Luftwaffe Command Post Bunkers
The Luftwaffe Intelligence Service, the Luftnachtrichtendienst, developed a sophisticated system for air defense fighter command and control. The system was composed of radar stations --Flugmeldmess (see Luftwaffe Radar Stations) -- and a complex hierarchy of command control facilities most often housed in bunkers. The main operational concern of the system was day- and night-fighter control. The system although very effective and technologically advanced, was forced to rapidly adapt to a changing military situation.
Night Fighter Control
Night-fighter control was initially accomplished by the Nacht Jagd Raum Führer (NJRF) and Kombinierte Nachtjagd (KONAJA). An excellent example of the evolution of one of these facilities can be seen at NJRF 103 at Darmstadt-Grieshein Airfield (Map). NRJF 103 operated between July 1942 through June 1944, when it became Jafü Mittel Rhein. Located in the support area of the airfield, the NJRF bunker was a rectangular, partially above-ground structure similar to others used by the Luftwaffe. A U-shaped probable weapons position was on the roof. Another building and a possible underground machinery room were nearby (Graphic 1).
The NRF 103 complex extended west of main building (Graphics 2 &3 and was was comprised of at least two other bunkers and a central building protected by a blast wall. Walk ways appeared to lead from the road through both other bunkers and to the central building. A prominent feature of the complex was an arcade and a hedge that screened the central building and blast wall from view. Possibly associated facilities included a structure (possibly net-covered) and a larger building northwest of the central area. In an attempt at visual disruption, possible netting appeared to have been laid on the ground west of the arcade
A related command post, Kombinierte Nachtjagd (KONAJA) 'Dachs,’ was established at Darmstadt for the 21st Flak Division in 1941. The command post was most likely at the base of a hill known as the Ludwigshöhe, 5 km east-southeast of the airfield and near the Cambrai-Fritsch Kaserne. This facility contained a barracks, two bunkers and a T-shaped building with a blast wall (Graphic 4). Later, the command post was reportedly moved to a hotel complex atop the hill, but another bunker (still present) there did not appear to have been finished by September 1944.
Parchim Airfield, the site of NJRF 10, was covered on 23 April 1945. Although the exact site of the NJRF could not be confirmed, two possible locations were identified (Graphic 5)
While Luftwaffe bunkers were most often built on a standardized plans, the bunker for what was probably NJRF 112 at the East Prussian city of Königsberg appeared to be different. Analysis of imagery from 6 August 1944 indiated NJRF 112 was in a barracks one kilometer southeast of Königsberg Devau Airfield (Graphic 6); today the site is in use as a Russian naval communication facility. In 1944 two bunkers were at the facility. Bunker 1 --the main building-- was built into a hillside and by 1944 was well-concealed with vegetation. It is not clear how far the bunker extended into the hill. Bunker 2 was a linear structure at the south edge of the complex. Some features of Bunker 1 were hard to see in 1944, but could be could be seen on recent satellite imagery; however (Graphic 7); however, it is not clear if some of these were the result of later construction.
NJRF 105, at Venlo Airfield, Netherlands, operated between 1942 and 1944. Coverage from 14 August 1944 shows the bunker was located north of the airfield (Graphic 8)
Day-fighter control was performed at Jagddivision (JD)- and Jagdfliegerführer (Jafü)-level. The command post bunker for the 7 JD at Oberschliessheim is a representative example of (Graphic 9). The bunker, a large mostly above-ground structure with the code name 'Minotaurus', was in use between October 1943 to July 1944; after that, the command post relocated to Pfaffenhofen. A similar bunker was built was built for 1 JD --later 3 JD-- at Deelen Netherlands (Graphic 10). The command post, codenamed 'Diogenes', operated between January 1942 and September 1944, when it relocated to Wiedenbruck.
The command post for 5 JD also was also forced to relocate late in the war. Originally stationed in France between October 1943 to August 1944, 5 JD moved to the Villa Lindich at Hechingen where it operated through December (Graphic 11). A small installation with seven additional buildings villa (not recently constructed) indicated the site had been prepared for use long before the arrival of 5 JD; however, the presence of three relatively new power or telephone lines suggested a relatively recent upgrade.
The command post for Jafü 4 (4 JD, Metz) was housed in a bunker on the grounds of a chateau at St. Pol Brias in the Pas-de-Calais. Code named 'PLUTO'; previously, the command post resided in the chateau. The Jafü 4 complex --including the bunker, outbuildings, chateau and an airfield-- was covered on 29 May and 6 July 1944 (Graphics 12 & 13). The bunker, at the edge of a wooded area, could not be seen on either image, but net-covered walkways and structures near the entrance were visible. A support building along the main walkway was also net-covered. Ground photos of the ruined bunker revealed it had two levels and was about 25-meters-long (Graphic 14). A defensive firing port covered bunker entrances.
Except for the possible removal of some camouflage at the bunker, few changes were noted between March and July. A fence had been erected along the northwest perimeter and evidence of construction was less visible. An earth pile, probably spoil removed during construction could be seen nearby.
The airfield, southwest of the bunker, was used in 1940 but by 1944 was likely not in use. At least three anti-aircraft sites in the vicinity were probably for the benefit of the command post.
Higher-Echelon Command Posts
As the war came to a close, the command staff of the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) were forced to leave Berlin. According to Gyges the staff of OKL Fürhrungs Nord ('Kurfürst 1') deployed from Potsdam by 23 April 1945. Before reaching its final destination, Silberstedt, Schleswig, the staff briefly operated at Rechlin Airfield, where it occupied a building in the officer's housing area (Graphic 15). Coverage of Rechlin on 3 October 1943 revealed the probable location of the command post. The site, in the airfield's western support area (Gruppe West), was a bunker attached to the probable officer's casino.
In February 1945, the staff of Luftfotte Reich deployed from its command post at Berlin-Wansee. The staff, codenamed 'Herold 4', operated from a facility in an ammunition depot at Stapelburg through April (Graphic 16) before moving on to Quassel.
The command post of Luftwaffe Kommando West, which originated in Paris as Luftflotte 3, arrived at Schloss Dehrn, near Limburg-an-der-Lahn on 26 September 1944 (Graphic 17). On the way to Germany, the command post --codenamed 'Adler'--also stopped at Riems, France and Arlons, Belgium. A review of available imagery revealed four light anti-aircraft sites were deployed around the schloss before the arrival of the command post, sometime between 25 August and 25 September; in addition, a possibly net-covered position was set up in a nearby orchard after 25 August