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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Hitlers war room during Battle of France

Hitler's Command Post During the Battle of France(1940)

Hitler controlled the Western campaign from a command post close to the French border. It consisted of a set of low buildings with a bunker. Called the Falsenenest or Rocky Eyrie it was located at Bad Munstereifel, a place near Aachen. This place is also fairly close to the area of operations.

The Second World War is a long way off.  It ended nearly 7 decades back. One battle that heralded the rise of Germany as a super power on the European continent was the battle of France in 1940. This is considered by many historians as the decisive battle of World War II and resulted in total defeat of France. Known as the battle of France it lasted exactly 42 days and led to armistice treaty which was signed at Versailles.  The British who were fighting on the side of the French with their Expeditionary Force had to make an ignoble exit. The quantum of the defeat can be gauged from the fact that 1.9 million French soldiers were taken as POWs.

Now historians are aware that Hitler controlled the Western campaign from a command post close to the French border.  It consisted of a set of low buildings with a bunker. Called the Falsenenest or Rocky Eyrie it was located at Bad Munstereifel, a place near Aachen. This place is also fairly close to the area of operations.

Hitler’s command post was fairly Spartan and consisted of 4 rooms and was bomb and shell proof with use of special concrete.  The war headquarters was inspected by the German army and the Gestapo and cleared for use of Hitler. The leader drove down from Berlin by car in the dead of the night and reached Falsenenest at 3 am. This was an hour earlier from the slated time of assault at 4 am.

He entered the biggest room which had large operational map showing the position of the German army divisions with their commanders. He gave the signal to advance by telephoning Field Marshal Von Rundstedt, the overall commander of the Western front. He also kept himself abreast on the progress of the battle on his operational map and often talked to the field commanders including Rommel, Guderian and Von Manstein.

 Hitler’s two advisors from the OKW, Field Marshal Jodl and Keitel were with Hitler.

 The invasion commenced at 4 am when the German army moved against France bypassing the Maginot line through the Low Countries. The rest is history as the French sued for an armistice. Hitler controlled and plotted the progress of 10 Panzer divisions and 136 infantry divisions. It was a formidable force.

Hitler never used Falsenenest again and this was its sole use. It will however be always connected with the battle of France.