Saturday, December 5, 2015

Range, Reach, Risk, Russians, and the Triumph of the Anti-Transformationalists [feedly]

Range, Reach, Risk, Russians, and the Triumph of the Anti-Transformationalists
// USNI Blog

FRAMEWORKS_17OK, with the core topic of this post, "Russians" may be a bit of clickbait, but they actually are a large underlying flavor to this stew history is cooking up.
This is the stew of the realists and their allies the antitransformationalists – something we should have a hearty appetite for after a few decades of the toasted rice-cakes fed to us by the Cult of Transformation.
The last year has seen a welcome shift in the center of gravity for navalists in the national security arena in a direction that will help our navy rebalance towards the end of the Terrible 20s that will be defined by budget stress and an excess number of sub-optimal platforms warping our perception of per-unit power projection. It took a few decades for us to get here, so let's look at how we got here.
Dizzy in the head following our victory in the Cold War, a large cadre of people came in to positions of influence that really thought that not only was the world new, that war itself was new. They thought they had found a new world via an ahistorical, blinkered perspective of technological progression limited to their professional lifetime. Not unlike the nuclear weapons fetishdom of Eisenhower's "New Look" – they thought they had a gift of being at the right time in a technological leap where their brilliance will be able to facilitate a transformation that decades and centuries of prior leaders could not make happen.
Aggressively following the post-Goldwater-Nichols diktat of Jointness, they picked up the McNamara Era mindset that, like GM made Pontiac, Chevrolet, and Oldsmobile versions of the same car by changing the grill and a few other items – all the services should be able to make do with the same kit.
Using carefully crafted green eyeshade practices that would make Quartermaster Bloomfield proud, they were convinced that the warfighter needed to make compromises to make the metrics fit in DC, regardless of the actual combat utility of the item in question. A penny-silly and pound-foolish track record only brought in more "oversight" and regulations – further compounding a system with each passing year decoupled from operational experience.
Few breaks were in place to counter an almost pentecostal fervor toward what was becoming a personality based procurement process. Any opposing ideas, cautioning, or points-of-order were seen as naïve at best, disloyal at worst. As dissent was silenced and blind endorsement rewarded, humility – and a refined evolution of systems gave way to an ego driven revolutionary movement.
Initial warning signs were seen as early as the Bush-41 administration, but the transformationalist party culminated at the opening of this decade when the grim truth of what we bought with this new movement began to displace water and make shadows on the ramp (if they made it that far).
What did we get? I'll leave the other services alone, but what we got was A-12, ACS, titanium fire mains, warships without the ability to engage other warships, an entire class of sub-optimal hulls we still do not know what to do with, a Joint Strike Fighter that no one is happy with, technology demonstrators made of balsa wood, EFV, and flight decks full of light fighters circling CVN in some strange mobi-strip VFA-centipede refueling each other.
Yes, that does need to be reviewed almost monthly if for no other reason than as a warning to future generations.
So, what have Neptune's copybook headings brought us that should give us cheer? Let's go to the title of the post.
Range: Jerry Hendrix's paper from CNAS last month, Retreat from Range: The Rise and Fall of Carrier Aviation continues to get traction. The first phase of this argument started when Jerry and I were barely LTs with the coming death of the A-6 and towards the end of that decade, the light attack mafia's destruction of the VF bloodline. That argument was lost. The results are clear.
