The WW2 Towers That Defeated the Soviets

The WW2 Towers That Defeated the Soviets


This episode of Real Engineering is brought
to you by Skillshare, home to over 20,000 classes that could teach you a new life skill. As WW2 drew to a close and the race to Berlin
reached it’s finale, two Soviet armies converged on the Third Reich capital. Marshal Georgy Zhukov from the North, and
Marshal Ivan Konev from the South. Motivated to beat the Americans and British
to claim Nazi technology and plunder for themselves. The Battle for Berlin raged for 17 days as
the soviet forces surrounded the city, but the Nazi’s surrender may have come sooner,
if not for one of the largest defensive structures ever built. As the 150th and 171st Soviet Rifle Divisions
began advancing across the Spree river, they met the Zoo tower, located within the Berlin
Zoo. A behemoth structure built as a centre for
anti-aircraft operations. Equipped with four 12.8 cm Flak 40 anti-aircraft
guns, together capable of firing 96 rounds per minute, and with a group of 20 mm and
37 mm anti-aircraft guns on the lower platforms, the Zoo Tower was a veritable death castle. A death castle, with no glaring design flaw
to lead to its destruction. Any aircraft that dared enter it’s 10 km
range was likely to meet its end, but on this day the Zoo tower turned its attention to
the ground and the approaching soviet armies and began unleashing powerful and accurate
fire. Reducing their tanks to smouldering scraps
of metal in short time, and halting their progress. The Soviet’s ordered the tower to be shelled
at range from their most powerful 203 mm Howitzer, a purpose built bunker buster, but the 100
kg rounds had little effect. With 2.5 metre thick steel reinforced concrete
walls, the tower was practically immune to shell damage. Even if a hole could be punched through with
repeated shots. The tower would remain standing, with no single
load bearing structure it would take an immense explosion to take down these towers. The soviets instead decided it best to circle
around the tower outside its effective range, and later negotiate a surrender. The Zoo Tower, was just the first of many
anti-aircraft towers built throughout major Nazi cities. Berlin had 3 pairs of towers forming a defensive
triangle around the city’s centre and central government. The first pair in Berlin Zoo, the next at
Friedrichshain and the third in Humboldthain. 2 more pairs were constructed to protect the
vital port of Hamburg, and finally 3 more pairs were constructed in Vienna, Austria
to form another defensive triangle around the city’s center. Amazingly, many of these towers remain intact,
despite numerous efforts to destroy them. Stark reminders for the inhabitants of these
cities of an evil war waged by their ancestors. The towers were ordered to be built by Hitler
after the devastating and merciless bombing raids of civilian targets in Berlin in 1940
by the British RAF. Furious, Hitler demanded top priority for
the project, ordering railway and shipping traffic to be diverted to satisfy the 1600
tons of material needed for every day of construction. With the help of forced labour the Zoo tower
was completed in just 6 months and used a total of 78 thousand tons of gravel, 35 thousand
tons of cement, and 92 hundred tons of steel, along with the immense amount of wood required
for the moulds that formed the shape of the towers. To this day you can still see the outlines
of the planks that formed this moulds. Each tower complex consisted of a tower pair. An attack tower, named the G-Tower and a communications
tower called the L tower. All communications towers took this rectangular
shape, and came equipped with radio equipment, spotlights, their own anti-aircraft guns and
were tasked with coordinating the attack. The attack towers came in a variety of shapes,
with the earlier generation fortresses taking this square form 42 metres high and 57 metres
wide with turrets on each corner. Later in the war, as supplies became more
scarce, the designs took the form of these 16-sided circular structures, 50.6 metres
high and 43 metres in diameter like this one in Augarten Park in Vienna. The attack towers were capable of firing 8000
rounds per minute, they formed a formidable air defence within their effective range,
but in all reality these towers had an extremely unimpressive track record with downing planes,
instead they acted primarily as a deterrent, any bomber that dared stray into their sights
would more than likely be shot down, but instead they mostly just kept well away from these
stationary positions. Each complex had an effective range of about
10 kilometres, so the complexes formed an important defence for the strategic positions
they covered, but left much of their cities unprotected. But these towers were more than just flak
towers, they served as valuable shelters for the civilian populations. Each tower had its own freshwater well and
vast stores of food. The towers had their own power generators,
with underground supply lines for fuel, and ofcourse massive stores of ammunition .The
towers even contained hospitals, with one tower containing a maternity ward where many
Berliners were born during air raids. Up to 15,000 civilians take refuge from the
relentless bombing. In the final days of the war up to 3 times
that number are reported to have crammed themselves into these concrete shells. Leading to horrifying conditions with people
dying in the cramped corridors with nowhere to bury them, toilets overflowing, and the
hospitals overflowing with injured and dead patients There are few visible signs of the devastation
these cities endured during the Second World War, thanks to the funding from the Marshall
Plan, cities were rebuilt brick-by-brick, removing the scars of the past. But these buildings remain, a testament to
the strength of their construction. All valuable materials have been stripped
from them, and multiple attempts have been made to destroy them, but with the proximity
of the surrounding city, and the thick concrete walls, the demolition has proven too costly
and difficult to undertake. Of the 6 towers in Berlin only one remains
mostly intact. The Zoo Tower was destroyed by British engineers,
but it didn’t go down without a fight. On the first attempt the engineers packed
it with 25 tonnes of dynamite, when the dust cleared the Tower remained standing. The tower finally collapsed on the third attempt
with 35 tonnes of dynamite, and from there the rubble was broken up and transported away,
and the land handed over to the Berlin Zoo where the hippopotamus park now resides. Both of Hamburgs attack towers remain, with
one being transformed into a nightclub and the other now acting as a giant energy storage
facility. The thick concrete walls provide fantastic
insulation, allowing the inside to be filled with 2 million litres of water which is heated
with biomethane and wood chip burners, solar panels on the roof, and waste heat from a
nearby factory. Providing heating for three thousand homes
and electricity for one thousand. All of Vienna’s towers remain, but only
one has been fully repurposed as an aquarium. Once again taking advantage of the thermal
stability of the interior for climate control of the tanks, while the walls of the aquarium
have been repurposed as a climbing wall. The attack tower of Arenbergpark has been
used as a storehouse for artwork too. This attack tower in Augarten park had one
attempted demolition, but it only managed to crack in the roof and collapse one of the
balconies,, and as a result the tower has been reinforced with steel wire to protect
the public from a possible collapse. Today these towers remain as a gargantuan
reminder of terrible war, but have been accepted and assimilated into the urban landscape. Parks have formed around them, zoos around
and inside them, and even have been repurposed to help towards a more sustainable future. You may have admired some of the shots in
this video, and I recorded all the footage you saw of the Austrian Flak Towers myself,
while on a road trip through Germany and Austria, which you can follow by watching my latest
vlog. I’m the type of person that never reads
instructions, I’d much rather dive in and learn through trial and error, and that has
led to some hilarious short comings with my drone cinematography. I only just recently discovered that I could
adjust the pitch and exposure of the drones camera in flight with small dials at the back. Had I actually went to the bother of watching
a few tutorials, like this drone videography course on Skillshare. I would have learned this lesson far sooner. These days you can teach yourself pretty much
any skill online and Skillshare is a fantastic place to do it. With professional and understandable classes,
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you love. .
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first 1000 people to sign up with this link will get their first 2 months for free. So ask yourself right now. What skill have you been putting off learning. What project have you been dreaming of completing,
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skill to gain. As usual thanks for watching and thank you
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100 Comments on "The WW2 Towers That Defeated the Soviets"


