Baumholder Training Area (BTA) / Lager Aulenbach, Germany
The Baumholder Major Training Area training ground is the third largest troop training area in Germany. Situated in the south-west of Rheinland-Pfalz, the rural district of Birkenfeld with its 95 local authorities and approximately 90,000 inhabitants extends over an area of 800 km2. Forest covers 43% of the district's total area of 800 km2. One third is used as agricultural land. Buildings, free land and traffic areas take up less than 5% of the area. Added to this are around 230 ha industrial area, 780 ha recreation areas and 400 ha industrial wet lands. The areas subject to other use amount to 11,900 ha. This figure is attributable in large measure to the Baumholder troop training area situated in the district.
The facilities of Lager Aulenbach are a military training area with more than 60 year old history. World War II brought the military to Baumholder. The Third Reich needed a training area and Baumholder was chosen. First building plans are of 1936 and one year later, the very first soldiers come here to make use of it. The German government appropriated 29,158 acres and resettled about 842 families from 14 villages to clear the land for use by the Third Reich. Several villages were demolished between 1939 and 1975 to become part of the Baumholder Military Training Area (Baumholder Truppen bungsplatz), including Aulenbach, Ausweiler, Breungenborn, Ehlenbach, Erzweiler, Frohnhausen, Grünbach, Ilgesheim, Kefersheim, Mambüchel, Oberjeckenbach, Ronnenberg, and Wieselbach.
Thus was born the Baumholder Major Training Area, used today for military training by Americans and a host of NATO countries. The new era of Lager Aulenbach refers to its use after the WW II, i.e. the year when it started to be used by the US Armored Divisions. German Artillery started using the area in May 1956. On 1 March, 1960, the German command took over the control over Lager Aulenbach. Training area is used by other armed forces - the USA, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Belgium.
From November 1998 to March 1999, the 40th Engineer Battalion HQ's participated in three Warfighter prep Command Post Exercises and the 1AD BCTP exercise, while the line companies conducted Engineer Qualification Training at Baumholder Training Area.
Forty-eight soldiers, two Department of Defense civilians, and one Canadian allied officer from 1st Transportation Movement Control Agency deployed for the first time ever from Kleber Kaserne to Baumholder training area for three days in November 1998 to develop and rehearse their capability to move, set up, and operate under field conditions. During 1st TMCA's Field Training Exercise, soldiers conducted their annual qualification on the M249 machine gun.
Exercise COMBINED ENDEAVOR '99 was conducting in Baumholder, Germany, during May 1999. The international communications exercise COMBINED ENDEAVOR '99 started on 5 May, 1999 in the German military training area of Lager Aulenbach, nearby Baumholder. The exercise is held within the Partnership for Peace framework. Units coming from 30 nations, among them a signal unit from the Slovak Armed Forces, participate in the exercise.
Clacking and roaring, 1st Armored Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2BCT) rolled out from the confines of the Baumholder Training Area (BTA) and through the small towns of Kusel and southern Birkenfeld counties in the German state of Rhineland Pfalz in a Maneuver Coordination Area exercise, 27 November 2001. Convoys of tracked-armored vehicles and tactical trucks from the 2nd Brigade Recon Troop; 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment; 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment; and 123rd Main Support Battalion paraded 420 vehicles including M1A1 Abrams Tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, M88 Recovery Vehicles, HMMWVs (high mobility multi-wheeled vehicle), HETs (heavy equipment transport), HEMTT (heavy equipment mobility tactical truck) and five-ton cargo trucks through Baumholder Training Area (BTA) and surrounding locations.
The exercise presented the challenge of maneuvering in terrain they hadn't trained in before. They were conducting tactical movement, breaching obstacles and other exercises in which unfamiliar terrain adds to the realism of the training. Aside from standard readiness training, the exercise was also used to prepare the 2BCT for an upcoming January 2002 rotation at the Combat Maneuver Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany.
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