Tactical Air Control System
Page 2 - NATO Ground Environment Operational Units
- German AF
US Air Force, Europe

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with any units of US Air Force, Europe that operated or supported the Theater Air Control System. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me.

NADGE Units (1970s-80s)

Fm Rgt 31
Meßstetten / I./FmRgt 31
Freising / II./FmRgt 31
Burglengenfeld / 5./FmRgt 31
Großer Arber / 6./FmRgt 31

Fm Rgt 32
Erbeskopf / I./FmRgt 32
Lauda / II./FmRgt 32
Wasserkuppe / 6./FmRgt 32

Döbraberg / 8./FmRgt 32

Fm Rgt 33
Uedem / I./FmRgt 33
Erndtebrück / II./FmRgt 33
Borgentreich / III./FmRgt 33

Fm Rgt 34
Brockzetel / I./FmRgt 34
Visselhövede / II./FmRgt 34
Brekendorf / III./FmRgt 34

Uelzen / 6./FmRgt 34

Fm Rgt 37


Page 1 (C&C)

Page 2 (US Units)

Page 3 (Systems)

Page 4 (Doctrine)

Page 5 (Communications)

Page 6 (412L System)

Page 7 (407L System)

NATO Air Defense Ground Environment - Units, 1970s and 80s

A German Air Force historical manuscript (very detailed)
on the Aircraft Control and Warning mission
in GAF
from 1959 to the end of the Cold War
Webmaster note: I recently found a copy of a very detailed and interesting German historical manual that covers the integration of the German Air Force into the AIRCENT air defense ground environment in Germany in the 1950s and the role GAF signal units played in operating the various air defense radar sites in 2nd and 4th ATAF.

Will post excerpts (translated into English) in the coming weeks (starting in mid-March 2011).

2 ATAF ADOC, Maastricht, The Netherlands (Callsign: 2ATAF STATIC; DUSTBIN (1980's))
SOC-1 Brockzetel
Callsign: FLYFISH
2 Group Air Defence Centre (RAFG) moved to Brockzetel 20 March 1957; SOC closed in 1995(?).
CRC Brockzetel Brockzetel
Constructed: by UK 1955-56
Operational: 21 June 1956 (UK personnel) ; 1 Dec 1960 (German personnel)
Tech Site:
Bunker Callsign: BALDUIN
Billets: Blücher Kaserne, Aurich
Radar: AMES Type 80 (Search); Type 13 (Height Finder) -- 1950s
AN/FPS-7 (Search); ?? (HF) -- 1966
HADR (search) - 1982
Originally operated by 101 Signal Unit (RAFG); functional and tech control handed over to the German Flugmeldeabt. 342 (formed in Aug 1959) on 1 Dec 1960; 342 redesignated I./FmRgt 34 in Jan 1962
CRC Brekendorf Brekendorf
Constructed: by UK June 1955 - 1957
Operational: date ? (UK personnel); 1 Oct 1959 (German personnel)
CRC Callsign: BUGLE
Tech Site: Hüttener Berg
Bunker Callsign: (not known)
Billets: Auf der Freiheit Kaserne, Schleswig
Radar: AMES Type 80 (Search); Type 13 (Height Finder) -- 1950s
AN/FPS-89 (HF) - Dec 1970
MPR (Search); S244 (HF) - 1972 (S244 is in addition to the FPS-89)
Originally operated by 296 Signal Unit (RAFG); functional and tech control handed over to German 4th Komp./Flugmeldeabt. 342 (formed in Aug 1958) on 1 Oct 1959; 2nd Komp./Flugmeldeabt. 341 (4th Komp./342 had been redesignated as 2. Komp/341 in April 1959) was redesignated III./FmRgt 34 in Jan 1962; bunker closed 2003.
RP Uelzen Uelzen
Constructed: by GAF 1964
Operational: Sept 1964 - Sept 1974
RP Callsign: UNITY
Tech Site:
In 1964, 6. Komp./FM Regt 34 began operations at the temporary radar site; 6th Komp. was redesignated 7th Komp. in Aug 1969)
CRC Visselhövede Visselhövede
Operational: end of 1972 (German personnel)
Tech Site:
Bunker Callsign: LILLY
Billets: Mölders Kaserne, Visselhövede
II. Abt/FM Regt 34 operated the radar site; closed 1992
SOC-2 Uedem
Operational: 1 April 1961
Callsign: MANDRIL
83 Group Air Defence Centre (RAFG) moved to Uedem 20 March 1957. Redesignated SOC-Uedem on 1 April 1961 under control of the Luftwaffe.
CRC Uedem Uedem
Constructed by UK: June 1955 - 1957
Operational: 15 March 1957
Tech Site:
Bunker: UDO
Originally operated by 348 Signal Unit (RAFG); functional and tech control handed over to German unit (formed in ???) on 1 Dec 1961
CRC Erndtebrück Erndtebrück
Operational: (LONESHIP)
CRC Callsign:
Tech Site:
Bunker: ERICH
Billets: Hachenberg Kaserne
CRC Auenhausen Auenhausen
Constructed by UK: June 1955 - Dec 1956
Operational: 18 Dec 1956
Callsign: BACKWASH
Tech Site: ; Bunker:
Originally operated by 210 Signal Unit (RAFG); functional and tech control handed over to German unit (formed in ???) on 1 April 1960


