We’re back to the location of the former Tirpitz 280 mm battery. The exploration did not end after the first visit, the work of gathering data and identifying targets is ongoing. This time I’m teaming up with a friend, a historycal photography enthusiast, which will help me to capture aspects I could miss.
I will not dwell on the bunker I’ve presented on the first part of the former Tirpitz battery. Measurements, photos from new angles, every detail counts to identify the type of bunker and its role on the complex Tirpitz. An interesting construction detail – structure profiles were made of three adjacent I-profile steel beams. All the wood, even embedded in walls, was transformed into charcoal by the fire that burned on the battery after the Germans evacuation.
We leave the bunker and head towards the main objectives of this expedition, pinpointed via Bing Maps and Google Maps. We hope to find more “Tirpitz stuff” and our expectations are not in vain: 150 m East of the bunker, two concrete vents protrude from the ground and two vertical openings on top of a large shaft. One of the vents is clogged, but the other one link to a horizontal gallery, 2.5 m below ground level.
The goodies are yet to come – a large shaft, accessible through two openings, first one fairly large, the other smaller, both missing the lids. The shaft is flooded to a depth of at least 1 m. It seems that the large opening (2.5 m / 1.5 m) was used to transfer materials / parts / weapons with a crane, while the smallest (1 m / 1 m) was meant for military personnel access, being provided with ladders. There is no doubt that this building was part of the Tirpitz – the specific layer of tar insulation is present.
On the Western side, there is a tunnel that heads on to Tirpitz bunker we’ve explored before. It is difficult to determine the length and route of the tunnel, but we can make two assessments: 1 – the tunnel is connected to the two vents, 2 – its a long tunnel. Every word uttered towards the well or in one of the vents creates an impressive echo. On one of the walls of the shaft there are supports for electrical equipment, also we’ve observed traces of wiring routes, these are still inside the tunnel. It seems that this bunker was intended to accommodate electrical equipment: generator, transformer or a processor of the radar data provided by external FuMO antennas.
Lack of underwater exploration equipment force us to leave this bunker for now. It’s time to continue our expedition to the site Tirpitz, planning to investigate a series of (what appeared via Bing Maps) small pieces of concrete, grouped into three parallel areas. In situ it proved we’re dealing with 4 concrete bases, probably anchoring a radio communication antenna. The anchoring cables were arranged in a square, with sides of 25 m. On the center of the square there are four other concrete bases with 4 screws fastening systems . The distance between these small foundations is approx. 5 m. It’s possible that these bolts have served to fix the antenna itself, which was then anchored with the outer retainsion cables.
We can not say whether these anchoring systems and its antenna were part of the Tirpitz, but chances are very high that the answer is yes. What can be said with certainty is that the next objective we came across was definitely part of Tirpitz battery. Gentlemen, a new bunker!
In the vicinity of the railway, the third identified Battery Tirpitz bunker awaits for us. This is an ammunition bunker and the access was possible through two openings, fitted with ladder, positioned at the ends of a corridor on the N – S axis. Well camouflaged by the vegetation, the entrances are hard to locate, so the bunker was not vandalized and the PET bottles, always present even in sealed bunkers are almost nonexistent. That does not mean that something is has left on the inside, on the outside walls and metal frames. As we’ve expected, there are no doors anymore. The bunker dimensions are: Lenght / Width corridor – 12 m / 1,2 m, L / W cameras – 8.5 m / 4 m, high – 2 m, thick of the ceiling – 1,2 m. Ther are some stairs and we decend into the corridor of the bunker, 2 m below ground level. The first thing we’ve noticed – the standard metalic roof cover, typical for the German bunkers is missing. That does not mean the bunker is not part of the Tirpitz, on the contrary, it is obvious its affiliation to the legendary 280 mm battery. Constructions destination was ammunition storage and its exact type was Vf 7a. To my surprise, there are no PET bottles, no XXI century trash, this is the “cleanest” bunker that I’ve visited (although a thick layer of soil has accumulated on the floor).
The first thing that attracts attention after getting into the bunker is a niche on the Eastern wall of the corridor. That doesn’t seems to be housed electrical equipment, but rather it was a storage room. Immediately after that niche there is the entry into a large room. A single metal clip in the middle of the room, that used to be an electric bulb. On the Eastern wall of the room, a small (30 x 20 cm) opening to the exterior has been made, probably after WW2. The purpose… I can not figure it out. It’s not a MG firing hole, there is no the weaponry retention system, the only clue is a trail of rust which comes from the “window” to the floor. The rest … AMR’s during the communist army, dated 1983 and 1989 [for the youngest, AMR = days remaining till release (from military service)].
It’s possible as the bunker to have been “reused” by the Romanian Army during communism, and I do not endorse the idea only on the AMR found in the room I’ve just visited. A new niche, this time equipped with a variety of flanges and pipes is located on the Western wall of the corridor. Two profiles in U form a base for … something that “dwelt” in that niche. Even more interesting are the two rectangular sections – one of them has a painted inscription: _.r.267 (_ is a character that I could not identify). And here it is a little hint, the font used was not the standard German army font, somehow it reminds me of the allied army…
A new room it’s located on the Eastern side, the position and dimensions are identical to the one I’ve just explored. One difference, there is no “window”, therefore, the room is completely dark. Bulbs hook is hanging on the ceiling, and as for the rest, just concrete.
We are heading towards the exit, on the south side of the bunker. Near the end of the hall, the ceiling is opened to a ventilation shaft. The vent is protected by a metal grille.
We leave this bunker with a bunch of answers. A local design or a german bunker? I guess it’s german work and the type of the bunker is a slightly modified Vf7a. An ammunition storage bunker. Now the questions: what was the utility of the pipes in the niches? There was a link with the antenna located 50 m from bunker?
Upon leaving, the old bunker gives us a small gift – a special snapshot: dark & lonely …
Expedition “Tirpitz 2” came to an end. Cross the road, in front of us, lies the new harbour fence, pretty impregnable with “civilized methods”. That did not stopped us to photograph what appears to be another bunker; unfortunately, the highly reduced visual field does not help very much. It remains a line on the “to do list”.
Here it is, the map and the objectives. [Caption: A – main bunker, B – FuMO 214 radar foundation, C – flooded bunker, D – Vf7a Regelbau bunker, E – radio antenna foundations]. Upon leaving, Tirpitz has only “good wishes” for us (the text on the wall, in Romanian: Do not get closer! We shoot after warning!) …
That’s all folks! The study and analysis of the data is fallowing, there are so few information regarding WW2 bunkers and pillboxes of Dobruja, that any information is priceless.
THIS POST IS ALSO AVAILABLE IN: Romanian