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After an original idea by Paul Freeman.
First published 7 Nov 2010. This collection of airfields is © 2010 - 2018 RonaldV




50°28'42"N 008°38'26"E

runway: ../.. - ...x..m - grass (?)

Air field Kirch-Göns was an airfield 40 kilometers north of Frankfurt, Germany
The airfield was built as an Einsatzhafen (operational field) for the Luftwaffe late in World War II. Not much can be found on line about the airfield. It was used as one of many 'Defense of the Reich' airfields in late 1944 however. At the airfield one of the JG2 'Richthofen' Staffeln (squadrons) was based. JG2 was based at Merzhausen and Nidda, with its squadrons dispersed over several neighbouring airfields.

No photos of the former airfield while in use have been located

By late December 1944 the Allied air forces had been bombing German industry almost non stop for about a year. As a result morale in the Luftwaffe was falling because of shortages in spares, fuel, aircraft and personnel. About 80% of German fighter pilots were operating over the Reich, and they were overwhelmed by an about 10:1 ratio. On 24 December 1944 the Allied offensive reached an all time high when about 1400 bombers and 700 fighter aircraft were assigned to strike targets in the Frankfurt area. It was to be the largest attack force ever launched, and it proved to be one of the worst days in Luftwaffe history.
Kirch-Göns was on the target list and the attacks proved so heavy that not a single JG2 fighter in the area managed to get airborne. About 70% of the aircraft were destroyed on the ground in the first bomber wave. In total the Luftwaffe lost over 12% (one in every 8) of its pilots: 81 were killed, another 21 wounded. A week later, on 1 January 1945 a severely weakened JG2 managed to participate in Operation Bodenplatte. This operation proved to be disastrous for the Luftwaffe too, and the Luftwaffe seized to be an effective fighting force.

After the war the completely destroyed airfield became a US Army garrisson by the name of Ayers Kaserne. It was more commonly known as 'the Rock' by its personnel. The barracks was home to 1st Brigade and 3rd Armoured Division, with 7,000 soldiers and 350 armoured vehicles. Occasionally it was visited by USArmy helicopters such as AH-1 Cobras and OH-58 Kiowas.
During the Gulf War of 1991 the barracks was completely emptied (save for a watch at the gate) as both personnel and armour were shipped to the Persian Gulf.
In 1995 the 284 Base Support Batallion in Gießen received orders from the Pentagon to empty the Ayers Kaserne and return it to the German state. The armoured units were withdrawn to Gießen in an effort to keep this logistical site available. The terrain was converted into a logistical center from 2003.
The munitions bunkers have not been torn down however, because endangered species had occupied them during the few years the installation had been abandoned. Instead they were covered and closed, to allow the animals to be left undisturbed.

A Kiowa and three Cobras in a snow covered field on "The Rock", ca. 1979 (source).

Ayers Kaserne, ca. 1985 (Wikipedia).

The former airfield ca 2000, 5 years after the US Army had left.