This little structure that we call “Stellung Haselhuhn” was built by the Soviet 26th Rifle Division in cooperation with Sicherungs-Regiment 195 in 2019. It is on private property in western Massachusetts; the involvement of the extremely generous landowner and his family was of course crucial for this project. The design of the structure was chosen by the Soviet group, based on a “Zemlyanka” which was a type of shelter used for centuries by civilians, also built and used in WWII by Soviet soldiers and partisans. Many photos show Wehrmacht soldiers using simple field expedient dugouts like this as well, and wartime German guidelines stressed the importance of dug-in positions as protection from rifle fire and incendiary ammunition. This structure is built into a slope, and although we call it a “bunker,” we use this primarily as a shelter rather than a fighting position. Most of the building materials were salvaged, with some of the beams and the door taken from a ruined barn built around 1915. Some trees at the site were cut to provide logs, and an antique stove provides heat. We did use modern tools to make this; we had limited time and manpower, and we wouldn’t have been able to complete this with hand tools. As of this writing (2021) construction of a second bunker at this site is underway.
Ground was broken for this project in the spring of 2019. The majority of the work was done by members of the Soviet 26th Rifle Division reenactment group.
When the bunker was first completed, access was via a simple earthen trench.
Inside, the bunker features six bunks, a wood stove for heat, and some shelving with a small storage nook for firewood. The bunker is kept stocked with necessary supplies including lamps and lamp fuel for light, cooking equipment and tools.
The old wood stove provides heat and can also be used for cooking.
At one winter immersion event, the outside temperature at 4 AM was 13 degrees F (-10 degrees C), the inside temperature was 96 degrees F (35 degrees C)!
In 2020 the bunker entrance was improved, with wood floor and walls added to the trench.
If you would like to know more about this place or our private reenactment events in Massachusetts, please e-mail us.