One of the Cold War's most secret room - Saab Aircraft Factory 30 meters underground in Linköping basement is a museum without a thought to be a museum. And precisely because so magical.
Saab Mountain and Cold WarOne of the Cold War's most secret room - Saab Aircraft Factory 30 meters underground in Linköping basement is a museum without a thought to be a museum. And precisely because so magical.
It's dark. The heart throbs. After three shelters doors we stand in front of what was the country's longest escalator 1945th During a dust layer is completely intact and white paint flakes is like fallen autumn leaves on the wooden steps.The escalator will take us down to the Saab secret aircraft factory 30 meters underground. Most of the fixtures are left since the inauguration in 1945 and very few basis have seen what we are about to see: a deserted monument to the non-aligned Sweden.It's time to tell the whole story of Saab's most secret facilities.Stalingrad, Soviet Union, February 2, 1943Icy cold. The last starving German soldiers surrendered in the heart of Stalingrad in one of history's bloodiest battles with close to 2 million victims. It turned World War II. USSR thumping his chest and the first rift between East and West Anades, who would later turn into a deep crevice. East would stand against the West in the subsequent Cold War.In between there were Sweden.Linkoping, Sweden, one and a half months later, March 17, 1943Spade glittered when Saab's chief engineer Hugo Bertler, wearing a dark overcoat, took the first sod on a huge project. Total would be 146,000 cubic meters of coarse-grained granite blasted away and make way for a 21,300-square-foot underground housing body - an aircraft factory 30 meters below ground.The main reason for the construction was that enemy bombers during the Second World War could reach far into Sweden. "Krigsindustrien must be effectively protected against failure and destruction," wrote the engineer Hugo Bertler in a strident PM.In reality, the run-up has been more dramatic.Trollhättan, Sweden August 24, 1939"It was tense atmosphere in the workshop," writes Saab veteran and chief engineer Kurt Lalander later in his memoirs about the days before World War II began.Sweden's preparedness was not good at the end of the 1930s. They lacked self krigsflyg production while war clouds thickened in Europe. Thus was born 1937 Swedish Aeroplane Company, which had first base in Trollhättan. But the early years were not successful.On August 24, 1939 test flight the very first modern bomber at Saab in Trollhättan. But there was one problem: The plane was not Swedish. It was the brand Junkers and license made. From Germany, a week later, would start World War II.Seven months later, Norway was invaded by Germany. During the day of the invasion, 9 april 1940, lågflög German krigsflyg over Saab's aircraft manufacturing in Trollhättan. Obviously to be intimidated."It was hanging by a thread that Sweden was hit. At least we experienced at Saab matter as and under high stress, "writes the Saab Employee Kurt Lalander who attended and blocked Saab airfield - which was full of German Junker Engineers - in the Swedish war industrial core.Air Force Management saw, to put it mildly, a need for self-Swedish krigsflyg manufacturing. Saab had now branched out to Linkoping after Wallenbergs entered as owner. And 1940 was finally Saab's first ever custom design done. The light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, Saab 17 stood and flashed outside the hangar in Linköping.But it was still above ground. Now was step two in Sweden's big plan to be self-sufficient: They began building the underground factory. It was opened in December 1945 and a satisfied Defense Per Edvin shield was in place.But the Saab was the crisis. Order book gaped empty after delivering a series of wars aircraft, Saab 17, 18, and 21 during World War II. It was realized that the post-war Sweden called after cars - and began work on the futuristic "Ursaaben".The first full-scale model was dropped in april 1946 with black shoe polish, and plaster was then up with brushes and cleaning cloth. Many thought it resembled a frog.The audio sounds like a thousand crystals crack - it's the lamps who reluctantly comes inside the mountain. The old workshop materialize. It is 4 feet up to the ceiling. Smells MOIST basement and flight details are everywhere.- Exactly this hand knocked the first prototype to "Ursaaben" presented in 1946, says 55-year-old Kjell Johnsson with glowing eyes. He is head of the division of Saab and show us around.But above all, he has worked in the rock shop - where we stand in the middle of the metal workshop, where he started his career at Saab as 18-year-old 1976th 35 meters below ground.Back to 1946. The company Saab wandered into the newly won peace - with 4000 employees. Saab car was unable to complete the costume. They tried by civilian court, but it was a fiasco.When playing world politics Saab in hands. Tensions between East and West increased. NATO was formed 1949th The year after exploding tension in the Korean War. Communism was against capitalism and the middle of it was aligned Sweden - who was having a strong defense.The Air Force returned now with large orders and the same year, 1950, was launched J29 aircraft, the Flying Barrel. It was a success and in the 1950s made it at a rate of one floor per day. Air Force's large appetite seemed to never go to feed.Something that never arrived was that J29 "barrel" in principle built down to the secret mountain. But they did not complete planned original idea. Instead they manufactured components and pressed plates down the mountain. Then plan together above ground. All the time with