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Report on Visit to Brockzetel 8th May 2008

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesOur group of 10 visitors were met at the main gate by the CO of CRC Brockzetel - Lt Col König.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesOnce the official formalities were completed, we walked to the centre of the site where our host demonstrated the use of smoke masks, available should a fire break out when personnel are below ground.   We were told that in case of fire we should always keep to the right-hand side of the exit tunnel because fire and rescue services would be coming in on the left-hand side.   This was particularly important when visibility is hampered by smoke or when there is an interruption in the power supply.   Some changes to the site were visible above ground.   In fact most of the buildings that can be seen today were not there 50 years ago.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesWe then proceeded to the original small guard room, which is still the actual entrance to the underground installation.   Here we were asked to exchange the ID tags we'd been given at the main gate (in exchange for our passports) for new ones.   Our host explained that this was normal procedure as in the event of fire it would be possible to then see who and how many persons were actually underground.   We walked through the access tunnel which must have been something like 3m in diameter and 50m long.   On the left of the tunnel wall there was much information on the history of the Brockzetel site.   Unfortunately no cameras were allowed and so it was only possible to have a very quick read through of much of the material on show.    1 did notice however that 101 SU was mentioned.   At the end of the tunnel we entered a briefing room where refreshments were served and Lt Col König gave a very detailed briefing on the role and organization of the present day CRC.   The briefing was interrupted occasionally by information coming in over the Tannoy system and which for most of us was difficult to understand.   Over the next few years the number of radar sites in Germany will be reduced and for GAF Brockzetel disbandment is planned for 2010 - fifty years after taking over from the RAF.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesWe then visited the various control rooms where operators sat in front of their numerous computer keyboards and monitors and we were all amazed to see the amount of air traffic over Germany and surrounding countries.   I recall one amusing incident when a 101 SU member was describing the equipment he'd used in his time and the young officer replied," Oh yes, I have seen this in a museum somewhere".   We suddenly realized how old we all were and how much the technology had moved on.

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesWhen we entered the Main Ops Room one could see the eyes of our ex 101 SU chaps light up when they spotted the original large info screen still mounted on one wall and which today of course is no longer in use.   The pleasure was even greater when our four ex Air Defence Operators found that the steep and narrow stairs leading up to the rear of the screen was also still there and even the graffiti on the walls.   Yes, a real step back in time.   The large GS plotting map had disappeared from the floor of the level below and replaced with banks of computer stations, but it was still uncanny for those who'd worked in 'the hole' to still see such familiar surroundings.   On behalf of all members of our party I can say that we had a thoroughly enjoyable visit and we thank most sincerely Lt Col König and all his staff at CRC Brockzetel for their time and hospitality.   (Thanks to Maurice Parker.)
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