CFB Baden-Soellingen
Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen or CFB Baden-Soellingen (IATA:FKB, ICAO
International Civil Aviation Organization airport code
The ICAO airport code or location indicator is a four-character alphanumeric code designating each airport around the world. These codes are defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and published in ICAO Document 7910: Location Indicators.The ICAO codes are used by air traffic...

: EDSB, former code EDAL) was a Canadian Forces base
Canadian Forces base
A Canadian Forces Base or CFB is a military installation of the Canadian Forces. For a facility to qualify as a Canadian Forces Base, it must station one or more major units .Minor installations are named Canadian Forces Station or CFS A Canadian Forces Base or CFB (French Base des forces...

 located near the farming community of Söllingen, part of the municipality of Rheinmünster
Rheinmünster is a town in the district of Rastatt in Baden-Württemberg in Germany....

 in the West German
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 state of Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

. It is now a commercial area called Baden Airpark
Baden Airpark
Baden Airpark , or officially Flughafen Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, is an international airport located in Rheinmünster in the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany, south of Karlsruhe, west of Baden-Baden and north of Strasbourg, France....

, which also includes the regional airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

 Flughafen Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden.


To meet NATO's air defence commitments during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, No. 1 Air Division
RCAF Metz, France
No. 1 Air Division, Royal Canadian Air Force was an organization of Canadian operational fighter aircraft squadrons in Europe in the 1950s and early 1960s during the Cold War. Headquarters were located at Metz, France....

 was established in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 in the early 1950s with four Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the air force was created as the Canadian Air Force . In 1924 the CAF was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force and granted royal sanction by King George V. The RCAF existed as an independent service until 1968...

 bases in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and West Germany. These included RCAF Station Marville
RCAF Station Marville
RCAF Station Marville was a Royal Canadian Air Force station located near Marville in the Meuse department, Lorraine, northeastern France. It was one of four RCAF wings consisting of three fighter squadrons each, established in Europe in the early 1950s to support the goals of NATO in Europe...

 (No. 1 Wing) and RCAF Station Grostenquin
RCAF Station Grostenquin
RCAF Station Grostenquin, also known as 2 Wing or 2 Wing, was a Royal Canadian Air Force station located five km north of the town of Grostenquin in the Moselle department, Lorraine, northeastern France. It was one of four RCAF wings, consisting of three fighter squadrons each, established in...

 (No. 2 Wing) in France and RCAF Station Zweibrücken
Zweibrücken Air Base
Zweibrücken Air Base was a NATO air base in West Germany . It was located 35 miles SSW of Kaiserslautern and 2 miles mi SE of Zweibrücken. It was assigned to the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Air Forces in Europe during its operational lifetime.The facility was closed in...

 (No. 3 Wing) and RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen (No. 4 Wing) in West Germany. These wings consisted of three fighter squadrons each.

Construction of the airfield at Baden-Soellingen began in December 1951 at a location between the Black Forest
Black Forest
The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres ....

 and the Rhine River under the supervision of France's Air Force
French Air Force
The French Air Force , literally Army of the Air) is the air force of the French Armed Forces. It was formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, a service arm of the French Army, then was made an independent military arm in 1933...

 (Armée de l'Air or AA). The runway and associated facilities were completed by June 1952 and were intended to accommodate a brigade of the AA which arrived in August for the first operational use of the base. At that point, support buildings were under advanced construction.

RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen

In early 1953, NATO headquarters determined that the base under construction at Pferdsfeld, which was originally planned to accommodate No. 4 Wing, would not be ready for arriving squadrons and personnel later that summer. It was decided that France's units would transfer to another base to temporarily vacate their airfield at Baden-Soellingen since this base was almost complete. Sixty-two RCAF F-86 Sabres of 414
No. 414 Squadron RCAF
No. 414 Squadron RCAF was a squadron associated with the Royal Canadian Air Force and later with Canadian Forces Air Command.-History:On 13 August 1941, No 414 Army Co-operation Squadron was formed at RAF Croydon, England, flying Lysander and Curtis Tomahawk aircraft. On 28 June 1943 the...

, 422
No. 422 Squadron RCAF
No. 422 Squadron RCAF was a unit of the Royal Canadian Air Force, formed during World War II.422 General Reconnaissance Squadron formed at RAF Castle Archdale near Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, in April 1942. It was a flying-boat squadron, flying PBY Catalinas and Short Sunderlands to patrol the...

, and 444 squadrons arrived at Baden on September 4, 1953. Several months after the RCAF units arrived, NATO headquarters made the RCAF move to Baden permanently and the facility was named RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen. Dependents followed beginning in the spring of 1954.

Personnel at RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen worked quickly to make the base fully operational and integrate into RCAF operations within NATO for the defence of Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...


