During World War II, the nowadays Czech republic saw field operations in 1945 when the country was liberated by the Red Army from east and American forces crossing the western border. However, the strong industrial base in the “Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren” was essential for the German war effort. To protect it and to control air traffic in the sky above, a number of land-based radar stations were established on our territory.
The remains of one such station are situated about 25 km south-west of Brno, in the vicinity of Ivančice village. The area was used before the war as a back-up field airport and during the war the Germans installed the warning radar system consisting of one “Jagdschloss” radar (“Hunting lodge”) and two FuMG 65 Würzburg-Riese (“Giant Würzburg”). The location was codenamed Brumbär (“Bear”) and belonged to the “Grade I” warning system. The construction of the radar station started shortly after occupation and in 1944 was close to its completion. On 16 November 1944, 150 young women – radar operators arrived to serve on the station. They were called “Blitzmädchen” by the badge on the uniform. The girls were definitely busy when they followed on their radar screens Allied air raids coming from Italy.
Today, an overgrown pile of concrete rubble of 20 x 20 m (approx. 66 ft x 66ft) is the only trace of Jagdschloss. Apparently it was a building with a concrete ceiling, concrete walls and brick dividing walls. The grounds were demolished towards the end of the war. The ceiling collapsed a bit as it remains stuck on a huge cogwheel with 1.5 m in diameter. This was part of transmission which set the outside antenna into desired direction.
The shaft was cut above the surface, it has around 30 cm (appr. 1 ft) in diameter and wall thickness of 5 cm (2 inches). The debris is best seen during wintertime as it is not covered by vegetation and the surrounding fields are without crop.
Around 400 meters away from the Jagdscholls, there are remains of Wurzburg Riese radars – two typical concrete hexagonal foundations.
The concrete base is accessible through a small entry on one side. The 7.4 metres (24 ft) antenna can be seen on a historical picture http://www.ivancice.cz/historie-osvobozeni.php.
For those who want to see the FuMG 65 in the Czech republic, central Bohemia is the best place. Incidentally, the two places where Wurzburg Riese can be found are not very far from each other. The first one is at the Ondřejov Observatory (Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic – http://www.asu.cas.cz/en/contact), 30 km south-east of Prague, which has a “white Giant”. It was obtained in the fifties and served as a radio-telescope for everyday sun observations.
The other is at the Military museum at Lešany (http://www.vhu.cz/muzea/zakladni-informace-o-vtm-lesany/), Benešov District, and is near the museum gate. It was recently renovated and painted in grey. It is awaiting its completion as the operator´s room at the back of the radar is missing.
Mike Doležal for War History Online