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I&I 2011


BansheeOne

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I'm cross-posting this to the General FFZ since the I&I Information Center seems a little out of sight for the main traffic.

 

As noted on the I&I 2010 thread, it was there in the Kitsap Library's M47 motorpool that we held counsel and developed the understanding that our next meet should be in Berlin 2011 ...

 

 

TankNet's Berlin Cell, consisting of Dave Clark and me, is in charge of organisation. Ken Estes has already volunteered to help on the left side of the Atlantic.

 

I'll preface this by saying that due to overwhelming popular demand when we first offered this, we will definitely include a day trip to Munster for a visit to the armor museum, and maybe a little more ... after the Seattle program, we have a certain standard to live up to after all.

 

The following represents a first sketch of opportunities. It would help if people would indicate their specific interests and availabilities (and that pretty soon), since we will not be able to fit everything on the preliminary list into a couple days.

 

Time frame:

 

Since September seems to be the best time of the year for most TankNetters to attend an I&I, we suggest either the week from August 29th to September 4th, or from September 19th to 25th. HINT, HINT: Oktoberfest 2011 starts on September 17th in Munich. HINT, HINT. :)

 

Travel:

 

- Tegel Airport offers connections to most major European hubs as well as JFK and Newark, Tel Aviv, Doha, Bangkok and Peking. Inner-city site, transportation by TXL bus line that goes via Central Station to Alexanderplatz.

 

- Schönefeld Airport, currently undergoing upgrades to become the city's single airport Berlin-Brandenburg International in 2011, connections to Moscow and St. Petersburg, also a major base for low-cost airlines serving various European destinations. Transportation by S-Bahn (S 9 and S 45 feeding into the circle line), tariff zone C due to out-of-city site.

 

- Intercity, Eurocity and ICE high speed trains generally terminate at Berlin Central Station. Destinations include Copenhagen and Arhus (ICE 75 and 76), Shipol and Szczecin (ICE 77), Vienna and Budapest (EC 27), Warsaw and Krakow (EC 95 and 99), plus waggons for transnational connections into the fUSSR including the TransSib. Some of those also have stops at Spandau, Gesundbrunnen, Ostbahnhof or Südkreuz within the city.

 

Transportation:

 

Excellent public transportation net, unless the S-Bahn breaks down again because they got caught cutting corners in maintenance. You usually neither need nor want a car to move within the city. Day passes are € 6.10 for use of all S-Bahn, U-Bahn, tram and bus lines in tariff zones A and B until 0300 the next day. If we want to move into the boonies of the hinterlands, we’ll probably need to rent a coach with driver or one/two minibuses depending on group size (your limited to transporting eight passengers without a bus license in Germany). Robben & Wientjes is famous for their low rates in Berlin, though apparently you have to be a city resident to rent and drive their cars.

 

Accommodation:

 

Dave suggests the Holiday Inn Express on Stresemannstraße or the ETAP Hotel on Anhalter Straße. They are reasonably cheap, used to accommodating groups and also not too far away from the Potsdamer Platz/Friedrichstraße area (bars, cafes, restaurants etc.). Could accommodate one needy TankNetter on a double-wide sleeping couch myself.

 

Sights/Activities:

 

I could offer a tour of about two hours through the Reichstag and attendand office buildings on weekdays, proper work permitting. The Chancellor's Office across the street also has public tours, but this would need a little more preparation.

 

The Berlin dependency of the Ministry of Defense on the Bendlerblock offers briefings for visitor groups (including a small lunch if you get the noon slot), but from what I've heard the level is pretty much intended for the casual layman passing through the government institutions. Would have to be booked well in advance. Of course the block also contains part of the German Resistance Memorial Center centered around the yard where the 20th July conspirators were shot and open to the general public at no charge. Another piece of the areal is the brand-new Memorial to the Dead of the Bundeswehr.

 

The Bundeswehr’s Deployed Forces Command (Einsatzführungskommando) outside Potsdam offers a briefing similar to the MOD, but focussed on deployments and will adapt to specific topics requested. I talked to them just now, and they also do it in English; about three months are advised for booking prior to desired date. Enroute to Potsdam is the Glienicke Bridge used for spy exchanges during the Cold War, and the city itself also holds Cecilienhof, site of the Potsdam Conference and now a museum as well as a hotel.

 

The Holocaust Memorial is located one block over from the Brandenburg Gate, next to the new US Embassy, and also includes a small underground exhibition center. The House of the Wannsee Conference OTOH is on the Southern outskirts of the city; KZ Sachsenhausen is 35 kilometers to the Northeast. Newly opened is the "Topography of Terror" documentation center at the former location of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt. One of the rare remaining relicts of the Berlin Wall conveniently runs next to it.

 

There also are the Soviet War Memorials in Tiergarten (includes a pair of T-34s!) and Treptower Park. The erstwhile Wehrmacht and later GSFG HQ in Zossen-Wünsdorf, again, is out of town and about 40 kilometers to the South. Even further out is the former NVA wartime HQ at Kossa near Leipzig. For a group of at least ten, € 17.50 per person will get you the whole offer of tours, exhibits, an Erbsensuppe and a vodka. Includes a small vehicle collection, and they're announcing from this fall on they will have rides in what appears to be a BRDM and an MT-LB.

