Along the fence in Eastern Germany #8 - Wittstock

Along the fence in Eastern Germany #8 - Wittstock

Postby Mad Dan on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 12:41 pm

I've been meaning to return to this theme for a while, but other things seem to have got in the way. Anyway, here's the next - Wittstock. A MiG-29 base in the final stages of the Russian presence and home to the 33rd Fighter Regiment. It was one of the bases I visited on a number of occasions, usually on a non-flying day. The first image is a general overview, courtesy of Google Earth, which should give a good idea of the layout.

Image

The next image shows the eastern end of the base and I've tried to annotate it to give a bit more insight. The longish yellow line indicates roughly where the perimeter was, with the shorter orange line marking position 'A' for landing shots when approaching from this end. The yellow circle marks the tower that appears in a few of the images that follow, while the turquoise circle surrounds the shelter from which quite a few of these shots were taken. Finally, the pink blob indicates where we 'gained access' on the departure day. As you can see, it was a bit of a hike from there to get to a good position near the taxiway.

Image

The next five images were all taken on a normal flying day at the beginning of June 1993, which was the only time I caught any action here, other than when the jets left for Damgarten in the following April. The 33rd was primarily equipped with the Fulcrum-A version, but did also have a few MiG-23UBs, although I never got to shoot any of those. First up is 'White 05' on final approach, followed by 'White 08'.

Image

Image

Wittstock's fleet of aircraft also included a few Fulcrum-As with blue codes, represented here by 'Blue 28'.

Image

At this time, I believe the MiG-23UBs had ceased flying and the 33rd seems to have picked up a few MiG-29UB two-seaters from other units. 'White 71' was one of two with white codes (Bort numbers), but there was also a '64' with no fill-in colour and 'Red 91' which I also shot in June 1993.

Image

Image

On 7 April 1994, the 24 MiG-29s that remained were all flown north to Damgarten in anticipation of the final withdrawal from Germany and the first shot shows a general view of part of the airfield and flight line. One of the Il-76 transports that supported the move is visible and it is possible to see a largish gathering of onlookers in the far distance. Despite persistent pleading (we were a right load of 'pleaders') from the substantial contingent of Dutch enthusiasts plus the usual handful of Brits, this was as far as the base authorities were prepared to allow us to go. In view of their refusal, some of us conceived a cunning plan to ensure photographic coverage of the departure. Basically, this involved leaving the base in order to drive to the eastern end of the airfield. Once there, we found a way through the fence and then legged it to a good vantage point close to the taxiway. Unfortunately, the bright sunshine of the early morning gave way to cloud cover when the jets started leaving.

Image

The 33rd went out with some style and put on a parade before the aircraft flew out. An interesting mix of uniforms are apparent in this shot of the proceedings.

Image

Not content with the taxiway, I managed to find a good vantage point from which to grab a couple of shots of the Fulcrum line-up. In the first one, a Fulcrum is seen moving along the taxiway towards the runway.

Image

Image

Last-chance checkpoint for 'White 09'. The three guys with the unit banner just by the base of the tower dipped it in salute to each departing pilot and jet.

Image

Even as the MiG-29s left, more transports arrived to collect equipment. Here, an Il-76 is seconds from touchdown as a pair of Fulcrums await their turn to go.

Image

'Blue 26' was another of the handful of aircraft that featured different coloured Bort numbers.

Image

'White 29' approaching last chance, with some of Wittstock's many shelters visible on the far side of the runway. As far as I know, these were not dismantled, unlike some others...

Image

'White 31' was one of the first aircraft to depart and the guys with the banner are also visible in this shot. It would have been good to be able to join the onlookers on top of the tower, but I didn't want to push my luck too far...

Image

Two jets ready to roll, while 'White 34' awaits its turn...

Image

'White 39' seen at last chance was the 33rd's solitary example of the 'fatbacked' Fulcrum-C and also featured a very distinctive colour scheme.

Image

With the final MiG-29 safely away, all that remained for the banner party was to march back down the taxiway. Well, amble looks to be a more appropriate word, as they don't appear to be terribly good at keeping in step!

Image

The final two images show some of the other activities that were going on at Wittstock on 7 April 1994. Not content with lifting many of the concrete slabs that formed taxiways, the Russians also dismantled quite a few of the hardened shelters. This was accomplished by scraping away the earth covering in order to extract the pre-cast curved concrete segments which were loaded on to railway wagons and presumably taken back to Russia for re-use at another base. These shots show this work in process and convey something of the devastation that took place in the final weeks of Russian occupation.

