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Briest School Air Base 

In another time and another world I once protected socialism in the German Democratic Republic from the revisionist and imperialist class enemies from the West for 18 months. I did that as the driver of a G5 tanker truck that refueled the helicopter after its use. That was actually a good job, better than driving tanks or having to shoot refugees at the border. At the beginning of 2021 I visited the former air base near Brandenburg, which has now been closed. Most of the areas of the approx. 400 hectare area have been re-used. There is a huge solar system on the airfield. The former aircraft yard, the accommodation buildings and the garage complexes are rented out. But you still have access to the former tank farm, which I often guarded at night. I was also able to see the tower from the outside. The condition was pathetic. I also found two shelters, but of course cleared them. Incidentally, the general overhaul of our tank boilers took place in a former underground relocation facility near Pirna, which I visited several times. Here is the link to it.  

But the history of the air base is also interesting. Back then we only heard rumors about the history of the airfield. During the guard tours, I had also discovered concrete rubble again and again. It was the remains of the Avardo aircraft factory assembly halls as I now know. I was able to research the history of the air base:

As early as 1914, Hansa-Brandenburg Flugzeugwerke AG was producing military aircraft here. In 1916 an aviation school started its work. From March 1919, the Inter-Allied Military Control Commission ordered the dismantling of the infrastructure; further use was limited to agriculture. It was not until 1929 that a further, camouflaged expansion took place, circumventing the provisions of the Versailles Peace Treaty. In 1936 the expansion into a school air base of the Luftwaffe was tackled. The neighboring Arado aircraft works had an assembly company on the square. Training began in April 1939 by the Luftwaffe's flight instructor school and continued until shortly before the end of the war. In July 1942 the I. Group of Kampfgeschwader 50 was formed here, which was equipped with the new four-engine Heinkel He 177. In addition, Brandenburg-Briest was also occupied by several fighter pilot units, among other things, the elite association JV 44 was formed here from January 1945 and the place, which was part of the defense of the Reich, was used to protect Berlin. It also served as an assembly and deployment base for the newly developed Me 262 jet fighter. On April 10, 1945, the airfield was attacked by 138 B-17 bombers of the 8th US Air Force, which left severe damage. On April 29, the Red Army occupied the area.

After the war, the aircraft hangars that had not been destroyed were dismantled (except for one) and brought to the Soviet Union. An internment camp of the NKVD was operated on the area from 1945 to 1948. From 1949 the restored airfield served as a base for the Group of Soviet Armed Forces in Germany (GSSD). Fighter pilot units were stationed until 1953 and attack pilot units until 1956.

From October 1956 Brandenburg-Briest was used by the newly founded NVA. The helicopter training squadron (HAG) 35) and the transport helicopter squadron 34 (THG-34) "Werner Seelenbinder" with Mi-8 were stationed there. After the dissolution of the NVA, the airfield was used by parts of the Luftwaffe air transport wing 65 until 1994. After it was rededicated for civil aviation, the EDUB special airfield remained in operation until 2009.

In 2011, the largest solar park in Germany to date was connected to the power grid on the former airfield.


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