Heeresversuchsstelle Kummersdorf

Built: 1875

Abandoned: 1992

Visited: 2008

Kummersdorf, Germany

Until 1945 Kummersdorf hosted the weapon office of the German Army. It was a development centre for future weapons, and also an artillery range. On June 28, 1875 the German government signed a contract with the forest service of Prussia on the transfer of the land near the village of Kummersdorf for a future test range. It was also decided that a special military railway was built to connect the site with Berlin-Schöneberg. It was to be maintained by special railway troops. The 45,5 kilometer line was officially opened in 1875, with two trains running daily between the range and the city. Not restricted to military operations, the service was opened to the general public.


In the meantime, the artillery test range near Kummersdorf grew during the 1880s, extending around 13 kilometers through an uninhabited pine forest. The site was further expanded at the beginning of the 20th century to accommodate testing of the newest weapons in the run up to the First World War. Among them the infamous Big Berta gun and bomb-carrying airships. By the end of the 1920s, the German military eyed Kummersdorf as proving grounds for yet another type of promising technology: the rocket. An Army research group established in Kummersdorf in 1932 developed the liquid propellant rockets type A1, A2 and A3 there. On 16 July 1934 Dr. Kurt Wahmke and 2 assistants were killed and another assistant injured during a fuel test of a premixed hydrogen peroxide/alcohol propellant when the fuel tank exploded.


The facility was too limited for advanced motor and flight testing, so in 1936 the group (now also supported by the Luftwaffe) moved to a site at Peenemünde on the island of Usedom on the Baltic coast which offered much greater space and secrecy. After 1938 Kummersdorf was used for nuclear research. After the Second World War the Russian army took over the site. The site is abandoned since 1992.

Also check my report of the nearby Flugplatz Sperenberg. Today, both sites are under protection of the Museum Kummersdorf.

Photos Heeresversuchsstelle Kummersdorf


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