  1. Just imagine a modern army putting SAM sites and TOW missile batteries on those towers. That would halt any modern threat. But hey at least these beasts of buildings are repurposed for better things other then combat.

    Reply

  2. What a min Russia was on our side and our Ally in World War II so what are you talkin about what beat the Russians in World War II they didn't lose they won as did we. At one time we were very much on the same page with Russia. And then the fifties happened and God knows what happened but all the sudden it went to shit overnight. And the cold war came from it. Pitting us against Russia or the Soviet Union to the distrust we have today

    Reply

  3. Told it himself . Wasted resorces, bypassed and left behind. The Russians simply went around and kept going.

    Reply

  4. ? So Germany won then ? To be honest by the look of the Forth Riech Germany thinks that they won ! Enjoy your cultural enrichment as real people reverse the damage you have done Herr Merkel !

    Reply

  5. You should stop referring to National Socialists as "Nazis." It's essentially the same as if you spent the entire video calling the Soviets "Commies" and it makes you sound like a twit.

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  6. Those structures are testament to the marvels of German Engineering.. and the legacy of the forgotten workers who helped build them..

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  7. Incredible, I remember he and Spear speaking about structures abilities to date and fall apart gracefully, well these are still standing

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  8. The one that was partially destroyed by one attempt needs to just be demolished for the safety of the citizens.

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  9. This is a example of folks pointing to Reich engineering accomplishment and suggest this kind of creation could have won the war. Well jet planes and flack towers could not stop long range bomber destroying Berlin and Vienna. Only reason Brandenburg gates left standing was that was used by bombers as a reference point. These tower did a great job. Lol

    Reply

  10. I wished people stop admiring third Reich works. All was done in name conquest of others. These towers are like th Lorient submarine u boat base. Monstrosity of human endeavor. So what reason did he do this.

