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Google Earth Plug-in: Hopsten Airfield in 1945

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In the history of military aviation, Hopsten AB has been well known for more than half a Century. The area was used long before the Second World War as an airfield for the locally based fighter and bomber units. In 1938, the military leadership ordered the construction of a small airfield - then only measuring 200 hectares - in the vicinity of Dreierwalde. The construction on the state-owned land was managed and surveyed by the Luftbauamt 6 in Münster. Known under the designation "Rheiner Bauabschnitt 2", the airfield project was to receive three runways. The paved main east-west runway had a length of 1.800 meters. The other two runways run from north to south and from southwest to northeast, each of these was 1.000 meters and destined for use mainly by fighter units. After the completion of the new airfield in 1939, it was difficult to choose a name for the base as the Citizens of Dreierwalde refused to allow the use of their village name for the installation. Only after a further extension of the area between 1940 and 1944, lengthening the main runway to 3.000 meters into the boundary of the village of Hopsten, was the name Hopsten AB adopted and remains to this date. The map shows the east-west direction of the main runway between the villages of Hopsten and Dreierwalde as well as the other two runways running north to south and southwest to northeast. On official opening day of the airfield, October 25, 1939, the 1. Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 27 (lead by Hauptmann Riegel) transferred 48 Me 109E-1 from Münster-Handorf to Hopsten. Led by its first Kommodore - Oberstleutnant Max Ibel, the unit was ready for the so called "Reichsverteidigung", (i.e. the defence of the Reich). Because of political and Strategic changes Hopsten AB played only a secondary role as an operational base for the Luftwaffe in the opening stages of the Second World War. In the years between 1939 and 1944, the base was used only for short periods by different day and night fighter units as well as various bomber wings. This time was used to further extend the air base. During this phase expropriations took place in the nearby villages of Hopsten and Hörstel. In the northern part of the airfield, between Dreierwalde and Hopsten, new housing for the base administration was set up, as well as additional ramp space and taxiways for aircraft.

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