2014 Berlin Gatow museum Luftwaffe

Imagine a complete airfield with a runway, taxiways and hangars; closed for air traffic and completely dedicated to very large collection of military aircraft museum pieces.... that's the Militar Historisches Museum of Berlin-Gatow airfield! Hundreds of thousands of flight hours are accumulated here - representing a large piece of military aviation history.

The museum on the Berlin-Gatow airfield (formerly the Luftwaffe Museum) is a branch of the Military History Museum of the German Armed Forces in Dresden. While in Dresden a global history of warfare is told, the Berlin museum concentrates on air warfare. The history of technology is understood as part of cultural history and the focus is on people in their various roles. At the historic site, knowledge and stories from over 120 years of military aviation and air warfare come to life - told from multiple perspectives, critically and with many personal references. This also includes the history of the airfield, which is now a listed monument, from the National Socialist Air War School to the Cold War and the stationing of the Royal Air Force. Gatow Airfield is closely linked to the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949. Since 1994, the site has been available to the museum for one of the world's largest collections of aerial warfare resources from the Cold War era. 

Its collection consists of almost all German aircraft types in service since the end of world war 2 and as a part of NATO. F-104 Starfighters, a F-4F Phantom, an RF-4E, N2501D Noratlas, Br1150 Atlantic, CL-13B Sabre Mk6, Do-27/ Do-28, Alpha Jet, Canberra, Fairey Gannet, Fiat G-91, CM170 Magister, T-33, Tornado, F-84F Thunderstreak/ RF-84F Thunderflash, OV-10 Bronco, C-160D Transall - and more. All are presented in the museum. Also some very rare types like the rocket powered F-104 Starfighter.

All former luftwaffe Helicopters are also part of the collection; like the Alouette II, UH-1D, Bo-105, Piasecki H-21, Sycamore HR52 adn Skeeter. The museum is also expanded by a great number of Luftwaffe related vehicles, aircraft and helicopter engines, (large) aircraft rockets and weaponry, anti-air systems and radar systems. 

Besides all German historical aircraft many NATO members also donated old types after their service for the collection; among these are a French Mirage III, Mystere; USAF T-37B Tweetybird and a British Chipmunk, Lightning, Meteor, Harrier, Hunter and Sea Hawk.

Many of the collections, rooms and area's are supplemented by all kinds of historical relics: plaques, cockpits, awards, photographs and storyboards are among these.

Since the reunification in 1990 of West- and East-Germany the Luftwaffe integrated all East-German Luftstreitkrafte der Nationalen Volksarmee aircraft, helicopters and systems. Most were active for a short while before being stored or sold; some, like the MiG-29 Fulcrum, were operational for well into the next century. The museum collection also received a number of other former Warsaw Pact aicraft. Besides East-German aircraft the museum also a former pre-1990 Czech MiG-15bis.

Pre-1945 aircraft are also on display in the museum - some are original and others replica's. Among the originals are a Me-163 Comet, Spanish Hispano HA-1112 (license fabricated Me-109), C-47 and Bu-181.

The world war 1 types are all excelent 1:1 reproductions, and still really nice to see and get the 'feeling' of the real aircraft. Among the world war 1 replica aircraft are a British Avro 504K, French Farman III, a German Fokker D VII & Dr.I & E.III, and more. A very nice and large painting of German world war 1 aces in flight is shown in the museum; all aircraft of the aces are displayed and beneath them their names (among them Tuxen, Hemer, Mohnicke, Wolff, L. von Richthofen, Janzen, M. von Richthofen). 


Besides the huge collection of aircraft many memorabilia, special items and equipment are also exhibited as can be seen below. Many autonomous rockets are on display like this world war 2 Henschel Hs293A-1, which was one of the first guidance/ 'cruise missiles'. To the right another piece of excellent German technology: a world war 2 NSU Kettenkraftrad. 

Many surface to air/ anti-air systems are also on display as can be seen below: a West-German (NATO) Roland 2 SAM system, an East-German (Russian) S-200 Dubna/ SA-5 Gammon SAM system and a XM501 loading vehicle for the NATO Hawk SAM system. Besides many SAM rockets the corresponding radar units are also on display.

One room is dedicated to the CONUS based 1st German Air Force Training Squadron which operated out of George AFB. This unit, also known as the 20th TFS "Silver Lobos" was used as a training squadron for the F-4F Phantom crews whiwch were going to fly in Germany. It ceased operations in the 90's aftward a nose section, tail and all class plaques were returned to Germany. Next to many other unit memorabilia these are very nicely exhibited in the Berlin-Gatow museum!