Tactical Air Force Squadron 31 "Boelcke"

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Tactical Air Force Squadron 31 "Boelcke"
- TaktLwG 31 "B" -

Squadron coat of arms

Internal association badge (coat of arms)
Lineup June 20, 1958
Country GermanyGermany Germany
Armed forces Bundeswehr Kreuz.svg armed forces
Armed forces air force air force
Strength approx. 1200 soldiers
Insinuation Air Force Command
Locations DEU Noervenich COA.svg Nörvenich , barracks Haus Hardt , air base , Boelcke barracks in Kerpen
Nickname Boelcke circus
Awards Flag of North Rhine-Westphalia.svg Flag of
North Rhine-Westphalia (2010)
Web presence TaktLwG 31 "B"
Commodore Colonel Danilo Schlag
Fighter aircraft /
Eurofighter Typhoon

The Tactical Air Force Squadron 31 "Boelcke" ( TaktLwG 31 "B" ), until September 30, 2013 Jagdbombergeschwader 31 "Boelcke" , is a traditional squadron of the German Armed Forces and is one of the oldest air force units in the air force . From October 1, 2013 to July 4, 2016, the Tactical Air Force Squadron 31 including the Tactical Air Force Group "Richthofen" at Wittmund Air Base on the same date was the Air Force's largest jet squadron. Since July 1, 2015, the squadron has been subordinate to the air force command in Cologne-Wahn.


The task of TaktLwG 31 "B" includes inter alia isolation from the air (Air Interdiction), combat against enemy air forces on the ground (Offensive Counter Air) and close air support.


Tactical Air Force Squadron 31 "Boelcke" (Germany)
Nörvenich Air Base
Nörvenich Air Base

Deployment phase

The squadron was set up at Büchel Air Base as early as 1957 , as the Nörvenich Air Base was rebuilt during this time . The 1st Squadron, set up on October 1, 1957, is the oldest fighter-bomber and combat squadron of the German Air Force. The move from Büchel to Nörvenich began in January 1958 and the squadron was officially put into service on June 20, 1958 at Nörvenich Air Base. The fighter-bomber squadron has been named since April 20, 1961 after the First World War fighter pilot Oswald Boelcke (1891-1916).

Fighter-bomber squadron 31 was the first unit of the Luftwaffe to be checked by NATO on January 19, 1959 and, after a successful check, was placed under NATO's control . The squadron also always achieved top marks in the other annual assessments, which were carried out by representatives of the NATO allies, and it was one of the first squadrons to be assigned to the crisis reaction forces. The squadron received the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak as initial equipment, which was replaced in 1961 by the Lockheed F-104 G Starfighter. The JaboG 31 "Boelcke" was the first Luftwaffe squadron to be operational on June 20, 1962 with the Starfighter. At that time the squadron was divided into three parts: the Fliegerhorst (FlgH), the Boelcke barracks and the Haus Hardt barracks .

Era tornado

The Starfighter was followed by the Panavia Tornado IDS. Once again, JaboG 31 was the first squadron to be equipped with an aircraft that was newly introduced into the Air Force. This was even followed by upgrading to the Panavia Tornado 200 ECR. In the tornado time, around 4,500 soldiers / people were stationed in the squadron. These consisted mainly of German air force soldiers, employees of the StOV ( site administration ), American allies, army soldiers who operated a telecommunication center there, a regional driving school and a SAR (Search and Rescue / air rescue helicopter) command and much more. 3rd squadron, which they perceived with the ground attack aircraft A-10 "Thunderbolt" (called: warthog).

On August 28, 1988, the Nörvenich squadron carried out a flight day when, on a similar flight day in Ramstein, a major accident with about 80 deaths happened.

The squadron was subordinate to NATO in the old form and therefore had to take part in annual reviews. One was the “MaxEval” (Maximum Evaluation) and the other was the “TacEval” (Tactical Evaluation). In addition, there were other alarms that were imposed by the German Air Force itself, based on the name "Circus Boelcke", these were called "Round Manege". Since the squadron carried out and always passed at least six "full alarms" a year, each lasting over a week, the fighter-bomber squadron 31 "Boelcke" was also the first squadron of the Bundeswehr to qualify for the circle of crisis reaction forces . The squadron was upgraded with the Panavia Tornado PA200 immediately.

