A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Hooptedoodle #91 - Hitler's Trousers, and This and That

Die Festung Hohensalzburg - if you're going to have a castle, make it a good one
Greetings from our continuing holiday in Austria. We did a couple of nice walks, but it’s been rather hot for such activities, and I’ll spare you a full catalogue of ice creams and such. Sadly, the Contesse has had a fall which required stitches in a very nasty head cut, so we are having a quiet few days while she recovers her strength and grace. Prior to this, we did the planned trip to Salzburg, which was excellent, and we went to Berchtesgarten, including a visit to the Kehlstein, Hitler’s fabled “Eagle’s Nest”.

This post is really just a collection of snaps, but I found Hitler’s place interesting in a spooky sort of way. The engineering – particularly in view of the date – is fantastic, and it was designed to show Germany’s expertise in construction technology. I found it very thought provoking that the little brass elevator which takes you up to the top level must often have contained Borman, Göring, Hitler himself and any number of visiting dignitaries. Nothing ever disappears completely – do you think there are still traces of them in there?

Old Max Foy inspects the defences at Salzburg

Mozart's parents showed something of a lack of imagination,
bringing him into the world on the 3rd floor of a building with
his name all over the front of it. Enthusiasts for young Wolfgang's
egalitarian beliefs will note the SPAR grocery store on the ground
floor with some satisfaction, I feel
Interesting (and possibly well-known) tit-bit on the Eagle’s Nest. It was a well-kept secret that Hitler suffered badly from both claustrophobia and vertigo. It was concealed because it might be considered something of a failing in the leader of the German master-race, but it made the Eagle’s Nest – a gift from the Nazi party in 1938 – the cruellest present imaginable. How Adolf managed to survive the terrifying motor trip up to the summit is beyond me. The little elevator (which is still powered by a U-boat engine, I believe) is brass, and is polished like a mirror inside, since this makes it appear larger than it is, and would help avoid the Fuhrer’s arriving to meet his guests with inappropriately wet trousers.

It seems that he was also very uncomfortable in the gloomy little tunnel into the mountain which takes you to the bottom of the elevator. To overcome this, Hitler and guests were driven the 150 metres or so in a big staff car, and alighted at the lift door. That in itself is an acceptable piece of protocol, whatever the reasoning behind it. However, the tunnel is too narrow for the car to turn, so the driver had to reverse the full length, turn round and reverse all the way back in again to be in position for the Grand Exit. These guys were good, make no mistake about it!

One of the cruise boats working the ferry runs on Lake Wolfgang is the 1873
paddle-wheeler Kaiser Franz Josef I, a lovely old thing. If you catch this boat,
you pay an extra 1 euro "Nostalgia Charge" on top of your fare. Yes, it's probably
a rip-off, but somehow it feels like a privilege

Eagle's Nest - not for the faint hearted

Late edit - I forgot to include these pics. Anyone know what this is, or when
it dates from? It's badged as an Auto Union, complete with 4-circles logo


  1. Fascinating observations, Foy old chap! Who'd have thought that Adolf suffered from psychological issues? :-)

    I reckon the 4wd is a Munga http://www.dastank.com/Munga-4x4

  2. Nice report. And the car is indeed a Munga. ROCO do a nice little model of it in 1/87 scale.