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Army Research Station Kummersdorf

7. Gottow atomic test center

The chemical-physical test center Gottow on the site of the test center West was built around 1937/38 and was designed for around 1,000 employees. It was intended to involve as many scientific institutions as possible in solving the increasingly extensive defense research tasks or to cooperate with them. This is how Gottow developed into the most modern facility at the army test site. At the Gottow test site, all new scientific findings were tested for military use. Among other things, intensive research was carried out in the fields of optics, image converters, ultrared, ultrasound, electronics, materials science, measurement technology and also rocket fuels.

As part of the uranium project, the nuclear fission discovered by Otto Hahn and Fritz Straßmann in 1938 should be made technically usable. Kurt Diebner's goal was to develop an operational nuclear reactor. To this end, he and his team carried out three test series (tests GI to G III). The experimental setups consisted of a neutron source, cubes made of natural uranium and paraffin or heavy water as moderator. The group was in competition for the scarce materials with other corresponding research projects in the Reich. The uranium required was mainly provided by the Oranienburger Auer works, the heavy water came from the Vemork works of the Norsk-Hydro company (Norway). Due to the increase in bombing raids on Berlin, the Berlin research department of the Army Weapons Office was completely relocated to Gottow in mid-1943. In the spring of 1944, after several documented reactor tests in Gottow, test G III b was carried out with 564 kg uranium cubes and almost six hundred liters of heavy water. The evaluation of the tests showed a 106 percent increase in neutrons for G III b. These values were well above all previously achieved results. Diebner's reactor concept had proven its suitability. In the autumn of 1944 Diebner began a new reactor test in Gottow, the circumstances of which have not yet been clearly clarified. Obviously there was an accident in the nuclear facility, which according to today's criteria would be considered to be reportable and as a result of which employees were exposed to radiation. The group did not succeed in starting a stable chain reaction until the end of the war in 1945. Today only the remainder of the first German nuclear reactor, the foundation and the concrete shell can be seen. The wooden house on it for camouflage has been torn down. About 200 m away there were also brick houses camouflaged against aerial reconnaissance, where the scientists' workrooms were housed. Today they are no longer there. The scientists also had their own test bench, in addition to the rocket test benches, which are now in ruins. The Soviet armed forces built some ammunition warehouses near the former reactor.

Chemische Kampfstoffe:

Die bekannteste Entwicklung der Versuchsstelle war der unter hoher Beteiligung Wolfram Eschenbachs entwickelte N-Stoff, einer aggressiven, anorganische Fluorverbindung, welche selbst schwer entflammbare Stoffe in Brand setzen konnte und für den wenig später eine eigene, riesige unterirdische Produktionsfabrik bei Falkenhagen errichtet wurde. Der Einsatz des N-Stoffes war als lagerfähiger, hochenergetischer Oxidator in der Raketentechnik vorgesehen.

Below I show pictures of the remains of the test stands and laboratories that can still be seen:

Aufbau der Anlage:

Die Anlage der Versuchsstelle bestand aus zwei parallelen über 500 m langen Gebäudeblöcken, einem Munitionsbunker und einer Versuchsschießbahn. Beide Gebäudeblöcke waren in insgesamt fünf Gebäudegruppen unterteilt. Sie bestanden je aus acht Versuchshallen, die über einen massiven vor Splittern geschützten unterirdischen Gang zentral erschlossen waren. Weitere kleinere Gebäude mit Laboratorien und Prüfständen, getrennt durch hohe Splitterschutzwälle, waren am nördlichen Block angeschlossen. Die Verbindung erfolgte ebenfalls über einen weiteren teilunterirdischen Gang. Die bunkerartigen Labore standen oberirdisch, waren jedoch teilweise mit Mutterboden abgedeckt worden. Von Gras bewachsen waren sie aus der Luft kaum zu erkennen. Die Versuchsstelle Gottow hatte für ihre Beschäftigten und den Materialtransport einen eigenem Eisenbahnanschluss. Fast alle Gebäude waren an die  Feldeisenbahn mit einer Spurbreite von 750 mm angeschlossen.

Es gab sogar einen verbunkerten Bahnhof, der vorallem das mit Schweröl betriebene Kraftwerk versorgte:

Bilder vom Kraftwerk, das bis vor kurzem unter Wasser stand. Deswegen ist der hohe Verrostungsstand vorhanden:

Den Prüfstand 7 habe ich ja schon vorgestellt. Nun zu den anderen 7 Prüfständen, die auch die interessantesten Sehenswürdigkeiten des Geländes sind. Ein paar Informationen zu den  sowjetischen Bauten kommen zum Schluss. Prüfstand 1: