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urbanks is a labour of love, a one-man band. There isn’t, strictly speaking, an ‘us’. As a solo project, the urbanks website grows incrementally, one page at a time. Concerned with urbanity, urbanks looks at the historical and geopolitical events that have shaped our towns and cities, primarily those of the 20th century.

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Cold War West Germany

Visited over the course of 2016, this page lists Cold War sites that were located in the former state of West Germany

Victoria Barracks a large, former military base in the Sauerland that once belonged to the Canadian and British armed forces. Radio CAE was broadcast from the barracks, and fmaoulsy introduced local Germans to American Rock 'n' Roll music.

The Caserne de bataillon Hinsbeck is an abandoned NATO barracks in Vinkrath, a rural suburb of the small German town, Grefrath. Built in 1968, it was under Belgian control, forming part of their military corridor that ran from Aachen up to Kassel.

The enormous JHQ complex in Rheindahlen, near Mönchengladbach, home previously to thousands of NATO troops, most of them British. the site contains over 2,000 buildings, and is the equivalent of a small town.

Teufelsberg, Devi’s Mountain, was an American spying station in the British Sector of Berlin. Deep within the GDR and beyond the Iron Curtain, Teufelsberg was used to monitor communication between the Soviets and other countries in the Warsaw Pact.  

RAF Laarbruch, built outside the German town of Weeze after the Second World War on the site of a former ‘advanced landing ground’ airfield. It housed Tornadoes, Jaguars and Harriers. Following its closure in 1999, the runway was converted to a commercial airport.   

Camp Astrid, in the German Ardennes, was a large military complex that belonged to the occupying Belgian armed forces. Its purpose was to store the Belgian military’s ammunition, as well as repair and maintain its military vehicles.

The RAF Hospital Wegberg was a hospital facility in Wegberg, near Mönchengladabch, whose purpose was to serve the British military officers based in the region. It was built in 1953 to serve the nearby JHQ army base.

Built on flat farmland outside of the city of Neuss, the Raketenstation belonged to the Belgian armed forces. It housed American long-range nuclear missiles, which were kept pointed at the Soviet Union, until Gorbachev and Reagan signed a disarmament treaty.

The second unit of the Flugkörpergeschwader, created in 1976, was stationed in a complex just outside Arsbeck, a town located near the Dutch border in the northwest of Germany. It was a mobile unit, capable of firing Pershing nuclear missles from the back of the regiment's trucks.

Nicholson Barracks in Mönchengladbach belonged to the British Army during the Cold War. Following the end of the Cold War and the gradual withdrawal of British troops from Germany, the barracks housed a unit of the German Wehrmacht. Now, however, they are abandoned.

RAF Brüggen, a former RAF base, built in a woods straddling the German-Dutch border following the end of World War Two. It housed Torandoes and Jaguars, equipped with nuclear weapons. The aircraft hangars were therefore reinforced.

Bradbury Barracks in Krefeld, originally known as the Adolf-von-Nassau-Kaserne. They were built to house a Nazi Panzer regiment, with underground garages to hide the tanks. It was occupied by the British Army following World War Two.

In the forest at the end of the runway at RAF Brüggen is the start of a single railway track. From the runway, the railway track heads south, terminating, suddenly, in the middle of a wood

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Abandoned Cold War Germany Urban Exploring Book
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