Soviet Ghosts in Germany
Author: Carlo R.
Editor: Amazon
Year: 2021
Type: paperback
Size: 214 pages, >400 hi-res color photos
Language: English
ISBN: 979-8590081820
Paperback available from many national Amazon stores | | | | |

Check your national Amazon site for paperback and Kindle versions.

After the end of WWII and the partition of Hitler’s Germany into zones of occupation, a large Soviet military force – the Western Group of Forces – was deployed in the Soviet sector. Even after the foundation of the communist-led German Democratic Republic (GDR), this Soviet force at the orders of Moscow acted independently from the local regular army. Hidden behind the Iron Curtain, this strong force kept direct control of many military facilities in what is today the northeastern part of Federal Germany.
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the collapse of the USSR (1991), most of these facilities were abandoned, leaving behind training grounds, entire airports, nuclear bunkers, missile launch pads and ghost towns – where more than 200’000 Soviet-then-Russian troops and their families had been living and operating for many years.
This book is the result of the search and exploration of mostly deserted places, to be found in extremely high density on the former territory of the GDR.
By means of hundreds of commented, good quality color pictures from former Soviet military installations, it retraces this forgotten chapter of recent German history.Most of these sites are now totally wild and difficult to reach, where a few of them are more easily accessible to the general public. Some are really good examples of Soviet art and craftsmanship, whereas others strike for the size, or simply for the fact that they exist – as is the case for depots of nuclear ordnance, reportedly installed by the Soviets without even notifying the fellow communist government of the GDR.
This book may appeal to Cold War historians, curious travelers and Urbex photographers as well.
The book is articulated in 18 chapters, dealing with the following contents: Vogelsang, Neuthymen, Fürstenberg, Lychen-II, Wittstock, Lärz, Wünsdorf, Sperenberg, Rangsdorf, Brand, Finsterwalde, Jüterbog & Niedergörsdorf, Stolzenhain, Zeithain & Riesa, Bischofswerda, Forst Zinna, Altenburg, Großenhain, Damgarten, Berlin.
The last chapter in particular features aerial pictures taken on a purpose-planned scenic flight over several former Soviet installations in the GDR.

A Travel Guide to Cold War Sites in East Germany

Second Edition

Author: Carlo R.
Editor: Amazon
Year: 2024
Type: paperback
Size: 209 pages, 75+ destinations, color pictures & maps throughout
Language: English
ISBN: 979-8876037916
Paperback available from many national Amazon stores | | | |

Check your national Amazon site for paperback and Kindle versions.

The Cold War between the Soviet and NATO opposing blocs has been especially tangible in Germany, split in two for the entire duration of this deadly confrontation, which took around 45 years following the capitulation of Hitler’s Reich. Despite sometimes not much publicized, traces of this central episode in recent history indeed exist, especially in the former communist-led German Democratic Republic (GDR, or DDR in German). The oppressive ministry for state security, the STASI, left massive relics after it was dissolved in 1990. One of the most striking materializations of the Iron Curtain was the German Inner Border, a fortified line running all along the border between the ‘Two Germanies’. Of course, Berlin also was cut by the homonymous wall. One of the most militarized states in the world at that time, the GDR hosted a National army (NVA) and an entire Soviet group of forces – this massive military presence also left traces.

This newly updated guide is a useful companion to set up a trip to Cold-War-themed destinations in the GDR. Prepared by a person who has been on the spot, it features

  • More than 75 destinations in the former GDR and Berlin, officially open for a visit (i.e. normally accessible to the general public), including preserved sites (e.g. border checkpoints, airbases, prisons, …), museums and memorials
  • 8 regional maps and more than 30 local maps
  • Address, NAV coordinates, opening times, contacts and friendly visiting advice for each destination
  • Rich historical descriptions

Rote Plätze – Russische Militärflugplätze in Deutschland 1945-1994
Author: Lutz Freundt, Stefan Büttner
Editor: AeroLit Verlag
Year: 2007
Type: paperback
Size: 300 pages, color photos throughout
Language: German
ISBN: 3935525117
Paperback available from Amazon in Germany

Out of print, collectible, very rare.

