Grafenwöhr is a town in the district Neustadt (Waldnaab)
Neustadt (Waldnaab) (district)
Neustadt is a district in Bavaria, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Schwandorf, Amberg-Sulzbach, Bayreuth and Tirschenreuth, and by the Czech Republic...

, in the region of the Upper Palatinate
Upper Palatinate
The Upper Palatinate is one of the seven administrative regions of Bavaria, Germany, located in the east of Bavaria.- History :The region took its name first in the early 16th century, because it was by the Treaty of Pavia one of the main portions of the territory of the Wittelsbach Elector...

  in eastern Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, 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 is widely known for the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 military installation and training area, called Grafenwöhr Training Area, located directly south and west of the town.

Early History

The town was founded in the 9th century on an island between the river Creussen and the Thum stream. During its early days, the inhabitants and town belonged to nobles from Schweinfurt
Schweinfurt is a city in the Lower Franconia region of Bavaria in Germany on the right bank of the canalized Main, which is here spanned by several bridges, 27 km northeast of Würzburg.- History :...

, Bamberg
Bamberg is a city in Bavaria, Germany. It is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz, close to its confluence with the river Main. Bamberg is one of the few cities in Germany that was not destroyed by World War II bombings because of a nearby Artillery Factory that prevented planes from...

, and Leuchtenberg
Leuchtenberg is a municipality in the district of Neustadt in Bavaria in Germany, essentially a suburb of nearby Weiden in der Oberpfalz, and a historical region in Old Germany governed by the Landgrave of Leuchtenberg....

. Originally called Weit, the name changed to Wöhr (island). The name, Grafenwöhr, means Counts' Island. This area was very swampy and Grafenwöhr was on an island. The land was drained for agricultural use.

20th century

In 1907, Prince Luitpold
Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria
Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria , was the de facto ruler of Bavaria from 1886 to 1912, due to the incapacity of his nephews, King Ludwig II and King Otto.-Early life:...

, regent of the Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that existed from 1806 to 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806 as Maximilian I Joseph. The monarchy would remain held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom's dissolution in 1918...

, selected the area near Grafenwöhr as the place best suited for training of the Bavarian Army. Construction began in 1908 and by 1915, the training reservation covered an area of 37 square miles (95.8 km²). The first artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 round was fired in the training area at 0800 hours on June 30, 1910. Throughout World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, from 1914-1918, the area was used for training and equipping of combat units. After the end of the war, the Berlin High Command used Grafenwöhr Training area for the 100,000 man German army. In 1936, the training area was expanded to the present size of 90 square miles (233.1 km²). On 5 and 8 April 1945, the camp and town were subjected to Allied air raids. On 20 April 1945, the last German Commander of the training area surrendered to the American forces. After World War II it became an important 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...

 training site for the United States Army and allied forces. Many German Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

 units still use the training area for maneuver and live-fire weapons training.

Post Cold War

The military installation is also home to one of the largest Army construction projects in Europe, called Efficient Basing-Grafenwöhr
Efficient Basing-Grafenwöhr
Efficient Basing Grafenwöhr is a Seventh United States Army initiative to consolidate command and control headquarters and six battalion-sized elements in support of Army and USAREUR transformation...

. The Grafenwöhr Training Area houses the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC). The 7th Army JMTC owns almost all of the U.S. Army training facilities and assets in Europe. The Grafenwöhr Training Area is one of its largest training areas and includes ranges where almost all weapons systems from small arms, tanks, artillery pieces, guided munitions, and other military apparatus may be tested by warriors who may use them in combat. Though owned by the U.S. Army, the area is the largest multinational training area in Europe. Grafenwöhr, also known as the East Camp, is the main post and is located on the north east edge of the training area. The Vilseck
Vilseck is a town in the Oberpfalz region of northeastern Bavaria, Germany situated on the river Vils, a tributary of the Naab river.The town is geographically separate from a nearby large American military base known as the Rose Barracks but more commonly referred to as Vilseck...

 military community, also known as the South Camp, is on the southern boundary.

The Grafenwöhr Army Airfield provides safe orderly and expeditious air flow to all air traffic requesting services including but not limited C-130's from the 37th Airlift Squadron
37th Airlift Squadron
The 37th Airlift Squadron is part of the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. It operates C-130J Super Hercules aircraft providing theater airlfit.-History:...

 at Ramstein AB, Germany. The airfield is manned 24 hrs a day by advisory services and at a minimum from 8 am to 5 pm by air traffic controllers both in a control tower and an approach control. Due to its length and relative proximity to the JMTC training area, it makes for a realistic simulation of short field operations encountered around the world. Bunker dropzone is also located within the Grafenwöhr Training Area. It is used to practice airdrop of troops, equipment, and supplies.

Tenant Units

  • 7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Command
  • 7th Warrior Transition Battalion
  • 18th CSSB
  • 7th Weather Squadron
  • 535th Engineer Company
  • 12th Chemical Company
  • 69th Signal Battalion
  • 709th Military Police Battalion
    • 615th Military Police Company
      615th Military Police Company
      The 615th Military Police Company is a military police company of the United States Army based in the Grafenwoehr, Germany area, with two subordinate augmentation platoons one stationed in Grafenwoehr and the other in Vilseck...