the Cold War threat that fund. Ruptured the fragile peace in the world were you ready to instantly remove all manufacturing underground, like a fox running down in his burrow.We walk slowly around the 21,000 square foot premises - which is larger than four football fields. "Mountain" is dark and quiet. Below ground it from lathes, pyste and slammed from big presses. Up to 1000 people made aircraft components in workshops on two levels - 14 meters wide and 4 meters up to the roof.It would be the best workplace in Sweden. The room temperature varied by only about 1 degree with the remarkable "conditioning system," and it gushed into healthy outdoor air at 120 cubic meters per hour and person. "This system allows the operation to continue even in the gas case," wrote Hugo Berter satisfied in his AM.The mountain staff had their own dining room, office space, locker rooms, and Sweden's longest escalator from 1945.The rock was more than a workshop. It was a world of its own.First come hints, then said it straight out. To those who worked underground was lowest in rank and is sometimes called "berghjonen". They worked namely the component manufacturing.- It was more valued and paid more to put together the plan in the same building halls above ground, says Kjell Johnsson.But those who started were left. Welded in an underdog culture. Not entirely unlike the one on the car Saab.- Many had worked since they were 14 years old. It was a special atmosphere. Pretty tough. Imagine a built-in mentoring, you really got an education here when you came here as a young man. Such a thing does not exist today, says Kjell Johnsson.The eyes are shiny.We have arrived at the time clock. There, coiled gender and pounded rhythmic few feverish minutes in the mornings. The working hours started at 6:48.- Get it became 6:49 figures red instead of blue. 07:05 And they locked the doors to the changing rooms, it was well that people would not be late!, Laughing Kjell Johnsson.Staff dining room brought out of its darkness. The old kiosk advertises Thule tablets. The remains of a Rörstrand Servis, coffee cups with brown and black stripes stands neatly on a shelf. A mural of the history of aviation in oil fills the entire wall, painted in 1946 by Lars-Gunnar Holmqvist. Icarus - the hero of Greek mythology who tried to fly standing next to the first aircraft - and the painting ends with the 1946 newest aircraft, B18 and J21 fighter. Three airmen standing in front of the plane and look like James "Biggles" Bigglesworth from the books of Captain WE Johns.Pride in everything we pass is palpable.In a landing hangs a rain-out showing temperature, wind speed and weather up there in the open. In total there were 21 pieces from which was maneuvered off the mountain facility - many was down in the rock all day and wanted to know what was waiting outside.- It happened to the guard put the "bells" at 20 degrees and sunny when in fact it was 5 degrees and rain, says Kjell Johnsson.Moscow, USSR May 26, 1972It rasped from two pens. U.S. President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev signed the disarmament agreement Salt first Tensions began to slowly let go - and in 1989 demolished the Berlin Wall that divided the world.The Cold War became history. But the work of the mountain continued, in ever smaller extent. At the end of the 1990s, mostly because of the large sheet metal press from 1945 still worked and was difficult to move.Then came the end.Final verification of the escalator was the Inspection Division in November 1998. The first stop on the "conduct of a good stock" then added up the 18 May 2000.That made the mountain a cemetery. We are nearing the end of the tour. In the large workshop ships we pass Saab's own aviation history, unscreened of PR consultants. Shelf space on the shelf meters are full of wooden molds and wing parts.Around 2005 came to a crossroads. Turning the worn fans and especially the pumps that keep the groundwater gone for good - or save the rock and use it as storage space.- It was so close that we closed the mountain, says Kjell Johnsson serious.It launched an investigation.- It was a pure pay offkalkyl. Simply turn off the pumps can not. Then drop the water table throughout Linköping. It would go above 100 million to complete the mountain of rubble, says Kjell Johnsson.In the end we invested over a million dollars in new pumps and ventilation system. Now the mountain protected for 10 years. Since the future is uncertain.It is dark when we slants into a corridor with shelter doors. On the door it says "room for ventilation and kylmaskinister". The room says more than we think - on the mountain last battle. It was the last room that had manned staff because right cooling and pumping systems requiring round-the-fit right into the middle of the 2000s.The feeling when we enter the svårbeskrivlig. It's as if the last hired just drank the coffee and gone. Everything is still there. Saab-Scania jacket hanging on the gallows, with Saab's old log burned. Binders with care instructions to "Air Treatment Plant 142 Mountain" stands neatly on a bookshelf. A painting of a Tufted Plan, a Saab 900 turbo and a Scania truck lingers. A dust layer is like a film over everything. A museum without a thought to be a museum. And precisely because so fascinating.Pale blue fluorescent light up leaving residues from over 50 years of secret aircraft manufacturing. "Mountain" is very similar to military remnants of the Cold War - as mobförråd and military caverns. Since the late 1990s, these avrustats and either bricked again or sold civilian. But "the Saab Mountain" is different. It has everything left behind as if people just went to lunch.
Here are some pictures...