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German Army Training Areas 

Prior to WW 2 the Wehrmacht operated a large number of training areas spread across its territory.  After 1939, the army and Waffen SS were quick to set up training areas in occupied Poland.   

map  German training areas in poland - Truppenübungsplatz

Heidelager SS Training Center

 

Probably the best known of the training sites was SS-Truppenübungsplatz Heidelager at Debica. Poland. Construction of the facility began in 1939 and it became operational in 1941.  Until mid-1944, Heidelager hosted foreign Waffen SS units like the Ukrainian 14th SS Grenadier Division (1st Galician) and the Estonian Legion.  

Heidelager was designed around four barracks areas situated on ring roads, a rail yard, storage areas, firing ranges and a maneuver area (Graphics 1 & 2).  Each of the rings contained four company-size areas and associated vehicle storage

 Heidelager SS Training Area - Truppenübungsplatz Heidelager
Heidelager SS Training Area - Truppenübungsplatz Heidelager

As seen by RAF reconnaissance, activity in the facility increased significantly between 13 April and 3 May 1944 (Graphic 3).  

Heidelager SS Training Area - Truppenübungsplatz Heidelager vehicle activity

Heidelager was also known for the nearby Pustkow Labor Camp where at least 15,000 people died between 1940 and 1944 (see separate article).  

Truppenübungsplatz Süd, Mitte & Nord     

 

The Wehrmacht established three training areas in eastern Poland designated Süd, Mitte and Nord.  Construction of all three began in 1940 and all were built using similar curvilinear designs.      

 

Truppenübungsplatz Süd was situated along the rail line east of Mielec, and another section was 20 km to the northeast at Nowa Deba, (Graphic 4 & 5).  The barracks held about 10 and 14 companies, respectively.  On 15 April 1944, both facilities were occupied. Stacks of agricultural material could be seen scattered throughout. A small labor camp was outside the ielec installation. 

Truppenübungsplatz Süd Mielec Poland
Truppenübungsplatz Süd Nowa Deba Poland

Truppenübungsplatz Mitte, at Radom, 90 km south-southeast of Warsaw was used by Wehrmacht troops, but also hosted foreign auxiliaries including Soviet ethnic minorities (Graphic 6).

Truppenübungsplatz Mitte Radom Poland

Coverage of Truppenübungsplatz Nord from September 1944 shows it was a very large rail-served facility (Graphic 7).

Truppenübungsplatz Nord Mlawa Poland

Truppenübungsplatz Gross Born

 

The Gross Born training area (now Borne-Sulinowo) in what was then German Pomerania was established for Wehrkreis II in 1919.  Prior to WW 2, the facility was expanded and a new, larger area with significant covered vehicle storage was built 12 km south of the original installation (Graphics 8 & 9). The Afrika Corps trained at Gross Born before deployment.   

 

Two POW camps, OFLAG II-D and STALAG 302 were located near the southern area (see separate article).

Truppenübungsplatz Gross Born - Training Area Borne Sulinowo
Truppenübungsplatz Gross Born - Training Area Borne Sulinowo

Truppenübungsplatz Grafenwöhr, Germany

The Grafenwöhr Army Training Area in southern Germany (Wehrkreis XIII) was established before WW 1 and was expanded beginning in 1936.  The area came to comprise three sections: North, South and West. Units training here included the Gross Deutschland Division, SS Division "Viking" and auxiliaries from the USSR, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Italy and Hungary.  

 

The North (original) area accommodated an infantry division and had considerable storage space for vehicles and other materiel (Graphic 10). 

Grafenwöhr training area north

Grafenwöhr Area West was the newest section, which can be seen in the installation design (Graphic 11).  

Grafenwöhr training area west

The southern area, near Vilseck was built to house house an infantry regiment (Graphic 12).  An airfield to support training was built nearby. In March 1944 the airfield became a final assembly facility for the Bf 109 for which a net covered structured was installed (Graphic 13).

Grafenwöhr training area Vilseck
Vilseck Airfield Grafenwöhr training area
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