Canadian Forces Base Lahr
Canadian Forces Base Lahr (IATA:LHA, 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...

: EDTL, former code EDAN) was a military owned and operated commercial airport located in Lahr
Lahr is a city in western Baden-Württemberg, Germany, approximately 38 km north of Freiburg in Breisgau and 100 km south of Karlsruhe...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. 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. It is now known as the Black Forest Airport


Canada established a presence at Lahr during the 1960s with the 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...

 (RCAF) as part of Canadian Forces Europe
Canadian Forces Europe
Canadian Forces Europe was Canadian Forces operations in Europe during the Cold War. The CF assisted other NATO allies in watching the military activities of Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.To meet NATO's air defence commitments during the Cold War, No...


In the early 1950s, the RCAF had established No. 1 Air Division to meet Canada's NATO air defence commitments in Europe. No. 1 Air Division consisted of twelve fighter squadron
Squadron (aviation)
A squadron in air force, army aviation or naval aviation is mainly a unit comprising a number of military aircraft, usually of the same type, typically with 12 to 24 aircraft, sometimes divided into three or four flights, depending on aircraft type and air force...

s located in four wings. Two wings were located in France (No. 1 Wing
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...

 and No. 2 Wing
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...

) and two were located in West Germany
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....

 (No. 3 Wing and No. 4 Wing). Eight air division squadrons were replaced by (nuclear
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...

) strike aircraft in 1962 in support of Canada's new and controversial nuclear
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

 strike role.

In 1963, the Government of France announced that all nuclear weapons 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 two nuclear strike squadrons at 2 Wing were hastily moved in fall 1963; 430 Squadron to 3 Wing Zweibrücken, and 421 Squadron to 4 Wing Baden-Soellingen. Remaining non-nuclear armed units in France were repositioned to Marville, and RCAF Station Grostenquin closed in 1964.

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 which the Armée de l'Air was vacating as per the French government's announced withdrawal from NATO. RCAF personnel, aircraft and equipment were transferred to the new RCAF Station Lahr by March 1967 with dependents to follow later. The RCAF moved Marville's 439 and 441 Squadrons to Lahr in April 1967. In 1971 the latter squadron moved to CFB Baden-Soellingen and changed its name to 441 Tactical Fighter Squadron.

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
Unification of the Canadian Forces
Unification of the Canadian Forces took place in 1968 when the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force were merged to form the Canadian Armed Forces....

 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 Lahr was renamed Canadian Forces Base Lahr, shortened to CFB Lahr. As part of cuts to reduce costs by consolidation, 3 Wing at RCAF Station Zweibrücken was closed with its units consolidating at CFB Lahr and CFB Baden-Soellingen
CFB Baden-Soellingen
Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen or CFB Baden-Soellingen was a Canadian Forces base located near the farming community of Söllingen, part of the municipality of Rheinmünster in the West German state of Baden-Württemberg...


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 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, along with those units based in nearby Hemer-Deilinghofen, Werl, and Unna, moved to CFB Lahr (some also moved to CFB Baden-Soellingen), with air force units concentrated at CFB Baden-Soellingen. The cuts resulted in a drawback of the air force from six squadrons to three which were reorganized under the new 1 Canadian Air Group banner.

Army units stationed at CFB Lahr were organised under 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...

 and were mostly heavy armour (using Centurion tank
Centurion tank
The Centurion, introduced in 1945, was the primary British main battle tank of the post-World War II period. It was a successful tank design, with upgrades, for many decades...

s then Leopard 1) or mechanized infantry equipped with the M113 family of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC).

CFB Lahr was home to:
  • 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters and Signal Squadron
  • one armoured regiment
    • 1970–1987 - The Royal Canadian Dragoons
      The Royal Canadian Dragoons
      The Royal Canadian Dragoons is an armoured regiment of the Canadian Army. It is one of three armoured regiments in the Regular Force and forms part of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps....

    • 1987–1993 - 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's)
      8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's)
      The 8th Canadian Hussars is one of the longest serving armoured regiments in the Canadian Army. A Squadron being Regular Force served in CFB Gagetown and B, C and HQ Squadrons served in Sussex, Moncton and Sackville...

  • 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery
    Royal Canadian Horse Artillery
    The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery is the name given to the regular field artillery units of the Canadian Army. RCHA units are the senior units of the Canadian land field force, with a history dating back to the birth of Canada as a nation...

  • 4th Air Defence Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery
  • 4 Combat Engineer Regiment
  • 4 Service Battalion
  • 4 Field Ambulance
  • 4 Military Police Platoon
  • 1er Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment
    Royal 22e Régiment
    The Royal 22nd Regiment is an infantry regiment and the most famous francophone organization of the Canadian Forces. The regiment comprises three Regular Force battalions, two Primary Reserve battalions, and a band, making it the largest regiment in the Canadian Army...

  • 444 Tactical Helicopter Squadron
  • 5 AMU (Air Movement Unit)


CFB Lahr maintained an important defence installation for NATO until the fall of 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...

, and reunification of Germany eliminated the role for permanent deployment of the Canadian Forces in western Europe. The closure of CF bases in Germany and redeployment was announced in the 1990 budget.

CFB Baden-Soellingen closed its airfield on March 31, 1993 and most units had departed by that summer. The base remained as a detachment of CFB Lahr until it was permanently closed December 31, 1993.

The last unit to leave CFB Lahr was 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group on August 31, 1993. CFB Lahr was officially decommissioned and closed a year later on August 31, 1994.

External links

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