In spring 1941, the German preparations for Operation Barbarossa were in full swing. But a coup against the German-friendly regime in Yugoslavia made Hitler come up with a new plan to attack (Operation Marita) Yugoslavia and Greece in early April 1941. During previous campaigns on the western front, special headquarters (FHQ) had been built. It was from these Hitler and his staff led and followed the war. Hitler’s decision to attack Yugoslavia and Greece came quickly and therefore the Germans did not have time to build a FHQ. Therefore, Hitler’s special train America became a provisional FHQ during the Balkan campaign. The train was parked next to a small train station called Mönichkirchen, about 70 kilometers southwest of Vienna. The place was well hidden in a valley and there was a big tunnel where Hitler’s special train could seek shelter in case of an air raid. Right next to the station lay hotel Mönichkirchnerhof where Hitler and his staff were accommodated. This hasty established FHQ was named Frühlingssturm and served as a provisional FHQ during the two weeks the campaign against the Balkans lasted. After the campaign the station was abandoned without being destroyed.

Current status: Preserved (2008).

Location: 47° 31' 13" N, 16° 4' 9" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Not much has changed since the time of Hitler. The hotel is closed, but still remains. The station and tunnel are also still there, but now the trains just pass without stopping. The only thing different from the pictures in After the battle – A guide to Hitler’s headquarters no 19 is that the vegetation is more palpable than it was in spring 1941. It has been discussed and is still being discussed whether this hasty campaign came to affect Operation Barbarossa. The attack on Soviet Union was scheduled to begin in late May, but was delayed about a month due to the Balkan campaign. The debate is about whether this month was decisive for Germany to defeat Soviet Union before autumn rains and winter struck.

Follow up in books: Seidler, Franz W. & Zeigert, Dieter: Hitler’s secret headquarters (2004).