 

The Berliner Unterwelten Association based near Flaktower Humboldthain offers guided tours of the city's WW II and Cold War underground history in various languages, including English. I've done the air raid shelter system and the Flaktower tour, and it's well worth it. Unfortunately foreign language tours are only possible by prior arrangement and seem to come with a minimum price equal to 20 persons attending.

 

Air Service Berlin offers airlift-themed events including a 35 minute C-47 flight over the city for € 179 per person (or € 169 only for the flight on one Friday night each month). Sadly they no longer operate out of Tempelhof, which was closed down last year; guided tours through that airport are available for a more affordable € 12.

 

The Allied Museum in Zehlendorf is dedicated to the Cold War era including the Berlin Airlift. Among other things contains the original hut from Checkpoint Charlie, since replaced by a replica on Friedrichstraße. Individual admittance is free, guided tours of about one hour for groups of up to 25, including in English, cost € 35.

 

The original Checkpoint Charlie site has since been turned into a tourist trap, but on the street corner is the House At Checkpoint Charlie that contains a museum on the Wall and its victims. Admittance is € 12.50, 8.50 per person for groups of at least 20. There’s now also a museum at Checkpoint Bravo that can be visited by prior arrangement.

 

As already said, very little remains of the actual Wall; the longest piece left is the kilometer or so covered with the artwork of the East Side Gallery on Mühlenstraße. Another site is the Mauerpark on Bernauer Straße. One of the few watchtowers left is on Kieler Straße, overtowered by a post-unification appartment block to the point where it's hard to notice; the brother of first Wall victim Günter Litfin runs it as a small memorial site. Right next door is the Invalidenfriedhof that holds the tombs of sundry notable characters from German military history.

 

The German-Russian Museum Karlshorst contains the room in which the German capitulation to the Soviet Union was signed. The collection contains mostly documents, with actual equipment apparently centered on military medicine. Admittance is free including guided tours for 10 to 30, also in English.

 

The former Stasi headquarters on Normannenstraße offers guided tours in English of about 90 to 120 minutes for a group of at least ten at € 3.50 per person. Stasi prison Hohenschönhausen has English tours for individual visitors every Saturday at 1430, or by seven to eight weeks prior arrangement, for € 5 per person.

 

The Luftwaffe Museum in Gatow is dedicated to the history of military aviation in Germany, with an emphasis on the Cold War era. Various aircraft, missile systems and other equipment displayed inside and out. Admittance is free.

 

The Seelower Höhen Memorial Site would take close to two hours getting to by rail from Berlin Central Station. Besides the actual memorial and war grave site there's a small museum that's supposedly multi-lingual; at least it offers dia shows and documentary short films about the battle in a variety of languages including English. Individual admittance is € 3, with a group tariff of € 25 for a guided tour of the site including drinks and snacks. Also offers day tours to various sites of the battlefield for € 30 per hour, but that might be more economically done by ourselves.

 

There's a "Tank Driving School" in the middle of nowhere near Fürstenwalde, about one hour by rail from Berlin Central Station, that lets you drive their fleet of T-55T ARVs and BMP-1 - though at a rather steep price of € 136 for 45 minutes including safety instructions (passengers pay € 10).

 

The Technical Museum Kummersdorf contains about a hundred military vehicles and AFVs, supposedly all runners. Accessible only by prior appointment, but just 30 kilometers South of Berlin.

 

We are considering how to organise this into day programs by themes and/or geographic proximity. Again, please chime in where your interests lie. Also be aware that we will have to book certain tours up to three months in advance, and military and government installations will require full name, date and place of birth and passport/ID card number of all visitors in a group to process our requests. The sooner we get a feel of how many Tanknetters will attend and what they want to see, the easier it will be for us to set this up.

 

Over to you, folks.

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The Berliner Unterwelten Association based near Flaktower Humboldthain offers guided tours of the city's WW II and Cold War underground history in various languages, including English. I've done the air raid shelter system and the Flaktower tour, and it's well worth it. Unfortunately foreign language tours are only possible by prior arrangement and seem to come with a minimum price equal to 20 persons attending.

 

There are regular tours in English. The tour times on the page are for the language of that page. e.g. Tour 1 runs in English at 1100 Thurs-Mon.

 

I've done Tours 1 & 3, it's good.

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If I'm still in my current job by September (50/50 - I might be booted out, I might transfer), I'm a no-go. We have a mandatory, whole-week conference at around that time, and because of that, September is a very busy month (calendar has to be cleared, stuff to be organized, etc).

Edited by TomasCTT
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I'm cross-posting this to the General FFZ since the I&I Information Center seems a little out of sight for the main traffic.

 

I'd recommend posting in the other forums as well, I know some people avoid the FFZ entirely because of the politics, they'll never see this.