The end of the Cold War – followed by the decision to cancel the replacement aircraft for the A-6 Intruder, the A-12 Avenger II – began a precipitous retreat from range and the deep strike mission that had long characterized the carrier air wing. The rapid successive retirements of the A-6 Intruder, F-14 Tomcat, and S-3 Viking that followed, and the decision to replace these aircraft with variants of the F/A-18 Hornet – originally designed as a replacement for the short-ranged fighters and light attack aircraft – shrank the average range of the carrier air wing from over 800 nm in 1996 to less than 500 nm by 2006. This occurred just when competitor nations, led by China, began to field A2/AD systems with ranges of 1,000 nm or more.
Just in time for the design of the replacement for the F/A-18 that will patch over not just the range issue, but the shortcomings of the F-35C and the significant capability gaps that will exist in whatever carrier based drone fleet we develop. The heavy fighter should be back.
Reach: Now that potential challengers on the high seas are leaving brown and green water, another screaming voice can no longer be ignored. We really do not have a way to reach out and touch anyone. Those few ships that can carry a ASCM are stuck with an old but useful Harpoon, a weapon modern AAW defenses have made much less effective. Other nations have one to two generations better ASCM than we do. We are making progress towards something better, but for now – there isn't much to distribute in our distributed lethality. The transformationalists were so busy looking in to the far future, they forgot that the now and near future may have to go to war at sea.
The joint DARPA/ US Navy LRASM program was initiated in 2009 to deliver a new generation of anti-ship weapons, offering longer ranges and better odds against improving air defense systems
Faster please.
Risk: Rest assured, the transformationalist have been chastened but not humbled in the last few years. Ignoring their track record, may of them have moved on to one of the last areas where PPT seems to trump physics, technology, and ROE – unmanned systems. Even there, smart voices are saying smart things that should help us be able to get something useful for the fleet. Not something ethereal that never makes it like the A-12, but perhaps something usable like the VIRGINIA Class SSN.
One of the better points in this regard was made recently by Bryan McGrath;
The Unmanned Carrier-Launched Aerial Strike and Surveillance program proposes one jet to do both jobs, but ongoing argument between the Navy and Congress has delayed its request for proposals: Some lawmakers want Naval Air Systems Command to focus on strike capabilities, but the Navy wants to maintain an emphasis on a long-range surveillance platform.
"The problem is, if you try to stuff both missions into one airframe, you end up sacrificing one," former destroyer skipper retired Cmdr. Bryan McGrath told Navy Times. "We need both strike and surveillance, and we probably need them in two separate aircraft."
More of that thinking will get shadows on the ramp sooner.
Russians: Ah, yes. Russia. As Dr. Dmirty Gorenberg pointed out this summer on Midrats, from a naval perspective, the Russians will have a lot of work to do in modernizing their fleet. Though we have their most high profile ship off Syria, the Slava Class Cruiser MOSKVA, she is just what is left of the former Red Banner Fleet of the Soviets. Russia is working now on her smaller ships and submarines, and then we'll see what she can do later in modernizing larger ships. As she showed in the Caspian, her ships have quite a bit of punch relative to their size and have a good bit of kit.
With her navy again at sea – and this time putting ordnance down range – and her submarines once more haunting the shores of other nations, this is a great opportunity to bring out the realists cudgel against the ever-present Beltway transformationalists who are happy to spends billions of dollars for programs that never deploy, while Sailors and Marines are ordered to go in to harm's way without the tools they need.
There is a lot to be positive about in the change of the conversation looking forward to the next year. This should help steer the development of unmanned systems, the replacement for the F/A-18, DDG-51, and the LCS albatross in a direction that will give us products we can be proud of. Programs that reach for a solid hand-hold before progressing forward, as opposed to making a leap of faith that results in to a fall in to the abyss.


