6 Sep 2014

Bunker museum

Hello guys,

work is slow on the hobby front. I am painting some modern miniatures, but then again I have been doing so for weeks now (it is 4 of them!). I can only hope I'd get them finished by next week. I am working a little on various bits, but as nothing gets finished or the additions are really tiny, I just don't feel like it is worth showing them - unless you are interested in a miniature of an US soldier with his hands savagely chopped of to be replaced with a shiny new rifle that will magically change his nationality!  (now that I think of it, being said like that, it does sound interesting!).

Last week, I managed to visit a cleverly named "Bunker museum" in Wurzenpass (or Korensko sedlo, if you'd prefer) just across the border in Austria. The interesting thing about this particular museum is, that the site was closed for public and military active from 1963 to 2002! The system of tunnels with machine gun ports and even two Centurion tank turrets (!) was one of hundreds of fortified positions that were sprinkled all over Austria to delay the expected Red tide.

The map below probably doesn't help much if you are not familiar with the area, but Korensko sedlo is a mountain pass near the point where Slovenian, Austrian and Italian borders meet.

Fortifications were manned by conscript weekend soldiers every now and then and they were combat ready in 1968 (Warsaw pact intervention in Czechoslovakia) and in 1991, during the Slovenian war for independence. At the latter date, two Austrian tank destroyers were standing just below the pass on the Austrian side, ready to defend the pass in an attempt to prevent the conflict from spreading to Austria. At first, I was quite surprised to think about the idea of conflict spreading to Austria in 1991, but given a Slovenian minority lives in the area, it actually kinda makes sense.

So, the site has been shut down in 2002 and turned into a museum in 2005. Since then, they added new tank turrets and guns to it to show what some other fortification islands used around Austria. Their map is great and clearly shows what is original and what has been added later for people to see.
A T35/85 letting us know we're in the tin can area.

The entrance.

The store. Has "lego". Has models. Has helmets. Has books. Has maps. Has survival gear.

Field kitchen. I am no great eater, but this has always been my favorite part of military hardware.

Trenches

Living quarters. Not all were that groovy. This was built in 2005 if I'm not mistaken. Original ones on this site were made of concrete and rectangular in shape.

Latrines.

More trenches. Some were dug underground.

Steel MG cloche. The concrete construction left to it was added in 2005 and houses artillery pieces. Trenches on the right.

SK-105 Kurassier. It's one of the tank destroyers I was telling you about. There is a video of this tank shooting at clay pigeons. Google it! 

This is a horrible photo of T-35/85 sitting in a concrete structure that was built in 2005. It had no engine and was used as a gun bunker in other fortification sites like this one (but not here).

US Long tom gun. According to the guide, those were aimed at Dravograd (Slovenian border town). Again, those were not originally on this site.

The infamous .50 cal. They are everywhere.

2005 concrete "bunker" from the outside. Only a part of it is seen. Visible here are 105mm howitzer and a .50 cal.

Originally on this spot, Centurion tank turret with it's dummy cottage cover. The turret hatch is open so you can climb in and out the tunnels beneath it!

View from the entrance. From bottom up there are M24 turret and the second original Centurion turret if I am not mistaken. That dummy cottage right of top turret houses a dummy barrel to show how a covered turret would look like.

A dummy cottage up front with the second of the original Centurion turrets in the background.

A random steel MG cloche with a recoilless gun.

An example of Danube patrol boat. Obviously not from here.

M47 turret. The turret is of an actual tank, but it has only been mounted here for an exhibition purposes.

I'm not exactly sure, but I think this is a Charioteer tank turret.

T-34/85 turret. An obvious obsolete candidate for having it's turret used as a stationary bunker.

Another Charioteer tank turret. For a reason unknown it's barrel is covered by a pipe. The turret itself is covered by a dummy cottage.

A close up on the Centurion turret. Next to it is it's cottage, but a dummy barrel has been stuck inside to show how it would look like I suppose. Those cottages would simply be lifted and put away when turret would be operational.

M24  light tank turret. Again, those were used somewhere else, but were all put here for us to enjoy.

A dummy turret.


Another view from the entrance/exit. Yes, this is sheep. No, it was not the only one.

All in all I have to say it was quite an enjoyable visit. Realising there were guns aimed at us mere 15-20 years back really makes me feel funny. What I found fascinating the most is how everyone is calling WW2 fortifications "useless" and 20-50 years later, people are still digging trenches and burying their tanks.

Thanks for looking,
Mathyoo

19 comments:

  1. I wish I could have been there with you, Mathyoo. That was very informative. Did you buy anything at the shop? There were some interesting models on display but I've no idea what scale they were.

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    1. Cheers! Nah, didn't buy anything. It's a lot of junk and the rest is way over priced. They had nothing for a pound :P

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    2. Hah! We've spoiled you with our Poundland and Poundworld stores!

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  2. Very very interesting
    . I do like it when you show the history from your local area.

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    1. Thanks Clint, I'm glad you find it interesting :)

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  3. What interesting place to look around. Thanks for posting these excellent pics :)

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    1. It really is - I'd show some photos of the living quarters but they are nothing special - except that orange one :D

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  4. Another interesting insight into your explorations.

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    1. It's a nice inspiration, too - I already got stuff planned! :D

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  5. You make a great tour guide dude.
    Very interesting pic's of the exhibits.
    Did you buy any thing at the gift shop?

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    1. Haha, thanks. No, didn't buy anything. I liked the 3D terrain maps and some books, but other than that it was mostly junk.

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  6. Lots of cool looking stuff :)

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  7. What a fascinating place! I imagine that there wouldn't have been so many trees when the place was operational? Otherwise the turrets wouldn't have had much of a line of file.

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    1. I have to admit I am not sure - I forgot to ask as this always pops in my mind as well. I also wonder now where I was looking at as I never really took a look around to see the field of fire.
      This system sits above the pass which is in middle of the forest altogether and I don't think they'd cut it all to make the hidden structure so obvious. I should take the look down the valley, it could be the field infront of the turrets was actually barren. I wonder where my eyes were back then! I should never go to such sites with my blabbering family again! :D

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  8. Really looks very interesting Mathyoo, thanks for sharing

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    1. No problem Adam, too bad there were no zombies around :D

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  9. What an amazing site. I love this sort of thing. Places like this provide a wonderfully strange window on the cold war and the thinking of military types at the time. We have a Cold War era nuclear bunker a few miles from where I live that was active until the early 1990's and is now a museum. Inside it has been preserved exactly as it was when decommissioned and is a surreal place. Great post mate, I really enjoyed it.

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    1. They do make you rethink, don't they?
      I just remembered I have something else you may like ;)

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