RAF Laarbruch


RAF Laarbruch
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Weeze, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany
A Panavia Tornado GR1 of No. 16 Squadron which was based at Laarbruch between 1958 and 1991.
A Panavia Tornado GR1 of No. 16 Squadron. The unit was based at Laarbruch between 1958 and 1991.
RAF Laarbruch badge.jpg
RAF Laarbruch is located in Germany
RAF Laarbruch
RAF Laarbruch
Shown within Germany
Coordinates51°36′09″N 06°08′32″E / 51.60250°N 6.14222°E / 51.60250; 6.14222Coordinates: 51°36′09″N 06°08′32″E / 51.60250°N 6.14222°E / 51.60250; 6.14222
TypeRoyal Air Force station
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence (UK)
OperatorRoyal Air Force
Controlled byBritish Forces Germany
Site history
Built1945 (1945)
In use1945 (1945) – 30 October 1999 (1999-10-30)
FateTransferred to civilian use and became Weeze Airport in 2003.
Airfield information
IdentifiersIATA: LRC, ICAO: ETUL (EDUL pre 1 Jan 1995), WMO: 10405
Direction Length and surface
09/27 2,440 metres (8,005 ft) Concrete/asphalt

Royal Air Force Laarbruch, more commonly known as RAF Laarbruch ICAO EDUL (from 1 January 1995 ETUL) was a Royal Air Force station, a military airfield, located in Germany on its border with the Netherlands. The Station's motto was Eine feste Burg (German for 'A Mighty Fortress').[1]

The site now operates as the civilian Weeze Airport, in the Lower Rhine region of Germany. The airport also happens to be less commonly known as Niederrhein Airport."EAD Basic". www.ead.eurocontrol.int. Retrieved 21 October 2019.


The British army built Advanced Landing Ground Goch (B-100) during World War II in preparation for the final push across the Rhine River in early 1945. The infrastructure was straightforward and simple: a 3,600 feet (1,100 m) PSP runway with a parallel 3,000 feet (910 m) grass emergency runway, refuelling was done with jerrycans, and there was enough space for two complete Wings.

It was only used between 4 March and late April. The first unit to fly from the airfield was No. 662 Squadron RAF operating Taylorcraft Auster, who remained at the airfield until 24 March. They were followed by the British 121 Wing (20 March), operating the Hawker Typhoon. Ten days later the Canadian No. 143 Wing joined them. The Hawker Typhoons of 121 Wing were exchanged for the Supermarine Spitfires of Canadian No. 127 Wing by mid-April, but by the end of that month all Wings had left. This ended the use of B-100 airfield.

In 1954 Royal Air Force Germany (RAFG) rebuilt the World War II airfield, with a 2,565 meters (8,415 ft) runway, as RAF Laarbruch due to the outbreak of the Cold War. Laarbruch was home to various first-line squadrons, including No. 2 Squadron RAF flying the F-4 Phantom II and later the Jaguars; and 15 and 16 Squadrons flying BAe Buccaneers. These squadrons all moved onto the Tornado with four squadrons (2, 15, 16,and 20) resident. 25 Squadron's 'C' Flight was also located at Laarbruch, equipped with the Bristol Bloodhound surface to air missile system.

After the first Gulf War, many of the squadrons were relocated, No. 2 Sqn going back to RAF Marham; and 15, 16, and 20 becoming reserve squadrons. When RAF Gütersloh closed, the Harriers of No. 3 Squadron RAF and No. 4 Squadron RAF squadrons moved in along with the helicopters of 18(B) Squadron. Laarbruch was also home to 1 and 26 Squadron RAF Regiment. 18 Squadron returned to RAF Odiham in 1997 with the remaining Harrier squadrons departing to RAF Cottesmore in 1999.

After closing in 1999 the airfield found a new civilian lease of life as the budget airline airport Flughafen Niederrhein (Lower Rhine Airport), now known as Airport Weeze after the nearest large settlement. Civil operations began in May 2003.

Laarbruch squadrons

See also



  1. ^ "Stations-L". www.rafweb.org. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  2. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 35.
  3. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 46.
  4. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 49.


  • RAF Laarbruch
  • Jefford, C.G. (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

External links

  • Royal Air Force Museum Laarbruch Weeze
  • More information about RAF Laarbruch
  • Station Commanders 1954–1999
  • Laarbruch Flying Club