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Draken Harald Hårfagre Looking for Trans-Atlantic Crew [feedly]

Draken Harald Hårfagre Looking for Trans-Atlantic Crew
// Old Salt Blog - a virtual port of call for all those who love the sea

dragonharoldWe recently posted about the possibility of purchasing a custom Viking longship from the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark.  If that doesn't fit your budget, or if you don't want to have to line up thirty to one hundred able bodied Norseman to help row, here is an alternative. Draken Harald Hårfagre is looking for crew.
Draken Harald Hårfagre (Dragon Harald Fairhair, in English) is described as the largest and most authentic Viking warship since 1200 AD.  Built between 2010 and 2012 in Haugesund, Norway, the Viking longship is 115 feet long, 26 feet wide and is propelled by a single square sail or by 25 pairs of oars. In May of 2016, Draken Harald Hårfagre will sail from its home port in Norway across the North Atlantic Ocean to the shores of North America, by way of the Shetlands, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. They are now taking applications for crew for the epic voyage. From their website:
Do you want to join the crew? The voyage from Norway to America will be a challenging and demanding but unique experience. It is important to be of good health and have a strong physique. Draken Harald Hårfagre is an open ship, there is no under deck and the only shelter is a small tent. It will be cold, wet and hard work. We will need crew from April to September 2016, and we want our crew to be a part of the project for at least 2 months at a time.  Click here to go to the application.
Here is a short video of the longship sailing at upwards of 14 knots in the North Sea.
North Sea sailing with Draken Harald Hårfagre

The post Draken Harald Hårfagre Looking for Trans-Atlantic Crew appeared first on Old Salt Blog.


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Noted Historian Weighs in on Recent Naval History Scholarship [feedly]

Noted Historian Weighs in on Recent Naval History Scholarship
// Naval Historical Foundation

This past September, our Digital Content Developer posted a recap of the McMullen Naval History Symposium, which included his own personal thoughts on the state of naval history. The post elicited this essay by long-time NHF member Dr. Christopher McKee. We welcome such dialog on a subject so important to the nation. Please consider joining in on the conversation in the comment section, or sending your personal thoughts on this matter to
By Dr. Christopher McKee
In a 23 September post, Naval Historical Foundation Digital Content Developer Matthew T. Eng reported his impressions of the 2015 McMullen Naval History Symposium held at the Naval Academy in mid-September.   By way of introduction he quoted, with agreement, John Hattendorf's report on a 1993 conference sponsored by Yale University and the Naval War College:  "… much of the work that was being published in the field [of naval history] was both relatively unsophisticated and outdated in its approach."   Matthew Eng then goes on to add for himself:  "Unfortunately, that outdated approach remained relatively unchanged throughout the nineties and into the new millennium.   Naval history stayed two-dimensional and transparent in intention, form and purpose …. Very little was showcased to breathe new life into the discipline like other similar fields."
I welcome with enthusiasm scholarly discussion that expresses differing points of view on the historiography of our profession.  Consequently, I read Mr. Eng's essay with keen interest.  However—as the reader must suspect by this point—I am more upbeat about the writing of naval history than is Mr. Eng.   At a 2013 McMullen Naval History Symposium session honoring Harold Langley's Social Reform in the United States Navy (1967) I suggested that the years since the late 1950s have seen an impressive array of first-rate, and often innovative, naval historical writing.
For present purposes, however, I will limit myself to questioning Mr. Eng's contention that the writing of naval history remained mostly static and parochial even into the new millennium.  Here is my personal selection of nine titles published in the first decade of the twenty-first century that, in my opinion, compete with the best of scholarship in other fields of history and which have been brought to print by mainstream scholarly publishers.  The list is alphabetical by author and unashamedly subjective; it reflects my preference for work that is well-written, multinational and comparative.  With apologies to authors I may have overlooked, I have included only titles that I have actually read.   My hope is that students of naval history may discover, enjoy and profit intellectually from these books as much as I have—if they have not already done so.

The Age of the Ship of the Line
Dull, Jonathan R., The Age of the Ship of the Line: The British & French Navies, 1650-1815 (University of Nebraska Press, 2009)

Comparative naval history at its best; the British-French naval rivalry is examined in its broadest technical, political and economic contexts.  Dull's companion study, American Naval History, 1607-1865: Overcoming the Colonial Legacy (Nebraska, 2012), is an insightful, if underappreciated, reinterpretation of its subject.
Liberty at the Waterfront

Gilje, Paul A., Liberty on the Waterfront: American Maritime Culture in the Age of Revolution (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004)

A prize-winning social history of American (native-born and immigrant) mariners, men who moved seamlessly between naval and merchant marine service.  Gilje's theme plays skillfully off the multiple meanings of the word liberty in the sailor's mental world.   The text is complemented with a gallery of previously unseen images—a welcome change from the same old pictures too-typically pulled from ready-to-hand sources.
Jack Tar's Story

