Bernburg Facility Layout, July 1943
The built-up of the Bernburg airfield started in 1935. It was intended as a Luftwaffe fighter base for I. Jagdgruppe 232. On 18th April 1936 the airfield was officially opened.
In 1936 discussions about the future production structure of Junkers Flugzeugwerke took place. It was defined, that several decentralized facilities will be responsible for the production of major aircraft components, i.e. wings, fuselage, tails. Bernburg got a special role in this network as the final assembly line. All other socalled Junkers-Zweigwerke sent their components to Bernburg, where the aircraft completion and first flight were performed. A hangar area of 2,2 million squere metres were available at Bernburg, but just 3000 people were busy here with the final assembly.
Already in February 1937 initial works started to built the new Junkers facility at Bernburg and in October 1937 the first aircraft, a Junkers Ju52 left the workshops. Three hangars were built in 1937 and 1938, two larger hangars of 16 metres height, 121 metres length and a depth of 76 metres with a total area of 11188 sqm. The smaller third hangar had a size of 12 metres height, 81 metres length and 48 metres depth with 5120 sqm.
From the beginning Bernburg was not only intended as a component producer, but also as a final assembly shop for the Ju88 production. Therefore several smaller aircraft production lines were initiated at Bernburg in 1937/38 to gain experience:
Junkers Ju52, since 1937 to May 1944 total of 2084 aircraft
Heinkel He111, in 1938 total of 40 aircraft
Junkers Ju87, since 1938 to 1940 a total of 257 aircraft
Junkers Ju88, since 1938 to April 1945 total of 6766 aircraft
Junkers Ju188, since Nov. 1942 to July 1944 total of 599 aircraft
Mistelgespann, since Jan. 1945 to April 1945
Heinkel He162, since March 1945 to April 1945 total of 29 aircraft
Since October 1938 the Junkers Zweigwerk Bernburg took over the complete responsibility for the technical and economical control of the Ju88 production within the Junkers consortium as well as the license manufacturers of the Ju88. With the breakout of WWII the Luftwaffe left Bernburg and the airfield became a total company airfield of Junkers Bernburg in January 1940. A large maintenance hangar and six additional aircraft hangars as well as 20 buildings were taken over by Junkers from Luftwaffe.
Final Ju88 Assembly at Bernburg
However, due to the massive extension of the Ju88 production since the beginning of WWII the additional facilities became to small again. Therefore parts of the Bernburg production was transfered to the Luftwaffe Airfield of Fritzlar since 15th September 1941 and to the Luftwaffe Airfiled Gotha in 1942. Major impacts on the Bernburg production arise with the upcoming bombings of the Allied Air Forces in 1944:
massive impact on facility, night fighter production stopped for four month
11.04.1944 by 392nd/446th Bomb Group
two bombers were shot down, the hangar and runway were hit by bombs
29.06.1944 by 446th Bomb Group
no bombers shot down, hits on the airfield
07.07.1944 by 392nd Bomb Group
five bombers shot down
The following images were released by the U.S. Government during the last years. The show surveyer photos of the Bernburg airfield following the 11th April 1944 attack.
East area of the Junkers facility with Hangar 200
Bernburg Junkers Facilities 12. Apr. 1944
These images were kindly supplied by Byron Blake. He is researching the crashes of the two Liberators during the April 1944 attack at Bernburg. If you are interested to assist him, please email him!
On 12th April 1945 the Bernburg airfield was occupied by U.S. forces, but on 21st July 1945 the area was handed over to the Soviet troops. During the following five years the complete Bernburg workshops were demounted and send to Russia. In 1950 nearly nothing was left at the former airfield. In 1957 the Bernburg Highschool was built at the former airfield site.