Many European forests still retain memories of World War II and the Cold War. One of them is in Aachen.
That German city is located on the border with Belgium and Luxembourg, and was the scene of a bloody battle between German and American forces in the fall of 1944. Both sides used tanks in that battle, at a very decisive point, since the Siegfried Line passed through there, a network of land defenses that covered the western border of Germany from the north of the Netherlands to Switzerland, and which included hundreds of kilometers of anti-tank obstacles known as "dragon's teeth." After numerous casualties on both sides, US forces were victorious.
In the years following the end of the war, the Belgian Army had a base in this city as an occupying force, called Camp Astrid and located to the east of the city, in the Propsteier forest. Belgium transferred this base to the West German Army in 1956, a year after its creation. The Donnerberg Barracks of the German Army is still there. Near the base there is a maneuvering field with an area of 224.9 hectares, used for years by the German Army Technical School, which is based in Aachen.
Although this field is little used today, it is still a military zone and access to it is prohibited when there are military exercises. In the field there are several abandoned tanks and an armored transport vehicle, as shown in this video published yesterday by Randomlife.official (the video is in German, you can activate the automatic subtitles in English in the bottom bar of the player):
You can see some screenshots from the video here. Here we see one of the three M-47 Patton tanks that are abandoned in this forest. The West German Army was one of the largest operators of this tank, of which it received 1,120 units, many of which They were transferred to Portugal and Turkey after their withdrawal from service. In the tank in the image you can still distinguish the Iron Cross, the emblem of the German Army, on the turret.
Another of the abandoned M-47s on the Propsteier forest maneuvering range.
An M-41 Walker Bulldog light tank. It's the only M-41 in this forest. This model was the first tank used by the West German Army after its creation in 1955.West Germany received 50 of these tanks. Some of them later ended up in the Spanish Army.
A Schützenpanzer Lang HS.30 armored car. It was developed by Hispano-Suiza in the 1950s. West Germany operated more than 2,100 units, being replaced by the Marder infantry fighting vehicle in the 1970s.
Finally, a line of dragon teeth, the anti-tank defenses of the Siegfried Line. These defenses were hundreds of kilometers long.
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