AIR 40/1148

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German road transport: reports on construction

Date range1941-1943
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries AIR, subseries AIR 40

File summary

This file, kept by Air Intelligence section 3(e) of the Directorate of Intelligence within the Air Ministry, documents what was known about construction of German Autobahnen and Alpenstrassen after 1939, plus other developments chiefly related to German military road transport.

Perhaps the most interesting document in the file, from a general historical perspective, is the report of a British mole going into great detail about the transport network in the East; the roles of the Organisations Todt and Speer; types of German lorry, and fuel consumption thereof; use of antifreeze; vehicle repair; producer gas as a motor vehicle fuel; immobilization of captured enemy vehicles; delivery times from various suppliers of vehicle parts; and the organization chart of the HKP (?) Bremen district.

Correspondence also deals with requests for maps of Autobahnen and Alpenstrassen updated to reflect ongoing construction; none of these maps are included in the file. There are also tantalizing references to various projects on the Autobahn network which were believed to be under construction after 1939, including the Breslau-Vienna motorway (abandoned at the end of the war, now being finished), prolongation of the old AVUS raceway to the Berliner Ring, various Autobahnen in the Generalgouvernement, and the planned Kremser bridge on the Klagenfurt-Villach-Salzburg route which was expected to become the world's highest suspension bridge with an underspan clearance of 146 m.

Contents of note

  • Extracts from intelligence reports (including the HKP Bremen mole's debriefing, and an inflated account of the Moravian section of the Breslau-Vienna motorway)
  • Correspondence, mainly concerning the Autobahn map and updates thereto
  • Extracts from newspapers (in neutral countries as well as the German zone of occupation) dealing with major German road construction projects

People with camera copies

Jonathan Winkler has a complete copy.