Image

Image
Last edited by Mad Dan on Thu 24 May 2012, 10:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
I am not a loony... I used to be, but I think I am better now...
User avatar
Mad Dan

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #7 - Wittstock

Postby CASAMAC on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 1:21 pm

Thanks for re-starting your series, really missed it over the last few months.
CASAMAC

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #7 - Wittstock

Postby DeanW on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 1:43 pm

Fascinating stuff. I'm another who's glad this series is back!
User avatar
DeanW

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #7 - Wittstock

Postby wezgulf3 on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 3:19 pm

Hi Mad Dan

fantasic post from a pretty amazing place and love the fact there is some reading to go with the fantastic pictures so glad they are back.

Wes..
wezgulf3

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #7 - Wittstock

Postby IanH on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 3:45 pm

Fab my friend. Just like yesterday. Regards, ian
IanH

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #7 - Wittstock

Postby Chuck on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 3:48 pm

Good to see these threads being resurrected again MD! Happy memories. Unfortunately, I've never seen much fly at Wittstock hence the reason I can't contribute with any pictures, sorry. I do remember the eastern side of the field quite well, on a Sunday afternoon when the shelters where still intact and each of them had a Fulcrum in them!

Which field is next, so I can get scanning again?

Chuck

P.S. how handy would those Google Earth images have been in the early days after the wall came down?
User avatar
Chuck

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #7 - Wittstock

Postby Mad Dan on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 3:56 pm

IanH said:
Fab my friend. Just like yesterday.


Why? What happened yesterday? Have I missed something - again.............

Regards to you too, Ian.

Chuck (Berry) said:

P.S. how handy would those Google Earth images have been in the early days after the wall came down?


Gosh, yes - could really have done with them. Even with the aid of TPC aeronautical charts, finding some of these places was a real nightmare. Sperenberg and Juterbog especially come to mind in that regard - and even when you did find them, it wasn't always easy to get a vehicle into close proximity. Sperenberg and Juterbog again come to mind - and the northern end of Tutow was far from easy to reach, what with forest and fields to be negotiated...

Dunno what I'll do next. Templin is tempting, as I had a couple of good hits there and was also present for the departure. Plus, I just lurve Fitters...
I am not a loony... I used to be, but I think I am better now...
User avatar
Mad Dan

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #7 - Wittstock

Postby Chuck on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 4:05 pm

Templin - now there's a thought! Another base that wasn't that easy to find what all them dirt tracks and forest around it. Had a couple of good days there and remember one day when Neuruppin was just closed and a lot of Fitters flew at Templin. Had to miss departure day though with two important (at that time) birthdays to attend.

About a year or so before the last Soviet bases withdrew to Russia, a book was published with satellite pictures of the whole of Germany. We studied this to try to find new spots of the remainder of the active bases but, from memory, most of it was known by then. Good fun though.
User avatar
Chuck

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #7 - Wittstock

Postby Kokpit on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 7:04 pm

Coming from someone who was working in an almost identical environment, albeit on the other side of the wall, may I commend you on an absolutely brilliant post! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Thankyou, and please, post more if you can.

Kev.
User avatar
Kokpit

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #7 - Wittstock

Postby Hanzi on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 10:32 pm

Image

Good Memories :smile:
Hanzi


Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #7 - Wittstock

Postby Hanzi on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 10:39 pm

Image

Greetz Hans Heemskerk
Hanzi

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #7 - Wittstock

Postby Graf Zeppelin on Wed 25 Nov 2009, 10:52 pm

Sweet work Mr P! The end of the cold war all seems so long ago now.......! :grin:
Cheers Phil

Excellere Contende
User avatar
Graf Zeppelin

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #8 - Wittstock

Postby chilts on Sat 26 May 2012, 4:44 pm

Really great - nice one :clap:
User avatar
chilts

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #8 - Wittstock

Postby Maisie on Mon 28 May 2012, 1:45 pm

Superb threads, to many to reply to but loved them all. Specially the Mil-6's in the air, stunning!! Thanks for posting them,

Radleigh.
6D | 7D | 60D
11-16 f/2.8 | 24-105 IS L | 70-300 IS USM | 50 f/1.4 | 100 f/2.8 | 400 f/5.6
Maisie

Re: Along the fence in Eastern Germany #8 - Wittstock

Postby shaggie on Sun 03 Jun 2012, 9:15 am

Another set of stunners
User avatar
shaggie


Return to 'Golden Oldies' Photos

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests