Since the first edition in 2015, the open house event of the German armed forces – Tag der Bundeswehr (the day of the Federal Defence Forces), met with the great interest and already exceeded the original intentions.
The starting point was the idea of presenting the Bundeswehr as the attractive and reliable employer, together with creating the social bounds between the armed forces, the local communities and the general public. This was to be achieved by opening the barracks and military bases and allowing the public to know what the soldiers were doing and what equipment they were using, with the possibility of the personal touch with the soldiers.
The event, organized under the umbrella theme ´Willkommen Neugier´ (welcome the curious), quickly turned out to hold an international interest, drawing the visitors not only from Germany, but also from abroad. Unlike the usual open house actions, that are organized by the particular military facility and focused on the specialised presentation, the Tag der Bundeswehr is the country-wide event and during that day several military objects are opened, showing the entire variety of the German armed forces. Both the participating units and locations are rotating year by year.
In 2019, the Bundeswehr open-doors day will be held on 15th June and fifteen locations were chosen to show their background – from Jagel air force base in the northern Germany to Pfullendorf in Baden-Württemberg. Eight of the locations will be debuting in the event, opening their doors for the visitors for the first time.
Certainly, for the aeronautics enthusiasts, the aviation-related locations are the most interesting ones, together with the possibility to see some interesting aircraft, the air base hangars and equipment. Usually, there is always one or two air base locations participating in the Tag der Bundeswehr, and 2019 edition is following this rule. This year, however, the aviation programme is surprisingly rich and surely worth a trip to the German air bases.
In the already mentioned Jagel AFB (Fliegerhorst Schleswig), the home of Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 51 ´Immelmann´, approximately 40,000 visitors are expected this year. The programme will include the flying and static displays, among the already announced aircraft are HuAF JAS-39 Gripen, Italian EF 2000, A-4 Skyhawk and, certainly, the variety of Luftwaffe aeroplanes and helicopters.
In addition to the open public event on Saturday, the spotter day for the registered spotters is organized on Thursday, 13th June – there are already 600 spotters registered, and the closing date for registration is 9th May.
Not far from Jagel, there is another air base opened on 15th June – Fliegerhorst Nordholz, near Cuxhaven. Nordholz is home of the German Naval Aviation: Marinefliegergeschwader 3 ´Graf Zeppelin´ and Marinefliegergeschwader 5, it is also one of the oldest air bases, where the airships were stationed during the World War I. The programme in Nordholz includes not only the aviation component, but also the presentation of the ground forces and their armoured vehicles.
There is also a spotting event organized in Nordholz, on 14th June. The already registered spotters would be able to visit the air base a day before the official event and take some photographs of the arranged static display.
It really seems that Bundeswehr wants to spoil the aviation fans this year, because those two locations and two spotter days are still not all – there is a third participating air base in the North, Fliegerhorst Fassberg, the home of Transporthubschrauberregiment 10 ´Lüneburger Heide´. And yes, there is also an additional spotter day in Fassberg, the programme should include C-160, A400M, Tornado, Eurofighter, CH-53, Nord Noratlas, NH-90, Tiger, C-47/DC-3 and PC-3 ´Orion´.
The above-mentioned locations are not covering all the possibilities where the aviation component of the Bundeswehr could be spotted this year. The Luftwaffe and Heer aircrafts will be also participating in the events organized at most of the Tag der Bundeswehr locations, with their displays.
However, it has to be noted that the 2019 edition is the widest one, regarding the aviation component, until now. In the previous editions there were usually two air bases participating and just one spotter day, at the main aviation event, organized. And, needles to say, the air force bases were always the locations attracting most of the visitors. During the 2017 edition 270,000 people visited all locations and 51,000 of them arrived to Fliegerhorst Penzing, for the 60th anniversary event of Lufttransportgeschwader 61. Last year, the air base in Wunstorf attracted 40,000 visitors and Fliegerhorst Holzdorf another 33,000 (from the total number of 220,000 guests country-wide).
There was also an enormous interest in the spotter days organized in the previous years. In 2017, the registration was closed in a few days, as the maximum number of allowed spotters was reached. And due to the huge number of registered spotters for 2018 spotter day in Wunstorf, the 250 lucky ones were chosen by drawing.