NATO identified a shortage in all-weather fighter/interceptor aircraft in 1955 and the RCAF responded by providing the Air Division with four squadrons equipped with the CF-100 Canuck to supplement existing squadrons equipped with the F-86 Sabre. At Baden, 414 Squadron (Sabres) was replaced by 419 Squadron
No. 419 Squadron RCAF
419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron is an air force unit with the Canadian Forces. The squadron was originally formed during the Second World War as part of the Royal Canadian Air Force...

 flying CF-100s. Air Division Sabre squadrons were converted to the CF-104 Starfighter
Canadair CF-104
The Canadair CF-104 Starfighter was a modified version of the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter supersonic fighter aircraft built in Canada by Canadair under licence...

beginning in 1962. The Canuck squadrons were disbanded by December 31 of that year. The Starfighter units changed the RCAF's original mission from fighter/interceptor to nuclear strike/reconnaissance.

In 1963 the Government of France
Government of France
The government of the French Republic is a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an "indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic"...

 announced that all nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s located on French soil (NATO or French) would be controlled by France itself. This was unacceptable to the RCAF (and other NATO units stationed in France), so the nuclear-capable 421 Squadron at 2 Wing was hastily moved in the fall of 1963 to Baden and the similarly equipped 430 Squadron at 2 Wing moved to Zweibrücken. Remaining non-nuclear armed units in France were repositioned to RCAF Station Marville.

In March 1966 the Government of France announced that it would be withdrawing its military forces from NATO and that current NATO units based in France must leave or fall under French military command. This forced the RCAF to look for a home in Western Europe for 1 Wing and 1 Air Division Headquarters. They settled on Base Aérienne 139 Lahr-Hugsweier which the Armée de l'Air was vacating as per the French government's announced withdrawal from NATO military integrated organisation. RCAF personnel, aircraft and equipment were transferred to the new RCAF Station Lahr
Canadian Forces Base Lahr
Canadian Forces Base Lahr was a military owned and operated commercial airport located in Lahr, Germany. It was operated primarily as an air force base, and later as an army base, beginning in the late 1960s. The military base was closed in 1994 and converted to civilian use...

 (now the Black Forest Airport) by March 1967 with dependents to follow later.

CFB Baden-Soellingen

On February 1, 1968 the RCAF merged with the Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
The history of the Royal Canadian Navy goes back to 1910, when the naval force was created as the Naval Service of Canada and renamed a year later by King George V. The Royal Canadian Navy is one of the three environmental commands of the Canadian Forces...

 (RCN) and Canadian Army to form the unified Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

. RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen was renamed Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen, or CFB Baden-Soellingen. As part of an effort to remove duplication and cut the defence budget following unification of the services, Zweibrücken was closed with its units consolidating at Lahr and Baden.

Further defence cuts and consolidation saw the Canadian Army (then renamed to Force Mobile Command
Canadian Forces Land Force Command
The Canadian Army , previously called Land Force Command, is responsible for army operations within the Canadian Forces. The current size of the Army is 19,500 regular soldiers and 16,000 reserve soldiers, for a total of around 35,500 soldiers...

) units of 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group
4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group
4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group was a formation of the Canadian Army, then Mobile Command of the unified Canadian Forces. The formation served as the main forward deployed land element of Canada's armed forces, and was stationed in West Germany from 1957 until it was disbanded in...

 based in Soest
Soest (district)
Soest is a Kreis in the middle of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Warendorf, Gütersloh, Paderborn, Hochsauerland, Märkischer Kreis, Unna and the district-free city Hamm.-History:...

 area of northern West Germany moved to Canadian Forces Base Lahr
Canadian Forces Base Lahr
Canadian Forces Base Lahr was a military owned and operated commercial airport located in Lahr, Germany. It was operated primarily as an air force base, and later as an army base, beginning in the late 1960s. The military base was closed in 1994 and converted to civilian use...

. However, a mechanised infantry
Mechanized infantry
Mechanized infantry are infantry equipped with armored personnel carriers , or infantry fighting vehicles for transport and combat ....

 battalion was stationed alongside the fighter squadrons at Baden-Soellingen:
  • 1970-1977: 3rd Mechanized Commando, The Canadian Airborne Regiment
    The Canadian Airborne Regiment
    The Canadian Airborne Regiment was a Canadian Forces formation created on April 8, 1968. It was not an administrative regiment in the commonly accepted British Commonwealth sense, but rather a tactical formation manned from other regiments and branches...

  • 1977-1984: 3rd Battalion
    3 Royal Canadian Regiment
    3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment is a regular force light infantry battalion of the Canadian Forces. As of 2011, 3 RCR was designated Canada's first airmobile battalion...

    , The Royal Canadian Regiment
    The Royal Canadian Regiment
    The Royal Canadian Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces. The regiment consists of four battalions, three in the Regular Force and one in the Primary Reserve...

  • 1984-1988: 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
    Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
    Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry is one of the three regular force infantry regiments of the Canadian Army. The regiment is composed of four battalions including a primary reserve battalion, for a total of 2,000 soldiers...

