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Rechlin-Lärz Airfield
Airport type Public
Operator Entwicklungs-und Betriebsgesellschaft Müritzflugplatz Rechlin-Lärz mbH
Location Rechlin
Elevation AMSL 90 ft / 27 m
Coordinates 53°18′23″N 012°45′11″E / 53.30639°N 12.75306°E / 53.30639; 12.75306Coordinates: 53°18′23″N 012°45′11″E / 53.30639°N 12.75306°E / 53.30639; 12.75306
Direction Length Surface
ft m
08/26 7,808 2,380 Concrete
closed 2,380 Concrete

Rechlin-Lärz Airfield (IATA: REBICAO: EDAX) is an airfield in the village of Rechlin, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, which is certified for aviation equipment up to 14 tons weight. It is a former military airfield with a long history and has a concrete runway 2,080 m long, down from the original two.

The airport was the Luftwaffe's main testing ground for new aircraft designs during the Third Reich. The Rechlin data sheets on Luftwaffe and captured Allied aircraft are considered by many aviation historians to be among the most reliable sources for aircraft performance data from the World War II era.


The beginnings

Construction of the first airfield at Rechlin started in 1916; the airfield was officially opened on 29 August 1918. After the end of World War I, the airfield was closed again and many of its installations dismantled. During the 1920s, the airfield was reopened as a civilian airbase, but it was soon used as a testing ground for the secret German air force experiments under the Treaty of Rapallo. The site was probably chosen for its remote location in an almost uninhabited area.

During the Third Reich

In 1935, the Rechlin airfield became the official testing ground of the newly-formed Luftwaffe. The site was designated Erprobungsstelle (E-Stelle) and was expanded by constructing two more airfileds in nearby Roggenthin and Lärz. Construction work on the airfields and the accompanying barracks was partly carried out by forced labor from nearby concentration camp Ravensbrück.

Many of the Luftwaffe's new plane models were test flown at the Rechlin facilities; KG 200 with its array of captured planes was a regular guest at the airfields. After several Allied bombing runs on the Rechlin and Roggenthin airfields in 1944, testing of late-war planes was shifted to Lärz. On April 10, 1945, a final bomber attack by the US Air Force almost completely destroyed the airfields; what was left was blown up by the German garrison before Soviet troops arrived at Rechlin on May 2.

Post-war history

In 1946, the Soviet Air Force established a permanent presence at the airbase. An attack fighter squadron and later a helicopter squadron were stationed at Lärz; the airfield at Rechlin was used by the National People's Army (NVA). Military usage of the airfields continued until 1993, when the last Russian air force units were moved home. The Rechlin airfield was reopened for civilian use in 1994.

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