Wittmundhafen Air Base

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F-86 - F-104 Wittmundhaven.JPEG

53 ° 32 '52 "  N , 7 ° 40' 2"  E Coordinates: 53 ° 32 '52 "  N , 7 ° 40' 2"  E

Height above MSL 8 m (26  ft )
Transport links
Distance from the city center 6 km southwest of Wittmund
Street B 210
Basic data
opening 1963
operator air force
Start-and runway
08/26 2440 m × 30 m asphalt

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The Wittmundhafen Air Base is a German military airfield between Wittmund and Aurich at Webershausen . It is the seat of the tactical air force squadron 71 "Richthofen" equipped with multi-purpose combat aircraft of the type Eurofighter Typhoon . There are also civilly registered Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and Alpha Jet from an external service provider for air combat training, BAE Systems until 2014 and Top Aces inc. From 2015 for five years. (formerly: Discovery Air Defense Services).


As early as 1911, construction of a landing pad for airships began near Wittmund south of Auricher Chaussee (today Bundesstrasse 210 ) . Originally the airport was intended for the army airships, but apart from the LZ 90 (LZ 60), the LZ 97 (LZ 67) and the Schütte-Lanz airship SL 13, army airships were only stationed here for a short time. With the cessation of army aviation , the airport was taken over by the Imperial Navy and the naval airship department in the spring of 1917 .

Since the navy was the operator of the landing site, it was called Wittmundhaven , written with v, like all systems under the administration of the navy. When the Luftwaffe took over the site in 1938, the Wittmundhafen spelling, which is still valid today, was introduced.

On the afternoon of November 7th, 1916, the airship LZ 90 landed in Wittmundhafen as the first airship. However, an approaching storm tore the airship loose the following night and it was lost forever (there were no deaths).

In April 1917 three more airships were relocated to Wittmundhaven, L 13 (LZ 45) , L 22 (LZ 64) and L 40 (LZ 88). By early summer 1917, the L 22 and L 40 had already been destroyed. L 22 was shot down while on patrol and L 40 crashed during a landing maneuver. After the completion of two halls, each with space for two airships, the naval airships L 49 (LZ 96), L 52 (LZ 98), L 54 ( LZ 99 ) and L 56 (LZ 103) were relocated to Wittmundhaven , from where they went on patrol until the end of the war. At the end of the First World War the two naval airships L 52 and L 56 were still lying in Wittmundhaven. These were destroyed by the guards on June 23, 1919 after the day of Scapa Flow in order to withdraw them from the victorious powers (see also: List of all zeppelins ) .

After the airship troops were disbanded in 1920, the halls were demolished and the area turned into arable land . However, as early as 1938 before the beginning of the Second World War , the construction of an airfield began again, which was completed at the end of 1940. Three lanes, each 1200 m long, were laid out in the shape of a triangle . By 1943, Heinkel He 111 launched to bomb in southern England . From 1943, night fighters of the Messerschmitt Bf 110 type were stationed in Wittmundhafen to protect the naval facilities in Wilhelmshaven from the increased heavy bombing of the Allies . At the beginning of 1944 , the II. / Kampfgeschwader 54 was located here to carry out the Steinbock operation . On April 26, 1944, the 1st Squadron of Jagdgeschwader 400 was set up on the airfield . In June it received its first Messerschmitt Me 163 missile fighters before being relocated to Brandis on July 25th .

The air base was in operation until March 1945, when flight operations became impossible due to a bomb attack and the associated destruction.

After the end of the war, the airfield was completely destroyed for the second time and agriculture returned to the site. As early as 1950, the English began to build an airfield again. This still exists today and has been home to Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen" and the private sport flying group JG 71 "R" since April 26, 1963 . At times privately operated airplanes were stationed here in parallel for targeting Bundeswehr combat aircraft, u. a. Super Sabers .

After the phantom II was decommissioned on June 30, 2013, and the last airworthy specimens left the base in the following days, Wittmund is the fourth Eurofighter base with initially only 20 specimens. This is less than a full squadron. On October 1, 2013, the association was subordinated to the Tactical Air Force Squadron 31 “Boelcke” as the “Richthofen” tactical air force group . With effect from July 1, 2016, the squadron was fully established again and is now managed as "Tactical Air Force Wing 71" Richthofen "". The decisive factor was u. a. the relocation of the training of jet pilots from the USA back to Germany. The associated reconstruction of the air base is estimated at 350 million euros. The start of the renovation is expected in 2019 at the earliest and will last until 2022.

Todays use

In addition to the Luftwaffe squadron, since the beginning of 2015 civilly certified jets of the A-4N types and since 2020 also Alpha Jet from the Canadian company Top Aces have been stationed in Wittmund . They support the air force in air combat training. Before 2015, this service was provided by BAE Systems , which had used the F-100F from 1991 to 2002 and also the A-4N from 2002 to 2004.

See also

Web links

Commons : Fliegerhorst Wittmundhafen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Nordwest-Zeitung: Wittmund is to become the most modern military airport . In: NWZonline . ( nwzonline.de [accessed on July 11, 2019]).