Wiesbaden Air Base, Army Airfield, Germany

Wiesbaden: Air Base, Army Airfield

Erbenheim

For historical information only, do not use for navigation or aviation purposes!
CoordinatesN500260 E0081932 (WGS84) Google Maps
Elevation 461 ft
Location indicatorDBWB, EDAW, EDOU, ETOU
Germany during the Cold War Map

During the Cold War

Overview

Usage

US Air Force and later US Army airfield. The following aspects were remarkable during usage:
  • One of the US Air Force during the Berlin Airlift
  • Stationing of the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft in 1956 with secrets flights over Eastern Europe
  • Through the headquarters of the US Air Forces in Europe, there was extensive traffic of visiting VIP aircraft until the early 1970s.
  • In the 1980s, regular reconnaissance flights of the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion along the inner-German border with aircraft OV-1 Mohawk and RC-12 Guardrail (alternating with the 2nd Military Intelligence Battalion at Stuttgart Army Airfield)
  • In the 1980s, Forward Operating Location for A-10 aircraft of the US Air Force

Units

Over the years these units were stationed in Wiesbaden:
  • 1971: 7407th CSW: 7405th SS (C-97G)
  • 1975: 601st TCW: 20th TASS (OV-10A), 601st TASS (CH-53C)
  • 1985: 62nd AviCo
  • 1990: 1st Military Intelligence Battailion - 1st MIB (6 RC-12D, 8 OV-1D, 7 RV-1D); 5-6 Cav (18 AH-64A, 13 OH-58C, 3 UH-60A); B 6-158 Avn (15 UH-60A)
  • 1994: 3-56 Avn (U-21A); E 5-158 Avn (UH-1H, UH-60A); H 3rd Avn Co (UH-60A, EH-60C); 159th Med Co (UH-60A); 1st MIB (RC-12K)

In the 1940s

Berlin Airlift 1948/1949

During the Berlin Airlift, Wiesbaden was one of the starting points of the US Air Force for the flights to Berlin.
Douglas C-54 Skymaster during the Berlin Airlift at Wiesbaden, 1949
Aicraft Douglas C-54 Skymaster during the Berlin Airlift at Wiesbaden (March 1949)
Source: US DoD, Public Domain
Map from 1948 during Berlin Airlift
Map from 1948, during the times of the Berlin Airlift - At this time, the runway has a length of 1,829 m (6,000 feed). An extension is under construction at the western end (U/C=under construction). On both sides there are approach lights. Also marked are a non-directional radio beacon (RBn), the control tower and an airfield beacon (star).
Source: US DoD
Standard Operating Procedure Combined Airlift Task Force 1949
Berlin Airlift: Standard Operating Procedure Combined Airlift Task Force (01 January 1949)
Source: US DoD
Berlin Airlift: Procedures for planes from Wiesbaden
Enlargement - After taking off from Wiesbaden, planes will first turn south and then fly to the Darmstadt radio beacon. Afterwards they will fly via the Aschaffenburg radio beacon to Fulda. Here the southern corridor begins, which leads to northeast over the Soviet zone to Berlin. The return flight takes place via the radio beacons Fritzlar, Staden and Offenbach.
Source: US DoD
Berlin Airlift: Approach
Enlargement - The flight to Berlin is via the southern corridor from Fulda to Berlin, the return flight via the central corridor from Berlin to Braunschweig. In Berlin, in addition to the Tempelhof, Planter and Wannsee radio beacons, the AFN and RIAS radio stations are also marked as a further navigation aid.
Source: US DoD
Procedures around Wiesbaden and Frankfurt Rhein/Main 1949
Berlin Airlift: Procedures around Wiesbaden and Frankfurt Rhein/Main - Radio beacons Aschaffenburg, Darmstadt, Frankfurt Range, Marxheim, Offenbach, Rhein Main Range, Rüdesheim, Staden
Source: US DoD
Departure and arrival Wiesbaden
Enlargement - Immediately after take-off in Wiesbaden, planes will turn south. For landings from the west, the Wiesbaden radio beacon will be crossed 3,000 feet, to fly a loop in the west afterwards. In case of a missed approach, planes shall fly to the Rüdesheim radio beacon.
Source: US DoD
Route from Darmstadt via Aschaffenburg to Fulda and from Staden to Offenbach.
Enlargement - Route from Darmstadt via Aschaffenburg to Fulda and from Staden to Offenbach.
Source: US DoD

