Operation Dschungel

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This was a German unrealised plan for a special forces undertaking in the USSR to support operations on the Eastern Front after ‘Barbarossa’ by cutting the railway line linking Vorkuta and Kotlas (1942/43).

The operation was based on a proposal of the Abwehrkommando 204 group to the head of the Abwehrgruppe ‘Nord’ on 21 December 1942, and was based on the completion in 1941 of the strategically important railway link between Vorkuta and Kotlas for the movement of war supplies, most especially coal from Vorkuta and oil from Ukhta, to Kotlas and thence Leningrad, Vologda and other parts of the northern front.

The core of the plan was the destruction of the wooden bridge, 915 yards (1000 m) long, carrying the railway line over the Peschova river at Ust-Koshva. The plan also called for attacks on the forced labour camps around Vorkuta to free the prisoners and arm them for attacks on the local Soviet forces. This would result, the plan forecast, not only in the diminution of coil and oil deliveries but also the diversion of troops from the Eastern Front to suppress the rebellion deep in the Soviet hinterland.

It was proposed that ‘Dschungel’ be launched on 10 February 1943 by air from the airfield at Petrozavodsk in Karelia, where the 12-man special forces team of Oberstleutnant Paul Haehling von Lanzenauer’s Sonderverband ‘Brandenburg’ , including two radio operators and a Russian collaborator, had trained and prepared during the winter. The plan was dropped after the Abwehr’s Abteilung II department had come to the conclusion that the Soviets had learned of the operation and ‘turned’ the German agent in the Vorkuta area.