As part of the reunification and the relaxation of the world crisis situation, the number of the squadron was repeatedly reduced. For the first flood of the Oder , even reservists had to be called in to meet the demand.

Era Eurofighter

Eurofighter with special paint in memory of Captain Oswald Boelcke

The JaboG 31 "Boelcke" was the first Luftwaffe fighter-bomber squadron in Germany to be equipped with the Eurofighter Typhoon . The first four aircraft of this type landed in Nörvenich on December 16, 2009. The last tornado officially left Nörvenich Air Base on June 25, 2010. A total of 28 machines are stationed in Nörvenich. In 2011 eight Eurofighters were already on site. In May 2016 the squadron had 26 Eurofighters, five of which were stationed in Wittmund. The Wittmund site, which has been part of the Nörvenicher Verband since 2013, was upgraded to an independent squadron on July 1, 2016. In March 2012, Nörvenich had already set off a temporary alarm with the Eurofighter.

On April 27, 2006, the foundation stone was laid for the new construction of the 10.5 million euro simulator building. The topping-out ceremony was celebrated on October 25, 2006. On June 18, 2012, the staff moved from the Boelcke barracks in Kerpen to the Nörvenich air base. The barracks were originally supposed to be closed in 2015, but have now been preserved.

Due to the decommissioning of the Phantom II fighter aircraft at Jagdgeschwader 71 “Richthofen”, JaboG 31 took over responsibility for the provision of the alarm detachment ( QRA ) at Wittmund Air Base of JG 71 from July 1st, 2013 to July 4th, 2016. From October 1st From 2013 to July 4, 2016, this association was subordinate to the Tactical Air Force Squadron 31 “Boelcke” as the tactical air force group “Richthofen” .

In February 2020, 34 Eurofighters were stationed in Nörvenich.

The squadron is divided into the flying and technical groups. The flying group (FlgGrp) comprises the 1st and 2nd flying squadrons and the flight operations squadron. This group is responsible for operations and flight operations. Here z. B. flight data such as courses, refueling, weapon load, etc. set.

The technical group (TGrp) consists of the repair / electronics team, the maintenance / weapons team and the replenishment / transport team. This group takes care of all technical issues relating to aircraft. These not only include maintenance and repairs, but also armament and ammunition, parachute technology, refueling and much more.

From October 2013 to July 2016 the squadron also led the tactical air force group "Richthofen" in Wittmund.


Eurofighter of JaboG 31 2011 at Spangdahlem Air Base
JaboG 31 tornado at Eielson Air Force Base
F-104 Starfighter (JG 74, identical in construction to JaboG 31)
No. Surname Beginning of the appointment End of appointment
22nd Colonel Danilo Schlag November 30, 2018 -
21st Colonel Stefan Kleinheyer 19th December 2014 November 30, 2018
20th Colonel Andreas Hoppe July 8, 2010 19th December 2014
19th Colonel Ingo Gerhartz December 20, 2007 July 8, 2010
18th Colonel Michael Kuhn September 30, 2005 December 20, 2007
17th Colonel Peter Stammnitz March 31, 2003 September 30, 2005
16 Colonel Heinz-Josef Ferkinghoff July 25, 2001 March 31, 2003
15th Colonel Werner Nemetschek May 3, 1999 July 25, 2001
14th Colonel Gerd Ruge March 29, 1996 May 3, 1999
13 Colonel Ulrich Schröder August 30, 1994 March 29, 1996
12 Colonel Horst Martin 2nd October 1992 August 30, 1994
11 Colonel Dieter Reiners September 29, 1988 2nd October 1992
10 Colonel Joachim Hoppe July 15, 1988 September 12, 1988
9 Colonel Jörg Böttcher 17th September 1984 July 14, 1988
8th Colonel Gert Overhoff March 25, 1980 17th September 1984
7th Colonel Theodor Herbert September 24, 1976 March 25, 1980
6th Colonel Albert Weber September 19, 1972 September 24, 1976
5 Colonel Hans-Joachim Steindorf September 11, 1968 September 19, 1972
4th Colonel Paul Monreal November 28, 1966 1st September 1968
3 Colonel Friedrich Obleser 17th December 1963 November 28, 1966
2 Colonel Wilhelm Meyn 17th December 1962 17th December 1963
1 Lieutenant Colonel Gerhard Barkhorn September 1, 1957 December 16, 1962

Used aircraft types

In addition, Nörvenich is the forward operating base of an American Thunderbolt A-10 squadron.


