WW2 Aerial Reconnaissance Studies
As Germany collapsed in early April 1945 elements of Wehrmacht hospital trains (Lazarettzüge) were concentrated in southeastern Germany at six locations. The trains, composed of E-30 hospital cars, were significantly smaller than the standard Wehrmacht complement of 37 cars (according to Lexikon der Wehrmacht). On 10 April, a hospital train at Weiden was composed of 19 cars plus six medical boxcars (employed later in the war) in a separate section (Graphics 1 & 2); 11 other probably out-of-service cars were in the Weiden rail maintenance area with a large number of rolling stock. To the south, an eight-car train was at the station at Schwandorf, a 13-car train was arriving Regensburg from the south and a 21-car train was at Ravensburg station. A day earlier, a 19-car train was in the Leipzig-Paunsdorf classification yard and two separate trains composed of 9 and 10 cars were at the station at Chemnitz-Limbach. Locomotives were affixed to trains at Weiden, Regensburg, Schwandorf, and Chemnitz-Limbach. The train at Ravensburg was likely Lazarettezug 662, which according to Lexikon der Wehrmacht, arrived from Tübingen on 7 April and received damage from an air attack on the 10th.
Most of the towns were served by permanent hospitals and a number of temporary facilities --all identified by red crosses on roofs (Graphic 1). The temporary hospitals were often housed in schools. Of the six locations, Regensburg --with a large central hospital and six temporary facilities-- held the largest concentration of hospitals.
The town of Weiden remained unscathed on 10 April except for evidence of a recent attack on a canal south of town. However, bomb shelters had been constructed near a church and inside a labor camp or Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) barracks supporting the railyards (Graphic 3). Personnel trenching could be seen at other areas of the town and in nearby STALAG XIII-B and an adjacent Wehrmacht barracks (not shown).