Glenn, Myra C., Jack Tar's Story: The Autobiographies and Memoirs of Sailors in Antebellum America (Cambridge University Press, 2010)

Many sailor "autobiographies" were published in the nineteenth-century United States—and some of them were real.  Glenn skillfully separates the authentic from the fake, and uses their texts to explore such topics as patriotism, manhood, and the demand for human respect among these seafaring workers.
Historical Dreadnoughts

Gough, Barry, Historical Dreadnoughts: Arthur Marder, Stephen Roskill and Battles for Naval History (Seaforth Publishing, 2010)

Marder and Roskill dominated—often with an excess of personal acrimony—British naval historical writing in the latter half of the Twentieth Century.   In this parallel-lives biography Gough opens a fascinating window into the world of historians at work.  Historical Dreadnoughts is a true labor of love.

Leiner, Frederick C., The End of Barbary Terror: America's 1815 War Against the Pirates of North Africa (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Yes, there is United States naval history after the War of 1812.  There was a lot of important work for the Navy to do between 1815 and the Civil War; Leiner has charted the newest track into this unfortunately neglected period.

Skaggs, David Curtis, Thomas Macdonough, Master of Command in the Early U. S. Navy (Naval Institute Press, 2003)

Skaggs employs contemporary leadership and command theory to analyze this prominent officer's naval career.   A fine biography, strong on analysis and interpretation.
510P6RXGJGL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)

Spector, Ronald H., At War at Sea: Sailors and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century (Viking, 2001)

A pioneering—and entirely successful—effort to break out of the single-nation focus of naval history.  From Tushima through the Cold War, Spector surveys the naval battles and maritime strategic rivalries of all the major contenders for dominance on the world's oceans.

Taylor, Bruce, The Battlecruiser HMS Hood: An Illustrated Biography, 1916-1941 (Chatham Publishing, 2004)

Brilliant and innovative attempt to write a ship's history in the French "total history" tradition: design, construction, armament, place in British naval policy between the wars, personnel and personalities, cruises, and death in battle.  Even Hood's resident cats are included.  Richly and beautifully illustrated, but no coffee-table book.  Taylor has thrown down a challenge that no other historian has, to my knowledge, yet taken up.
Christopher McKee
Rosenthal Professor Emeritus
Grinnell College
Grinnell, Iowa
The Newberry Library
Chicago, Illinois
Noted Historian Weighs in on Recent Naval History Scholarship was published by the Naval Historical Foundation and originally appeared on Naval Historical Foundation on December 1, 2015.


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New images, video show U.S. Navy seaplane that sank in Pearl Harbor attack |

Military History and Military Science - Alcove 9: An Annotated List of Reference Web sites (Main Reading Room, Library of Congress)

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Know Your Records: U.S. Navy Deck Logs - National Archives

Know Your Records: U.S. Navy Deck Logs

Know Your Records: U.S. Navy Deck Logs
U.S. Navy deck logs and muster rolls are among the most popular U.S. Navy records in our holdings. Archivists here at Archives II frequently consult these records to answer researcher requests. Considering their popularity, we thought it might be helpful to dive a little deeper [pun intended!] into the information contained within each record type. Today’s topic: Deck logs!
U.S. Navy Deck Logs – What they are:
A deck log is a brief record of the daily administrative activities of a ship. It includes journal-style entries of the ship’s administrative activities; location and course of travel; disciplinary procedures; and any unusual events. The logs sometime include information related to operational activities, although the level of content and detail may vary widely.

mpact of Japanese Source Materials on “No One Avoided Danger”: NAS Kaneohe Bay and the Japanese Attacks of 7 December 1941 Friday

