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Gablingen Airfield

Gallery


April 24, 1944 Again, 200 American bombers (other sources state 120) attack the airfield and park in Langweid Foret. Most of the facilities are destroyed. Barracks of the northern outpost of Dachau concentration camp are completely destroyed.

April 25, 1945 As during its push thru South Germany, 3rd U.S. Infantry Division is approaching, the flightstrip is blown up with heavy bombs by German soldiers.

April 26, 1945 American artillery fire at Gablingen.

April 27, 1945 After having blown up the bridge across the Schmutter near Gablingen, SS-soldiers leave Gablingen, some of them on confiscated bicycles. At 1600 hrs the same day, U.S. troops of the 2nd Battalion of the 7th Infantry Regiment and units of the 15th Infantry Regiment (3rd Infantry Division) occupy the area around Gablingen. The village is raided by American soldiers.

Autumn 1945 So called DP´s (Displaced Persons) (among them many Russians of the Wlassow Army, who fought on the German side) move into the former military base.

July 1948 On the Airfield, 27.000 PSP steel sheets (used for mobile runways), are beeing removed and flown via Frankfurt to Berlin-Tempelhof to support the "Luftbrücke".

December 1951 Units of 109th U.S. Infantry Regiment are stationed in Gablingen. The U.S. Army invities 250 needy children to a Christmas Party (see also final paragraph).

May 12, 1952 Military parade of 5.500 troops of 108th Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, under the command of Colonel H. D. McHugh. He gets a grey horse*) as a gift from the U.S. soldiers. (Translator´s remark: The horse was called "Snow White" (Schneewitchen) and liked to chew gum).

June 1952 U.S. troops request another 27 hectare (67 acres) area around Gablingen, reaching from Foret-Wald to the south of Langweid and to Bundesstraße 2, to be utilized as a tank training area.

December 1952 Distribution of Christmas presents to 600 German children in Gablingen Kaserne mess hall.

November 6, 1953 Parade and Day of the Open Door in Gablingen to remind the 36th anniversary of the foundation of 28th U.S. Division, the 109th Infantry Regiment in Gablingen being a unit of.

December 1953 The U.S. Army supports the repair of lanes damaged by tanks in Gablingen fields (quite unaccustomed!).

February 1954 Per motion of the City of Augsburg, in the future the waste of American households and kasernes will be dumped in the gravel pit South of the airfield.

March 1956 511th Airborne Infantry Regiment of 11th Airborne Division ("Angels") replaces 10th Infantry Regiment of 5th Infantry Division ("Red Diamond"), Augsburg. Paratroops move also into Gablingen Kaserne. Parachute descents out of C-119 Flying Boxcar transport aircraft that started from Neubiberg or Fürstenfeldbruck take place above the airfield. Quartermaster Company, Parachute Supply and Maintenance, called "Riggers", move into the still intact hangars along the railroad track. Also stationed there is the 11th Tank Company with Patton M47 Medium Tanks and M48 Main Battle Tanks.

November 1956 Gablingen´s Airborne School is training 29 teachers for the future Paratroops School of the German Federal Army (Deutsche Bundeswehr) in Altenstadt near Schongau.

December 1956 First parachute descents of Bundewehr soldiers in Gablingen.

 

Gablingen Airfield 1957

1956/1957 Lack of discipline and criminal violence of a number of Airborne soldiers cause alarm and fear in the Augsburg area. The 188th Airborne Infantry Regiment, (Winged Attack, "Hells Angels") from March 1957 also the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry Regiment ("Rakkasans"), are stationed at Gablingen.

March 1957 Miss World and other European Miss Contest winners in PS & M headquarters Bldg 445 inGablingen.

May 1957 Day of the Oper Door with the character of a fair plus military demonstrations in Gablingen Kaserne.

Until 1958 Permanent military training of U.S. Forces in the Gablingen Area. In June, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry is deployed to Lebanon as part of the peacekeeping force. 1959: 24th Infantry Division is located at Gablingen.

Until 1965 Tank units of the 24th Infantry Division are stationed in Gablingen. Noise of air operations and of tanks - during the nights as well as on Sundays and holidays - distresses the citizens of Gablingen.

1966/1967 15th Aviation Group, USAREUR ASSD, 7th Army Helicopter Detachment, called the "Flying Mustangs", is transfered to Gablingen.

1971 After the departure of the helicopters to the Vietnam war theatre, almost no soldiers remain in Gablingen. The Cold War is in full action.

1971/1972 The Americans start to construct the Field Station (Early Warning) in the former parachute landing area. A windowless, radiolocation protected building, close to the circular AN/FLR-9 Wullenwever antenna, houses personell of all military service which is able to tap worldwide military wireless communication. Opening by the 701st MI Brigade in 1973. Parallel, the entire area of the former air base and the kaserne is claimed and fenced in.

1979 After years of abandonment, the buildings of the former kaserne deteriorate. Nature takes the area back and vandalism is occuring ("Blemish of the Romantic Road"). For years, this condition ist criticised.

1984 A 82nd Engineer Battalion pioneer unit from Bamberg, supported by 7th Engineer Brigade, finally starts with the demolition of the first kaserne building as a trial.

May 1985 Within 24 days, U.S. pioneer units with more than 100 troops and 60 vehicles demolish the remaining 21 buildings and level the area (official codename "Ghostbusters"). Certain handmade roofing tiles are saved for historical preservation. The reinforced concrete construction of the gymnasium becomes a tough problem for the demolition professionals.

Until 1995 The so-called radar station, whose antenna actually is a mere shortwave reception unit, develops into an infamous and much discussed monitoring station of the U.S. Secret Service. Augsburg´s Thorbräu (brewery) even prepares an especially bottled beer featuring the Field Station´s antenna ring - called "Elefantenkäfig" (elephant´s cage) - on the label. A rescue helicopter unit of the 236th Medical Detachment with six choppers is located in the modernized hangars along the railroad track.

1996 News about Augsburg and Gablingen base closures solidify.

Dec 7, 1998 The U.S. Army closes Gablingen Kaserne. The last unit is 66th Military Intelligence Group, located in the still utilized Sheridan Kaserne (in Augsburg).

After 1998 While the take-over of the antenna facilities by the Bundeswehr Fernmeldestelle Süd is still providing new material for the ongoing discussion about the mysterious importance of the facility, a few years later the alleged closure is accounted. Actually, the Bundesnachrichtendienst is said to be utilizing the facility for years.

July 2005 A familiy from Gersthofen visits a former U.S. soldier in America, who had been on duty in Gablingen in 1951 and then, during a Christmas party for children, got to know the woman, who was eleven years of age at that time. It is said that there existed a personal contact thru all these years.

 

Gablingen Airfield 1957

Paratroopers of the 11th Airborne Division descending in the northern part of Gablingen Airfield. In the background the plants of the former Farbwerke (paint works) Hoechst.

 

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