...an illustrated guide to the Wolf's Lair HQ on the Eastern Front, from Frontline Books
Title: Hitler's Wolfsschanze
Author: John Grehan
Publisher: Frontline Books
An illustrated guide to the Wolf's Lair Headquarters on the Eastern Front, a 309-page hardback packed with some archive images, but most especially, by far the most extensive collection of modern images I recall seeing which show what remains of these building, which include some more huge concrete bunkers which lay hidden away in the forest of Northern Poland, what was once East Prussia, rather than the concrete emplacements we usually associate with the Atlantic Wall.
The book is divided up into 9 chapters, starting with the main coverage of Fuhrerhauptquartiere Wolfschanze itself, and Inside the Lair of the Wolf. It describes the site is excellent detail, not only how it evolved but the various buildings and what they were used for, and what life was like for those who worked there. Perhaps less well known than the Wolfsschanze itself, a number of other headquarter sites were built in the vicinity. These make the subjects for the other chapters and include the OKH site of Mauerwald, Himmler's Feldkommandostelle Hochwald and Goering's Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, known as Robinson. Smaller sites are grouped under a single chapter of Other Headquarters in East Prussia, plus one more on another of Hitler's headquarters, further East in the Ukraine, known as Werwolf. Perhaps the most famous story that involves the Wolfsschanze itself is tackled in detail in a chapter all to itself, Valkyrie, the 20th July 1944 assassination attempt on Hitler. I am sure even by itself, this will interest many readers, let alone seeing the photos of the site today. A final chapter summarises what happened to the various sites when the war came to an end.
The stories tell us a lot about what happened with these impressive headquarter sites with their huge bunkers and ancillary buildings. The mix of images, both historic archive and modern colour pictures are fascinating to look at, all great companions to illustrate the text. The site was eventually cleared of mines by the mid-1950s, and since then it has been opened up by the Polish government to be accessible as a museum site for visitors. I would say that anyone interested with the defences of the Atlantic Wall would also enjoy seeing these huge bunkers, hidden away in the forest of what was once East Prussia. There is however a word of warning for visitors, as one of the problems faced by those who inhabited the Wolfsschanze during the war is still a problem for visitors today, mosquitos. There is a clear warning to cover up with good clothing and plenty of insect repellent. Clearly not a place to wander through in T-shirt and shorts. A book which will interest many I think, not only for the text but also for the many photos.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.