Ideograms for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Pers...
Ideograms for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Personal realization. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Upon the publication of "No One Avoided Danger": NAS Kaneohe Bay and the Japanese Attacks of 7 December 1941, Naval Institute Press invited me to share some of the observations that my co-authors, Robert J. Cressman and John F. Di Virgilio, and I faced when we researched American and Japanese source materials for our book. This post is intended to illustrate the impact Japanese sou
rce materials had on the compilation of "No One Avoided Danger."
Nowhere are the difficulties of writing military history more apparent than in presenting the history of World War II in the Pacific using Japanese source materials. Use of these documents can be an overwhelming undertaking. Gaining access to World War II materials in Japan is a daunting task and presents logistical and financial issues, not including the barriers of language and culture. After overcoming these problems, one must interleave American and Japanese material into a seamless narrative—seldom a straightforward task. By facing these issues head on, the authors—while certainly not arriving at a perfect result—strove to deliver a manuscript more authentic in its presentation and far more satisfying in its universal appeal. Our efforts are best illustrated in two specific areas.
Japanese Aircraft Group Battle Reports (Hikōkitai no Sentō Kōdōchōshos)
One of the thorniest issues in compiling Japanese combat narratives is establishment of authoritative timelines that can be layered with, or at least compared to, their American equivalents. Regarding the attacks on Hawai‘i on 7 December 1941, timelines are particularly vexing given the problems and inaccuracies with respect to the timing given in American accounts. In particular, while the U.S. Navy’s action reports and accounts from the attacks on NAS Kaneohe Bay were fairly accurate as to what happened on the ground, the Japanese picture of events remained muddled at best. In a historiographical stroke of good fortune, virtually all of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s air group reports, or kōdōchōshos, survived World War II, in contrast to their aircraft carrier action reports, of which very few have survived.
A kōdōchōsho was an air group‒level report documenting the action described, with a complete tactical roster of aircrews, weather, statistical data regarding damage inflicted on the enemy, and losses among friendly aircraft and crews. Most importantly, the form (generally two pages for a large strike group) incorporated a carefully maintained timeline that detailed takeoffs, landings, air-to-air actions, and attacks on enemy objectives. The authors made heavy use of these reports from the carriers Shōkaku, Zuikaku, and Sōryū, whose units struck the naval air station at Kaneohe.
The American accounts varied so widely with respect to timing that it was almost impossible to reconstruct a flow of events without the meticulous Japanese air group records. This was particularly true in establishing a valid chronology for the Japanese high-level bombing of the second attack wave. The Japanese accounts served as the principal foundation onto which the American accounts could be set. Ironically, in many cases the Japanese material actually validated American observations that, on the surface, appeared to be totally incorrect.
Official Photography of the Japanese Navy
In an act of wanton destruction, the Imperial Navy destroyed nearly all of its photographic archives near the end of World War II. What survived remained in the hands of Japanese veterans who, along with their personal papers, survived the conflict. Eventually many of these images came into the possession of Japanese publishing concerns. Virtually all motion-picture film to survive the war was in the form of newsreel footage. Again, we mined these resources in an effort to properly interpret Japanese air actions during the horizontal bombing of NAS Kaneohe Bay. The direction of these attacks and the altitude from which they were executed had long remained a mystery. Two specific photographs showed, however, that the Japanese were unable to bomb from the prescribed altitude of six thousand feet, being forced by cloud cover to spiral down to fifteen hundred feet. According to our interview with one Japanese bombardier, the Navy’s bombsights would not even function at such a height. This revelation, along with other data, explained the rather miserable bombing results on the station and the odd appearance of Japanese motion-picture footage from the attacks that could not have been accounted for otherwise.
During their descent and final deployment, the Shōkaku’s Nakajima Type 97 attack bombers under the command of Lt. Ichihara Tatsuo fly east at about 2,000 feet, just above the heavy cloud cover over the He‘eia fish pond along the southern shore of Kāne‘ohe Bay, Winter rains have inundated the area south of the fish pond, Note the armament of two 250 kilogram bombs under aircraft EI 325 at center, and under EI 329 at right. (Maru magazine)
During their descent and final deployment, the Shōkaku’s Nakajima Type 97 attack bombers under the command of Lt. Ichihara Tatsuo fly east at about 2,000 feet, just above the heavy cloud cover over the He‘eia fish pond along the southern shore of Kāne‘ohe Bay, Winter rains have inundated the area south of the fish pond, Note the armament of two 250 kilogram bombs under aircraft EI 325 at center, and under EI 329 at right. (Maru magazine)
Rather than providing any validation for the authors, however, the discovery and effective use of the Japanese sources illustrated a more general wisdom. In order to arrive at the "truth" regarding air combat of the Pacific War, it will always be necessary to incorporate the source material from both sides. Historians must be prepared to make the required sacrifices to bring this about.
wenger5.indd To hear more about "No One Avoided Danger," J. Michael Wenger will speak at the following venues, which are open to the public.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Hunting Hitler Part V: The Garden (Evening, April 30) - National Archives

