Thursday 10 May 2012

Late-war fighter production - the He 162 underground factory at Hinterbrühl

The 'Seegrotte' or 'subterranean lake' at Hinterbrühl in the Mödling Bezirk south of Vienna in southern Austria is a leading tourist attraction in that part of the worldIn 1912 an underground blasting operation in the gypsum mine "Hinterbrühl" went awry resulting in millions of litres of water flooding into the lower galleries of the mine creating a huge underground  lake.  As a consequence the mine remained closed for years until a team of cave explorers discovered the unique natural spectacle in the 1930´s.

Towards the end of WWII the Seegrotte was requisitioned by Heinkel as an ideal 'bomb-proof' location for the production of the  the He 162 jet with upwards of 2,000 workers/slave labourers being employed  in the 'factory'. Many came from the infamous Mauthausen concentration camp, one of the first to be constructed from stone outside of Germany and one of the last to be liberated. The oft-reproduced picture above is published in the work ' Mauthausen, Horror on the Danube'. After the war the Seegrotte was re-opened as a tourist attraction. The following views are/were available as postcards..

Me 262 construction at the REIMAHG underground facility
Me 262 'forest-factory' production