Wetzlar Local Training Area, Germany
Opportunities for armored maneuver training of US forces in Germany are limited, given the problems of small and restrictive local training areas, low OPTEMPO allowances, and ongoing requirements to support contingency operations such as that in Bosnia. In a move to provide more training opportunities close to where units are stationed, two local training areas were targeted for modifications to allow more maneuvers by armored platoons and companies. Schweinfurt and Friedberg Training Areas are large enough to accommodate such maneuvers, but thick forest cover currently limits maneuver space and lines of sight.
Immediately after standing up a garrison in 1997 they were striving to obtain the area. At that time the garrison was the home of about 1000 soldiers and 320 vehicles. American Armed Forces are annoyed about the costs caused by the training of the locally stationed Engineer and Field Artillery battalions. These costs arise because each time a complicating large amount of men and equipment has to be moved to distant training areas. After Wetzlar, whose former Bundeswehr training area would have been favored by the US Army, has denied the request in 1997 the US Army requested the "Hohe Warte" from the Secretary of Defense. The former Secretary of Interior Affairs Gerhard Boekel (SPD) had "serious concerns". Since the withdrawal of the Bundeswehr from Steuben Kaserne in 1993 the areas has been reserved as a nature protection area. In 1998 the administrative district in Giessen has been ordered to take care of the request and the process took until September 2000.
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