Since the squadron was commissioned, 33 pilots of the squadron have had fatal accidents. In crashes with the Starfighter alone, 18 soldiers lost their lives. The preparatory exercise for the ceremonial commissioning of JaboG 31 with the F-104 G ended tragically. On June 19, 1962, due to the leader's spatial disorientation, a four-man formation F-104 F crashed near Frechen. The pilots were not members of JaboG 31, but belonged to the 4th squadron of the Luftwaffe 10 weapons school, which was stationed in Nörvenich at the time. All four pilots were killed.

On June 23, 2014, during an alarm riot exercise, a Eurofighter collided with a GFD Learjet at an altitude of 2500 meters , and one of the two engines of the Learjet was torn off. As a result, it crashed near Olsberg-Elpe . Both inmates had a fatal accident. The Eurofighter involved managed to return safely to its base despite the loss of a full additional tank.

In May 2015, the damaged jet was brought to Manching in Bavaria for repairs by heavy load.


Reference to the garrison town of Nörvenich
Information sign Boelcke-Geschwader

The squadron is also known by its nickname "Boelcke Circus". Oswald Boelcke (1891–1916) used circus-like tents for accommodation at the front. Today it is more of a loving description of the Rhenish cheerfulness and the looseness that goes with it within the squadron. Because of this, today's soldiers of the TaktLwG 31 "Boelcke" have further embellished the nickname: "Boelcke Circus - Every soldier an attraction !!!"

After a collision in 1965, Hauptmann Heltzel reached the highest landing speed ever recorded with the Starfighter. With 435 km / h he made the entry in the Guinness Book of Records .

In order to document the community's ties to the squadron, signs were put up at the town entrances on February 15, 2016. In September 2016, the Nörvenich community and the squadron signed a sponsorship certificate.

The Heeresmusikkorps Koblenz gave a concert on October 19, 2016 in the Haus der Stadt in neighboring Düren . The Oswald Boelcke March, which the Nörvenich squadron had commissioned on the occasion of the 100th death and 125th birthday of its namesake, had its world premiere. Guido Rennert composed and arranged the march. He is a staff sergeant in the Bundeswehr and a member of the Bundeswehr music corps in Siegburg.

See also

Web links

Commons : Jagdbombergeschwader 31  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Aachener Zeitung: "Boelcke" squadron: Lieutenant Colonel Danilo Schlag is the new commodore . Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  2. Implementation planning Luftwaffe (PDF; 686 kB)
  3. A Eurofighter for Oswald Boelcke. Luftwaffe, September 22, 2016, accessed September 30, 2018 .
  4. Article on the introduction of the Eurofighter at JaboG 31 on Luftwaffe.de
  5. Local . Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  6. Local . Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  7. ^ Aachener Zeitung: Nörvenich: Emotional return to the "Boelcke" squadron . Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  8. ^ Aachener Zeitung: Nörvenich: A visit to the largest jet association in the Air Force . Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  9. "Boelcke" soldiers will monitor the Baltic NATO border - Read more at: www.aachener-zeitung.de
  10. https://www.radioerft.de/artikel/ueberraschende-wende-kaserne-in-kerpen-bleibt-280745.html
  11. Aachener Zeitung . Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  12. ^ Nordwest-Zeitung: Luftwaffe Wittmund: Group will be back to squadron on July 4th . Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  13. https://www.aachener-zeitung.de/lokales/dueren/geschwader-boelcke-ready-fuer-anti-is- Einsatz_aid- 48729017
  14. a b Chronicle of the fighter-bomber squadron 31 "Boelcke"
  15. Military flight operations , May 26, 2014
  16. spiegel.de: Plane crash in the Sauerland: Last doubts about the death of the Learjet pilots dispelled
  17. zeit.de: Small plane crashes after collision with fighter jet , from June 23, 2014
  18. FOCUS Online: Eurofighter drives on the autobahn to Bavaria and causes traffic chaos . Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Aachener Nachrichten: Nörvenich: Good Neighborhood: Sponsorship between Nörvenich and the air base . Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  20. Aachener Zeitung: Düren: Loyal fans of the Army Music Corps are satisfied, the newbies are amazed . Retrieved February 2, 2019.