there was a new sense of urgency with a genuine belief that the country would be attacked by the West, this led to a new and unstoppable demand for protected accommodation for everyone in command at whatever level.
There were bunkers for the East German army, bunkers for the Soviet forces that were stationed in the country, bunkers for the East German government and for the Stasi, the East German secret police.
This year we planned to spend two days at Falkenhagen and a further two days looking at new (to us) sites around Berlin.
As usual the visit was co-ordinated by Mike Barton, one of our most active members living in Germany, Mike was able to arrange official access to the sites and it was nice to have a key to the front gate at Falkenhagen so we were able to drive right into the centre of the complex hidden deep in woodland.