More than just a guide to the Soviet airbases in the GDR, this is the definitive directory on the history of all the airfields in the GDR which fell under the rule of the Soviet military. Each of these airports is described from a technical standpoint, retracing its development (including data on runway lengthening, addition of aircraft shelters and other facilities, etc.) as well as operational history. The latter includes squadrons permanently stationed on a specific airfield, as well as those spending there just a few months. The book is stuffed with interesting historical pictures, most of them in color, documenting both aircraft operations and scenes from ground operation.

The book includes several maps, as well as a directory of aerial/satellite pictures, in some cases taken in different years, thus allowing to analyze the development of the corresponding air bases. Of course, these maps are also extremely useful to prepare explorations. All in all, despite the very high price, this is a must have for everybody interested in the history of Soviet presence in the GDR, as well as for those planning an exploration of these sites.

1939-1945 Guide Europe 1500 Musées – World War II Military Guide
Author: Sébastien Hervouet, Luc et Marc Braeuer
Editor: Editions Le Grand Blockhaus
Year: 2016
Type: paperback
Size: 432 pages, color photos throughout
Language: French and English
ISBN: 2918505064
Paperback available from Amazon.

Can be purchased also from the Editor’s website.

This book in double French and English language is a must-have for travelers to Europe looking for traces of WWII, from museums to bunkers, forts, monuments and memorials – everything that is public and open for a visit. The European theater is thoroughly described, country by country, with a stress on France, but with an incredible detail also on all others – from Spain to Finland, from Norway to Greece.

The author of this website has been trying this guide for planning trips since 2016 in at least 12 countries, hardly finding any fault. Totally recommended also for the practical pocket format of the book. You can easily carry it on your trip.

1914-1918 Guide 750 Musées Guide Europe
Author: Sébastien Hervouet, Luc et Marc Braeuer
Editor: Editions Le Grand Blockhaus
Year: 2016
Type: paperback
Size: 232 pages, color photos throughout
Language: French and English
ISBN: 2953384189
Paperback available from Amazon.

Can be purchased also from the Editor’s website.

Similar to the WWII volume (see above), this guide in double French and English language covers hundreds if not thousands locations connected with WWI and today open for a visit. They include museums, trenches, forts, battlefields, memorials, etc., everything that is open to the public. A very complete pocket guide to plan your trip to the focal points of war-battered Europe of the 1910s.

The author of this website has been trying this guide for planning trips since 2016 in France, Belgium, Germany and Italy, hardly finding any fault. Totally recommended also for the practical pocket format of the book. You can easily carry it on your trip.

Das unbekannte Geheimnis: Über das Atomwaffenlager Linda/Stolzenhain
StolzenhainHelling Author: Reiner Helling, Dietmar Steinecker
Editor: BücherKammer – Medien Print Web
Year: 2018
Type: paperback
Size: 160 pages, b/w photographs throughout
Language: German
Paperback available from the Editor’s website

An exceptional resource book on the history of the secret atomic warhead depot Linda/Stolzenhain, codename Objekt 4000, and located about one hour driving south of Berlin. The only remaining of two Monolith-type sites originally built in the former GDR, Stolzenhain was built for and operated exclusively by the Soviet Army, who kept control over a massive nuclear arsenal stored on-site. Warheads were for theater missiles (mostly SCUD) and air-dropped tactical ordnance.

The site was built in the late 1960s, and operated until the late 1980s, when the Soviets started a slow retreat back to their home Country. The site was returned to unified Germany, and fell into private hands. While not open to the public and partly demolished, the core of the site – the bunkers – is still today in good shape.

The book tells much about the history of the Stolzenhain site, providing a technical insight, as well as a description of the working routine and way of life of the big Soviet staff once living in a dedicated village nearby, segregated from the German community.

One of a few books on the topic, it makes for a nice addition to any collection on the Cold War, GDR history, or nuclear war at large.

See pictures from explorations of Stolzenhain in this chapter.

Tarnname “Fichte”: Die Geschichte des Kernwaffenlagers “Lychen-II”
Author: Volker Eckart, Uwe Feldmann
Editor: Westarp BookOnDemand
Year: 2014
Type: paperback
Size: 142 pages, many b/w photographs and technical drawings
Language: German
ISBN: 3863867777
Paperback available from Amazon in Germany

Can be purchased also from the Editor’s website.

