Royal Air Force Germany

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Royal Air Force Germany
Royal Air Force Germany badge
Active 1 January 1959 - 1993
Country Germany
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force Ensign Royal Air Force
Part of British Armed Forces,
UK Ministry of Defence
Nickname(s) RAFG
Motto Keepers of the Peace
Royal Air Force Ensign Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
March Royal 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.

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 because of overcrowding of suitable airfields in the UK to Germany. 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nuclear bomber forces in the context of NATO's strategy of massive retaliation the Canberra bomber squadrons were again withdrawn from Germany.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 air bases 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 bases 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 seasons that the Swift used them as scouts 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.

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

Hawker Hunter F.6 in No. 4 Squadron RAF colours at Luftwaffe Museum, Gatow-Berlin

RAFG Stations & Establishments[edit]

Name Years active Current use/Notes
RAF Ahlhorn 1945-1958 now German Airfield Ahlhorner heath
RAF Bad Kolgrub
RAF Barrel Mountain Army Air Base Barrel Mountain
RAF Blankensee
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
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
RAF Hehn 11 Signals Unit main communications centre for RAFG and BAOR land line communications
RAF Hustedt
RAF Husum a remote radar station on the coast near Husum, Schleswig-Holstein
RAF Jever April 1945 - 1961 Jever Air Base
RAF Laarbruch March 1945 - 1999 Weeze Airport
RAF Lübeck 1945 - 1997 Lübeck Airport
RAF Lüneburg
RAF Nordhorn 1945 - March 2001 air weapons range
RAF Nörvenich -mid-1950s Nörvenich Air Base
RAF Oldenburg -October 1957 German Air Force
RAF Plantlünne
RAF Rheindahlen October 1945 - December 2013
RAF Schleswigland 1945 - October 1959 Schleswig Air Base
RAF Sundern
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
RAF Hospital Wegberg 1953 - 1 April 1996 HQ British Forces Germany Health Service (BFGHS)
RAF Wildenrath 15 January 1952 – 1 April 1992
RAF Winterberg
RAF Wunstorf 7 April 1945 - 1957 Wunstorf Air Base


See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Preceded by
Second Tactical Air Force (2TAF)
RAF Germany
Succeeded by
No. 2 Group RAF