Hitler moves to Werwolf HQ
16th July 1942: Hitler arrives at his new forward headquarters to oversee the new Eastern front campaign from the Ukraine
It was Hitler's custom to occupy forward Command headquarters during his campaigns. In 1941 he had overseen Barbarossa from the Wolfsschanze, the Wolf’s Lair in Poland . With Operation Blau now well under way on 16th July he moved into the newly constructed Werwolf HQ - Führerhauptquartier Werwolf, just north of the Ukrainian town of Vinnitsa, first occupied by the Germans in the previous summer.
After the war ended in Europe the Soviet leader Stalin ordered a complete study of Hitler's personal movements and actions. Most of this was based on the recollections of two of Adolf Hitler's closest associates: his personal valet, Heinz Linge, and his SS adjutant, Otto Guensche - both men were captured when the Red Army overran Hitlers bunker.
It was the results of their interrogation by the Soviet agencies that led to the production of the Hitler dossier - a secret appraisal of the dead Nazi leader for the benefit of the the Soviet leader. It was not until 2006 that the volume was translated and published in the west1. Although it tended to confirm much that was already known, there remained many new insights into the world of Adolf Hitler - including the establishment of his new forward HQ in 1942.
Hitler was very confident that this major new attack into the southeast of the Soviet state would win him the war:
When Hitler arrived at Wehrwolf Colonel Thomas, the HQ commander, was waiting for him, Hitler, Thomas, Schmundt and Linge went into the antechamber of the house. There hung here a map of the European part of the Soviet Union painted on wood.
The positions reached by German forces were marked with arrows. Hitler liked the way the map was made and went up close to get a better view. With his finger pointing at Rostov and Stalingrad he told Thomas, ‘You will soon need to make some corrections to this map. We are going to give them a blow that brings them to their knees! The whole world will sit upl’
‘Who built the camp?’ Thomas answered, ‘Mostly Russians prisoners from the camps.’ Hitler‘s face darkened.’
Thomas took Hitler over the terrain around the HQ and showed him the security measures. The area was surrounded by a defensive strip of bunkers, anti-aircratt guns and tanks, as well as anti-tank ditches and minefields.
Rattenhuber Hitler’s head of security, had formed a special group of RSD men whose job was to watch the approaches to the HQ and to keep an eye on the local population.
Thomas continued his report: in order to increase the vigilance ofthe headquarters personnel, a rumour had circulated the night before Hitler’s arrival that a Russian wearing the uniform of a German major had managed to get into the camp with the idea of murdering Hitler.
Hitler gave an approving nod and asked, ‘Who built the camp?’ Thomas answered, ‘Mostly Russians prisoners from the camps.’ Hitler‘s face darkened. He told Thomas, ‘They must all be shot. There is not a moment to lose. They know too much about my HQ.' Thomas clicked his heels and answered, ‘At your command, my Fuhrer'. He turned on his heels and went.
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