Blizna


In August 1943, the German production and test facility for V2 rockets was bombed in Peenemünde. To minimize future damage, the Nazis decided to move the production and testing facility to three different locations. The production was located inside the Harz Mountains (Nordhausen), the design was placed inside the mountains at Lake Trausee (Ebensee) and the test facility was placed in a small village called Blizna, about 100 kilometres east of Krakow. Since 1940, there was a military training area in the area called SS Truppenubungsplatz Heidelager, which thus served as a form of camouflage for the activities that were now located on the site. The new test facility was called Artielleriezielfeld Scar and responsible for the construction was SS-Gruppenführer Hans Kammler. The inhabitants of the village were forcibly relocated and then a new concrete road and a railway line were established. Within the existing military training area, other necessary buildings were established such as storage rooms, garages, storage rooms of rockets, assembly workshops, launch ramps, observation bunkers, shelters, etc. All buildings were linked by small roads and a narrow gauge railway to transport the rockets.

The first test firing of a V2 rocket took place on November 5, 1943 and was conducted by a test group from Peenemünde called Lehr- und Versuchbatterie 444. Additional groups were added and in total they conducted about 200 test shootings of V2 rockets. In the spring, regiment 155 arrived which began firing V1 rockets at targets between Lublin and Chelm. The military troops that took part in the tests in Blizna were then transferred to Western Europe where they, among other things, became part of the units that fired rockets at London. Confidentiality around the test facility was rigorous, but the heavily guarded train transports in the direction of Blizna led the Polish resistance movement to suspect that something secret was going on. The suspicions were confirmed and the resistance movement collected information which was sent to London. London was interested in whether it would be possible to get over a rocket. By chance, the resistance movement in May 1944 managed to get over a relatively intact V2 rocket that had plunged into a river. The rocket was dismantled and smuggled in parts to London. In the summer, the nazis began to dismantle the testing facility as the Soviet Red army approached. Everything of value was transferred to Tuchola in northern Poland, where tests were resumed. The polish home army took the test facility in july 1944 and in early august of the same year the red army arrived.

Current status: Demolished with museum (2013).

Location: 50° 11' 22.49" N 21° 36' 29.12" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The museum is called Park Historyczny Blizna and is a small fenced park where a lot of objects have been exhibited, including replicas of both V1 and V2 rockets. Other objects found during excavations or left by the Germans are also to be seen. Information boards with English translation are placed along the small roads that connect the exhibition. There is also a small museum with a lot of smaller objects. Outside the park there are information signs at former barracks, storage rooms, launch ramps, bunkers, etc. The balance between text, objects, photographs and historical remains made a positive impression on me. The disadvantage is its geographical location far out in the countryside and far from the nearest major city, just over two hours by car from Krakow.

Follow up in books: Kennedy, Gregory P: Germany´s V-2 Rocket (2006).