      • 512th Military Police Augmentation Platoon
      • 514th Military Police Augmentation Platoon
  • 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team
    • 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment
      28th Infantry Regiment (United States)
      Since the establishment of the United States Army in 1775, three regiments have held the designation 28th Infantry Regiment. The first was a Provisional unit that was constituted on 29 January 1813 and served during The War of 1812. The second was a reorganization and redesignation of 2nd...

    • 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment.
    • E Troop, 5th Cavalry Regiment
    • 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment
    • 57th Signal Company
    • 504th MI Company


The civilian town of Grafenwöhr rests nestled between low hills. The area is widely forested and the nearby region is mostly used for agricultural purposes. Farms and dairies cover much of the surrounding landscape. Grafenwöhr is positioned geographically such that it experiences very mild summers and cold winters.


  • Soccer. SV Grafenwöhr. The adults and children mostly all are in either the Kreisliga
    The Kreisliga is a low tier in league sports in Germany and the 9th tier of league soccer there.The Kreisligen usually rank right below the Bezirksligen, Bezirksklassen or Landesligen. Any teams finding themselves at the bottom of the Kreisligen would find themselves in one of the local...

     or Bezirksoberliga.
  • Fishing. The area around Grafenwöhr is excellent for fishing. There are many lakes on the training area and the surrounding area that are fished. Common fish landed in the area are Carp
    Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. The cypriniformes are traditionally grouped with the Characiformes, Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes to create the superorder Ostariophysi, since these groups have certain...

    , Pike
    Esox is a genus of freshwater fish, the only living genus in the family Esocidae — the esocids which were endemic to North America, Europe and Eurasia during the Paleogene through present.The type species is E. lucius, the northern pike...

    , Rainbow Trout
    Rainbow trout
    The rainbow trout is a species of salmonid native to tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The steelhead is a sea run rainbow trout usually returning to freshwater to spawn after 2 to 3 years at sea. In other words, rainbow trout and steelhead trout are the same species....

    , and Brown Trout
    Brown trout
    The brown trout and the sea trout are fish of the same species....

  • Hunting. The area around Grafenwöhr is heavily forested and provides for excellent hunting. Wild boar (wildschwein), roe deer
    Roe Deer
    The European Roe Deer , also known as the Western Roe Deer, chevreuil or just Roe Deer, is a Eurasian species of deer. It is relatively small, reddish and grey-brown, and well-adapted to cold environments. Roe Deer are widespread in Western Europe, from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia, and from...

     (reh) and red deer
    Red Deer
    The red deer is one of the largest deer species. Depending on taxonomy, the red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Morocco and Tunisia in northwestern Africa, being...

     (Rotwild) are the most commonly hunted animals.
  • Other. The U.S. Military hosts a wide variety of sports within the boundaries of the camps.


  • Road. Grafenwöhr is located along Bundesstrasse B299. Civilian transportation to, from, in, and around Grafenwöhr is limited to the automobile. There are a limited number of taxi and bus services available.
  • Rail. The only railroad in Grafewöhr is strictly for military use and transport only. However, there are several rail stations nearby where civilian passenger trains run. The closest Bahnhofs (rail stations) are Pressath
    Pressath is a municipality in the district of Neustadt , in Bavaria, Germany. Pressath was founded in 1657. It is situated 20 km northwest of Weiden in der Oberpfalz and ca. 7 km north of Grafenwöhr....

    , Schwarzenbach
    Schwarzenbach, Upper Palatinate
    Schwarzenbach is a municipality in the district of Neustadt in Bavaria in Germany....

    , Freihung
    Freihung is a municipality in the district of Amberg-Sulzbach in Bavaria in Germany.....

    , and Vilseck
    Vilseck is a town in the Oberpfalz region of northeastern Bavaria, Germany situated on the river Vils, a tributary of the Naab river.The town is geographically separate from a nearby large American military base known as the Rose Barracks but more commonly referred to as Vilseck...

  • Air.The only airfield in Grafenwöhr is strictly for military use and transport only. The closest international airport is located in Nuremberg
    Nuremberg Airport
    Nuremberg Airport is the international airport of the Franconian metropolitan area of Nuremberg and the second-busiest airport in Bavaria. The airport is ranked 10th among German airports and 87th in Europe. It is also a hub for Air Berlin - Germany's second largest airline...

    , approximately 90 kilometers away.

VIPs and Important Visitors

  • Prince Luitpold
    Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria
    Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria , was the de facto ruler of Bavaria from 1886 to 1912, due to the incapacity of his nephews, King Ludwig II and King Otto.-Early life:...

    , selected area to become a military training area.
  • Elvis Presley
    Elvis Presley
    Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

    , while he was doing his military service. (He also visited various bars in town where he sang one song or another.)
  • Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

    , visited the training area several times during WWII and even gave speeches from the water tower.


Armed Forces Network (AFN) Bavaria broadcasts from the Grafenwöhr Training Area. provides news, shopping, dining and other information about the Grafenwohr area. The Bavarian is a military newspaper for the Grafenwöhr Training Area

External links

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