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Shipping Chinooks to Sandhofen

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The Sandhofen Airfield started life as a commercial air field on the 25th May 1925. At the beginning of World War II, the III/JG 53 (3rd Group, Jagdgeschwader 53) fighter unit "Pik-As" (Ace of Spades) was based here, commanded by one of Germany's top combat pilots Werner Molders. This unit operated 43 new Messerschmitt Bf 109E-1 fighter aircraft at the start of the war. Also stationed at the airbase on the first day of the war was one Staffel (squadron) of JG 72 operating 16 of the older Arado Ar 68 biplane fighters then being used as a primitive night fighter. In September 1944 a concentration camp was installed on the site which was operated and guarded by the SS, holding 80 POW's from Poland, Luxembourg and Russia. At the end of World War II the American Army took over the barracks, giving it the temporary name of "Y-79" For the storage/ collection point for unserviceable vehicles and also surplus storage.

In 1951, a replacement depot was established at Coleman Barracks and served as the staging area for all troops arriving in Germany. Throughout its operation by the U.S. Army, rumours circulated of an extensive set of tunnels beneath the airfield. Some of the rumours concerned tunnels under the base and a number of underground hangars behind the barracks of the Signal Corps units. The tunnels and other underground facilities were supposedly flooded after the war. There were reports of an alley that ran behind a cluster of barracks located next to a pronounced slope where numerous bunker entrances were located, all of which were rumoured to be locked. Despite any hard evidence, these rumours persisted over the years and stories of hidden Nazi bunkers and underground tunnels were passed on from one generation of soldiers stationed at Coleman to the next.

When it was the only maintenance base for Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters in Europe, Coleman Airfield had more take-offs and landings than any other US Army airfield in Germany. Sometime later in the future the Sandhofen airfield / Coleman barracks became a Chinook helicopter staging point. Brand new US Army Chinooks were brought by ship up the Rhine to Lampertheim (a little north of Sandhofen) from where they would be unloaded and towed by trucks to the airfield using public roads? Once at Sandhofen airfield they would be completed (the rotor blades were conveniently stowed inside for transport) and tested by Boeing mechanics who were on site. Then finally flown to the destinations from unloading to departure it would only take a day

I would like to thank Walter H Zuleger for the photographs and his extensive knowledge.
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About the Author

About Walter H. Zuleger (Chaffee)
FROM: BADEN-WüRTTEMBERG, GERMANY

Living near Heidelberg. Looking forward to retirement (More time for the hobbies). Member of the Swiss Military Museum in Full-Reuenthal. (Militaer-museum.ch) Tanks are main interest. But olive green was always an attraction for me since watching the tanks of "Reforger Big Lift 1963".


Comments

Nice pictures. These are new/rebuild CH-47F helicopters. Of note is the lighter shade of paint on them. The new/rebuilds are being delivered in a shade called Woodland Desert Sage (FS34201). It is a lighter shade of green/tan than the older Helo Drab Green (FS34031). According to the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate this monocoat paint solution is a cost effective compromise color scheme that provides adequate aerial camouflage in desert and vegetated terrains. CH-47F in Woodland Desert Sage CH-47D in Helo Drab Green
JUN 07, 2016 - 03:18 AM
Heavyarty Thank you for sharing those new pictures showing the new colour scheme that is very much appreciated
JUN 07, 2016 - 07:24 AM
the heavy-lift ch-47d chinook coming to germany to iraq to transport the "tf-160" "night stalkers" that carry u.s.army the elite-group the delta-force. in special-operations operations.
JUN 07, 2016 - 10:13 AM
Not really. TF-160 uses the MH-47G and MH-47E, which are totally different versions than the CH-47D or CH-47F pictured above.
JUN 07, 2016 - 12:44 PM
Thanks for the post. Nice to see Coleman, ah... Sandhofen in use still. I was a resident there for a few years and saw quite a few helicopters towed from the river for "resets". Dan
JUN 10, 2016 - 10:57 PM
When I was in Coleman/Sandhofen, I saw Cobras, Huey's and the Chinooks. I remember seeing an Apache take off for the first time. What a sight! Sneakypete, what year were you out there? Ronnie
JUN 11, 2016 - 11:29 AM
I was there 07 to 10. Just before they closed it down. Dan
JUN 29, 2016 - 12:05 AM
Hi Dan, I was in Sandhofen from 85-89. What an interesting time!
JUL 20, 2016 - 08:50 AM
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