Kaltenkirchen Airfield - Flugplatz Kaltenkirchen

The Kaltenkirchen airfield was an airfield operated by the German Air Force in Kaltenkirchen in Schleswig-Holstein from December 1940 to May 1945 . The construction and, above all, later expansion measures were largely carried out with the help of forced labor .

Location of the site

In October 1935, the individual air district commands were requested by the Reich Minister and Commander in Chief of the Air Force Hermann Göring to report locations for new deployment ports to be created. The area selected in this case was in the Kaltenkirchener Heide west of the city between Moorkaten and Springhirsch . In addition to the large free space available, the existing transport connections spoke in favor of this location: in the west there was the immediately adjacent Reichsstraße 4 (today Bundesstraße 4 ), on the eastern edge of the terrain the connection to the nearby AKN railway was possible.

Construction of the facility

Construction began after the site was purchased in 1938. The construction management was on site on a farm in Moorkaten. The activities of the following participating units and organizations had to be coordinated: Local companies, Organization Todt , RAD Department 8/73, Air Force Construction Battalion 25 / XI and Air Force Construction Company 3/230. The around 1400 (as of 1940) men employed in the construction were housed in newly built barracks in Springhirsch, Heidkaten and Moorkaten. During the first construction phase, the grass landing areas were created in the northern part of the site and a concrete road to Kaltenkirchen (today's L210) and a rail connection to the AKN were built. By 1942, in addition to the necessary infrastructure (electricity and water supply, road network), a temporary concrete runway in the SSW-NNE direction was also completed.

Military units on the airfield

  • 1. Marine Motor Training Department (1. MKAA), April 1941 to September 1944. In the four companies, Marines could obtain driver's licenses of all classes. Even wood gasification courses were held. The 1st MKAA used a large barracks complex east of the R 4, which stretched from Springhirsch to Heidkaten and was later supplemented by the newly built forest camp west of the R4.
  • Medical training department of the Air Force XI, December 1940 to October 1942. The department was affiliated with the 8th Kr.ULK (NCO training company). In addition, there was an extended infirmary in Moorkaten, in which all gastric patients from LG XI were treated.
  • I. Group of Jagdgeschwader 7, December 1944 to March 1945. The setup equipped with Me 262 was constantly filled with retrained pilots from the Lechfeld air base . The first Me 262 on Kaltenkirchener Platz was carried out by an RAF reconnaissance aircraft No. 542 Squadron photographed. From now on, the Allied aerial reconnaissance never let the field out of sight. In December 1944 the 6./lei.Flak.Abt. 755 to Kaltenkirchen, which was equipped with a 3.7 cm anti-aircraft gun and took over the protection of the Me 262. Their staff consisted mostly of young Hamburg flak helpers.
  • III. Group of Kampfgeschwader 76 , April 5, 1945 to April 28, 1945. This unit, equipped with the new Arado Ar 234 twin-engine jet aircraft, flew its first missions as early as December 1944 and came to Kaltenkirchen via the Achmer and Marx airfields .
  • Close reconnaissance group 6, April 1945 to May 1945. In Kaltenkirchen, the unit only had a few operational Me 262 reconnaissance aircraft. Two Focke-Wulf Fw 190s were used for the bad weather reconnaissance . The planes were parked on Barmstedter Strasse in a wooded area just before Kaltenkirchen.

Infirmary for prisoners of war

The 1st MKAA had to clear some barracks located directly on Reichsstrasse 4 in September 1941 for around 1,000 Soviet prisoners of war . "Extended Heidkaten infirmary of the main camp XA Schleswig" was the official name. Nevertheless, the prisoners were used in the construction of the airfield, so that most of the inmates died within a short time. Afterwards, these barracks were used to accommodate sick Soviet prisoners of war from Wehrkreis X (Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg) who were sick and unable to work. Due to inadequate food and a lack of medical care, they too were at the mercy of certain death. In May 1944 the camp was relocated to Gudendorf(Süderdithmarschen). Another 3,000 Soviet prisoners of war died there by the end of the war. In November 1943, a smaller camp for Italian prisoners of war was set up in nearby Brunskamp. Here too, most of the military internees died by 1944.

Use of concentration camp prisoners

On December 10, 1944, the command of the Luftwaffe ordered a second runway to be built in Kaltenkirchen, which was intended for another “wonder weapon”. The worldwide unique jet aircraft of the type Messerschmitt Me 262 were supposed to bring about the turning point in the war that the Germans had in fact already lost. By this time the Wehrmacht had already evacuated the POW camp. The Neuengamme main camp provided urgently needed workers, concentration camp prisoners, the number of whom fluctuated between 500 and almost 1,000, as well as the camp management. The Kaltenkirchen concentration camp external command, which was set up on the edge of the airfield, was guarded by around 85 elderly air force soldiers.

Creation of a bogus airport

In order to deceive attacking aircraft, a dummy airport was built south of Lentföhrden in 1943 . Dummy aircraft made of plywood were set up on the pastures and false runways were marked out with lamps that shone brightly at night.

Air raid on April 7, 1945

An attack by USAAF bombers on the Kaltenkirchen airfield was originally planned for April 2nd . However, this was postponed due to bad weather conditions. However, on Saturday, April 7th, four bombardment groups were dispatched to the facility and the first bombs detonated around 1:26 p.m. in the center of the square. Heavy smoke made it difficult for the following bomber units to see, and so the impacts slowly migrated south outside the area boundary. About 410 tons were dropped within eleven minutes. In 1963 more than 150 duds were recovered and defused by the ordnance disposal service . [1]

There was practically no hunting or anti-aircraft defense . The staff building and some vehicle halls were badly hit. The flight control was completely destroyed. Some buildings in the moorland camp were damaged and the grass landing area was littered with around 950 funnels. The main runway received around 30 hits and was completely unusable. Aircraft losses on III./KG 76 did not occur because the aircraft were parked widely.

