Update: 08.08.2003
please click to enlarge

by Dirk Peisker

The former armed forces air base Grossenhain is located about 30 km in NNW direction of Dresden. In the year 1993 the 48-year use by the Soviet airman strengths ended here. As a contribution to the regional aeronautics history liked to remind the SKYBIRD Pro Luftfahrt e.V. of the last days of this chapter with this photographic report.

Historical summary
The military use of the airfield started with the landing of a Mars pigeon A 184-13 in 1914. During the 1st World War the Saxon Flieger-Ersatz-Abteilung 6 trained a large number of pilots and observers. By coming into force of the Versaille contract in 1920 followed years without a military use. The Fernaufklärungsstaffel 1/324 (reconnaissance echelon) was built here in fall 1934. Following by the Fernaufklärungsstaffel 2/123 in 1936. The German air force frequently changed the occupancy of the air base during the 2nd World War. The 2nd Group of the Schlachtgeschwader “Immelmann” (battle squadron) and a rework factory for the Arado Ar 234B were in Grossenhain at the beginning of 1945. The occupation by the red army was carried out in April 1945.

Use by the Soviet airman strengths
The existing airfield area with its infrastructure was taken completely after the occupation. Seven hangars and a aircraft maintenance were also included. In Grossenhain it already exist a fastened start and landing strip system with 1375 x 80 m into the east-west direction and 800 x 80 m for direction into north-south. Many buildings and hangars of the former German armed forces were further used until the withdrawal of the Soviet troops. The air base developed into a Soviet garrison town. In the fifties and sixties just became the gradual prolongation of the runway on 2375 x 48 m (basic area) in the direction of 12/30. The sets up of 40 aircraft shelters type GDF-2A/13 (unofficial designation) followed between 1968 and 1971. A urgently necessary reconstruction of the airfield area and the runway was made at 1983/84. The runway is limited in approach direction 115 by a federal road and in main approach direction 295 by the railroad line Dresden-Cottbus. For the approach going over the electrified railway line a “swing-journey” section was set up without electrification. The code name last used for the airport Grossenhain was “Ararat”.

Photo: D.Peisker, 19.5.97
Photo: D.Peisker, 16.6.92
Photo: A.Golz, 16.8.92
MiG-17F, 47 red
displayed at Grossenhain, after restauration
 also nowadays in good condition again
on final approach for RWY 30 over the railway line
Su-7B, 01 rot
former displayed at Grossenhain,
in 1992 transferred to Beelitz

Commander guard colonel Pokryschkin landed with the 9th guard airman division (IL-2, IL-10, Yak-9 and others) in Grossenhain on May 2nd , 1945. For the early fifties a Fighter Pilot Regiment was based in Grossenhain with MiG-15. This regiment probably transferred 1956 in the context of a troop reduction to the Soviet Union. Soon afterwards transferred a Fighter Bomber Regiment from Falkenberg with MiG-17 here, till it was then further transferred to Altenburg. It could have been the 296th APIB wich was stationed at least in Altenburg since 1957. After that 497th APIB was based in Grossenhain. At first it used MiG-17F and later the Su-7B/BM too, which arrived in 1964. In 1965 the fleet of aircraft of the regiment consisted 40 MiG-17/MiG-15UTI, 4 Yak-12  and already 12 Su-7 whom in the subsequent years replaced the MiG-17. The Aviation Division still had 4 MiG-17 to approx. 1970. Later, the Aviation Division ever got one An-2 and one An-14A. With the introduction of the modern Su-17 fighter bombers at the 497th APIB, the Su-7 were replaced. From that the Su-17 characterized the air base up to 1984. But also 2 MiG-15UTI still served as so-called weather airplanes long time too. Shortly after the repair of the airfield area in the year 1984 the retrofitting of this regiment was carried out with the far reaching attack weapon system Su-24M. The regiment carried as 497th FBAP (Front Bomber Aviation Regiment) now. Another Su-24M regiment was the 116th FBAP which was based in Brand since 1982. Both regiments shall have belonged to the 218th BAD (Bomber Aviation Division) to. With the stationing of the Su-24M in the field of East Germany wanted to meet an extended attack potential of the NATO. Within these years the Soviet Union seriously feared an (atomic) attack by the NATO, which advanced the mutual arms race. The Soviet Front Airman Strengths were able now of the territory of East Germany to penetrate the opposing air defence in the depression operational range less than 200 m and to fight aims over the hole West German territory. In the context of disarmament measures under the Gorbatschov-Government the Su-24M of the Front Bomber Aviation Regiments were transferred back into the Belarussian Socialist Soviet Republic (today Belarus) in summer 1989. For propaganda purposes the East German press reported extensively about this, but not about the new occupation of these airfields with modern fighter aircrafts. In July 1989, therefore transferred the 296th ABIP of Altenburg to Grossenhain which was equipped with MiG-27 fighter bombers since approx. 1985. In addition the 986th IAP (Fighter Aviation Regiment) arriving in Altenburg, coming from Ross in the Belorussian SSR with his MiG-29. But also another three Su-24 regiments still existed near the German border in the south-western part of Poland up to 1991/92.
Usual flight training days in Grossenhain were Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The residents of Grossenhain and Folbern get the permanent air traffic sure still “good” have in memory. At 1990 the regiment fleet of aircraft consisted 32 MiG-27M/D, 8 MiG-23UB and 1 An-2 & 1 Mi-9 for the Airman Division as well. The repatriation of 28 MiG-27 and 8 MiG-23UB of the 296th ABIP was carried out to Chebenki near Orenburg to a depository on March 22nd, 1993. The airplanes should have been scrapped in the context of international disarmament agreements there. Still in 1993 this regiment as 296th BAP (Bomber Aviation Regiment) was now equipped with Su-24 and stationed in Marinovka. But this bomb airman regiment has dissolved in summer 1998.

Furthermore there was Grossenhain the location of the 105th ADIB (Aviation Division of the Fighter Bomber). She shall have been formed in 1950 and probably transferred 1951 to East Germany. Under the authority of the division were the regiments on the airfields Grossenhain, Finsterwalde, (as first) Altes Lager and (later) Brand. The 105th ADIB finished its activities on the German ground on August 10th, 1993 and was led back to Voronesh in Russia. Now it exist as 105th SAD (Mixed Aviation Division). Today four regiments with Su-24, Su-25 and MiG-25R are under the authority of the 105th SAD.
Grossenhain was situated very central for the Soviet troops in the south-east of the former East Germany. The airport regularly frequent by airliners from differently Aeroflot divisions IL-18, IL-62, Tu-134, Tu-154 and at first still come flying up with Tu-114 for the exchange of staff since 1973 in the spring and fall for the duration of 3-4 weeks. A part of Aeroflot fleet of aircraft served the Soviet forces as transportation reserve. The Aeroflot airliners supported the Military Transportation Regiments which mainly used the An-12 and later the IL-76M/MD. The last flights in the context of the troop exchange took place in Grossenhain in November/December 1992 with IL-76.

The German population had the opportunity to visits the airfield at the weekend of August 15/16th, 1992. Following aircraft types were present: IL-76, An-22, An-26, An-2, Su-17, Su-24, Su-25, MiG-23UB, MiG-27, MiG-29 and Mi-6, Mi-8, Mi-24 helicopters.

Poto: D.Peisker, 16.6.92
Poto: D.Peisker, 30.5.92
Photo: D.Peisker, 16.6.92
MiG-27D, 06 red
with 3-tone camouflage colors,
on Taxiway

IL-76M, CCCP-86032 (d/d  1979)
during the exchange of staff, (128th VTAP Panevezys/Lithuania, later Orenburg-1), out of service since 1999/2000
MiG-27D, 17 red
with 4-tone camouflage colors,
waiting for a clear runway

Last based airplanes
The aircraft type MiG-27 is a fighter-bomber with a variable wing geometry. The MiG-27 resulted from MiG-23B. This one had its first flight on August 20th, 1970. the first flight of MiG-27 took place on November 17th  in 1972. Within the years 1973-1986 910 aircraft’s were produced in the plants at Moscow, Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude. The MiG-27 had a changed air finish unlike the MiG-23B/BN/BM. The new GSch-6 with 30 mm of calibre served as a board cannon. Different variants exist of the MiG-27 but a clear assignment isn't still possible. The variant based in Grossenhain is indicated as MiG-27D or M. This version were stationed also in Altenburg and Lärz. Another variant, the far more modern MiG-27K or KR is equipped with TV/laser aim marker. The MIG-27K/KR Air Bases in Germany were Brand and Finsterwalde. Among other things the MiG-27 can be fitted with up to 4 tons of following weapon systems:
- unguided air-to-air/air-to-ground rockets S-5 at UB-32, S-8 at B-8, S-13 at B-13 and S-24 at APU-68/1 container
- guided air-to-air rockets R-3S, R-13M (IR guided) und R-60M
- guided ait-to-ground rockets Ch-23, Ch-25, Ch-29, Ch-31
- bombs FAB-50, FAB-100, FAB-500 (kg), for example up to 22 FAB-100
- laser-guided bombs KAB-500L and TV-guided bombs KAB-500Kr, both only for MiG-27K
- spread-container KMGU, RBK-250-275, RBK-250PT, RBK-500Bet (against runways), RBK-500PT (against tanks)
- exercise-bombs P-50Sch
For the rise of the reach the MiG-27 can at most carry three 800 litres additional tanks. Approx. 126 aircraft’s of this type flew at 1990 in the 16th Air Army in 4 regiments based in Germany .
For the pilot training, each MiG-27 regiment served 6-10 MiG-23UB as a two-seater exercise fighter plane. The MiG-23UB had hers first flight on May 11th, 1969. Of this aircraft type 1008 copies became built between 1969-1985 in the aircraft plant no. 39 in Irkutsk.

Photo: D.Peisker 22.3.93
Photo: D.Peisker 22.3.93
Photo: D.Peisker 22.3.93
MiG-27D, 33 red
during the withdrawal
MiG-27K, 46 blue
based at Finsterwalde
MiG-23UB, 62 red
two-seater exercise fighter plane

Following aircraft were based from 1990 up to its repatriation in Grossenhain
01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07***, 08*, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

20***, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30***, 32, 33
All MiG-27 are from the aircraft plant no. 99 in Ulan-Ude.
60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 66, 67**, 68*, 69
* use of 1991-1993;   ** average on 1-31-91 at Schöbendorf (Baruth) for;   *** not at repatriation in March’93.
For at all fighter aircraft of 296th ABIP had the board numbers red colour codes and white outlines.
03 red, connection airman of the 105th ADIB till December 1992, transportation to Dessau

and since 3-19-1993 in the technical museum at Oberschleissheim
01 red, connection airman of the 105th ADIB, command post

Photo: M.Sennewald 16.8.92
Photo: M.Sennewald 16.8.92
Photo: M.Sennewald 20.7.93
Su-24MR, 10 white
11th ORAP (Independent Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment) Neu-Welzow,
during "Open Day" in Grossenhain 
An-2, 03 red
used as "Executive" aircraft
An-26, 16 red (ex 16yellow), c/n 1908
from 226th OSAP (Independent Composite Aviation Regiment) Sperenberg,
during emplane of durable goods...

The withdrawal of troops
In the morning of March 22nd, 1993 the repatriation of the 559th APIB from Finsterwalde to Morozovsk/Russia and the 296th APIB of Großenhain was carried out to Orenburg. The 72 aircraft’s of the two regiments had to be removed in accordance with time schedule within 4 hours. 28 MiG-27 and 8 MiG-23UB each were ready for take-off in Finsterwalde and Grossenhain. This wasn't a logistical challenge only for the Russians.
While most photographers were deciding in favor of an airfield, it was the aim for me to take photographs of the withdrawal of troops if possible at the two places. Since I didn't have a mobile mat of my own at that time yet, I chartered my acquaintance with his Trabant car as a chauffeur. We were in a stream of cars with colleagues among others from Holland, Belgium and France at the gate of the airfield Finsterwalde already before 6 o'clock. We admission was granted and we could take photographs of all aircraft during the flight preparation on the complete flight line. With the start of the first MiG-23UB at exactly 8 o'clock we left the object in a rapid journey direction to Grossenhain/Folbern. There far many spotters ones waited at the Taxiway near the railroad line. One heard even the MiG’s started in the distance from some minutes from Finsterwalde here!
We could take the removing machines at the TKP (Technical Control Point) and during taxiing to the runway now. The starts were carried out in pairs with following 180 degree curve. The airfield was overflow in large height eastward once again. All airplanes were equipped with three 800 liters additional tanks since a fuel stop wasn't provided on the Polish territory.  At the time of the repatriation measures all machines had to be fit for use. In today's German Air Force this fact is unthinkable…