Hunting Hitler Part V: The Garden (Evening, April 30)

Today’s post is written by Dr. Greg Bradsher, Archivist at the National Archives at College Park. This is the fifth post in a multi-part series.
It was now shortly after 4pm, April 30, 1945. Both Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were dead, having committed suicide some ten minutes earlier. Linge, Hitler’s valet, placed Hitler’s body on a blanket and wrapped it around him, and he and another man picked up the body and moved it into the central corridor. There, Linge at the front end carrying the legs and Hoegl, Ewald Lindloff, and Hans Reisser at the back end carrying the head and shoulders, and possibly Sturmbannfuehrer Franz Schedle (commander of the SS Escort), immediately moved through the central corridor in the direction of the bunker’s emergency exit that led into the Chancellery garden. As they moved through the bunker, only the lower extremities – clad in black trousers, black silk socks and black leather shoes, such as Hitler habitually wore – were visible to Axmann, Mohnke (who had just shown up) and others and clearly recognizable. Initially following Hitler’s body upstairs out of the bunker were Goebbels, Krebs, and Burgdorf. Guensche, after interacting with Eric Kempka, who had just shown up, followed the others up the stairs.[1]
Meanwhile, Kempka, who had been tasked with finding petrol and having it placed near the garden exit and then to report to Guensche, hurried by the quickest route over rubble and wrecked vehicles in the Chancellery area to Guensche, to find out what was happening. At the moment he entered the bunker, Guensche was leaving Hitler’s room, and they met in the lobby to the situation conference room. Kempka wrote "His features had changed visibly. As white as chalk and distraught, he stared at me." Kempka told Guensche that he must be mad asking him to endanger the lives of a half dozen of his men to bring petrol under the extensive and continuing artillery bombardment. Guensche told him Hitler was dead. Kempka asked where Braun was. Guensche said she was still in Hitler’s room and briefly told him about the suicides. Just then Bormann came out of the antechamber with Braun’s body in his arms. Those that witnessed this could see that the blanket she had been wrapped in did not cover her head and feet. Kempka felt that Bormann "was carrying her as if she were a sack of potatoes…So I grabbed the body of Eva Braun Hitler from Bormann and began to carry her up the stairs myself. I think if Bormann had resisted my effort, I would have hauled him off and clobbered him, but he made no protest." Kempka noticed that she bore no signs of injuries or blood. When he had reached the middle landing of the staircase with her body, Guensche came down the steps toward him, and noticing that Kempka’s strength was failing, took the body from Kempka without saying a word. Guensche immediately noticed an intense smell of almonds emanating from the body and noticed that the body showed no signs of injury. Guensche turned the body over to SS officers as he reached the top of stairs. Kempka would be behind them.[2]
As the guard, Hans Hofbeck, opened the emergency exit door, Erich Mansfeld, on duty at the guard station in the bunker’s concrete tower, opened the iron window of the tower and noticed who he thought to be Hofbeck and three members of Hitler’s bodyguard running out. A few minutes later Mansfeld left the tower and went over to the emergency exit to see what was happening. He went into the exit and immediately met several SS officers carrying a body wrapped in a blanket, with black-trousered legs up to the knees protruding from it, as well as part of the left arm and all of the right arm. Mansfeld immediately believed it was Hitler based on the black trousers and the shoes he recognized. Then Mansfeld saw another SS officer carrying the unmistakable corpse of Braun, who he had seen on many occasions and who was wearing the same dress she had been wearing when Mansfeld had talked to her about 12 hours earlier. Behind them followed Bormann, Goebbels, Guensche, Linge, Kempka, Burdorf, and possibly Stumpfegger. Guensche shouted at Mansfeld to get out of the way quickly and return to his post. In the excitement of the moment Mansfled remained a few minutes on the stairway leading from the bunker and then he returned to his tower.[3]
