Soviet airbases in G.D.R. were primarily old Luftwaffe airfields that were adapted, enlarged and modernized
according to the aircraft evolution and the operating procedures (hard and longer runways, taxiways, dispersals,
hardened aircraft shelters, nuclear weapons storage areas etc.).
Consequently, the old infrastructures inherited from the nazi Luftwaffe like some
hangars, the control towers or administrative and living quarters were still in place and operational, even if their
general aspect looked often neglected in the eyes of a westerner. There were of course some exceptions like in Tutow,
where most of the buildings, including the control tower were recently built.
Allstedt, Brand, Cochstedt, Gross Dölln, Mahlwinkel and Sperenberg airbases were built after 1945.
En juillet 1975, 24 Su-7 du 497.IBAP de Grossenhain furent déployés sur
l'aérodrome de réserve situé à Hassleben (ci-contre). La même année, des MiG-21bis du 296.IAP
d'Altenburg opérèrent au départ de Reinsdorf. © USMLM.
In addition to the Baltic Sea firing ranges (see > Target towing units), several air-to-ground firing ranges were available for the aircraft and helicopter of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. Unguided rockets, bombs and air-to-surface missiles (1) were delivered regularly on range targets and gun firing was also practised. Moreover, aircraft and helicopters of the GSVG overflew the training grounds of the Soviet Army (but not necessarily used weapons) during big exercises like the "Zapad" (West) maneuvers or on the occasion of specific exercises. The better known firing range was located near Wittstock (2) (it was called Gadow-Rossow in the West, from the name of the two nearest villages). A fake NATO airfield (which looked to some extent like Bitburg AFB in FRG) with a 2.800 meters long runway, taxiways and dispersal areas had been traced on the soil. Withdrawn from use aircraft probalby from Germany and possibly from Soviet Union, were standing there as targets. During the last years of activity in Germany, the only aircraft to be seen on this range were Yak-27s and especially MiG-17s - some of the latter still wearing DOSAAF (3) paramilitary organisation markings). They were transferred to Rangsdorf for destruction before the troops withdrawal from Germany.
Go to this page to download three Google Earth files with which you will be able to localize and see the airbases, motorway runways, restricted airspace for exemple above firing ranges and more. Don't be in a hurry and choose carefully your options if you don't want to be submerged by information.
Download a Google Earth file entitled "wittstock_range" showing the location of the various targets and buildings on the Wittstock firing range, together with a superposition of Bitburg airbase, here - file created by Manfred Bischoff.
Live air-to-surface missile firing campaigns took place generally one time per year for each unit - the western observers noted a
regular use of the ASM from the mid-1980s.
However, only laser or radio guided missiles could be fired in Warsaw Pact countries. The Wittstock range
was certified only for Kh-25L/ML and Kh-29L/T laser and radio guided missiles (Su-17, Su-24, Su-25 and MiG-27) and for
Kh-23/M radio guided missiles (Su-17M3, Su-24 and MiG-27).