German Geography - Hof Corridor
The terrain in which the Hof-Nurnberg routes are located is predominantly richly forested highlands. In generai, little soil overlays the rock. A notable exception borders the region to the southeast where a tongue of river-depositea alluvial soil descends from Weiden to tne Donau River around Regensburg. Agricultural activities are not extensive. Grains predominate among tre crops and rye among the grains. A lesser amount of land with wheat is found and the land's productivity tends to increase to the south toward the Donau.
The oat production is more common toward the north of the region. Potato production is considerable with the heaviest concentration in the Weiden-Donau riverine deposits and about the Main and its larger trioutaries to the west. Sugar beet production shows the same distribution but it is a much less significant crop. The limited availability of meadow and pasture land greatly restricts the amount of cattle which can be supported. What there is increases in density toward the southwest of this region.
To the inmediate north and west of Regensburg there are pine and mixed pine forests. These seem to be associated with the aluvial soil. The limited flood plain area about the Main and the Regnitz supports vegetation associated with moist broadleaved forest land. The land east of the Regnitz, south of the Main, and west of the line from Nurnberg to Kulmbach support oak forests. Most of tne land in this area, however, is covered with mountain beech and pine.
The general topographic nature of this terrain is best visualized as a radiating pattern of mountainous areas and rivers. At the center is the Fichtelgeoirge Range (about 50 km south of Hof). The Naab River drains to its south-southwest. To the southeast stretches the Sonmerwald (Bohemian Plateau). The Eger River drains to the east. To the northeast stretches the Erzgebirge. The Saale River drains to the north. To the west-northwest stretches the Thuringer Wala (Thuringian uplands). Finally, the Main Rivers drains to tne west.
The Fichtelgebirge is an impressive mountain range roughly centered in tne triangle formed by the cities of Bayreuth (341 m), Marktredwitz (-550 m), and Munchberg (533 m). The highest peak is the Schneeberg at 1053 m. The Oschenkopf is high at 1023 m and numerous peaks exceed 800-m elevations. The principal highways leading south from Hof and bypassing the Fichtelgebirge to the west toward Bayreuth and to the east toward Marktredwitz are generally at elevations well in excess of 500 m in this vicinity.
The Sohmerwaid (Boremian Plateau) impacts this area only at its extreme western edge. Here there are some bordering ranges or subranges which are terminatec by tne Naab River.
The Bayerischer Wald (Bavarian Range) parallels the Donau (Danube) River and hence extends from the Naab to the east-southeast. It has peaks which exceed 1400 rn in height. Unless thrusts are extended as far south as Regensburg this range would have no impact on an attack. Just to the north of the Regen River, however, is the Oberpralzerwald. This range parallels the Naab for most of its length essentially following the Czechoslovakian border. It has peaks exceeding 1000 m but 900-m peaks are far more typical. Tne Oberpralzerwald is very heavily forested and especially in the area east of Weiden, forestry is of great economic importance. At the extreme northern end of Oberpralzerwald, nestled in between it and the Fichtelgebirge, lies the Steinwald. The Steinwald is a small range, about 15 km in length, but it ias several peaks about 800 m and tne Platte rises to 940 m. This small range is inmmediately south of Marktredwitz.
The Erzgebirge lies generally to the east-nortnwest of the Fichtelgebirge. It contains peaks above 1200 m out these are some distance away insiae the DDR. The western extremity of this range is the Elstergebirge. This smaller subrange abuts the road from Selo to Marktreawitz and has several peaKs at about 700 m.
The Thuringerwald is a major range extending to the northwest from the Fichtelbirge to Eisenach. It lies principally in the D.D.R. out its southern margin provides the terrain at the border and at its southeastern end it terminates in the Frankenwald. This Frankenwald is within the F.R.G.; its center being only about 20 Km to the northeast of Munchberg.
The Frankische Alp begins at the south, of the Fichtelgebirge and reaches to the Donau River in the south. It is limited toward the southwest by the Wornitz River which separates it from the Schwabische Alb. On the east the Naab River separates it from the ranges assoiated with tne Bonmerwald. The Frankische Alb is composed of a porous mesozoic rock with a general tilt such that the gentler up slopes stretch down toward the Donau in the south to southeast direction. The steeper scarp slopes thus face toward the north to northwest. Most of the drainage thus at least starts toward the south to southeast even for tributaries of the Main which will eventuaIly carry tne water westward. This land mass is rather thorougnly dissected by the large number of tributaries involved in its drainage. The Frankische Alb is drained on tne east by the Naab and its tributaries including the Fichtelnaab, Heiaenaab, and Vils into the Donau.
The south is drained into the Donau by the Schwarze Laer, the Altmunl, and the Wornitz. The west is drained by tributaries of the Main River including the Roter Main and Regnitz and its tributaries which include the Rauhe Ebracn, Aisch, Wiesent, Zenn, Pegnitz, Biuert, Rednitz, Schwaczach, and Regat. The elevation varies considerably. In the north, several peaks exceed 800 m, the general elevation is around 500 m, and the lowest elevations are reacneu in relatively narrow river valleys such as that of the Roter Main where Bayreuth is at an elevation of only 341 M.
Toward the south is Nurnberg on the Regnitz at 330 m and Regensburg on the Donau at 322 m. The terrain in between rises considerably with much of the land above 500 m and several peaks above 600 m (incluaing Poppberg at 657 m). To the west of the Bayreuth to Nurnberg road and enclosed by the loop of the Main River and the Regnitz River is another portion displaying great variability. On the river at Bamberg the elevation is only 262 m and similarly at many other points on the rivers and tributaries similar elevations below 300 m are to be found. Away from the rivers the land quickly rises to over 400 m and much of the land is above 500 m. Some peaks are found which exceed 500 m.
Note that the terrain found within the Frankische Alb probably best typifies that found in the Hof-Nurnberg corridor. Some paths to the West might be somewhat lower and more level; some to the north somewhat higher and rougher; but most of the paths are in this land mass.
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