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German Military Map of Moscow from the Famous Saalfeld Geodetic Depot - the Archive of the German Army and Foreign Office that was Captured by the U.S. Army in 1945.

Large German military map of Moscow, comprising the best military-relevant information about the city as of the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), in 1941.

Three Soviet maps are credited as base maps for the Mil.-Geo.-Plan: A 1928 Moscow Municipal Services Map; a 1940 plan of Moscow from the "Grossen Sowjet-Weltatlas"; and a 1940 map from the Geodetic Institute of Moscow.

The Mil.-Geo.-Plans were the best single-sheet German maps of foreign cities during the Second World War. They were prepared for the German Army General Staff and had much in the way of sensitive, strategic information.

The map is marked "Nur für den Dienstgebrauch!" (Only for official use!)


The key in the lower left of the map underscores the detailed information that the German's had about the Soviet capital at the outset of Operation Barbarossa. The key includes almost 100 different symbols representing a wide spectrum of military and civilian points of interest. Some locations listed include: Kaserne, Stabsgebäude (Barracks, Staff Building); Flugzeugfabrik (Aircraft Factory), Munitionslager (Munitions Depot), Heeresfunkstelle (Army Radio Station), Tabakfabrik (Tobacco Factory), and Schlachthof (Slaughterhouse).

The two-part key system not only has symbols for over 100 different kinds of objects, but it also has a numbered-listing of the individual objects (Einzelobjekte) with descriptions numbering into the hundreds.

Provenance: Maps from the Saalfeld Depot

This map comes from the Saalfeld Geodetic and Cartographic Depot that, at the end of the Second World War, became the final central repository for the entire cartographic collection of the rapidly-retreating German military and foreign policy apparatus.  As the Soviets rapidly closed in on the German archives, an exceptional team of American soldiers called "HOUGHTEAM" scoured Germany, capturing as many military mapping collections as they could before the collections could fall into the hands of the USSR. The Saalfeld collection weighed in at just over 90 tons (95% of which had not been previously available to the Allies) and is considered the largest single capture of cartographic data in history.

  • Auswärtiges Amt Geographischer Dienst [Foreign Office of the Third Reich, Geographical Division]
  • As of April 1945: Saalfeld Geodetic and Cartographic Depot (the final storage point for the entire geodetic archives of the German Army and Foreign Office.)
  • As of May 28, 1945: Captured by HOUGHTEAM on behalf of the U.S. Army Map Service (AMS) 
  • Deaccessioned by the AMS circa 1947.
Condition Description
Purple-ink stamp of the German Foreign Office, Geographic Division. A few other AMS-related ink stamps, including an AMS distribution "DO NOT RETURN" stamp on verso.