Werwolf (Wehrmacht headquarters)

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Wehrmacht HQ
Werwolf Vinnytsia 1.jpg
Ruins of Hitler's headquarters Werwolf near Vinnytsia, Ukraine
Werwolf (Wehrmacht headquarters) is located in Ukraine
Werwolf (Wehrmacht headquarters)
Location within Ukraine
Werwolf (Wehrmacht headquarters) is located in the European Soviet Union
Werwolf (Wehrmacht headquarters)
Werwolf (Wehrmacht headquarters) (the European Soviet Union)
General information
TypeBlast resistant concrete bunker
Town or cityWervolf Forest
Coordinates49°18′30″N 28°29′36″E / 49.30833°N 28.49333°E / 49.30833; 28.49333Coordinates: 49°18′30″N 28°29′36″E / 49.30833°N 28.49333°E / 49.30833; 28.49333
Elevation243 m (797 ft)
Construction startedNovember 1, 1941
CompletedJune 1942
DestroyedMarch 1944
OwnerThird Reich
Technical details
Structural systemSteel-reinforced concrete
Design and construction
Architecture firmOrganisation Todt
Map showing the location of "Werwolf", and other Führer Headquarters throughout Europe

Führerhauptquartier Werwolf was the codename used for one of Adolf Hitler's World War II Eastern Front military headquarters located in a pine forest about 12 kilometres (7+12 miles) north of Vinnytsia, in Ukraine, which was used between 1942 and 1943. It was one of a number of Führer Headquarters throughout Europe, and the most easterly ever used by Hitler in person.


The name is derived from Werwolf or Wehrwolf in German,[1] which can be translated as werewolf. The Nazis also used the term Werwolf as a codename for clandestine resistance groups which were intended to carry out guerrilla attacks against the occupying forces towards the end of World War II. The naming scheme is in accord with other code-names given to Führerhauptquartiere during the Second World War, such as Wolfsschanze. Several were named for Hitler himself, whose nickname was Wolf.[2][3][4] The site was also the easternmost Wehrmacht headquarters.


The complex was located in a pine forest, about 12 kilometres (7+12 miles) north of Vinnytsia in Ukraine, between the villages of Stryzhavka and Kolo-Mikhailovka on the Kyiv highway. It was built between December 1941 and June 1942 under top secret conditions by Soviet prisoners of war.[5] The location may have been influenced by the Nazis' proposed trans-European highway to the Crimean Peninsula, which would have connected with the site. The Wehrmacht had its regional headquarters in Vinnytsia, and the Luftwaffe had a strong presence at their airbase in Kalinovka, about 20 km (12 mi) away.[6]

Hitler's accommodation at Werwolf (the Führerhaus) consisted of a modest log cabin built around a private courtyard with its own concrete bunker.[7] The rest of the complex consisted of about 20 wooden cottages and barracks and up to three "B" class bunkers, surrounded by ring of barbed wire and ground defensive positions connected by tunnels. A couple of observation points were set up on platforms in the oak trees surrounding the pine forest. The area was surrounded by a defensive strip of bunkers, anti-aircraft guns and tanks, as well as anti-tank ditches and minefields. [8]

There was a tea house, a barber shop, a bathhouse, a sauna, a cinema and a swimming pool, primarily intended for Hitler who never used it.[9] The facility also contained a large vegetable garden organised by the German horticultural company Zeidenspiner to provide Hitler with a secure supply of food.[citation needed] Hitler's personal chef selected his vegetables and the food was chemically analyzed[citation needed] before being tried by a taster because of Hitler's fear of poisoning.[10] Oxygen tanks were also available at Hitler's insistence.[11] Water for the site was provided by artesian wells while power was provided by a generator. Some historians, including Lloyd Clark, indicate that some buildings were connected by tunnels.[12]

The bunkers were constructed by Organisation Todt using some local Ukrainian workers, forced labour but mainly Soviet prisoners of war. The code name for the secret construction project was Anlage Eichenhain (Camp Oak Grove).[13]

The complex was served by a daily three-hour flight connection from Berlin to the airfield in Kalinovka 20 km (12 mi) from the compound. There was also a regular train connection from Berlin-Charlottenburg to "Eichenbein" station at Werwolf.[14] The journey took 34 hours.

