The troop training area
In 1936, the XII Army Corps was scheduled to build a military training ground. After considering several proposals, the decision was made for the area north and northeast of Baumholder. This site on the watershed between Glan and Nahe was agriculturally low-yielding and, due to its topography and a small population, was suitable for the purpose of creating the largest military training area in Germany with approx. 11,000 hectares. In order to do so, 13 villages and 14 farms and mills had to be evacuated and 842 families with 4060 people had to be relocated.
On March 18, 1945, the military training area was occupied by American troops and handed over to the French armed forces for use and administration in the same year. The troop camp was designated as a garrison for the 2nd U.S. Panzer Division in 1951, and an extensive construction program began to house family members and military personnel. The Aulenbach camp is built for the French command and the practicing troops. In 1957, the 2nd U.S. Panzer Division was replaced by the 8th Infantry Division.
In March 1960, the Bundeswehr took command of the military training ground from the French. The German command moved to the Aulenbach camp, and the Americans remained in their area.
German troops use the military training area primarily for practice and shooting in connection with the artillery school in Idar-Oberstein. In Baumholder, the headquarters of the U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder, which is responsible for the administration of the U.S. site, and the Combat Unit of the 170th Army are located in Baumholder. Infantry Brigade.
In addition to its function as a training ground for soldiers, the Baumholder military training area also has a special significance for nature conservation and landscape conservation. The area size, the ban on grazing, the lack of intensive land management as well as decades of near-natural terrain management led to the conservation and the establishment of particularly valuable biotopes and the retreat of a large number of endangered animal and plant species.
The military training area continues to be the largest employer for Baumholder and the surrounding area, despite the effects of the post-Cold War troop reduction.