Uetersen (1977) -
DEST A1 Krusendorf
DEST A2 Karlshof (Marxdorf)
DEST A3 Parin

DEST A4 Niendorf

Faßberg (17./FmRgt 33; 1970s) -
Sarenseck or Hitzaker
Kl. Vahlberg

Goslar (16./FmRgt33; 1970s) -
DEST C1 Schalke
DEST C2 Pöhlde
DEST C3 Mackenrode
DEST C4 Hoher Meissner
4 ATAF ADOC, Kindsbach Cave, Germany
SOC-3 Börfink
CRC Börfink Börfink
CRC Callsign:
Tech Site: Erbeskopf
Bunker Callsign: ERWIN
Billets: Heinrich-Hertz Kaserne, Birkenfeld
CRC Lauda Lauda
CRC Callsign:
Tech Site: Löffelstelzen
Bunker Callsign: GUSTAV
Billets: Tauber-Franken Kaserne, Lauda-Königshofen
CRP Wasserkuppe Wasserkuppe
CRP Callsign:
Tech Site: Wasserkuppe
Originally operated by USAF; functional and technical control assigned to GAF in Jan 1979; 5./FmRgt 32 was part of II./FmRgt 32, Lauda
RP Döbraberg Döbraberg
RP Callsign:
Tech Site:
SOC-4 Messtetten
Callsign: (HIGHLANDER ?)
Collocated with CRC Messtetten.
CRC Meßstetten Meßstetten
Tech Site:
Bunker Callsign: MARTIN
Billets: Zollneralb Kaserne, Meßstetten
I./FmRgt 31 assumes functional and technical responsibility for operations at CRC Meßstetten on 3 Aug 1964. Bunker becomes operational in 1965.
CRC Freising Freising
Callsign: RACECARD; Bunker (FRIDOLIN)
Tech Site: Haindlfing; Bunker:
Billets: Vimy Kaserne, Freising
Functional and tech control handed over by USAF to German 3./Flugmeldeabteilung 312 (formed in Feb 1960) on 10 Feb 1961; 3./312 redesignated II./FmRgt 31 in 1961
RP Burglengenfeld Burglengenfeld
Constructed: by GAF 1959-60
Operational: prob. Dec 1962 (non-NATO); Feb 1968 (NATO)
Callsign: ANGEL FACE (late 1980s)
Tech Site: ; Bunker:
Billets: Naabtal Kaserne
5./FmRgt 31 inactivated July 1983 as GEADGE is implemented throughout southern Germany.
Rotenburg/Fulda -


Rotenburg/Fulda (18./FmRgt 32 1970s) - (information courtesy - Norbert Rueckel)
DEST D1 Schenklengsfeld
DEST D2 Heidelstein
DEST D3 Trappstadt/Eyershausen
DEST D4 Coburg

Naila (16./FmRgt32; 1970s) -
Frankenwaldkaserne, Naila
DEST E1 Geroldsgrün
DEST E2 Selb
DEST E3 Mähring
DEST E4 Moosbach

Burglengenfeld (17./FmRgt32; 1970s maybe) -
DEST F1 Furth im Walde
DEST F2 Kirchdorf im Walde
DEST F3 Philippsreuth
DEST F4 Passau





2. LwDiv

4. LwDiv


Fm Rgt 31

Fm Rgt 32

Fm Rgt 33

Fm Rgt 34

German Radar Units
Unit Histories


2. Luftwaffendivision (4 ATAF)

4. Luftwaffendivision (2 ATAF)

FmRgt 31 - Messtetten - Freising - Großer Arber

FmRgt 32 - Birkenfeld - Lauda - Wasserkuppe - Döbraberg

FmRgt 33 - Uedem - Auenhausen

FmRgt 34 - Brockzetel - Brekendorf - Visselhövede
Does anybody have a copy of a 4. LwDiv Unit History that they could scan and send to me?

