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

Wilamowo

20-01-2012


1774

54°02'59"N 021°25'34"E

runway: 16/34 - 1105x80m - grass
runway: 10/28 - 900x50m - concrete (CLOSED)
runway: 14/32 - 1150x50m - concrete (CLOSED)
runway: 07/25 - 550x50m - grass (CLOSED)
runway: 14/32 - 600x50m - grass (CLOSED)

Wilamowo airfield (polish: Lotnisko Wilamowo or Lotnisko Kętrzyn Wilamowo, formerly known in german as Flugplatz Rastenburg or Flugplatz Wolfsschanze, ICAO: EPKE) is an airfield 205 kilometers north of Warsaw.
The airfield was built as a general aviation airfield in 1935. In July 1940 the decesion was taken to build Hitler's secret headquarters nearby - the Wolf's Lair, or in german: Die Wolfsschanze. It featured about 200 buildings: Bunkers, barracks, power plants a railway station and two airfields.
One airfield was suitable for Fieseler Storch aircraft only, and was located just outside the compound. Wilamowo airfield was the second airfield.

In December 1941 the new lenghtened runways reopened, designed for transport aircraft such as the Ju-52/3m and the Focke-Wulf FW-200 Condor. On 8 February 1942 the plane carrying the minister for armaments of the Third Reich Fritz Todt (of Organisation Todt) crashed at the airport, killing the minister. Claus von Stauffenberg flew from the airfield to Berlin in a He-111 only minutes after his failed attempt to kill Hitler with a bomb.
Having spent a total of 800 days at Die Wolfsschanze, Hitler left Die Wolfsschanze from the airport for the last time on 20 January 1944. Preparations to demolish the complex began the same day. The complex was blown up on 24 January 1945, requiring up to 12 tons of explosives for the largest structures. The Red Army took the complex 2 days later without firing a single shot.

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No photos have been located

The Soviet Red Army used the abandoned airfield throughout 1945. German citizens from the region were expelled and replaced with Poles. The German town of Rastenburg was renamed Rastembork. In 1950 the town was renamed again, this time to Kętrzyn, after the Masurian activist Wojciech Kętrzyński. 
It took 10 years to clear the area around the Wolfs Lair of mines. The final one was removed in 1955, by which time 54,000 mines had been cleared.
On 11 June 1973 the Kętrzyn Aeroclub, part of the Aeroclub of Poland, was set up at the airfield. The Farm Mechanization School, specializing in teaching cropdusting techniques, was set up at Karolewo in 1976. Their students used the Aviation Institute's Experimental Centre 'Agrolot'. Ten years after it was founded the Kętrzyn Aeroclub disbanded. Lack of aeroclub activities and members, as well as the absence of interest of local authorities in its operations were reportedly to blame. The airfield slowly fell into disrepair and nearly disappeared from Poland's aviation maps.

After the fall of Socialism and the Warsaw Pact the airfield initially remained abandoned. Under tender the airport was sold to private citizens in 1998. On 4 September 1998 the founders of the current aeroclub met for the first time. Two weeks later the Aeroclub of Poland approved their application to reactivate the Kętrzyn Aeroclub. It was to emerge under a new name: Aeroklb Krainy Jezior, or the Lakeland Aeroclub. The airfield was reactivated in August of 1999, and has since become very active.

Aerial photography from 2007 (Google Earth) shows that the airfield had two grass runways (17/35 and 15/33). These have since been merged into a single 16/34 grass runway of greater length. Also visible are two concrete runways dating back to World War II, but the airfields procedures clearly state these are no longer servicable. A closer look at the photos reveals two more runways once existed. The ground shows discoloration of the same width as the World War II runways along two lines: 14/32 (600x70m) and 07/25 (500x50m). Also visible are concrete taxi tracks to the south and east of the runways.
On the north side of the airfield a hangar and a station (both still in use) building are present. Their building style suggests both are of German origin. North of the airfield two platforms, several revetted dispersals and connecting taxi tracks also still exist.

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Former Luftwaffe hangar in 2010 (Panoramio).

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A retired MiG-21 and a retired Mi-4 helicopter in front of the airfield tower in 2010 (Panoramio).

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Aerial photo of the airfield in 2007 (Google Earth)

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Map op the airstrip in 2011

more photos



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