runway: 04/22 - 780x30m - grass
runway: 07/25 - 2500x60m - concrete (CLOSED)
runway: 07/25 - 2500x75m - grass (CLOSED)
runway: 07/25 - 360x30m - concrete
runway: 07/25 - 460x50m - grass
Zerbst airfield (Flugplatz Zerbst, also known as Fliegerhorst Zerbst, ICAO: EDUZ) is an airfield 100 kilometers southwest of Berlin.
The airfield was built between 1936 and 1937 for the Luftwaffe. On 1 July 1938 Zerbst became the home for the II Gruppe of JG137 (Jagdgeschwader 137), consisting of 3 Staffeln (squadrons) of Arado Ar-68E. Soon they converted to Messerschmidt Bf-109Ds. On 1 November 1938 the Gruppe was renumbered to II./JG231 and relocated to Bernburg.
no photos of the airfield during the Nazi regime have been found
During World War II the airfield was mostly quiet, until late in the war. In October the airfield became the ground of Jagdfliegerschule (Fighter Training School) 2. In the fall of 1944 the airfield received a hardened 2000m runway and dispersals for a new type of aircraft. In early 1945 Zerbst became one of the first airbases in the world to operate jet fighters. On 31 March 1945 ten Me-262 of KG(J)54 flew a mission against a USAAF B-24 formation approaching Halle. A day later they operated as fighterbombers near Fulda with 8 aircraft. In ever increasing numbers (up to 16 at a time) they continued missions against USAAF bomber and fighter formations. The missions were all in vain though.
The U.S. 83rd Division took Zerbst and the airfield on 28 April 1945. A day later they encountered the Red Army only kilometers away. On 1 May 1945 Gen. Robert Macon informed the Soviet regional commander his troops would withdraw behind the Elbe line to prevent confusion between U.S. and Soviet forces. The Soviets then took command over Zerbst airfield.
The Soviets never left the airfield after World War II until the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain. They repaired and expanded the airfield over the decades. In 1952 they lengthened the runway to 2500m. The 126 Fighter Aviation Divisions' (Russian: 126-я истребительная авиационная дивизия) 35 IAP (Fighter Aviation regiment, russian: 35-й истребительный авиационный полк) operated MiG-15s from Zerbst between 1951 and 1954. They converted to the MiG-17F/PF in 1954, which they flew until 1958. Yak-25M 'Flashlights' joined the unit in 1955. The 'Frescos' were replaced with 36 MiG-19P/PM/S 'Farmers' in 1958.
In 1964 the MiG-19s intercepted and shot down an unarmed RB-66 reconnaissance aircraft that had strayed 20 kilometers into East-German air space. The RB-66 belonged to 10TRW/19TRS at Toul-Rosieres AB in France.
MiG-19P at Zerbst in 1964 (crimso.msk.ru).
Two Yak-28P 'Firebars' at Zerbst in 19around 1970 (foto.mail.ru).
In 1964 there was a lot of change at the airfield. Both the 'Flashlights' and the 'Farmers' were replaced, by Yak-28P 'Firebars' and 24 MiG-21F/PF "Fishbeds' respectively. Around 1968 20 aircraft shelters were built and a large hangar was built in 1970. The 'Fishbeds' were upgraded to newer MiG-21SMTs in 1972.
Around 1975 another 20 aircraft shelters were built. That same year saw the replacement of all aircraft types with a single type, the MiG-23M 'Flogger'.
The last type to operate from the airfield were 32 MiG-29A and -UB 'Fulcrum' introduced in 1987. They were augmented by 5 MiG-23UM trainers.
The Soviets withdrew from the airfield in the fall of 1992.
MiG-23M bort number 01 of the 3rd Squadron of the 35th IAP, serial number 03996, with a rare mix of weapons (2x Vympel R-23R, known as AA-7 'Apex' in the west, and 2x UB-16 rocket launcher) on display at Zerbst in August 1981 (airforce.ru).
A MiG-29 on the flight line in 1990 (8ung.at).
In 1999 the Zerbst aeroclub (Luftsportverein Zerbst) was founded. Until at least 2005 it used a 1300x25m section on the east side of the main runway. In 2011 a very small piece of the original 2500m runway was still being used, but the main runways is now a nearly 800m stretch of grass crossing the old main runway. Classified as a Sonderlandeplatz (special landing ground) under German law, it is strictly PPR.
While the airfield was completely clear of any obstructions, major portions were used for a solar power array in 2011. Most of the west and north side of the airfield will soon be covered by solar panels.
Approach map op the airfield in 2004 (airports-worldwide.com)
The airfield in 2000 (Google Earth)
2009 aerial photo of the airfield by fotos-aus-der-luft.de.
2011 Aerodrome chart of Sonderlandeplatz Zerbst (Luftsportverein Zerbst).
2011 aerial photo from the southwest showing a lot of photo-voltaic panels have shown up at the airfield (Andreas Zapf, via Panoramio).