Withdrawal from Finsterwalde

Photo: D.Peisker 22.3.93
Photo: D.Peisker 22.3.93
Photo: D.Peisker 22.3.93
MiG-27K/KR, 30 blue
on flight line...
MiG-27K/KR, 50 blue
...during the flight preparation
MiG-23UB, 94 blue
the first MiG is taxiing to the runway

Withdrawal from Grossenhain

Photo: D.Peisker 22.3.93
Photo: D.Peisker 22.3.93
Photo: D.Peisker, 22.3.93
MiG-27D, 19 red
with emblem  "Airplane of the Excellent Quality"
MiG-27D, 25 red
equipped with...
MiG-23UB, 69 red
...800 litres additional tanks

Summer of 1993
After the troop withdrawal wasn't end in Grossenhain by far. As of now follows transportation flights with IL-76M/MD and An-22 to. These flies remaining military and elsewhere technology carried out. Fundamentally rarer were flights with An-12 and An-26. The airliners were some days and also up to week in Grossenhain. With good luck the An-22 on the place lined up to three! A high air traffic was recorded from June 1st 1993 by the middle of August. From the approx. 60 transportation flights about two thirds escaped by IL-76 and the remaining by the An-22. The most An-22 flights took place in July. It was exclusively airliners of the Military Air Transport Regiments (VTAP) operating in full Aeroflot colours. The IL-76 belonged to the VTAP’s in Novgorod-Krechevitsy, Tver-Migalovo, Taganrog-Gagrans, Pskov, Orenburg and Panevezys (Lithuania) to this time. The An-22 belonged to the 8th VTAP in Tver-Migalovo and the 81st VTAP in Ivanovo-Severnyy to. Now the registrations of the IL-76 and An-22 which flew to Grossenhain in those days:
CCCP-76572, -76669, -76722, -76740, -76761, -76764, -76770

CCCP-78766, -78768, -78778, -78809, -78817, -78834, -78838, -78846

RA-76720, -78833, -78840, -78844
RA-86035, CCCP-86837
RA-08834, -08836, -09305, -09306, -09312, -09319, -09322, -09324, -09333, -09346, -09348

Photo: D.Peisker 01.7.93
Photo: D.Peisker 19.7.93
Photo: D.Peisker 15.8.93
An-12BP, 10 blue, c/n 1340208
from 535th OSAP from Rostov/Don,
also with family members on board

An-22, RA-09319
from the 81th VTAP Ivanovo,
now stored at Tver, first flight 20.11.72
Il-76MD, CCCP-78846 (build 1990)
from the 110th VTAP Novgorod-Krechevitsy,
now flying as RA-78846 for the "224th Flight Unit"

In fine weather we visit Grossenhain again and again. Almost without problems to taking photographs on the airfield. Every time a couple of other airliners, predominant An-22 and IL-76MD were seen. Contacts to the crews didn't fail to appear. One often got into the airliners, too. These flights hardly had a pure military character. Nearly everything was transported. Once a technician opened us the door to a IL-76. We saw a mountain in the airliner full of "scrap metal" once! Everything lay all over in the hold of the old stovepipe over scrapped refrigerators, gas stoves, bicycles, vehicle parts, tire etc. up to the blanket there. What we careless as "scrap metal" describes, represented valuable goods for the Russians! Office containers were also popular and these adapted on An-22 into. Well of course the flights also served for the more or less illegal car transport. A car directly from the federal road finally could drive to the flight line. mostly there was older types of cars, from Trabant up to... . In front of the An-12 the crew and her members of the family sat at this one. These aircraft (10 blue) came from Rostov and of course they weren't astonished badly that I’m taken photos. It was about time to disappear now.
Once the An-22 RA-09348 taking off for furore this one provided. The airliner taxied in winding lines to the beginning of the runway! During take off the bow undercarriage lifted slowly only approx. 250 m before the end of runway. The onlookers at the runway end was paralysed and the Antonov thundered only few meters over the heads. Later proved that the crew fall drunken and a proper radio communication was nearly impossible. May be, the airliner has well been intercepted after that over Belarus.
The last transport flights took place in the middle of August in 1993. After that the airport area was handed over for a civil use. An air club, flight schoosl for private pilots and the airline company Kilianair are on the airport today. Many buildings and shelters were torn down within the last few years. The MiG’s are past already now…