 

 

I'll preface this by saying that due to overwhelming popular demand when we first offered this, we will definitely include a day trip to Munster for a visit to the armor museum, and maybe a little more ... after the Seattle program, we have a certain standard to live up to after all.

 

Although Ken is responsible almost entirely for the great success of the Seattle I&I, I have to say I take a certain amount of pride in the above statement - thanks!

:D

 

 

Sadly, barring some unexpected windfall, my current students budget will preclude me from attending. I fear I might not be able to make another I&I until I graduate, but after that I hope/expect to make it each year. Aside from the camaraderie and good times and getting to meet great folks and getting some very special access to things, I have to say it is quite an experience for all of us to be able to share our wide ranging knowledge in person. I greatly appreciate this website for the opportunity to be able to do so across time and distance, but there is something special about the dynamics of a dozen knowledgeable people contributing to a conversation in person.

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Banshee, Can you look into us having a briefing from Panzertruppenschule II? Their HQ is only meters away from the Muster PzMuseum! In Sept11 it will be a mere 33 yrs since my bn was at the adjunct Kohlenbissenlager of the Truppenuebungsplatz, which surely nobody uses today.

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They are all down South!

 

There is, however, Rheinmetall Land Systems in Kiel and Unterlüß . . .

Ah yes. I was given a tour in '82 of the Kiel plant, which turned out 10 Leo IIs per month then, all hand assembled. The Blohm & Voss shipyard at Hamburg [now owned by the UAE - ack!] was assembling the turrets and special armor for the LeoII, but I only could stand just inside the building, all operations screened/shrouded.

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Sounds... Interesting, to say the least :) Maybe won't be able to attend the entire I+I course, will see how i am getting along with work etcetera, but the proximity would make it easy for me to get there.

Hint, hint, last weekend in August there's a Tank Day in Czech mil. tech. museum close to Prague ;) Though it's still pretty far from Berlin, so unfortunately both events could possibly not be combined...

So given the year's outlook, I'm a definite "I'd like to for atleast a shorter stay" :)

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They are all down South!

 

There is, however, Rheinmetall Land Systems in Kiel and Unterlüß . . .

 

Dave, I vote for you to make sure there is a more balanced I & I in berlin. There was plenty of one I in seatlle, not enough of the other I :lol: Perhaps some recce of german spas and what nots. :rolleyes:

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Sounds... Interesting, to say the least :) Maybe won't be able to attend the entire I+I course, will see how i am getting along with work etcetera, but the proximity would make it easy for me to get there.

Hint, hint, last weekend in August there's a Tank Day in Czech mil. tech. museum close to Prague ;) Though it's still pretty far from Berlin, so unfortunately both events could possibly not be combined...

So given the year's outlook, I'm a definite "I'd like to for at least a shorter stay" :)

 

I'm sure you aware but perhaps some others aren't, not only does the train run from Praha to Berlin, it's a nice train and a picturesque, pleasant ride (at least it was in '00!). I don't recall how long it took, but the train made pretty good time, probably comparable to driving.

 

I sure wish there was a way I could swing this, I'd love to see the Tank Day event as well as attend the I&I and Praha is such a lovely city.

Edited by irregularmedic
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Put me down as attending. Any dates.

 

By-the-by, Berlin to Prague by train is 4 hours and 51 minutes.

I would like to visit Prague as I haven't been there. Visiting a city like Prague with a local is about the best thing going. Especially if militarily interested.

 

Cheers

Leo

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1- I recommend the latter dates. 2- Try to keep things as local as possible. As anyone can tell you, the traveling with a large party can become more of a problem than it's worth. 3- Don't bite off more than you can chew. The days will be impacted by jet-lag for those of us on the other side of the pond.

 

I will let my wife know about this so that we can prepare time/finances/etc to ensure we can make this happen.

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3- Don't bite off more than you can chew. The days will be impacted by jet-lag for those of us on the other side of the pond.

 

We anticipated that, based upon our own recent experience. We will probably start the Day 1 program only after local lunch time and restrict it to downtown sites IOT allow the Norteamericanos to decompress. Added advantage is that the Yurrows can likely shave off one overnight stay.

 

We will definitely do the day trip to Munster, though.

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We anticipated that, based upon our own recent experience. We will probably start the Day 1 program only after local lunch time and restrict it to downtown sites IOT allow the Norteamericanos to decompress. Added advantage is that the Yurrows can likely shave off one overnight stay.

 

We will definitely do the day trip to Munster, though.

This I&I is probably within my budget for next year... so if nothing unusual happens, I'm there.

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Ever since I joined tank-net I planned on going to an I&I, but only for this flying over pond?

 

Now Berlin is a different matter and much much closer for me. :)

 

2nd to that!

 

I might be persuaded to participate...anyhow some one should be representing all the time shrinking Finnish community of TN!

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For orientation, see the following Google Earth images of sites in downtown, Southwest and East Berlin and the Eastern hinterland.

 

 

For range reference, I included a path running from the Holiday Inn Express to the respective farthest target.

 

Edited Southwest pic because I forgot the Allied Museum.

 

Edited East pic too to include Tempelhof Airport.

Edited by BansheeOne
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