Proto (bunker)

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Proto was the code name of an underground duct system of NATO in the southern Italian Campania , around 50 kilometers northwest of Naples . The bunker is located in Monte Massico , between the towns of Sessa Aurunca in the north and Carinola in the south. In the event of a war against the Warsaw Pact states, military operations in the Mediterranean should be directed from here.


The Proto-Bunker was built into the rock massif of the 813 meter high Monte Massico at the end of the 1950s. A tunnel several kilometers long was driven through the mountain between Carniola and Sessa. About halfway through a gate in the side wall of the tunnel runs a parallel side gallery, from which five side tunnels branch off. Three of the five tunnels served as a command center , while the other two contained lounges and bedrooms, a canteen, an engine room and other facilities on up to five floors each. Usually 200 to 300 people stayed here; in the event of an attack with conventional, nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, the large bunker was intended to provide protection for up to 1000 people for several weeks and ensure military command. The facility also includes a helicopter landing pad and various telecommunications equipment . On the neighboring Monte Petrino, near Mondragone , was the ACE High station IPEZ, a tropospheric radio station .


During the Cold War, the NATO command Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH) was located in the Bagnoli district of Naples , whose area of ​​responsibility included the Mediterranean , its access points and the Black Sea . AFSOUTH was subordinate to the AIRSOUTH command responsible for the air forces in this area, as well as NAVSOUTH, which was responsible for the naval forces. The command posts of AFSOUTH and the two named sub-commands were located in the proto-bunker. There were also liaison offices for other NATO commands.

In the area of ​​AFSOUTH, there were sub-commands for the land forces in the individual NATO states, insofar as and as long as these were integrated into the military structures of NATO. For example , the LANDSOUTH command in Verona was responsible for Italy , in particular for the defense of its north-eastern border, and its command post was in the West Star bunker near Lake Garda . There and with the other AFSOUTH sub-commands, the deployment orders were received from the proto-bunker.

The bunker was abandoned at the end of 1995 and left to the Italian Navy , which however also no longer needs the facility and wants to hand it over to the public real estate agency Agenzia del Demanio . The Proto-Bunker has been in a disastrous state for years. Although it is still forbidden to enter (life-threatening), a wide variety of materials have been stolen over the years, garbage has been disposed of illegally and animals have been kept in the restricted area. In 2013, local journalists pointed this out and suggested it be converted into a museum.


  • The NATO command AFSOUTH still exists as Allied Joint Force Command Naples (JFC Naples), but has slightly different tasks. The mentioned sub -commands for land, sea and air forces no longer exist after profound reforms in the NATO command structure . At the end of 2012, JFC Napels moved from Bagnoli to a new headquarters located northwest of Naples near Lago Patria .
  • Near the Proto-Bunker and the new headquarters is the Grazzanise military airfield , where NATO has stationed its 2nd NATO Signal Battalion South .

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Coordinates: 41 ° 12 ′ 59.4 "  N , 13 ° 57 ′ 30.7"  E