The autobahn

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by Gerard, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. Jan7

    Jan7 Senior Member

    I locate an intereresting article about the begining of the Autobahn in Austria. As you must known, from March 1938, Austria are anexed to Germany. Is very documented, with many plans, and photos. All are builded in the period 1938-1942: Geschichte der Autobahn in Österreich 1938-42.

  2. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    All those Silver Arrow drivers may have had to be members of the NSKK but you can't help feeling fighter pilot would be their military destiny.
    That's a logical thought, but actually far from the truth. Most of them were actually too old and only a few had private planes pre-war, although there is an exception that proves the rule in the shape of EG Burggaller, who had flown with von Richthofen's squadron alongside Goering in the Great War. He retired from racing and re-enlisted in the Luftwaffe in 1938. He was assigned mainly to home defence duties and died on a training flight in January 1940.

    The racing driver who made most impression on the air war was of course Whitney Straight, but he never drove for the German teams (although he was invited to test for Auto Union). The next most enthusiastic pilots were Nuvolari, Seaman and Rosemeyer: Tazio was probably too old for the Regia Aeronautica - and probably not tall enough either! Seaman and Rosemeyer were both dead before the war started, but I can certainly see Dick at the controls of a Spitfire, while Bernd's extraordinary powers would probably have meant he'd have either become a test pilot or been assigned to some other special duty like photo-recce.

    The other Silver Arrows driver who died in the air was one of the more minor characters - Ulli Bigalke, who was killed in an He 111 over the Channel in August 1940. I believe he was attached to a Luftwaffe propaganda unit and was doing combat filming at the time - he had produced a film about Rosemeyer for Auto Union.

    Of the rest of the Silver Arrows drivers, only Rudi Hasse died during the war - of disease on the Eastern Front.

    Rudi Caracciola spent the war in his home in Switzerland, while Manfred von Brauchitsch bagged a cushy desk job which he varied with a bit of tank testing: he also somehow managed to acquire a lingerie shop in Prague and sat out the closing months of the war in a sanatorium. Hans Stuck's wartime career was even murkier...

    Jean-Pierre Wimille of Bugatti was in the Armée de l'Air at the outset of war, but was demobbed after the fall of France: like a number of other racers he later joined the Resistance.

    British top-line racing drivers who were killed in planes during the war included 1935 Le Mans winner and air racer Luis Fontes, who flew with the ATA (probably due to a previous prison term) and Tim Rose-Richards (RNVR).
    Fred Wilson likes this.
  3. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Nice post Vitesse about the careers of the drivers - they certainly lived high risk lives.
  4. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    For anyone interested I have recently read that the authorities in Berlin want to build a museum on the site of the old Avis grandstand. It will be lots of glass and I believe will also house an Audi car showroom.
    Audio must obviously be sponsoring the museum.
    I have no idea if the project will take off, but the old grandstand appears to be sufferering the effects of time at the moment as you zoom past.
    Any new development to help preserve some old heritage is welcome.



    Absolutely Tom and a worthy cause it would be too. Its an important piece of Motor Racing history.

    There is no further news on this venture, which, I feel, must be partly due to the downturn in the Automotive industry.

    The stand still looks forlorn when you drive past it.

  5. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Tom, any chance of a few pic when you pass by next? Just t remind us of how the place looks?
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    The Avis is closed due to major reconstruction work (Several bridges have to be replaced and it is causing severe traffic problems every day.

    I did manage to take a fleeting photograph as I passed by the Messe near to the Avis and took this shot of the monument to motorcycle racing.

    Alone and taken through a closed window it turned out reasonable enough to publish.


    Attached Files:

  7. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    In convoy on the Autobahn when it came over the air 'yahoo the road runner!' A plum coloured Rolls Royce Corniche convertible went by the convoy like a bloody rocket - whoosh as it shot past us! Before the keep off the net signal came over the air much hilarity, Hello India 33 this is India 3 'tail that Roller' - in a 432! Later the battalion signals officer blew a fuse on the air threatening blue murder, somebody and some of us had an idea, was coming on air - mimicking the road runner me me!

    On another occasion one of my pals was lucky a coach on passing his 432 shed its silencer box and about five feet of pipe, we saw it bounce on the 432 over the cupola and into the path of the vehicle behind who rightly did not attempt to stop - he munched it.
  8. Jan7

    Jan7 Senior Member

  9. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    You are right Trincomalee. In Ireland they still did that up to the early 90's!!

    I don't think they had a proper motorway in Ireland in the early 90s. :p

    Funny fact - Konrad Adenauer in his last public post prior to the war (Mayor of Cologne) opened the first Autobahn.

    All the best

  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just seen this on someone's twitter feed.

  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Germany's first autobahn which Adenauer opened as Mayor of Cologne (1917-1933) in 1932 was the Cologne -Bonn section.As said the autobahn concept was envisaged by the Weimar Republic from 1928.History tends to give Hitler the credit for them from his policy of minimising unemployment.

    Certainly makes easy motoring...once traveled from Zeebrugge to Passau..all on motorway....section west of Nurnberg merged from 3 to 2 lanes causing a holdup...negotiated with a delay..good discipline I recall....vehicles got into the two lanes in turn.....excellent motor stops on the way down with quality fare.

    Once drove up from the Mosel to Hamburg...lanes fully loaded through the urban hard shoulder...emergency services went down the middle of the two lanes and expected those in the lanes to part to give them room.
  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just been Googling about & realised I drove through here this summer.
    quite a bit about WW2 on that wiki page & a rather nice photo from 1942.
    Viaducts and tunnel entrance at the Drackensteiner Hang in a 1942 publicity photo
  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Ha just read this, (my bold text) I agree it's crap, heaviest traffic of the summer & we got stuck in it, though in this pic Mrs took traffic was following, no hard-shoulder though.

    Attached Files:

  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  15. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  16. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I see the autobahn photograph shows the use of what appear to be concrete interlocked blocks.I had never seen the use of such blocks until I visited Denmark in 1980 and their use now in the UK seems to be commonplace.

    These publicity photographs always attempt to convey the perception of autobahn tranquility.

    Incidentally the photograph is very much like the autobahn photographs which appeared in the English version of the German military magazine Signal.
  17. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    I have a family film of my father and grandparents driving down the Autobahn in 1938 when they went on holiday down to Italy. It also has film of the german locals in various villages and stacks of timber by the autobahn and gangs of road workers.
  18. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  19. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    As I mentioned Rosemeyer earlier in this thread , thought I'd post this photo of the replica memorial we saw at Donnington today.

    Attached Files:

  20. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Deacs, von Poop and bamboo43 like this.

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