The air base commander arranged for the runway to be repaired immediately. For this purpose, all available personnel and the concentration camp prisoners of the external command were used. On the evening of April 10th, the runway was prepared so that the first Ar 234 could resume flight operations. Filling the funnels in the grassland area is much more complex. This work was not completed by the end of the war and was completely discontinued after the concentration camp external command was transferred to Wöbbelin .

The last days of the war

After April 30, there were various air force units on the airfield, in addition to a naval sub-command and the A6 / XI field command.

On May 1, 1945, parts of the Arado test department were relocated from Warnemünde to Kaltenkirchen. An Ar 232 B transporter with women and children on board landed at the airfield and was later flown out again. A four-jet Ar 234 C was blown up here.

On May 3rd, some Ju 87s of 3./Nachtschlachtgruppe 8 landed , but they soon left the field. Also on May 3, 1945, the last soldiers and RAD Department 8/73 left the village of Kaltenkirchen. On the same day, an SS unit shot ten Serbian prisoners of war in the Kampen district of Nützen.

On May 4th the last plane left the field and the arrival of the English was expected, who arrived there on May 5th.

On May 5th and 6th, parts of the test unit of the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force arrived on the land march. They were supposed to service the newly transferred Ju 388 L-1 altitude reconnaissance aircraft . However, these machines had already been blown up; the soldiers immediately went into English captivity.

During the post-war period

Immediately after the capitulation, the Moorkaten camp was used as a prisoner of war camp, which was temporarily occupied by 2,000 German prisoners. A vehicle park with around 20,000 looted vehicles was built on the site of the airfield under English control. First the German prisoners of war and later German service groups worked here. In 1946 the park was converted into an operating and administrative company. The vehicle park was completely dissolved in 1950 and intensive reforestation of the area began, during which over 2 million trees were planted. Refugees who stayed until the late 1960s moved into the former prisoner of war camp.

Use after 1970

The site was later used by the Bundeswehr as a training site . In the 1960s and 1970s there were specific plans to build the major Hamburg-Kaltenkirchen airport at this point to replace the airport in Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel . [2]

In the spring of 1983, building remains were discovered during construction work, which were identified as the “delousing facility” of the camp. The intention of the "Friedensgruppe Kaltenkirchen" to secure the last remaining building on the camp site as a memorial and to prepare an access road was rejected by the Federal Ministry of Defense in 1984 - under the direction of State Secretary Peter Kurt Würzbach - and the property was destroyed by heavy equipment of the Bundeswehr. [3]

Since it was abandoned as a training site in 2008, the site has been part of the European Natura2000 program. The area is protected as an FFH protected area and is listed under the name "FFH protected area Kaltenkirchener Heide - area number DE 2125-334". [4] The neighboring cities and municipalities are currently considering opening up for the public. The extent to which use is permitted within the scope of the FFH guidelines is still being examined here. Most of the site is still owned by the federal government ( BImA) and is used for wood and grazing. In the context of other planned protective measures, the "wild" use of the site, e.g. B. by motocross riders to prevent. A conceivable and planned use can be, for example, the creation of a history and nature trail. In the future, part of the site is to be used as a compensation area for the expansion of the A 20 . [5] [6]

Former French DF system for shortwave

Until the site training area was abandoned in 2008, there was a DF system for shortwave used by the French armed forces in the eastern part of the Kaltenkirchener Heide near the Ringstrasse. This system is a so-called "Single Station Locator", with which it is possible to locate a transmitter with just one DF station, instead of only being able to use several receivers as with the cross direction finding . When the site was given up, this direction finding system was also given up, but neither the antennas nor the building for the reception technology were dismantled. Despite the prohibition signs - which have also not been removed - the site is freely accessible. The fence is dilapidated and partially destroyed, the cables have been cut, the gate is open and the antennas are showing signs of rust.[7]


  • Office Trave-Land Working Group History (Ed.): The Air Force at the end of the war in Schleswig-Holstein. Elektronik-Praktiker Verlag 2009, ISBN 3936318670 .
  • Gerhard Hoch: Twelve years found again: Kaltenkirchen under the swastika. BoD 2006, ISBN 3833442719 .


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Munitions clearance in Schleswig-Holstein. At: epv-verlag.de.
  2. ^ Peter Zerbe, Oliver Schirg: Hamburg: Large airport planned in Kaltenkirchen. In: The world. October 15, 2003. ( Online, accessed February 9, 2011.)
  3. ^ Memorial sites in Kaltenkirchen, Segeberg district. At: Working group for research into National Socialism in Schleswig-Holstein e. V. (AKENS).
  4. A map of the protected area that covers the part of the former airfield can be found under OpenStreetmap - FFH area Kaltenkirchener Heide .
  5. History trail becomes more likely. Almost 4,000 visitors to the Springhirsch memorial. ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) At: Infoarchiv Norderstedt. January 22, 2011, accessed February 9, 2011.
  6. NABU Kisdorferwohld - FFH area Kaltenkirchener Heide (Moorkaten).
  7. ^ Secret listening device: The eavesdroppers of the French , on Abendblatt.de

Coordinates: 53 ° 49 ′ 30.5 ″ N , 9 ° 54 ′ 0 ″ E