An-22 in Grossenhain...
Photo: D.Peisker 17.7.93
Photo: D.Peisker 12.8.93
Photo: D.Peisker 22.5.93
An-22, RA-09333
from the 81th VTAP Ivanovo,  broken up in 1997
first flight 31.5.72
An-22, RA-09306
from the 81th VTAP Ivanovo,
broken up in October 1999, first flight 17.1.70
An-22, RA-09346
from the 81th VTAP Ivanovo,
broken up in spring 1999,
first flight 15.11.70
Photo: A.Kraut 07/93
Photo: D.Peisker 07/93
Photo: D.Peisker 07/93
An-22A, RA-09305
now stored at Tver, first flight 28.2.74
An-22, RA-09319
"final turn for take-off"
An-22, RA-09319
"touch down"
Photo: D.Peisker 07/93
Photo: D.Peisker 07/93
3x An-22  
Photo: M.Sennewald 07/93
An-22, RA-09319
on runway
Shortly before departure
An-22A, RA-09348
An-22 line-up
Photo: D.Peisker 13.7.93
Photo: D.Peisker 13.7.93
Photo: D.Peisker 13.7.93
An-22A, RA-09348
stored at Ivanovo-Severnyy since 1994,
first flight 31.3.75
Evening atmosphere...
...in the sundown

... and IL-76
Photo: D.Peisker 09.7.93
Photo: D.Peisker 01.7.93
Photo: D.Peisker 01.7.93
IL-76MD, CCCP-76722 (d/d 1987)
from the 708th OVTAP (Independent VTAP) Taganrog-Gagrans, this
aircraft is equipped with flare dispensers
IL-76M, CCCP-86837 (d/d 1980)
from the 128th VTAP Orenburg-1 (ex Panevezys/Lithuania),
now out of service
IL-76MD, RA-78844 (d/d 1990)
from the 117th VTAP Orenburg-2,
nowadays by the 196th VTAP at Tver-Migalovo, also in service for the "224.Flight Unit"
Photo: D.Peisker 09.7.93
Photo: D.Peisker 13.7.93
Photo: D.Peisker 09.7.93
This flare dispenser served for the protection again rocket fire and were used for missions in Afghanistan.
Evening atmosphere
The tactical transporters are equipped with two  twin cannons type GSch-23-2  in the tail (IL-76M/MD)

The topic of the Soviet airman strenghts in Germany still isn't included completely. We can't give a guarantee that all facts in this report are really OK. Please, if you can give valuable additions and notes to this, then they help to close the existing gaps.

Please contact us under:

Open questions are for example:
How many Su-24 's and other aircraft types was based in Grossenhain?

Have aircraft types which weren't mentoined here benn based in Grossenhain?

Can you make statements on special occurrences (aircraft crashes)?
Can you report about special experiences?

Freundt, Lutz: „Sowjetische Fliegerkräfte Deutschland 1945-1994“, volumes 1-4, 1st edition, edition Freundt own publishing house, Diepholz 1998-2000;
                     title in english: " Soviet Airman Strengths in Germany 1945-1994"
Hillmann, P.; Jessup, S.; Ottenhof, G.: "Soviet Transports", The Aviation Hobby Shop, West Drayton, England, Juni 2000
Spur, Franz; Krüger, Jens: „Geschichte Flugplatz Großenhain“, municipal authority Grossenhain, 2nd revised edition 2001;
                    title in english: " History of Airfield Grossenhain"
Scramble, Dutch Aviation Society, number 260, Netherlands 2001 and number 286, Netherlands 2003
Büttner, Stefan: Informations, special for Su-24 operations in East Germany
Tornow, Frank: Inbound data of the IL-76 and An-22 flights in Grossenhain
Frenzel, Siegmar; Grüner, Andreas: Informations about the regiments history
Joch, Joachim: Informations about air activities in Grossenhain
Sennewald, Mirko; Kraut, Andre; Golz, Alexander: Own photos, collection Dirk Peisker
Losch, Reinhart: Own informations
Peisker, Dirk: Own photos and informations, collection Dirk Peisker


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