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Military training ground

Description

The Elsenborn military training ground was established for the Prussian Army in 1894. At that time, Elsenborn was part of the Prussian Rhine province and thus also part of the German Empire. The first soldiers were garrisoned in tents and with village farmers until, as from 1895, the ‘Elsenborn camp' developed with various buildings: living quarters and dormitories, stables, a post office, feed barns for the animals, a bath house etc. At times, there were up to 5000 soldiers and 1500 horses accommodated here. From 1895 to 1939 the camp was connected to Sourbrodt station by a narrow-gauge railway. It was mainly used for the transportation of oats, barley and straw for the horses, and the conveyance of the soldiers who went to the shops and taverns in nearby Sourbrodt. Today's connecting road between Elsenborn and Kalterherberg (D) was built as a by-pass between 1913 and 1915. During the First World War, Russian prisoners were among those deployed as labourers in the building of the road. The original direct route through the training ground is still clearly visible today. The military training ground lies to the north of the village of Elsenborn. It has an area of 28 km² and is one of the Belgian armed forces’ largest training grounds. That military use has caused the spreading of fertilisers and the reforestation of the heath with spruces to be prohibited. These circumstances and the controlled fires which are allowed to burn on a regular basis have ensured that the spignel meadows and heathland, typical 200 years ago of all the villages in the Hocheifel, have been conserved. Numerous species of plant and animal have found a refuge here.

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Contact details

Military training ground
Lagerstraße
4750 Elsenborn