    Reply

  11. you can not destroy what is superior . the people made to live like rats around ruins of a more advanced time , due to the fear of the rest of the world

    Reply

  12. Thanks for the video. It was a good explanation and video. I do have a question. From 7:00 especially, but also before, I can see the video jumping, like a strobe effect, 5-10 stutters per second, it seems. Do you know why this is? Is it just an artefact of 60fps? Or was it transcoded from 24 to 30fps or something similar?

    Reply

  13. If the towers didn’t shoot down any allied planes because the planes kept away from the towers, then the towers did fulfill their objective.

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  14. This fanciful title of this video is the stuff of simplistic millennialist soy cuck revisionist fantasy. The elevation of the 12.8cm Flak Zwilling could not be depressed beyond -3 degrees below the horizontal. Given their height atop the flak towers, all of these guns emplacement within protective embrasures and the built up although heavily damaged nature of the city, these factors totally prohibited them from firing upon Soviet armour during the Battle of Berlin. It is however a historic fact that they were indeed simply bypassed by the Soviets during the battle and negotiated surrenders of each occurred following the battle's end which marked the war's end. As defences against Allied air attack they were utterly useless, especially comparative to the enormous amount of resources and manpower their construction required.

    The 'moulds' the poster 'Real Engineering' describes are known as 'formworks', clearly he has never studied any form of engineering much less worked a single day in the construction field.

    Reply

  15. furious insane hitler demands his governemnt protect its civilians form the wonderful and pacifist british after they fire bomb german cities! cool towers i wonder if they would still hold anybody back today?

    Reply

  16. Interesting video – I believe that there exists quite a tradition in the German architecture for water towers extending back a long time before these were made.

    Reply

  17. I'm rather dissapointed that they didn't keep/restore at least one tower to be turned into a history museum. I guess an aquarium will do…

    Reply

  18. The Humboldthain tower is mostly submerged within a hill as part of a park nowadays. I enjoy sitting on top of one the roof parts when having my lunch break at work. You can't really tell there was a bunker there since it's all overgrown.

    Reply

  19. What a complete video Sir, I'm really amazed the quality the narration…. every part of the video It's on point. Thank You very much.

    Reply

  20. It's a very silly inaccurate title.its clearly not true. Your videos are very good as a rule but be careful with the click bait, not necessary.

    Reply

  21. Evil war. How dare those nasty germans wanna eat after being starved for decades by the british and french economic chokehold. How dare them wana be on top instead of on the bottom

    Reply

  22. Nicely done subscription for Sure and I've been wanting to record phenomenal paintball videos of me and my friends and shoot amazing shots like you did and paint landscapes

    Reply

  23. Towers’ only design flaw? They were stationary towers that could be bypassed. And they destroyed panthers.

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  24. Might have missed it, but none of these are museums? I get germany wants to hide history from its people but god dam that's messed up. These are crazy structures that should be preserved and remembered but nah, nightclub it is. Granted the US tries to hide its history about Vietnam to a lesser extent (yeah for sure the civil rights movement was more important than communism and a major war, thanks public schooling) but at least they dont actively withhold information

    Reply

  25. Would like to add that the comment "rebuilt because of the marshall plan" is slightly "of base"
    Was the Marshal plan helpful, yes but it was "only" 3% of the GDP of the nations involved, so good? Yes. Essential? No
    In todays money around 100 billion USD (1/7th of US defense spending today in a year)

    Reply

  26. I'm not even gonna watch i just wanted to comment on the title… The Soviets weren't defeated in ww2

    Reply

  27. A title little confusing. Are there some towers that are still held by the nazis? According to your title these towers had defeated the Soviets. By definition they have defeated the Soviet and the Soviets lost. In truth, the towers in question slowed the Soviets until the towers and whoever was in them were properly “defeated”. I guess all you’ve tried to do is to get a rise out of YouTube viewers. Congrats, you’ve succeeded.

    Reply

  28. Funny how most of the real German talent fled west before the war and most of the talent left went to the Americans and British case in point wernher von braun

    Reply

  29. The main problem of this video is it’s beginning. First 25 sec. It’s obvious that author doesn’t know what was real intentions of the Soviet army

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  30. Great video but the title is misleading. The Soviets were not defeated by these towers. More like a nuisance and obstacle and a deterrent.

    Reply

  31. The German cities were not rebuilt due to the Marshall plan like stated at 5:16
    They were cleared and rebuilt before the first Marshall funds were applied.

    Reply

  32. that caught me off guard that they have remodeled them into all these useful cool places. I would like tosee my photos of the inside

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  33. IF one surrender, the defenses put in place by this side have failed and should not be announced like they have defeated their enemies how only chose to ignore those defenses. A victory or defeat situation can only be judged in the large image of a war, even more so if those how resisted did surrender later even when never being attacked? Or did they never surrender and are still there defending? No, you said otherwise contradicting your own title.

    Reply

  34. Could, You put a word for the thousands of slave laborers how died for those marvel of German (not nazis) engineering, could You?!

    Reply

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