While in Berlin we visited a Flak Tower used during World War II, the Humboldthain Flak Tower. The tower was built between October 1941 and April 1942. It is estimated that it cost about 90 million Marks to build. It took roughly 800 men to build the tower, which consisted of a main G-Tower and a smaller L-Tower. The G-Tower was the gun tower that was equipped with the weapons. The L-Tower was a smaller Flak Tower that functioned as a fire watch and command tower.
The G-Tower’s foundation was 2 meters thick and the tower was 5 stories high. The outer walls were also an impressive 2 meters thick reinforced with spiral metalwork. The first set of guns placed on the G-Tower were four 105 mm Flak guns, first used on January 16-17, 1943. The guns were replaced many times throughout the war but the final set of guns to be placed on the tower were anti-aircraft machine guns in 1945.
The G-Tower had many other uses other than shooting down enemy planes. There was a fully equipped hospital on the second floor of the flak tower that even had a maturity ward. During the war, many children were born in theFlak Tower while civilians took refuge during air-raids. There were 3 entrances on the ground floor of the tower that were used for ambulances and trucks. The G-Tower was used as an air-raid shelter for an estimated 40,000 people throughout the war. Although it has not been confirmed, it is believed that civilians could get into the tower through an underground passageway from the Gesundbrunnen railroad station. The G-Tower saw a fair amount of action throughout the war. It was hit several times by bombs but the only damage that it sustained was two guns were knocked out. There was never any major structural damage to the tower.
The G-Tower had a total of 32 confirmed kills. These 32 kills were made possible with the help of the L-Tower. Officials in the L-Tower had access to radar and would inform the G-Tower of incoming attacks. The Russian military tried to destroy the Flak Tower at the end of April 1945, but the Germans surrendered on May 3, 1945 before a thorough attempt was made to destroy the tower. After the surrender, the Russian troops took over the tower and were quartered there. They also took all the men in the tower as prisoners. In the years following the war, there were 3 attempts to blow up the Flak Tower between 1947 and 1948 with a total of 41 tons of dynamite (16 and 25). The Southern part of the tower was destroyed, but the North part still remains standing. They covered the destroyed southern part with rubble in 1950. In 1990, they made the remaining parts of the tower a memorial and viewing platform. It was finished on October 28, 1990 at a cost of 3 million Marks.
Photos taken by Author