  • 1988-1993: 3rd Battalion
    3 Royal Canadian Regiment
    3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment is a regular force light infantry battalion of the Canadian Forces. As of 2011, 3 RCR was designated Canada's first airmobile battalion...

    , The Royal Canadian Regiment

In addition, there was also a communications squadron, and after 1987, an air defence battery. A multi-force airfield repair unit formed in the late 80s to fix the runways if needed.

The cuts resulted in a drawback of the air force from 6 squadrons to 3 which were reorganized under the new 1 Canadian Air Group banner.

The ramp-up in defence spending during renewed Cold War tensions in the late 1970s and 1980s saw CFB Baden-Soellingen receive much-needed new infrastructure, including updated quarters for its personnel and their dependents. The year 1984 saw squadrons at CFB Baden-Soellingen begin to re-equip from the CF-104 Starfighter to the CF-18 Hornet
CF-18 Hornet
The McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet is a Royal Canadian Air Force fighter aircraft, based on the American McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighter. In 1980, the F/A-18 was selected as the winner of the New Fighter Aircraft competition, and a production order was awarded...

with 1986 being the close-out year for the Starfighter on base.

In October 1989 the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

 came down and by the end of 1990 Germany had reunited, thawing Cold War tensions and removing the role for Canada's active units stationed in Western Europe under NATO command.

Gulf War deployment

In September 1990 it was announced that an augmented 409 Squadron, and an infantry company from the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, would deploy from CFB Baden-Soellingen to a base in Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 as part of Operation Desert Shield along with some airfield security personnel. In December it was announced that 439 Squadron would deploy from Baden Soellingen to replace 409 in Qatar. Aircraft from 439 Squadron were involved in air patrols and air-to-ground missions during Operation Desert Storm
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 in January-February 1991, firing the first war shots by a Canadian military aircraft since the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...


UNPROFOR deployment

The last major deployment from CFB Baden Soellingen occurred in April 1992, when infantry soldiers from November Company of The Royal Canadian Regiment were deployed to a United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 peacekeeping mission in the disintegrating country of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

. November Company's deployment was the first of many that the Canadian Forces would undertake to the nation under the banner of United Nations Protection Force
United Nations Protection Force
The United Nations Protection Force ', was the first United Nations peacekeeping force in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav wars. It existed between the beginning of UN involvement in February 1992, and its restructuring into other forces in March 1995...

 (UNPROFOR). On the first night in Sirac
Sirač is a settlement and municipality in Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Croatia. There are 2,546 inhabitants; 71% are Croats, 14% Serbs, and 10% Czechs...

, Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, November Company came under indirect mortar fire and was hit by 10-25 shells. In July 1992, the company was re-located to Sector Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

, and fell under the command of General Lewis MacKenzie
Lewis MacKenzie
Major-General Lewis Wharton MacKenzie, UE, CM, CMM, MSC, O.Ont, CD is a retired Canadian general, author and media commentator. MacKenzie is most famous for establishing and commanding Sector Sarajevo as part of the United Nations Protection Force UNPROFOR in Yugoslavia in 1992...

. November Company was ordered to break through to and seize Sarajevo International Airport
Sarajevo International Airport
Sarajevo International Airport , also known as Butmir Airport, is the main international airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located southwest of the railway station in the capital city of Sarajevo in the suburb of Butmir....

 for UNPROFOR to use for transporting food and supplies to civilians in the city.


The post-Cold War defence cuts of the early 1990s identified both CFB Baden-Soellingen and CFB Lahr for closure by 1994. The airfield at CFB Baden Soellingen closed on March 31, 1993 and several of its squadrons were disbanded with the aircraft mothballed in Canada. By summer 1993 most personnel had vacated CFB Baden-Soellingen with the base becoming a detachment of CFB Lahr, whose personnel had also largely vacated by August 31, 1993. During the final months, Baden-Soellingen operated largely as a detachment of CFB Lahr and was permanently closed on December 31, 1993. CFB Lahr would continue on until being officially closed 9 months later on August 31, 1994.

The Baden Airpark
Baden Airpark
Baden Airpark , or officially Flughafen Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, is an international airport located in Rheinmünster in the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany, south of Karlsruhe, west of Baden-Baden and north of Strasbourg, France....

 GmbH took over the area in 1995 and commercial flights started in 1997.

Notable natives

  • Douglas Coupland
    Douglas Coupland
    Douglas Coupland is a Canadian novelist. His fiction is complemented by recognized works in design and visual art arising from his early formal training. His first novel, the 1991 international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, popularized terms such as McJob and...

    , Canadian writer (b. 1961)
  • Ann-Marie MacDonald
    Ann-Marie MacDonald
    Ann-Marie MacDonald is a Canadian playwright, novelist, actor and broadcast journalist who lives in Toronto, Ontario. The daughter of a member of Canada's military, she was born at an air force base near Baden-Baden, West Germany....

    , Canadian writer (b. 1958)
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