As the bodies were on the verge of being carried out the emergency exit door to the garden, the Reich Chancellery area was being heavily shelled by the Russians. There were explosions very close by. Numerous fountains of soil plumed up. The air was filled with dust and smoke. Waiting for a pause between the shelling, both corpses were carried out through the exit, where they were laid down next to each other about two to four meters from the garden exit. At the moment Braun’s body was being put down, Bormann stepped up to Hitler’s body and freed the head from the blanket and stared at him for several seconds. While Guensche was still bent over, having helped put Braun’s body down, he again saw Hitler’s head for a short moment. In the meantime the bloodstains from the temple had spread further over the face. Then Bormann pulled the blanket over him again. [4]
Meanwhile Kempka rushed back to the shelter of the bunker, stopping for a moment, waiting for the next salvoes to arrive. Then he seized a canister of petrol, ran out again and placed it near the two bodies. Kempka then took off the cap of the petrol can. But then, shells exploded close by, spattering them with earth and dust, metal splinters whirred and whistled above them. Again he and some of the others who had not returned to inside the bunker exit earlier (probably Guensche and Bormann) ran to the bunker entrance for cover. They waited for the shelling in their area to die down. Then Kempka ran out speedily and grabbed the canister and poured the contents over the two bodies, while Guensche and Linge grabbed canisters, left the bunker exit, and poured petrol on Braun. Flying earth from exploding shells continued to spatter them. Kempka then fetched one fuel canister after another from the bunker entrance and poured them until the bodies were sufficiently soaked. Perhaps 40 to 50 gallons were used. Someone quickly tried to set the corpses on fire with a match, but this proved impossible, because of the various fires in the garden had created a fierce wind circulating in the area. Then the artillery bombardment increased to such an extent that it was no longer possible to leave the safety of the bunker entrance and for a few minutes none ventured out. [5]
Next, either Linge or Guensche acquired a large rag near the fire hoses at the bunker exit. The rag was torn in half, a petrol canister near the exit was opened, and the rag was soaked by Guensche with the contents. Goebbels took a box of matches from his pocket and handed it to either Bormann or Kempka, who lit the rag, handed it to Linge or Guensche who threw it towards the petrol-soaked corpses, which caught fire immediately. A gigantic flame shot upwards, soon followed by billowing black smoke. Standing at the bunker entrance Bormann, Goebbels, Stumpfegger, Guensche, Kempka, Linge, and some of the others, very quickly raised their hands for a last Hitler salute. The door had to be quickly slammed shut against the encroaching fire and fumes. They, the SS officers, and probably Krebs, Burgdorf, and Rattenhuber, lingered in silence by the closed door. Then they went down the stairs into the bunker. Guensche remained in the exit for a short while, and he ordered Hofbeck not to let anyone in or out. Subsequently, Guensche, like all the others, went back down into the bunker. The whole process had taken less than ten minutes. [6]
A few seconds before the burning rag was thrown onto the bodies Sergeant Hermann Karnau, one of the guards, stumbled upon the two bodies lying side by side, close to the door of the Bunker. Karnau had disobeyed orders and out of curiosity, came through the tunnel from the Chancellery to the main entrance of the bunker. When he got there he found the door bolted. So he retraced his steps to the Chancellery. From there he went into the garden, with the intention of entering the bunker from the emergency exit door. As he neared the door, he saw two bodies on the ground. He immediately recognized one of the bodies aa Hitler. It was lying on its back wrapped in a blanket. The blanket was folded open on both sides of the upper body, so that the head and chest were uncovered. The skull was partially caved in and the face encrusted with blood. The second corpse was lying with its back upwards. It