Grafenwoehr is located in beautiful Bavaria, near Nuremberg. The major command is the 7th Army Training Command with the primary mission of training. There are approximately 1000 people assigned as permanent party in Grafenwoehr. In 1998 the 7th Army Training Command (7ATC) initiated a live-fire exercise to train armored task forces and companies at Grafenwoehr Training Area. This is a significant change in land use at GTA, which has traditionally supported only limited off-road maneuvers.
The 90-year-history of the Grafenwoehr Training Area begann under the Royal Bavarian Army and continued with the German Wehrmacht. Many celebrities have visited Grafenwoehr, to include the Bavarian Princes and Elvis Presley, the King of Rock´n´Roll. Some may remember it as Strafenwoehr, a play on words about "Punish-Woehr" because the German word for punishment is the manipulated word of "G-rafen-Woehr" into "S-trafen-Woehr).
The Grafenwöhr Training Area (GTA) 2005 objective is to upgrade selected ranges at GTA with state of the art technology supporting ranges which are doctrinally correct and tactically realistic. To accomplish the objective, the major tasks include renovating ranges 118 and 211 into Multi-purpose Range Complexes; continuing the recapitalization of existing ranges to meet doctrinal standards and tactical realism; fielding of the digital AAR systems to primary qualification ranges; upgrading stationary and moving targetry; and the continued development of the CMTC-LF. Specific projects currently identified for the period include construction of a Combined Arms Collective Training Facility, construction of an Aviation Range, upgrading targetry, and the fielding of digital AAR equipment.
The Range 118 and 211 Multi-Purpose Range Complexes (MPRC) will upgrade current ranges to meet current Army qualification standards for armor, infantry and aviation qualification. Funding requirements are for $1.48 M (OPA) and $22M (MCA) in FY 01 for Range 118 and $1.48 M (OPA) and $20M (MCA) in FY03 for Range 211. The Recapitalization of Range 213 (upgrade) will construct a live-fire trenchline, expand the range's target array, and extend the course roads on the range. Funding requirements are for $0.5M (OMA) in FY 01. The Digital AAR equipment including tower mounted FLIR cameras and through site video will drastically improve the quality of gunnery AARs by providing units a consolidated and synchronized summary of their performance. Funding requirements include $6.27M (OPA) in FY02 and $1.66M (OPA) in FY03. The Upgrade targetry on Range 132 project will expand the depth and width of the targetry on Range 132 to meet current and future tank gunnery requirements. Funding requirement is for $0.244M (OMA) in FY 01.
The USAEUR 2010 objective is to complete upgrades to develop the Multi-purpose Range Complex, with linked multiple ranges and an automated central control facility to retain GTA as the preeminent MTA in the US Army. To accomplish the objective, the major tasks include completion of the Multi-purpose Range Complex for leveraging information technology, completion of the automated Command and Control facility with range linkage, providing integrated simulation and live fire, and continuing targetry improvements. Specific projects currently identified during the period include construction of an Engineer Squad Battle Course, construction of an Aviation Range/ Cavalry Scout Range, upgrading the 300 KD range, upgrading targetry, fielding additional AAR equipment, and the completion of the Multi-purpose Range Complexes (MCA). The Multi-Purpose Range Complex (Digital) will allow infantry, armor and aviation units of the future to conduct platoon-level qualification tables. Fieldings of the M1A2, M2A3, and the M3A3 weapon systems drastically increase the required target arrays for qualification in both width and depth. The design is expected to require a much larger footprint. Funding requirements are for $1.5M (OPA) and $30.0M (MCA) in FY 06.
The US Army Transportation Management Center, Europe (USATMC-E) is located in Buildings 541 and 542 in Grafenwoehr Lager, Germany. This organization is a Field Operating Agency (FOA) of HQ USAREUR ODCSLOG located in Campbell Barracks, Heidelberg, Germany. The USATMC-E is required to communicate significantly with HQ USAREUR, HQ DA, HQ MTMC, HQ MTMC-Europe, all the Area Support Groups (ASG), the Base Support Battalions (BSB) and Area Support Teams (AST) located throughout central Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and SETAF. Overwhelming communications is via Electronic-Mail and the Transportation Operational Personal Property Standard System (TOPS).
The history of Grafenwoehr is quite interesting. In 1907, Prince Luitpold, regent of Bavaria, selected the area near Grafenwoehr as the place best suited for training of the Bavarian Army. Construction began in 1908 and by 1915, the reservation covered an area of 37 square miles. At 0800 hours on 30 June 1910, the first artillery round was fired. Throughout WWI, from 1914-1918, the training area was used for training andre-equipping of combat units. After the end of the war, the Berlin High Command utilized Grafenwoehr Training area for the 100,000 man German army. In 1936, Adolf Hitler came to power and in a few years the training area became too small for the fast growing German army. In 1936, it was expanded to the present size of 90 square miles. On 5 and 8 April 1945, the camp and town were subjected to an air raid conducted by the Allies. The American era began after the last German Commander of the training area surrendered to the American forces on 20 April 1945. During the first few years, only units stationed at Grafenwoehr used the training area. In 1947, the American Army reactivated the training area for unit training purposes.
Grafenwoehr is a small Bavarian town located in a scenic, rural section of Northern Bavaria. It lies right outside the gates of the training area and owes much of its prosperity to the soldiers training there.
Grafenwoehr is home to 7,000 inhabitants (including the surrounding area). It was founded in the 9th century on an island between the river Creussen and a stream, Thumbach. During its early days the inhabitants and town belonged to nobles from Schweinfurt, Bamberg, and Leuchtenberg. Originally called Weit, the name changed to Woehr and the nobles added the Grafen (Graf is a Count) to the name. The name Woehr means island and in the early days this area was very swampy and Grafenwoehr was on an island. However, today the island no longer exists as separate from the surrounding land because the land has been drained for agricultural use.
The major attraction of the town is the Oberpfaelzer Kultur - und Militaermuseum Grafenwoehr. The museum combines exhibitions about life of the people in this region of upper Bavaria with history of the training area. During his time in Germany, Elvis Presley spent several rotations in the Grafenwoehr Training Area. He used to sing in the clubs in town, and the gate guards had to constantly turn away young women wanting to visit Presley in the field. Grafenwoehr also sits in a location where many sights of Germany are easy to get to. Francische Schweiz or "Little Switzerland" is a half hour drive away. Regensburg, known for its historical city, is a hour away. The border between Germany and the Czech Republic is only an hour away.
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