|Admin. region||Upper Palatinate|
|Subdivisions||12 Ortsteile bzw. Stadtbezirke|
|• Mayor||Helmuth Wächter (SPD)|
|• Total||216.24 km2 (83.49 sq mi)|
|Elevation||410 m (1,350 ft)|
|• Density||30/km2 (77/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2011)|
Grafenwöhr is a town in the district Neustadt (Waldnaab), in the region of the Upper Palatinate (German: Oberpfalz) in eastern Bavaria, Germany. It is widely known for the United States Army military installation and training area, called Grafenwöhr Training Area (Tower Barracks), located directly south and west of the town.
The town was founded in the 9th century on an island between the river Creussen and the Thum stream. During its early days, the inhabitants and town belonged to nobles from Schweinfurt, Bamberg, and Leuchtenberg. Originally called Weit, the name changed to Wöhr (island). The name, Grafenwöhr, means Counts' Island. This area was very swampy and Grafenwöhr was on an island. The land was drained for agricultural use.
In 1907, Prince Luitpold, regent of the Kingdom of Bavaria, selected the area near Grafenwöhr as the place best suited for training of the Bavarian Army. Construction began in 1908 and by 1915, the training reservation covered an area of 37 square miles (96 km2). The first artillery round was fired in the training area at 0800 hours on June 30, 1910. Throughout World War I, from 1914-1918, the area was used for training and equipping of combat units. After the end of the war, the Berlin High Command used Grafenwöhr Training area for the 100,000 man German army. In 1936, the training area was expanded to the present size of 90 square miles (230 km2). On 5 and 8 April 1945, the camp and town were subjected to Allied air raids. On 20 April 1945, the last German Commander of the training area surrendered to the American forces. After World War II it became an important Cold War training site for the United States Army and allied forces. Many German Bundeswehr units still use the training area for maneuver and live-fire weapons training.
Post Cold War
The military installation is also home to one of the largest Army construction projects in Europe, called Efficient Basing-Grafenwöhr. The Grafenwöhr Training Area (Tower Barracks) houses the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC). The 7th Army JMTC owns almost all of the U.S. Army training facilities and assets in Europe. The Grafenwöhr Training Area is one of its largest training areas and includes ranges that can accommodate nearly every weapons system currently used. Though owned by the U.S. Army, the area is the largest multinational training area in Europe. Grafenwöhr (Tower Barracks), also known as the East Camp, is the main post and is located on the north east edge of the training area. The Vilseck military community, also known as Rose Barracks, or the South Camp, is on the southern boundary.
The Grafenwöhr Army Airfield provides air flow to all air traffic requesting services including but not limited C-130's from the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein AB, Germany. The airfield is manned 24 hrs a day by advisory services and at a minimum from 8 am to 5 pm by air traffic controllers both in a control tower and an approach control. Due to its length and relative proximity to the JMTC training area, it makes for a realistic simulation of short field operations encountered around the world. Bunker dropzone is also located within the Grafenwöhr Training Area. It is used to practice airdrop of troops, equipment, and supplies.
- 7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Command
- 7th Warrior Training Brigade
- 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion
- 7th Weather Squadron
- 535th Engineer Company
- 902nd Engineer Company
- 12th Chemical Company
- 69th Signal Battalion
- 709th Military Police Battalion
- 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Deactivated 31 May 2013
- B/25 FA (TAB)
- 498th Support Battalion / 2AD 1975-1979
The civilian town of Grafenwöhr rests nestled between low hills. The area is widely forested and the nearby region is mostly used for agricultural purposes. Farms and dairies cover much of the surrounding landscape. Grafenwöhr is positioned geographically such that it experiences very mild summers and cold winters.
Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).
|Climate data for Grafenwöhr|
|Average high °C (°F)||1
|Average low °C (°F)||−6
|Precipitation mm (inches)||48
|Avg. precipitation days||15||12||13||12||14||15||12||12||12||11||15||15||158|
|Source: Weatherbase |
- Soccer. SV Grafenwöhr. The adults and children mostly all are in either the Kreisliga or Bezirksoberliga.
- Fishing. The area around Grafenwöhr is excellent for fishing. There are many lakes on the training area and the surrounding area that are fished. Common fish landed in the area are Carp, Pike, Rainbow Trout, and Brown Trout.
- Hunting. The area around Grafenwöhr is heavily forested and provides for excellent hunting. Wild boar (wildschwein), roe deer (reh) and red deer (Rotwild) are the most commonly hunted animals.
- Other. The U.S. Military hosts a wide variety of sports within the boundaries of the camps.
- Road. Grafenwöhr is located along Bundesstrasse B299. Civilian transportation to, from, in, and around Grafenwöhr is limited to the automobile. There are a limited number of taxi and bus services available.
- Rail. The only railroad in Grafenwöhr is strictly for military use and transport only. However, there are several rail stations nearby where civilian passenger trains run. The closest Bahnhofs (rail stations) are Pressath, Schwarzenbach, Freihung, and Vilseck.
- Air. The only airfield in Grafenwöhr is strictly for military use and transport only. The closest international airport is located in Nuremberg, approximately 90 kilometers away.
VIPs and Important Visitors
- Prince Luitpold, selected area to become a military training area.[when?]
- Elvis Presley, while he was doing his military service. (He also visited various bars in town where he sang one song or another.)[when?]
- Adolf Hitler, visited the training area several times during WWII and even gave speeches from the water tower.
Armed Forces Network (AFN) Bavaria broadcasts from the Grafenwöhr Training Area. Bavarian Times Magazine provides news, shopping, dining and other information about the Grafenwohr area. The Bavarian Times is a military magazine for the Grafenwöhr Training Area
The Grafenwöhr Rathaus (Town Hall)
- "Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes". Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung (in German). 31 December 2012.
- Climate Summary for Grafenwöhr
- "Weatherbase.com". Weatherbase. 2013. Retrieved on June 15, 2013.
- SV-Grafenwöhr Online
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grafenwöhr.|
- English website of Grafenwöhr
- Bob Decker's site includes a couple of stylized maps showing Graf
- 7th Army JMTC website
- "Elvis in der Oberpfalz" (german)