Fernmelderegiment 31

FmRgt 31 Organization

Gen George Eade, USAF, Deputy CINCUSEUCOM, 1973
CRC Sweet Apple (Meßstetten) - Brief history

May 1958
-- Formation of the German Luftwaffe Radarflugmeldeabteilung 312 in Lechfeld

Feb 1959 -- Radarflugmeldeabteilung 312 is moved to Ulm

Sep 1959 -- Unit takes over operation of the Radar Post Türkheim from the 616th ACWSq (US Air Force)

1960 - 1964 -- Construction of the command bunker Martin

Jan 1962 -- Radarflugmeldeabteilung 312 is redesignated as I./Fernmelderegiment 31

31 Aug 1964 -- CRC Meßstetten begins operations with the 412L System

Feb 1984 -- Operation of the 412L System is discontinued; begin of transition to the GEADGE (German Air Defence Ground Environment) System

Jan 1986 -- CRC Meßstetten back in operation, this time with the GEADGE System

Oct 1989 -- I./FmRgt 31 is redesignated as Radarführungsabteilung 24

22 Apr 1993 -- The detachment, Abgesetzter Technischer Zug 223, in Birkenfeld is subordinated to Messtetten

May 1998 -- Bunker Martin is temporarily closed for renovations

29 May 2000 -- Operations strat up again in the renovated Bunker

1 Apr 2004 -- Begin of reorganization and restructuring under the new Einsatzführungsbereich 1 und merger of missions of various units being inactivated

1 Oct 2004 -- Formation and activation of Einsatzführungsbereich 1.

(Source: Email from Werner Menzel, FmRgt 31)
By chance I happened to find your site on the Internet. I might have some answers for your questions, respectively even new information.

- The predecessor of BURGLENGENFELD (initial callsign TRUMPET, operating unit 12./FmRgt 31) was located at REGENSBURG (last callsign MERCURY, USAF operating unit, shared with 13./FmRgt 31). Both sites were purely manual RPs. BURGLENGENFELD was later on equipped with some simple interface equipment to automatically report a very limited number of manually selected tracks to 412L, however, it never was a 412L site.

As GAF officer, I spent some time in Freising, Regensburg, Burglengenfeld, Giebelstadt and Birkenfeld: From 1963 to 1966 in operations and then as member of SPATS and PCB until 1975 in programming. But I did not see the end of 412L, because I wound up in the NATO Programming Centre, first as military and later as civilian.

CRC's and Bunkers

Börfink Bunker - Cutaway view
There were two standardised types of bunkers in the 412L area. Freising and Lauda had the smaller version and Messstetten and Börfink the larger one. The operations room had three or four rows of consoles, in the front surveillance and identification, then the weapons control positions (interceptor and Hawk), and the battle management in the back.
Typically, each CRC site was run by a battalion size organization (Abteilung, named with roman numbers) with:
- the headquarter company (Stabskompanie) executing administrative functions,
- the operational company (Radarflugmelde- und Leitkompanie) to which all ops room personnel were assigned,
- the technical company (Fernmeldetechnische Kompanie) for all radar, telephone, computer technicians etc belonged.

Some of these "battalions" had extra companies assigned that operated small remote sites:
- at RP Mercury a company that consisted of a mix of administrative, operational and technical personnel,
- at RP Trumpet another company that consisted of a similar mix of personnel.

All 412L sites had multiple duplex interfaces and reported not only to their parent site (only SOC-3 Kindsbach was in receive-only mode). In the last years of the system basically everyone in the system saw everything, the airpicture was almost common in the system.

Crosstelling was performed in different ways:
- automatically through correlation with predefined areas,
- semi-automatic by manual operator action (forcetell),
- by voice to the non-computerised world.

The purpose of Crosstell was to
- hand over a track to a neighbouring site upon change in track production area,
- assisting remote sites in tracking objects in areas of poor coverage by the remote radar,

I remember only few x-tell operators (one or two) at work (in Freising) and their importance diminished as the system developed. Towards the end of 412L there was one huge area only and every 412L site essentially reported everything they could track. Some kind of filtering was conducted only in the data exchange with the "outside world".

SOC operations: Even when colocated with a CRC, operations were physically separated in different rooms, however, the SOC (or alternate SOC) staff could see the large light wave produced general situation display through the windows in the back of the CRC ops room.