A very nice ancd compact book on the history of the Lychen-2 site – i.e. one of the two Soviet nuclear warhead bunkers for missile warheads in the territory of the GDR, also known as Objekt 4001. The site was built in the late 1960s roughly one hour driving north of Berlin and was close to Fürstenberg on the river Havel. Hidden in the trees, it hosted a couple of Monolith-type bunkers for hundreds of nuclear warheads. A top-secret installation, it was left behind by the withdrawing Soviet Army, who had exclusively managed it for two decades, in the late 1980s, after being emptied of all warheads and transportable technical gear. Back in the days of operations, it was home for hundreds of dedicated military staff, who lived in a secluded village nearby the bunkers.

The site was sadly demolished in the 2000s, and today only a few archaeological remains witness its existence.

This book is a nice portrait of the history of the site, with many details, technical information, and historical pictures. One of the very few titles covering this intriguing and almost completely unknown chapter of Cold War history.

See this chapter for photographs of the site as it looks like today.

Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces
Author: Pavel Podvig
Editor: The MIT Press
Year: 2004
Type: paperback
Size: 692 pages, b/w schemes, technical sketches and maps throughout
Language: English
ISBN: 0 262 66181 0
Paperback available from Amazon

Collectible, very rare.

A high-profile, authoritative resource on the history, organization, status and development of the Soviet/Russian strategic nuclear forces. This book covers with exceptional detail a vast subject, presenting information with rigor and in order. Covered are many aspects, including strategic missiles, sites of production, strategic bombers, strategic submarines, etc.

Also Soviet anti-ballistic missile defense is included – information used for this chapter on the Skrunda site (Latvia), and this one on the Chernobyl-2 Duga ‘Woodpecker’ radar site (Ukraine).

Out of print since long, it is now a collectible item well worth the money for Agencies and Research Centers.

Carrier Aviation Air Power Directory: The World’s Carriers and Their Aircraft 1950 – Present
Author: David Donald, Daniel J. March
Editor: Airtime Publishing
Year: 2001
Type: paperback
Size: 196 pages, color photographs throughout
Language: English
ISBN: 1880588420
Paperback available from Amazon in the UK

A very compact and easily readable resource on the aircraft carriers of the world. Printed in the same format of the acclaimed (and sadly long defunct) International Air Power Review, it covers with good encyclopedic detail the carriers in service (as of 2001). Older ones are covered at least in listings.

All in all, what you might expect from a good directory, with a quality and clarity of presentation from pre-Internet times, and today really hard to find. Really worth the very affordable price.

This was largely used for information reported in this chapter.

Aerial Espionage
Author: Dick van der Aart
Editor: Airlife Publishing Ltd.
Year: 1985
Type: hardback
Size: 167 pages, b/w photographs and pictures throughout
Language: English
ISBN: 0 906393 52 3
Hardback available from Amazon in the UK and US |

Out of print, but can still be found at affordable prices.

The topic of aerial espionage has been covered in several books, either retracing its timeline under a war history perspective, or specifically treating some of the ‘central characters’ or episodes in this fascinating chapter.

The book by the renowned Dutch journalist and author van der Aart represents a mixture of these two approaches, and focuses mainly on the Cold War period – actually, until the date of writing, i.e. 1984 for the Dutch edition. A friendly way of writing allows even non-technicians to delve into the often unsung and extremely risky ‘spy game’ carried out all along the Cold War, primarily aimed at gathering intelligence on the Soviet Union’s military and technical facilities, when borders were really sealed by an impenetrable Iron Curtain. Every chapter covers a specific stage of the Cold War in detail, with pictures, facts and figures, and adopting a clean and easy-to-read style of narration.

If on one side the book obviously does not cover the very last chapters of the story, on the other it represents a unique ‘time capsule’ to look at the Cold War espionage matters with the glasses of people who were on the stage when the Iron Curtain was still an everyday reality. Among many aspects of interest, you can can perceive how an open war in Europe was basically given for granted in the early 1980s, in the minds of many military observers in the West. Furthermore, by comparing the information on this book with those made public only after the collapse of the USSR, you may see what fragments of the truth were available to the West and to the public back in those years.

All in all, a fascinating read for everybody with an interest in this centrally aeronautical, little-celebrated chapter of Cold War history.

This book inspired trips to Murmansk (see this chapter) and Giebelstadt (see this chapter).