In the 1950s

Overview

Map from 1954
Map from 1954 - The length of the runway is now 2,150 m (7,057 feet), the width 37 m (120 feet). The control tower has moved to the eastern side.
Source: US DoD

Images

North American F-86 Sabre 52-4644 as decoy at Wiesbaden, 1955
Aircraft North American F-86 Sabre 52-4644 as decoy on 06 June 1955 at Wiesbaden Air Base
Source: U.S. Air Force photo / National Museum of the US Air Force, Public Domain

Stationing of the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft in 1956

In 1956, U-2 aircraft were stationed in Wiesbaden for several months. They belong to the CIA and carry out espionage flights at great heights above the Eastern bloc states.
Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady
A U-2 of the US Air Force
Source: US Air Force, Public Domain
Timeline
● 11 June 1956: Relocation of Detachment A or "Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Provisional) WRSP-I" from Lakenheath (Great Britain) to Wiesbaden. It is operational with 4 airplanes U-2.
● 20 June 1956 - Mission 2003:
First mission flight of a U-2. The route leads over East Germany and Poland.
● 02 July 1956 - Mission 2009:
Reconnaissance flight over Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria
● 02 July 1956 - Mission 2010:
Reconnaissance flight over the GDR, Poland, Hungary and Romania
● 04 July 1956 - Mission 2013:
First flight of a U-2 over the Soviet Union, airplane is the Article 347. Route: Wiesbaden - Poznan (Poland) - Belarus - Leningrad - Baltic Soviet Republics - Wiesbaden
● 05 July 1956 - Mission 2014:
Flight over the Soviet Union, similar route as the day before, but a little more to the south and further east. It also led over Moscow and it remained the only U-2 flight over the Soviet capital
● 09 July 1956 - Mission 2020:
Wiesbaden - GDR - Poland - Kaliningrad - Lithuania - Belarus - Poland - GDR - Wiesbaden
● 09 July 1956 - Mission 2021:
Wiesbaden - Czechoslovakia/Prague - Austria/Vienna - Hungary - Ukraine/Lviv/Kiev - Belarus/Minsk - Poland - Czechoslovakia - Wiesbaden
● 10 July 1956 - Mission 2023:
Wiesbaden - GDR southern part - Poland southern part - Ukraine - Soviet Union/Moldovan SSR - Crimea - Moldovan SSR - Romania - Hungary - Czechoslovakia - GDR - Wiesbaden
● 29 August 1956 - Mission 1104 and 1105:
Reconnaissance flights on the Suez crisis from Wiesbaden to the Middle East. The landing took place in Turkey in Adana. On the following day, further reconnaissance flights with return to Wiesbaden.
● 17 September 1956: Crash of U-2 "56-6679" (Art 346).
Approximately eight minutes after take-off the aircraft was seen by two pilots in a T-33 and four pilots in a flight of Royal Canadian Air Force F-86's at 35.000 feet. About five seconds after passing the F-86's and 500 feet above them the U-2 disintegrated and fell. The pilot was fatally injured. The cause of this accident could not be definitely determined beyond an initial failure of the right wing. Metal fatigue over stress or high internal wing pressures were suggested as possible causes of the wing failure. The possibility of sabotage was thoroughly investigated and sufficient evidence was produced to rule out sabotage as a cause.
● Autumn 1956: Detachment A relocates to Giebelstadt Air Base.
After the first flights, it was recognized that when taking off on a wet runway, splash water came onto the camera covers and affected the image quality. As a result, the runway was cleared of puddles in an elaborate manual process before each take-off.
(Source: CIA)

In the 1970s

Situation

Wiesbaden Air Base / Army Airfield on a US map 1972
Wiesbaden Air Base / Army Airfield on a map of the US Department of Defense from 1972
Source: ONC E-2 (1972), Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas at Austin

Overview

Wiesbaden Air Base, Army Airfield, Germany, on a US satellite image 1977
Wiesbaden Army Airfield on a US satellite image from 03 July 1977
Source: U.S. Geological Survey

In the 1980s and early 1990s

Overview

Map from 1984
Map from 1984

Runways

Data for the year 1990:
  • 08/26: 2154 m x 37 m Asphalt

Radio beacons

Data for the year 1990:
  • NDB: 399 "WBD", at field
  • TACAN: CH88 "WIB", at field

Images

A-10 Thunderbolt II, 81st Tactictal Fighter Wing, Wiesbaden Airbase 1983
Aircraft A-10 Thunderbolt II of the 81st Tactictal Fighter Wing during exercise REFORGER / AUTUMN FORGE '83 (September 1983)
Source: US DoD / National Archives, Public Domain
Helicopter OH-58 Kiowa at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Germany
An OH­58 Kiowa helicopter preparing to take off (29 November 1984)
Source: US DoD, photographer: SSGT Fernando Serna / National Archives, Public Domain
Wiesbaden Army Airfield: UH-1H Iroquois
Right side view of a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter hovering over a landing pad (11 December 1984) - A row of parked UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters can be seen in the background
Source: US DoD, photographer: SSGT Fernando Serna / National Archives, Public Domain

Today

"Berlin Airlift 70th Anniversary", 10 June 2019

A great event, many thanks to all who made it possible!
Base sign Lucius D. Clay Kaserne / USAG Wiesbaden
Gate sign Lucius D. Clay Kaserne / USAG Wiesbaden
Sign: Headquarters and headquarters Co 1-214th Aviation Regiment
Sign: Headquarters and headquarters Co 1-214th Aviation Regiment "Dogfighters"
Sign: Army Flight Operations Detachment (AFOD)
Sign: Army Flight Operations Detachment (AFOD)
Sign: Welcome to the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden
Sign: Welcome to the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden
Water salute for the C-47A Skytrain N74589
Water salute for the C-47A Skytrain N74589 "224064"
Aicraft C-47A Skytrain N74589
DC-3 Skytrain N74589
C-47 224064
Flight line Wiesbaden
Flight line Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden Army Airfield
Wiesbaden Army Airfield
Ground marking
Ground marking
C-47 Dakota N150D
C-47 Dakota N150D "Airborne Rendezvous with Destiny"
C-47 Dakota N47SJ
C-47 Dakota N47SJ "Betsy's Biscuit Bomber" / "The Spirit of the American West"
C-47
C-47 "Miss Montana"
DC-3A OH-LCH
DC-3A OH-LCH "Finnish Airlines"
Cessna UC-35A Citation Ultra 97-00105 / 70105 of the US Army, Wiesbaden 2019
Cessna UC-35A Citation Ultra 97-00105 / 70105 of the US Army
Beech C-12 Huron 40175 of the US Air Force
Beech C-12 Huron 40175 of the US Air Force
Flight operations with C-47
Flight operations with C-47
Formation flight with C-47
Formation flight with C-47
Aircraft C-47 Dakota / Skytrain at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Germany
Aircraft C-47 Dakota / Skytrain
Fire rescue vehicle, Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Germany
Fire rescue vehicle
Former railway track, Wiesbaden Erbenheim Airfield
Former railway track to the airfield
Track remains at Erbenheim Airfield, Germany
Track remains
Sign: Current Road Conditions
Sign: Current Road Conditions

Sources

Recommended

Image credits are shown on the respective target page, click on the preview to open it.
Diese Seite auf Deutsch
This website uses cookies
Further information: Privacy Policy
Imprint