Royal Air Force Germany

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Royal Air Force Germany
Active1 January 1959 - 1993
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Part ofBritish Armed Forces,
UK Ministry of Defence
Motto(s)Keepers of the Peace[1]
MarchRoyal Air Force March Past

The former Royal Air Force Germany (RAFG) was a command of the Royal Air Force and part of British Forces Germany. It consisted of units located in Germany, initially as part of the occupation following the Second World War, and later as part of the RAF's commitment to the defence of Europe during the Cold War. The commander of RAFG doubled as commander of NATO's Second Allied Tactical Air Force.


Hawker Hunter F.6 in No. 4 Squadron RAF colours at Luftwaffe Museum, Gatow-Berlin
A Phantom FGR Mk 2 of No. 92 Squadron landing at RAF Wildenrath in the mid-1980s
Royal Air Force Germany airfields with flying units in 1989 (all located in North Rhine-Westphalia)
Blue 0080ff pog.svg Tornado GR.1 Blue pog.svg Harrier GR.5 Blue 00ffff pog.svg Phantom FGR.2

From 1954 Canberra bombers equipped 69 (briefly), 102, 103, 104, 149 Squadrons, and later 59 Squadron at RAF Gütersloh. This force was under Bomber Command control from Britain and had been moved to Germany because of overcrowding of suitable airfields in the UK. With the establishment of the British nuclear bomber forces in the context of NATO's strategy of massive retaliation the Canberra bomber squadrons were again withdrawn from Germany. After 1955, the majority of the airfields were handed over to the newly established German Air Force and RAF Bückeburg to the army of the German Armed Forces. The number of RAF squadrons were reduced. This was both because of the nuclear strategy of NATO and for financial reasons after the fiasco of the Suez crisis.

From 1 January 1959 the command was officially called Royal Air Force Germany, the RAF Second Tactical Air Force (2TAF) renamed. At this time the focus was the flying units already on just six main use airfields RAF Bruggen, RAF Geilenkirchen, RAF Gutersloh, RAF Jever (No. 2 Squadron, Swifts), RAF Laarbruch and RAF Wildenrath. Important aircraft types at this time were the Canberra as night fighting-suited fighter bombers to three and the Hunter as a day fighter stationed at two airports. From 1960 around the clock there were two on alert Canberra loaded with tactical nuclear weapons who were ready within 15 minutes. In addition there were two squadrons of Swift fighters and four squadrons of Gloster Javelin all-weather interceptors. Two English Electric Lightning squadrons - No. 92 Squadron RAF and No. 19 Squadron RAF - arrived in Germany from 1965.

RAF Jever was transferred in 1961 and RAF Geilenkirchen in 1968, reducing the command to four flying airfields. When Geilenkirchen closed, it appears there were two flying squadrons at the station. No. 3 Squadron RAF moved to RAF Laarbruch and No. 92 Squadron RAF moved to RAF Gutersloh.

RAF Germany was disbanded as a separate command in 1993 as part of the reduction of British Armed Forces presence in Europe at the cessation of the Cold War. The remaining RAF forces in Germany ceased to be a separate command, and instead became No 2 Group RAF, part of RAF Strike Command. No 2 Group was then disbanded on 1 April 1996 by being absorbed into No 1 Group RAF.

Flying units in 1989[edit]

Note 1: Unit with nuclear strike role with 18x WE.177 tactical nuclear weapons.

RAFG Stations & Establishments[edit]

Name Years active Current use/Notes
RAF Ahlhorn 1945-1958
RAF Bad Kolgrub 1950s- Site of RAF Germany Winter Survival School (RAFGWSS)[2]
RAF Bruggen 1958-2002 (UK) Elmpt Station, Javelin Barracks
RAF Bückeburg 1946-1960 Bückeburg Air Base
RAF Butzweilerhof August 1951 - 31 January 1967 Residential/Retail Area
RAF Celle 11 April 1945 – 29 November 1957 Celle Air Base
RAF Fassberg April 1945 - 1 January 1957 Faßberg Air Base
RAF Fuhlsbüttel Now Hamburg Airport
RAF Gatow 19 August 1945 – 7 September 1994 General-Steinhoff Kaserne and Bundeswehr Museum of Military History - Berlin-Gatow Airfield
RAF Geilenkirchen May 1953 - March 1968 NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen
RAF Gütersloh 27 June 1945 – 1993 Princess Royal Barracks, Gütersloh
RAF Hambühren Communications site
RAF Hehn [3] 11 Signals Unit main communications centre for RAFG and BAOR land line communications
RAF Hustedt B 150
RAF Husum a remote radar station on the coast near Husum, Schleswig-Holstein[4]
RAF Jever April 1945 - 1961 Jever Air Base
RAF Laarbruch March 1945 - 1999 Weeze Airport
RAF Lübeck 1945 - 1997 Lübeck Airport. As known as RAF Blankensee
RAF Lüneburg Lüneburg Airfield B 156
RAF Nordhorn 1945 - March 2001 air weapons range
RAF Nörvenich -mid-1950s Nörvenich Air Base
RAF Oldenburg -October 1957 German Air Force
RAF Plantlünne B 103
RAF Rheindahlen October 1945 - December 2013
RAF Schleswigland 1945 - October 1959 Schleswig Air Base
RAF Sundern -1961 Non flying. Became Mansergh Barracks, Westfalen Garrison.
RAF Sylt 1945 - 16 October 1961 Sylt Airport
RAF Uetersen - November 1955 From November 1948 to March 1950 HQ No. 85 Group RAF, RAF presence until end of November 1955.
RAF Wahn Cologne Bonn Airport
RAF Hospital Wegberg 1953 - 1 April 1996 HQ British Forces Germany Health Service (BFGHS)
RAF Wildenrath 15 January 1952 – 1 April 1992
RAF Wunstorf 7 April 1945 - 1957 Wunstorf Air Base

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pine, L G (1983). A Dictionary of mottoes. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 122. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ "RAF Music Services". Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  3. ^ "RAF Hehn". BAOR Locations. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  4. ^ "RAF Husum". BAOR Locations. Retrieved 22 September 2021.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Preceded by RAF Germany
Succeeded by