SOC-4 (Drachenbronn, France)
SOC-4 (Rampart) was in control of the southern sector (of FOURATAF) until the French quit the military integration (1966/67). However, they never interrupted air defense integration or crosstell and with 412L (Tactical Air Control System) and Strida (French equivalent of the 412L) being operational, even automated data exchange started (Link 1 running at 600 bits/sec, to my knowledge via DBP landlines and/or microwave connections). As far as crosstell was concerned, one could consider their colocated CRC as an extension of 412L. From the 412L side, track production in France as not transparent, initially all other French AD sites ran still manual. In conjunction with radar alignment problems I managed to visit D/B once in the early '70s, but operational aspects were of lesser importance then to me.

As far as maybe a French detachment being assigned/attached to the CRC atFreising, I am not aware of any French at Freising. I do think there were French liaison officers at the larger bunkers (alternate SOC role).

CRC Freising
My assignments at Freising, Regensburg and even partially at Burglengenfeld fell into the pre-412L time with strictly manual operations. During that time there were 412L system acceptance tests and demos going in the new bunker, but I was never involved in those events. Actually, I saw the new site only about 10 years later. If I remember right, the manual operations site and the radars were colocated. Also, I believe that the 604th ACWS (at Freising) was in the process of pulling out or had pulled out already.

The new bunker (FRIDOLIN) was built at a location different from the manual site. I am not sure whether the location of the manual site was reused as new radar location.

Radar coverage was oriented mainly east and north towards the Warsaw Pact area and not so much to neutral Austria. The responsibility of each CRC/RP site varied with the operational status of the neighbours. At some time in the 1970s, there was a master site concept introduced, which allowed one site to run essential functions like ID in a centralised mode. Thus, one site could take over most of the functions while the others only acted as RPs.

RP Mercury at Regensburg was like the old manual CRP Freising non-hardened and operated in a better type of tent colocated with the search and heightfinder radars. RP Trumpet at Burglengenfeld was hardened and operated in a small bunker separated from search and height finders. Trumpet was part of the early warning radar concept. Both RPs were in principle organised like all sites, indians up front and chiefs in the back row(s).

Initially both RPs reported to Freising (Racecard) manually through voicetell, later on Trumpet used some special equipment where the operator could manually trigger transmission of a limited number of tracks to the parent site where the data were automatically merged into the air picture.
I suppose that both sites had to cover the ADIZ and certainly the CSSR. Trumpet as EW site should have reported especially east block activities higher up, directly to the EW Cell at ADOC (?) level, but to my knowledge, this connection was never established.

When I arrived (at Regensburg - JAN 1964), the USAF personnel had already left. Regensburg was a very small manual RP which stopped operations shortly after I arrived. Mmost of the GAF personnel were transferred to Freising. The equipment at Regensburg was outdated and probably was scrapped. I believe that at Freising newer equipment was installed along with the introduction of 412L.

CRC Giebelstadt
CRC Giebelstadt (Wheaties) ran 412L in a non-hardened tent-type site situated right next to the runway. They shut down operations in the third quarter of 1968. The equipment received new cabling and was moved to CRC Lauda (Batman) and installed there.

A condemned WW II aircraft hangar on the airbase housed another 412L system which was used by SPATS for software testing and analysis. It was mounted on a handful of truck trailers sitting in the middle of this huge building. Due to the very bad state of the roof, entry was really forbidden by the German base administration authorities. Therefore everyone that had business there was obliged to wear the hard hat (which conflicted also with other regulations about work on electric equipment).

By the way, some interesting details:
- This SPATS equipment had spent some time in West-Berlin on Tempelhof airbase before and was moved to Börfink (Hardtire) afterwards.
- Giebelstadt was one of the locations Gary Powers ad friends used as one of their operating bases for their U-2 missions.
- During WW II Giebelstadt was also one of (two?) German jet fighter bases (protection of the ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt).

Giebelstadt's callsign was Wheaties (Dora probably was the pre-412L callsign). Wasserkuppe and Döbraberg sound correct.

The problem with callsigns is that you have to differentiate between manual pre-412L and automated 412L times.

CRC Meßstetten
I think this is correct. Manual CP (?) Türkheim (Joplin) shut down approximately when CRC Messstetten (Strawbasket) opened.

