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  • Day25

    Augarten Flugabwehrkanonen

    January 6, 2020 in Austria ⋅ ☀️ 3 °C

    To spare the over-processing waste, here's some information previously prepared on these ominous towers in Augarten park, eerily surrounded by playgrounds.

    "Flak" is short for "Flugabwehrkanonen" in German – i.e. 'anti-aircraft guns'. They are gigantic bunkers, between 7 and 13 stories high, built towards the end of WWII as bases for heavy anti-aircraft gun batteries on the roof. The lower floors also served as air-raid shelter space for the city's population.

    These towers always came in pairs – one for the actual gun batteries, called the "Gefechtsturm", the other, the "Leitturm", was for radar and other tracking devices, which needed to be separate from the guns in order to work properly.

    Three cities in the Third Reich (on the territory of today's Germany and Austria) were thus supposed to be better protected from the increasing Allied bombing campaigns during the second half of WWII: Hamburg, Berlin and Vienna. The latter two had three pairs each. Only in Vienna, however, do all towers still exist. 

    The guns didn't do much to prevent the large-scale destruction from the air, but they did serve their second role well – that of providing air-raid shelter space for the densely populated cities. They also served a propaganda function, creating the illusion of safety despite the fact that this war already was as good as lost at the time these towers were erected.

    After WWII, the Flaktowers in Berlin and Hamburg were largely destroyed but those in Vienna remain.

    The pair in Augarten are almost 180 feet (55m) and rise from the open plain of the Augarten (the city's oldest park), visible from far away. The larger Gefechtsturm is also of a unique design: it's 16-sided, i.e. almost round. The tower within the army barracks is of the same design, but you can't see it from anywhere, at least not from street level in public areas. The round structure was apparently meant to be more efficient and economical – it was the latest of the three designs of these uniquely (Nazi-)German bunker structures. The Augarten pair was only finished in early 1945.
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