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What Did The German Military Base Look Like In 22w
Painful images of an abandoned military base called the Forbidden City that hasn’t been used in 25 years
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Known as the “Forbidden City” in Zossen – about 20 miles outside Berlin – the Wünsdorf complex dates back to the early 20th century. It was used to house prisoners of war during World War I, and in 1935, it became the headquarters of the German Armed Forces, and served as the military command center for the Nazis during World War II.
Soviet forces captured the base during the Cold War. It was home to 40,000 Soviet soldiers, according to one estimate, and was the largest Soviet military camp outside of the Soviet Union. East Germans who lived outside the complex could not enter without special permission, which gave way to the nickname “Forbidden City”.
But the Soviet occupation of the base ended after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. By 1994, the last forces left the Forbidden City.
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Now, 25 years later, the base is virtually untouched, save for occasional tours of the decaying landmark.
As a photographer who focuses on abandoned buildings and is passionate about history, I traveled to Finsdorf to see the Forbidden City for myself.
A huge statue of Vladimir Lenin, the former leader of the Soviet Union, still stands in front of the abandoned military base’s main entrance.
Inside, paint was chipping and peeling off the walls and ceilings – a stark contrast to the ornate trim on some of the walls.
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Rooms like this were used by the 40,000 Soviet soldiers who lived in the Forbidden City.
Many of the walls, stripped of their wallpaper or cracked from peeling paint, are shells of their former selves.
25 years of neglect was evident in interconnecting rooms like this one. The base has not been used since the last Soviet soldiers left in 1994.
This ornate room on the first floor of the main building leads to a statue of Lenin overlooking a disused soccer field.
Rukla, Lithuania. 04th Feb, 2019. Soldiers Of The German Armed Forces Are Standing At The Military
This is the view from the top of the stairs looking down. Although the railing is badly rusted, you can see the care and craftsmanship that went into making it.
There were a number of sports facilities on campus, including a swimming pool. To get there, I headed through this former locker room.
And the pool, which was completely devoid of water, remained frozen in time. You can see the passage dividers still hanging in the air.
This theater used to host many shows. Although the room is very dark, you can see the beautiful decorations on the ceiling and the relatively good shape of the stage, compared to other dilapidated corners of the Forbidden City. , and about 19 miles (30 km) east of Ramstein Air Force Base. Before 2010, the installation was a United States Air Force facility and before 1995 it was a US military airfield known as Simbach Air Force Base.
A Section Of The Former German Military Base Near Bergen Belsen Which Was Turned Into A Displaced Persons Camp By The Allies.
Named after Sembach, it is home to the 18th Military Police Brigade, 30th Medical Brigade, and the US Army Corrections Facility – Europe. During the Cold War, the facility housed a variety of U.S. tactical reconnaissance, close air support and tactical air control units as a NATO front-line air base.
The origins of Sembach Kaserne can be traced back to 1919 after World War I where the eastern half of the former flight line was used by the occupying Frch as an airfield. Frch’s facilities consisted of 10 iron sheet barracks and 26 wooden hangars with canvas coverings.
As part of the general withdrawal of the French occupying forces from the Rhine’s left bank in 1930, Farch left the airport on 15 June 1930. After Farch’s withdrawal, the land was returned to farmers and used as a hayfield.
In 1939, the German Luftwaffe ordered the area to be reserved for use as a fighter base. Due to the brevity of the Frch Campaign in the first year of World War II, the area was returned to farmers for pasture use in June 1940.
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In 1950, as a result of the Cold War threat to the Soviet Union, the United States was rapidly expanding its air force, announcing an increase in the number of combat wings from 48 in 1950 to 95 by June 1952.
In April 1951 German surveyors visited the area in the company of Frch officers. Local farmers protested against the construction of a hard-top airfield that would lead to the loss of much of their land, and demonstrated in Mainz, the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate. Despite this strong opposition, the French occupational authorities began construction of a modern airport in June 1951.
Many workers were brought in to build the new base, and the village of Sembach took on the character of a thriving town. Construction continued around the clock through the use of night lighting. Pouring of the 8,500-foot concrete runway began in early September 1951 and was completed by the day of the month. Trails were completed by the end of the year.
Although the air base was constructed in the French occupation zone under the command of Lafresh, it was built to be used by NATO forces and was, moreover, intended as a US air base from the start. On September 1, 1951, the US authorities officially took over the construction site from Frch and named it Sembach Air Auxiliary Field.
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During the remainder of the winter, a lookout tower, barns, repair shops, and other buildings were built along the trail. With the construction of munitions bunkers to the east of the flyline and the road connecting the taxiway to the B-40 in April 1952, construction of the flyline area was completed.
In mid-April 1952, residents of Sempach learned that the land north of the now completed Flyline would be used to build multi-storey barracks and office buildings. On April 22, officials began surveying the land to be built on.
The cultivators rallied and forcibly held back the surveyors, injuring one of them. On April 23, 1952, the head of the State Chancellery personally visited Sembach and promised the farmers that he would do everything in his power to protect their rights. Sembach’s farmers were not convinced, and on April 28, the comatose surveyors returned to their fields.
Despite these efforts, the land was successfully surveyed in August 1952. In September, the Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate announced that the government had offered an alternative site for the planned construction. Shortly afterwards, the Frch occupation authorities approved construction in Heuberg, a sandy area of relatively little agricultural value located about a mile from the flight line.
Haunting Photos Of An Abandoned Military Base Called The ‘forbidden City’
With this announcement, and everyone’s satisfaction, Sempach became a laborer for activity again, and the construction of the base’s administrative district began in October 1952. More than 2,500 workers worked day and night operating bulldozers, dump trucks, and boxcars. The barracks and administration buildings were completed in the spring of 1953.
The American flag first flew at Sempach Air Force Base on July 8, 1953. On that day, at 1045 hours, the first of 18 RB-26 Invader aircraft of the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (TRW) touched down on the new flight line, arriving from what. Air Force Base, South Carolina. With the arrival of TRW 66, the installation was named Sembach Air Base. Major Geralt B. C. Strother, commander of the Twelfth Air Force, welcomed the suite. The wing commander landed at 1509 hrs in a T-33 Shooting Star, bringing with him the remaining aircraft of the wing: 32 RF-80 Shooting Stars and an additional 4 T-33s.
Night reconnaissance Douglas A/B-26C-45-DT Invaders of the 30th Tac Recon Squadron on the taxiway, Sembach Air Base, 1953
Martin RB-57A-MA 52-1426 of the 30th Tac Recon Squadron, November 1954. This aircraft is on permanent display at the Yankee Air Force Museum, Ypsilanti, Michigan
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Republic RF-84F-25-RE Thunder Strikes for the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing flying over the coast of Morocco near Nouacer Air Base, 1958. The specified serials are 51-17011, 52-7318, 52-7343 and 52-7295. All of these aircraft were sold to the German Air Force. 17,011 were subsequently sold to the Hellenic Air Force and 7,381 to the Italian Air Force. 17011 is now on display at the Hellic AF Museum, Dekelia AB, Aths.
The 66th TRW had three operational squadrons: the 30th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, the 302nd TRS and the 303rd TRS. The 30 TRS flew the RB-26, while the 302d
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