System Programming, Analysis and Testing Site (SPATS), mission maintenance and support of 412L software under USAF commander
1965 General Electrics as contractor with USAF military support
1966 WESTREX as contractor with USAF military support
1967 arrival of GAF military liaison officer and
1968 purely military unit

Locatation: 1965 to Sep 1968 in Giebelstadt and Oct 1968 to Oct 1973 in Börfink with increasing GAF and decreasing USAF staffing (RIF programme) as majority of 412L sites becomes German change in name/command; to Programming Center Birkenfeld (PCB) mission still maintenance and support of 412L software, GAF commander, USAF deputy located: Nov 1973 to ... in Börfink, ... to 412L phase-out in Birkenfeld

From 412L to GEADGE to NADGE
Some history: For deployment in 4ATAF area 412L (GE) and STRIDA (FR) were developed more or less in parallel and became operational at a time where 2ATAF (BE, northern GE, NL), 5ATAF (IT) and 6ATAF (GR, TU) conducted operations still manually.

NADGE was in a planning stage with implementation scheduled for 1972. Three nations (BE, GE and NL) did not want to wait that long and decided to go for GFN as NADGE forerunner. I believe GFN was chosen, because 412L had too many unresolved problems. GFN became operational in 1968 and its software was maintained by the newly established tri-national Programming and Training Centre (PTC) in Glons/BE.

When NADGE implementation started in 1972, the NATO Programming Centre (NPC) took over the PTC facility and started maintenance of GFN and NADGE. The PTC training component moved to Erndtebrück/GE as tri-national International Training Centre (ITC). Around 1977 the GFN software was replaced with an especially to GFN hardware adapted version of NADGE software.

In the early 1980s hardware maintainance costs for a 412L site reached more than 2000 % of those of a typical NADGE site. So the GEADGE development was decided.

In parallel the Airborne Early Warning Ground Environment Integration Segment (AEGIS) was developed and implemented, while GEADGE - due to contractor errors - had to restart from scratch. Many NADGE sites were upgraded to NAEGIS sites and even GEADGE was finally introduced as GEAEGIS.

While SPATS, PTC, PCB etc have disappeared, NPC is still alive and busy with maintenance of the successors of above systems (http://www.npc.nato.int) and involved in design, development, testing, and implementation of a future system (http://www.x-software.com/de/References/acsiAccsLoc1.html)

Fernmelderegiment 32
(Source: 25 Jahre Fernmelderegiment 32, Informationsschrift für Gäste und Soldaten, Verlag D. Fölbach, Oct 1988)

FmRgt 32 Organization
Fernmelderegiment 32

Fixed Radar Sites
FmRgt 32


1. Wasserkuppe, early 1970s (119 KB) 

2. Close up of the 'Kuppe, early 1970s (189 KB)

3. Döbraberg, late 1960s
(169 KB)

4. CRC Lauda, 1969

5. CRC Lauda, 1969

6. Radome at Lauda, 1969

7. Tauberfranken Kaserne, Lauda, 1969

8. 3rd Company, FmRgt 32, Lauda, 1969

9. GEADGE at Lauda, 1980s

(Source: Email from Rodrigo Gebhard, Germany)
I am submitting some images (Images #4-6, above) I took while visiting the "Batman" radar site at Lauda. The site is located near the village of Löffelstelzen, north of Bad Mergentheim and about 6 km southeast of Lauda. At that time, the radar site was equipped with the AN/FPS-3 (?) search radar, one AN/FPS-6 heigtht finder and an AN/FPS-6C height finder radar. These had been relocated from the inactivated Giebelstadt radar site (callsign: "Weaties").

I am also including two photos of the German kaserne at Lauda, also taken in 1969. 3rd Co, (2nd Bn,) FmRgt 32 was the operations unit. I also served with that unit at one time.

(Source: Email from Chris Neckermann, CRC Lauda and CRC Meßstetten)
I am with the German Air Force and was previously based at CRC Lauda from 1997 till the location was closed as full ops CRC in 2002 - the Fighter section was closed on 01. April 2002. It was finally closed (Surveillance) in October 2004. 

Some information, missing at Page 2 4ATAF ADOC--
The callsign of CRC Lauda was BATMAN. The CRC got the callsign STRAWBASKET in 1973 and was finally  renamed BATMAN in 1977. 

The bunker was conducted by GAF / US in 1967 / 1968 and operational in 1968.
 Before we left our CRC a unit history (Chronik) was created by a Senior Master Seag., member of our Weapons Section and one of our finest and most experienced fighter controllers. If you are interessted in detailled facts and figures concerning CRC Lauda "BATMAN", I can mail these to you.

I will put online the "reunion HP" of the GCI - Tigers BATMAN in the near future on the internet and will mail the link to you ASAP, if you are interessted.

Fernmelderegiment 33

Fernmelderegiment 34