Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Germany, Lower Saxony,
Regierungsbezirk: Lunenburg

This collection of airfields is © 2010-2012 by RonaldV
(Disclaimer).


Wenzendorf Updated 27 Apr 2012 - Reinsehlen Updated 29 Apr 2012

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Wenzendorf

 

53°20'15"N009°46'47"E

 

Runway: 03/21 - 800meters/...feet - Grass

Runway: 06/24 - 370meters/...feet - Grass

 

Glider airfield Wenzendorf (german: Segelfluggelände Wenzendorf) is an airfield 10km west of the city of Buchholz in Lower Saxony, Germany.

The airfield is on the northwestern edge what was the Blohm&Voss (B&V) Wenzendorf plant between 1933 and 1945.

Back then the airfield was much larger and of sexagon shape.

The airfield has been in existence since 1933 and was constructed specifically as a factory airfield.

In 1935 Hermann Görings Reichsluftministerium (State Air Ministry) ordered Blohm & Voss subsidiary Hamburger Flugzeugbau (HFB) to build a plant at Wenzendorf.

It was intended to be used for the final assembly and repair of aircraft.

The plant opened in September 1935 on a grass airfield with concrete platforms.

Between 1935 and 1940 the plant turned out over 600 military aircraft of designs by Dornier and Junkers.

During the war the plant constructed both their own designs (suck as the BV141 observation plane) and those of others (such as the Me262 two seat jet fighter).

 

Wenzendorf ca 1939

 

BV142-V2 (D-ABUV "Kastor", werkenr. 219) at Wenzendorf ca 1939 (photo supplied via email).

 

A lesser known product of B&V was the design and construction of the 'Wunderwaffen' by the air vehicle design department.

One of those products, carrying the cynical name of 'Friedensengel'(Peace Angel), was the BV950 Gliding Torpedo.

On their own initiative they also designed a glide bomb capable of hitting English cities when launched from great altitudes..

It was proposed as a replacement for the 'poor performing' V-1, and according to the memoires of the designer, Hitleer and Speer were amazed when he showed the plans at the Obersalzberg residence of Hitler in 1943.

B & V built 400 examples of the weapon at Wenzendorf and through licence deals another 600 were built, designated as BV246.

Fortunately the weapon never managed to be used operationally, however.

Wenzendorf was reported to have used slave labour from the Neuengamme concentration camp.

The airfield and the plant were almost completely destroyed during an aerial attack by the 447th Bomber Group in 1944.

In early May 1945 British forces took control of the airfield.

At the airfield they discovered a large number of Me262 hulks.

 

9 April 1945 reconnaissance photo of a very cratered Wenzendorf airfield (photo supplied via email)

 

A page of a declassifield intelligence report showing empty hulks of Me262s at Wenzendorf in summer 1945 (photo supplied via email)

 

British artillery (likely M-1 Long Toms) parked at Wenzendorf in summer 1945 (photo supplied via email)

 

The British decided they had no use for the airfield, so they dismantled it.

The remaining buildings on the northern side of the airfield were put to good use, for instance as a home for elderly people.

In the early 1960s the airfield was rediscovered by the HFB-Fluggemeinschaft and partially redeveloped back into an airfield

Ever since it has been a glider field.

Some of the foundations of the old plant and hangars can still be recognised in the field.

 

Wenzendorf around 2009 (Google Earth), the former airfield and housing area in green, the current runways in yellow.

 

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Reinsehlen

 

53°08'57"N 009°49'28"E

 

runway: ../.. - ...x..m - unk

 

Reinsehlen air field (German: Flugplatz Reinsehelen, also known as Fliegerhorst Reinsehlen, Einsatzhafen Reinsehlen or Advanced Landing Ground B-154 Reinsehlen) was an airfield 45 kilometers south of Hamburg.

The airfield was built by the Nazis in 1938 and opened the following year.

Forced labour was used in the construction of the airfield.

It served as a training establishment and as an Einsatzhaven for the Luftwaffe.

It was used by all kinds of aircraft, such as He111 bombers, Ju-52/3m Transports and FW190 fighters.

Units that are known to have served from the airfield were:

II./Jagdgeschwader 1 (II./JG1).

Stab/Jagdgeschwader 3 (Stab/JG3).

Stab/, III./, 7./, 8./, 9./ and 12./ of III Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 11, flying FW190s in May/June 1944.

III./Jagdgeschwader 11 (III./JG11).

Stab/Jadggeschwader 26 (Stab/JG26) from November 1944.

II./Jadggeschwader 26 (II./JG26).

Schlachtgeschwader 4 (SG4).

By the end of the war the airfield was also used by Ar234 jet-bombers.

By that time the airfield was also used to store large numbers of Ju88s, that could not be flown due to a shortage in spares, fuel and crews.

Aside from some low level strafing attacks the airfield was never seriously attacked from the air.

This was not because the Allies did not know of the airfield, they did.

The only air raid known to have taken place against Reinsehlen (on 7 April 1945) did not bomb the airfield because it was obscured by clouds.

Having escaped the attack, it was destroyed a few days later by German troops to prevent it from falling into Allied hands undamaged.

The airfield was surrendererd to advancing British troops on 17 April 1945 without a fight.

Several hours before, the remaining aircraft had been set on fire by the Germans.

 

Three JG26 fighter-aces at Reinsehlen in November 1944; Kapitän Gerhard Vogt (48 kills), Staffelkapitän Waldemar Radenar (37 kills) and Staffelkapitän Adolf Glunz (72 kills) (FalkeEins).

 

After the surrender the Royal Canadian Air Force took residence at the airfield.

They left at the end of the winter of 1946 to make room for refugees.

The occupying powers made the military airfield installations unusable with leftover bombs and explosives from the war.

The first 200 displaced persons arrived in March 1946.

Another 1500 arrived by train in May, mostly elderly people from Silesia.

Because of all the health issues associated with refugees, the camp soon earned a nickname with the original population: Vilage of a 1000 sorrows.

During its 4 years of existence, the camp housed an average 1500 people, making it one of the largest refugee centers in the north of Germany.

Its inhabitants came from Sliesia, East-Prussia, the Sudetenland and other German speaking areas throughout Germany.

In 1946 about 200 able bodied men ploghed and worked the former flying field into crop fields to feed the people at the camp.

A small school was set up at the airfield to educate about 350 children and a hangar was converted into a church.

The former officers quarters were used as a 150-bed hospital to cure typhoid, tubercolosis and jaundice.

 

After the refugee camp was closed in 1950, the hospital remained in service as a subordinate to the hospital in Soltau.

The airfield itself had been requisitioned by the British Occupying Army in 1945, who considered the airfield as property of the Wehrmacht which they could use as they saw fit.

While they had agreed to use it as a refugee camp, they intended to use it as a millitary training ground at a later time.

As Camp Reinsehlen it was used by the British and Canadian Army for tank training on the Lüneburger Moors.

Although the Canadians left soon after, the British were to stay for over 40 years.

Soldiers were housed in large numbers of Nissen huts, built in large numbers on the former flying field.

Ultimately the British Forces left Camp Reinsehlen in 1994.

The terrain was cleaned up, the Nissen huts were torn down and the entire area was returned to nature from 1997.

The Dalai Lama visited the terrain in 1998, to teach 8000 people for a week.

Today, the terrain is home to the Alfred Toepfer Akademie für Naturschutz (Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Protection).

Several art projects were placed on the terrain in the first decade of the 21st century.

Although not much of the former fliegerhorst remains, the terrain is easily recognisable from aerial photography.

On Wikipedia, a small airfield (flugplatz Höpen) just across the B3 road is claimed to be part of the remains of Reinsehlen.

It is unclear if this claim has any truth behind it.

 

Reinsehlen (left) on a 2008 aerial photo. On the left half of the photo, the Höpen airfield can be seen (Google Earth)

 

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If you have any information about airfields (listed and unlisted) in Germany, email RonaldV.

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