was completely covered by the blanket except for the lower legs. He noticed jerricans near the bodies. As he was looking at the bodies, they burst, spontaneously it seemed, into flame. He could not explain the sudden combustion. He saw no one. He was three feet away from the bodies. From his vantage point the interior of the exit was not visible, so he did not see the people in the shelter of the entrance nor the burning rag thrown on the bodies. While this was taking place, the whole complex of the Chancellery lay under heavy fire, so Karnau did not linger to watch the burning corpses. By the time he was entering the emergency exit door, the others had already gone back into the bunker. Hofbeck allowed him entry and he went down to the bunker. There he met Schedle, who told him "The Fuehrer is dead…he is burning outside." [7]
After the bodies had been set alight and all the people had returned to the interior of the bunker, Hofbeck remained on guard and again opened the door a short time later, which however was only possible for a brief moment because heavy petrol fumes and smoke blew towards him. There was a wind blowing towards the exit. On opening the door he could see that the bodies were still burning.[8]
Mansfeld having just returned to the tower, saw through an observations slit in the tower a huge column of black smoke coming from the direction of the emergency exit. A few minutes later, when the smoke had partly cleared, he could see the two burning bodies, about, he thought, two meters, to the left of the emergency exit. He recognized the body of Braun but could not be certain of the other body as that of Hitler’s.[9]
Meanwhile, Gertrude Junge (Hitler’s secretary) in the upper bunker with the Goebbels children, said that shortly after 410pm the smell of gasoline penetrated the bunker. Sometime before 430pm she recalled that Guensche came along, sat down next to her, and said "‘Now I completed the last and most difficult order in my life. I burnt the Chief and Eva. Eva was still warm when I carried her up. But the poison smells terribly, I cannot endure this smell anymore. Sturmbannfuehrer Heinz Linge has carried out the Chief. Now there is a heap of ashes lying and that is all that still remained.’" Sometime later, Junge said she was told by Linge, that both Hitler and Braun had just been cremated in the park of the Reich Chancellery, as was their will. Junge also said she met Kempka later and he told her that the bodies had been consumed.[10]
Guensche, Linge, and Kempka, besides speaking with Junge, would spend time clearing out Hitler’s quarters, retrieving the pistols; removing Hitler’s clothing, his personal effects and his medicine; and having the blood-stained rug taken outside and burned near the burning corpses. Linge burned all the papers that lay on Hitler’s desk.[11]
Meanwhile Mansfeld on duty in the tower, at intervals he saw SS men pour more petrol on the bodies to keep them alight. Around 530pm, Mansfeld was relieved of his post by Karnau. On his way to the emergency exit he recognized the remains of the still burning body of the woman. The other was almost completely burned and no longer recognizable. During the next three hours, Karnau and Mansfeld took turns in the tower. During those hours, when they left the tower, they looked at the bodies, which were charred and no longer identifiable. By 8pm the lower parts of both bodies had been burned away. At 9pm when Mansfeld visited the bodies again, they were still burning, but the flame was low. [12]
What happened next is not clear, especially since much contradictory information was provided by various participants, especially Mansfeld and Kempka, mostly during the early 1950s. It appears, however, whatever remains existed of the two bodies, sometime after 9pm, were moved on a tent shelter-half and dragged to a deep shell crater, about four or five meters from the exit, in the opposite direction of where the bodies were initially laid and burned. There the remains were placed in the crater and covered with earth and rubble. Sometime between 11pm and 1130pm, Mansfeld, from the tower, no longer saw the bodies. He did see, however, a bomb crater four to five meters in front of the emergency exit door, half filled with dirt. He was of the opi

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