Battle Relic: Debris of German homes destroyed during Allied bombing raids and the Soviet battle of Berlin, Germany, in World War II.
Finding place: Debris mount ("Trümmerberg" in German) at Anti Aircraft Tower ("Flakturm" in German) III in the Volkspark Humboldthain, Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany.
GPS location: 52.547238°N 13.384961°E
Introduction: Flak towers were tall concrete structures, above-ground, anti-aircraft gun blockhouse towers constructed in the cities of Berlin, Hamburg, and Vienna starting in 1940.
Other cities that used flak towers included Stuttgart and Frankfurt.
They were used by the Nazi Air Force and Air Defense ("Luftwaffe" in German) to defend against Allied air raids on these cities during World War II. The towers also served as air-raid shelters for tens of thousands of people and to coordinate air defense.

Third Reich and battle of Berlin
After the British Royal Air Force raid on Berlin in 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered the construction of three gigantic Anti-Aircraft ("Flak" in German, from Flugzeugabwehrkanone; aircraft defense canon) towers to defend the capital from air attack. Each tower had a radar installation with a retractable radar dish.
The flak towers, in which Adolf Hitler was in involved in the designing, were constructed in just six months.
With concrete walls up to eleven feet thick, Flak towers were considered to be invulnerable to attack from the amount of explosives delivered by Allied bombs at the time.
The towers were able to fire off eight thousand rounds per minute from their multi-level guns in a 360-degree field of fire. However only the five inch guns had effective range to defend against the British and American Air Forces heavy bombers. The three Flak towers around the outskirts of Berlin created a triangle of anti-aircraft fire that covered the centre of Berlin where the Nazi government was seated; known as "The Citadel".
The Flak towers were also designed to use the above-ground bunkers as civilian air raid shelter, with room for 10,000 civilians with a hospital ward inside. During the Battle of Berlin, the towers formed their own communities, with up to 30,000 Berliners sheltering in one tower during the battle. The towers were some of the last places to surrender to Soviet troops.
The Soviets, during their Battle for Berlin, found it difficult to cause significant damage on the Flak towers, even with some of their largest guns, such as the 203 mm howitzers. They mainly maneuvered around the towers, and eventually sent in infantry to suppress the towers. Unlike much of the rest of the city of Berlin, the towers tended to be fully stocked with ammunition and supplies, and the gun crews even used their anti-aircraft 20 mm cannons to defend against assault by ground units.

After the war was lost, the demolition of the towers was in most cases not feasible and many remain to this day.

Flakturm III – Volkspark Humboldthain, Berlin
The Flak tower in Berlin's Humboldthain neighborhood, designated "Flakturm III", was partially demolished after the war and only one side remains visible while the other side of the tower has been covered and filled op with debris from the homes and buildings of the city.
The mount thus created consists only of debris that could not be used for rebuilding the city. Immediately after hostilities ceased, teams of so-called "Trümmerfrauen" (debris women) started sorting our building materials which could be reused. Debris unfit for construction purposes was brought to the debris mounts in narrow gauge train cars.
This created a hill which today gives access to the highest point of the former Flak tower.
The interior can be visited by appointment with the Berliner Unterwelten eV.

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1) 2) 3) 4)

5) 6)7)8)

Figures 1 to 8:
128 mm automatic AA guns, a 20cm gun, post-war (attempts at) destruction
of the tower  and the covering up of demolished end with debris.

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Diagram of Flak Tower III showing post-war destruction
and area covered with debris of the city of Berlin.

This agency visited the Flak tower in the Berlin Humboldthain Volkspark several times.
Sometimes we ventured off the beaten paths and the stairs constructed postwar.
While venturing there one cannot miss noticing debris from homes underneath a more than seven decades old layer of park landscape compost.

(click for enlargements)

The last time we visited the debris mount on April 18th 2015, we collected eight (8) items which could be identified as pieces of plaster, red brick fragments and a varnished piece of pottery decorated with motives in blue paint.

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Even after more than seventy years after World War Two, tangible evidence of the vast destruction of the city of Berlin caused by Allied bombing raids and the Soviet Army's battle of Berlin can be observed at the Humboldthain Flak tower debris mount in Berlin, Germany.
Gruesome reminders of the horrors of war.

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