View Full Version : Lubeck Airport (Germany)

6th Jan 2010, 14:01
Having the dubious pleasure of flying with Ryanair into Lubeck Airport last week I noticed that on the final 5 miles of the approach from the ENE to runway 25 there were loads of round indentations in the fields. At first I thought that they might be old indentations of ancient forts, as can be seen in parts of Europe at low level, but the closer that we came to the airfield the more of them appeared. Some were less round and some filled with water or trees/bushes etc.

I came to the conclusion that they were less likely to be ancient and not naturally occuring formations, but more likely man made, by the RAF and USAAF in WW2 from bombing the airfield and were just the 'ones that didn't get their target' during bombing runs. Would any contributors here have any concrete ideas or evidence to back up my theory ?

If you take a line out from the 25 end of the runway here you might see what i'm trying to describe.

Flash Earth ...satellite and aerial imagery of the Earth in Flash (http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=53.805278&lon=10.719167&z=15&r=0&src=ggl)


Atcham Tower
6th Jan 2010, 17:02
Yes, almost certainly bomb craters. Liverpool Airport has a line of three in the fields to the east of the control tower, plus others to the southwest. Some have become ponds. This was, of course, long before the 09/27 runway was built and it is possible that there was a decoy site here for the nearby Rootes aircraft factory. There must be a lot of these craters around Europe!

7th Jan 2010, 11:07
Thanks Atcham!

Lots of views, but no clever clogs to tell us the sordid details :) Would anyone care to guess approximately when the airfield was bombed and what size of ordnance would have created the average size of crater still visible. I'd guesstimate that they are 20m in diameter.


7th Jan 2010, 11:26
Quite common, but they need to be on land which has been relatively undisturbed for the last 65 years.

Here is a whole group of them in Kent (St Marys Marsh VRP, along the Thames estuary, for the low-level VFR people). It's isolated marshland with no proper access roads, just grazing sheep.There was, however, a large oil refinery in WW2 directly across the river on the Essex shore.

Google Maps (http://maps.google.co.uk/?ie=UTF8&ll=51.482799,0.507946&spn=0.012588,0.038495&t=h&z=15)

7th Jan 2010, 11:28
If you fly in to Bremen airport you can see the same thing in the fields just north of the airport. You can even make out the pattern of the sticks of bombs.

7th Jan 2010, 13:47
If you go to Bing.com and input Chidham, look at the west side of the peninsular and you can see where a stick of bombs fell in a north/south direction, and one didn't explode, and you can locate where it must be to a matter of a few metres. Zoom out a bit and you will see the possible target, Thorney Island. Lights were set up on this peninsula to fool the bombers into thinking it was Portsmouth. If you know the area, you can even find the generator hut for the lights that were string up over the whole peninsula- south east side of the peninsula where the yacht club boats are stored. Obviously, all trace of the bombs that fell in the tidal waters has now been obliterated, but this quiet little backwater got quite a pasting in the war. Very nice pub there now with lovely food- the 'Old House and Home' or something like that. There's also a large number of of aeroplanes buried in that mud, with threads of their own here under 'Thorney'. On the east side of Thorney island next screen to the west, there is a beautiful church yard with RAF and Luftwaffe graves that you can zoom right into with Birds Eye view. An utterly peaceful and wonderfully gorgeous place.

Atcham Tower
7th Jan 2010, 18:06
Lubeck was first raided on the night of 28/29 March 1942, the airfield not being targeted specifically. It was Bomber Command's first major success against a German target, more than 400 tons of bombs being dropped, two thirds of the tonnage being incendiaries. According to the Bomber Command War Diaries, it was not raided again by the full strength of the RAF again during the war. A Swiss diplomat who was president of the Intl Red Cross later negotiated an agreement with Britain that the port would not be bombed again because it was being used for the shipment of Red Cross supplies. Nor did the USAAF ever bomb Lubeck. All very sad in retrospect because it had been a very well-preserved medieval city.

8th Jan 2010, 16:56
Thanks for all the replies gents. I've flown at low level thousands of times but for one reason or another haven't really noticed (or joined the dots :}) to see the bomb craters in or around areas, though as WHBM mentioned the areas would have to have remained relatively undisturbed for some time to still have traces.

Anyone care to guess at the size of the ordnance that created the craters ?


8th Jan 2010, 18:54
School geography field trip around 1970, walking over limestone hills (probably Malham, in Yorkshire). We come to a couple of large depressions in the ground.

"What are these features?", says Sir.

"Sink holes" is the answer.

"Correct, a limestone feature" he says "Mind you, aout 15 years ago when we came this way and I asked the question, the answer 'Bomb Craters' came back". We all laughed. "Yes, sounds funny now. Not unreasonable, though. In those days the sixth form knew what bomb craters looked like, and they're about the same size".

Good Vibs
9th Jan 2010, 11:03
I've seen those near Lubeck also. There are more to be seen around Emden.
Most of these craters that you see are in larger areas of farmland or nondeveloped areas, such as east of Lubeck (former East Germany along the old border).
The farmers I've spoken to either eventually fill them up or just use them for waterholes for the animals.
You wonder about the accuracy of the WW2 bombings when you see these far away from anything worthwhile.
Sorry for the unsupected civilians or farmers minding their own business!

9th Jan 2010, 13:33
Most of these craters that you see are in larger areas of farmland or nondeveloped areas, such as east of Lubeck (former East Germany along the old border).

Yes, of course! I always forget just how close the old border between East and West Germany was to Luebeck at this point and, in general, how much more undeveloped the land was in the ex-DDR. I suppose that again, in general, the targets be they airfields, factories, refineries etc were soon repaired and built on/over and therefore no evidence left over whereas the opposite was the case with farmland... I wonder if there's much shrapnel left in the craters ?


16th Jan 2010, 20:08
My father was in Lubeck after the war - he said it was the Admin HQ of the entire Luftwaffe & the REME found both large safes filled with Reichsmarks and warehouses full of winter sport clothing - apparently the product of a Nazi program to get warm clothing for the Eastern front. Could that be the large structures east of the airfield?

16th Jan 2010, 21:45
Thanks ICT for that piece of info! Your father must've seen some pretty amazing things at the time. Did he take any photos ?

You probably would've missed this thread if it hadn't been for Uncle Rainboe and the snowman :} making a suprise appearance to bump it onto the first page again.