German dugout excavations: dugout types, modern finds

Every year takes us further away from the terrible events of the Great Patriotic War. On May 9, 2015, we celebrate the 70th anniversary, once again honoring the memory of the dead, saying “thank you” to the surviving veterans. Nature is more and more carefully hiding from us the evidence of those sad events. But archaeologists, both "white" and "black", and ordinary people continue to show the world the valuable historical military and everyday exhibits of both German and Soviet soldiers.

German dugouts since the Great Patriotic War

Any historically important event leaves traces behind, thanks to which subsequent generations have the opportunity to learn more details about their history, to feel the pain of the events of those times, to understand what happened and how. This historical value is the excavation of German dugouts.

excavations of German dugouts

Dugouts served as shelter and resting place for soldiers and units. For the parts that occupied the first trenches, subdivision dugouts were built. In such a shelter could accommodate 5 people, the walls were covered with 2-3 rows of logs. Each machine-gun platform had next to it a sub-dugout for machine-gun and settlement. The overcrowded were built to rest the soldiers in between the battles. They were located at a maximum of half a meter from the trench, so that in the event of an unexpected start of the battle, the soldiers could quickly take up their combat positions.

Dugouts on the second and third line of defense were designed for a maximum of 10 people. The walls in them were chopped, covered with logs in 3-5 rows, interconnected by wire or staples. The excavations of the German dugouts indicate that of the household items there were brick kilns, one table and benches. Often found metal mesh on the beds.

excavations of German dugout photo

The officers' dugouts were more spacious, had several rooms, and were better trimmed from the inside. In addition, they also had windows. It is believed that they were used for firing in the case of self-defense.

The main types of dugouts

According to their device dugouts are divided into overlapping and blocked. The first type of dugout did not have a solid overlap on top. As a roof, an awning was tied up, which was supposed to protect it from flying fragments and blast waves. Along the perimeter of such "pancakes" there are often small objects like coins, buttons, plaques. It is worth a little more detail to dwell on the device of the blocked dugouts, because it is in them that the greatest number of testimonies about the life of the soldiers remains.

Overlapped dugout and its device

The roof of such bunkers was made of reel, wooden shields or was earthen. In the right-hand corner of the entrance, the center-stove was most often located; it was made of a canister, a tank, less often of bricks. In the left corner near the entrance, weapons and ammunition were stored. Here at the excavations they discover helmets, gazbaks, dishes. On the wall opposite to the entrance there was a recreation area. In the far right corner lay personal belongings, equipment. The left far corner is often adjusted under the trash.

How to find German dugouts

The search and excavation of German dugouts is a fascinating and time-consuming exercise.In order to determine the approximate location of the search, it is necessary to get a little familiarity with the history, with maps of localities, to read about where and when the battles were fought, where the line of defense was located. Already on the spot, if there is a village or a settlement nearby, it makes sense to communicate with local residents and old-timers. They can tell something interesting or even indicate a specific search point for the proposed dugout.

excavations of German dugouts 2014

Extreme caution should be exercised on the ground near the proposed dugout, as there are still a lot of unexploded projectiles in the ground. Do not forget that the dugouts during the war were maximally masked, and now they are also covered with earth, possibly overgrown with trees and bushes. So the best assistant in the search for you will be a metal detector and a shovel. Detected metal objects indicate that you are on the right track and you can stop here. Here, with the help of a stick, you can "knock out" the place of the intended shelter. Then clear the branches and hope for good luck.

Recent finds

The excavations of the German dugouts, continuing to this day,and in the Tula region, and in Novgorod, and Belarus, and in the capital of Russia, and in the Urals, more evidence is being revealed, of information about the terrible events of those years. Archaeological excavations of the military direction are associated with a greater risk of injury or even loss of life. But this does not stop either the “white” archeologists who are engaged in the reburial of the bodies of the dead and replenish the museums with military trophies, or the “black” ones who are chasing exclusively their own profit.

The excavations of the German dugouts in 2013 and the objects found in the course of them near Rzhev of the Tver region could replenish the archives of many museums, because as many as 50 military dugouts were discovered. But these German defenses were opened by “black” diggers, so official archaeologists can only guess what could have been there.

excavations of German dugouts 2013

Excavations are continuing in the village of Dedenevo at German artillery positions, where the 113th and 338th rifle divisions were advancing. The excavations of German dugouts in 2014 in this area again make us and diggers unwitting witnesses of the war. Here, once again, Soviet spent cartridges, various ammunition,remnants of uniforms and equipment: a helmet with an eagle, stainless tape, demining shovels, remnants of rifles, parts of tracks, German plates with electrical circuits, bayonet knives.

Until now, after 70 years, many do not spare the means, time and effort to excavate German dugouts. Photos on social networks spread and "white" and "raw" and "black" treasure hunters. Everyone has different motivation, but even just another mention of the find, even if we don’t see it in the museum, allows us not to forget, to continue to remember the feat of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers.

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