During his Eastern campaign, Adolf Hitler lived mainly at FHQ Wolfsschanze (near Rastenburg, East Prussia) but he stayed at FHQ Werwolf three times:[15]

  • 16 July to 30 October 1942. The weather was hot, up to 45 °C (113 °F), and the bunkers were humid. Hitler caught severe influenza, with a temperature running up to 40 °C (104 °F). In this condition he gave his fateful Führer Directive 45, splitting Army Group South into two parts, trying to reach both Stalingrad and the Caucasus oil fields simultaneously.
  • 19 February to 13 March 1943, to observe Field Marshal Erich von Manstein's Kharkhov offensive in the wake of Germany's defeat at Stalingrad.
  • 27 August to 15 September 1943, to observe the unsuccessful defense of Kharkhov.


The Nazis destroyed the site, including mining access to the underground complex, on abandoning the region. The site was examined after the Nazi departure in March 1944 under the orders of Joseph Stalin, but no documentation was found. The Soviet Union took steps to permanently seal the underground parts of the complex.

Today only the swimming pool and concrete fragments remain visible on the site, which is an open recreation area.[16][17] The site can be visited but plans to create a full-fledged museum had not come to fruition as of August 2018.[18][19] Nearby is a memorial to the thousands of labourers and others buried by the Nazis in gravepits at Stryzhavka.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rathkolb, Oliver (1 August 2004). Revisiting the National Socialist Legacy: Coming to Terms With Forced Labor, Expropriation, Compensation, and Restitution. Transaction. p. 179. ISBN 978-0765805966.
  2. ^ Antony Beevor (2001). Stalingrad. London: Penguin Books. p. 97. ISBN 0-14-100131-3.
  3. ^ Toland, John (1978). Adolf Hitler. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 978. ISBN 0-345-27385-0. Hitler moved his headquarters to this site deep into the Ukraine [...] a few miles northeast of Vinnitsa. Christened Wehrwolf by himself, it was an uncamouflaged collection of wooden cottages and concrete bunkers, surrounded by defensive positions.
  4. ^ Ainsworth-Davis, John (25 May 2015). The Mountbatten Report, New Edition. Goldeneye Publishing Ltd: London. p. 292. ISBN 9781312749962.
  5. ^ "Hitler's Ukrainian Bunker Revealed". BBC. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  6. ^ Felton, Mark (2014-08-04). Guarding Hitler: The Secret World of the Führer. ISBN 9781473838383.
  7. ^ Felton, Mark (4 August 2014). Guarding Hitler: The Secret World of the Fuhrer. London: Pen and Sword Military. ISBN 978-1781593059.
  8. ^ Matthias Uhl and Henrik Eberle (1978). The Hitler Book: The Secret Report by His Two Closest Aides. London: John Murray. p. 400. ISBN 978-0719554995. When Hitler arrived at Werwolf Colonel Thomas, the HQ commander, was waiting for him... 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-aircraft guns and tanks, as well as anti-tank ditches and minetields. 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.
  9. ^ Ainsworth-Davis, John; Creighton, Ami de. The Mountbatten Report, New Edition. ISBN 9781312749962.
  10. ^ Claire Cohen (18 September 2014). "Last surviving female food taster, 96: 'I never saw Hitler, but I had to risk my life for him every day'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  11. ^ Felton, Mark (2014-08-04). Guarding Hitler: The Secret World of the Führer. ISBN 9781473838383.
  12. ^ Clark, Lloyd (28 March 2013). Kursk: The Greatest Battle. Headline Review. ISBN 978-0755336395.
  13. ^ Short, Neil (10 October 2010). The Führer's Headquarters: Hitler's command bunkers 1939–45. Osprey. ISBN 9781846035821.
  14. ^ Ainsworth-Davis, John; Creighton, Ami de. The Mountbatten Report, New Edition. ISBN 9781312749962.
  15. ^ Ainsworth-Davis, John; Creighton, Ami de. The Mountbatten Report, New Edition. ISBN 9781312749962.
  16. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luMXkT-YslY
  17. ^ "Hitler's headquarters "Werwolf"". The Koz Telegram. 18 August 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Hitler's Ukrainian Bunker Revealed". 12 March 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Hitler's headquarters "Werwolf"". 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.


  • Zeidler, Zeigert, Die Führerhauptquartiere.