Bagicz airport. 2008

Kołobrzeg 2008-08-26

Bagicz Airport.

Geographic coordinates: 54.199N 15.682E. Elevation 4 m. Former Soviet airport in Poland.

Bagicz. 2008 year. Work by Karol Placha Hetman
Bagicz. 2008 year. Work by Karol Placha Hetman

MiG-23. 2012 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
MiG-23. 2012 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Photo description: MiG-23 planes were used by the Soviets at the Bagicz airport.

Currently (2009) there is no Bagicz airport. There is only a landing field used by the Baltic Aero Club. But for the purposes of this article we will use the name Bagicz Airport. For many decades there was a large airport, first Germanic and then Soviet. Even though the town of Bagicz has been within the borders of the Republic of Poland since 1945, Polish Military Units have never been stationed there.

Coordinates of Bagicz Airport; latitude 54.12 degrees N, longitude 15.42 degrees E. Otherwise 54.199N 15.682E. Height above sea level 4 meters. It is located 7 km east of the center of Kołobrzeg.

History of the Airport. Germanic period.

The Germans started building the airport around 1935. The entire village of Bodenhagen was evicted for the construction of the airport, and farmers were resettled on other land. Only the railway station was left, which became a route for transporting materials and goods. The airport was built in strict secrecy, under the guise of building a "Persil" washing powder factory. Let us remember that after the World War the German workers were demilitarized and carried out all their work in secret because they violated international law. Moscow helped the Germans in their military plans, for example by providing training grounds. Residents learned about the real purpose of the facility on April 26, 1938, when the airport was put into operation on the market square in Kołobrzeg.

The airport had rich infrastructure. It is equipped with two DS (RWY). At that time, new airports were standardly equipped with two or three runways, approximately 1,000 m long. The idea was to land as far into the wind as possible.

The first user of the airport was the Nazi bomber unit formed in 1936, using Ju 86 and He 111 planes. Due to the German aggression against the Republic of Poland, the unit underwent major reformation and significant reinforcement. Three squadrons and a headquarters were stationed at the airport.

In the summer of 1939, the German squadron had 38 He 111 E planes in three squadrons, and another 8 He 111 H planes in its headquarters. From August 26, 1939, the planes based at the airport were fully armed, refueled, and the pilots were ready to fight. On August 31, 1939, the order to attack Poland on September 1, 1939 was delivered to the headquarters.

On September 1, 1939, at 5:00 a.m., bombers took off from the Bagicz airport to attack Puck and Rumia. The airport in Puck was seriously damaged, but no Polish aircraft were damaged. In the afternoon, planes from Bagicz attacked the airport in Toruń.

The Germans lost their first bomber on September 2, 1939, when the plane was shot at by Polish defense and seriously damaged. The crew could not reach the airport and made an emergency landing. The plane was 50% damaged, but the crew survived. Also on this day, the unit lost its first airman-observer after the plane was shot at. On September 4, 1939, near Bydgoszcz, Poles shot down another plane. On September 6, 1939, two He 111 H bombers were attacked by their own Bf-110 fighters and shot down. During the investigation, the Bf 110 pilots claimed that they were convinced that the planes were piloted by Poles (!). Also on that day, He 111 planes fought with Polish fighters without any results.

On September 7-8, 1939, planes from Bagicz were transferred to Wrocław. This did not mean that the airport was empty. Various air units were stationed here. Germanic propaganda films were made about the September Campaign. During World War II, units were stationed in Bagicz; night fighters, weather reconnaissance planes, a training bomber regiment, an experimental unit with bombers on whose backs a fighter plane was carried, and a reserve attack regiment.

Little is known about the buildings in Bagicz built by Germans to this day. There are many myths circulating. Underground fuel and ammunition depots were certainly built. The runway was heated. Central heating pipes were laid under the turf. This made it easier to operate the airport in winter.

After World War II. Soviet period.

In March 1945, the Germans announced the evacuation of the airport. They destroyed some of the facilities; some hangars, workshops, ammunition depot. On March 5, 1945, the airport was occupied by Soviet tanks. All barracks buildings, the flight tower, the officers' casino, the officer's house, the infirmary building, the command building, boiler rooms and pump stations remained intact. The information is uncertain because not many documents have survived since the Soviet stay.

In April 1945, the 51st mine-torpedo aviation regiment of the CCCP fleet began stationing at the airport in Bagicz, equipped with American Douglas A-20 G planes, modified to carry torpedoes. The 51st mine-torpedo aviation regiment was called Taliński. The regiment was formed in June 1944. It was part of the 8th mine-torpedo division of the Baltic Fleet. The regiment suffered huge losses in the fighting. It was withdrawn, the personnel supplemented and rearmed with American Douglas Boston A-20 G aircraft (manufacturer's designation DB-7) and transferred to the Klopic airport and then to Bagicz.

It is not known exactly when the naval pilots left Bagicz, but they were certainly followed by the air units of the 4th Air Army of the Northern Group of Forces CCCP, which established themselves for many decades.

From March 1945 to May 1992, the Bagicz airport area was in the hands of the Soviet Army. Pursuant to the provisions of the agreement of December 17, 1956, this area was excluded from Polish administration. In other words, Polish services were not allowed to enter there, or only in exceptional situations, and customs control did not cover this area. This area appeared on maps as a white spot and only after the Soviets left the base did it begin to appear on maps. In fact, there were several dozen such areas in Poland.

Bagicz Airport covered a large area, which according to today's data was 1,624,800 hectares. The airport was equipped with a former German DS (RWY), which the Soviets enlarged to dimensions of 2,500 m x 40 m for the needs of turbojet-powered aircraft.

There were (and still are) 41 shelter hangars at the airport. The shelters were designed so that the plane could be prepared for take-off. The design allows you to start the engines of the plane standing inside.

In addition, the Soviets built underground fuel and power supply lines at airports, next to the parking stand of each plane. Thanks to this, tank trucks and self-propelled power generators are not necessary. The fuel base in Bagicz was large and could hold 13,000 cubic meters of fuel. There was a railway siding leading to the fuel base. The total length of the railway tracks in Bagicz was 3,905 m. In addition to fuel supplies, goods necessary for the proper functioning of the base were also delivered. These goods were unloaded on two railway ramps operating here.

In addition to the railway, goods were also delivered via the normal road network. Based on the signed agreement, the Soviets could use transit routes without prior notice to the Polish administration. There were eight such routes in Poland, including two related to the base in Bagicz: Bagicz - Świnoujście and Kołobrzeg - Białogard - Połczyn Zdrój - Borne Sulinowo - Wałcz - Gorzów Wlkp. - Zielona Góra - Lubin - Legnica - Świdnica.

The Soviets, during their stay, modified the former Germanic base. For example, they added a floor to the air traffic control tower. Additionally, the tower had insight into the air situation in the area. This information was provided by radar stations located in various places at the airport. There was a radar station on artificially built hills on the left side of the Kołobrzeg - Koszalin provincial road. In addition, other devices were placed on the dunes and near the runway. Currently (2009), from the available information, we know that the Soviets had in Bagicz: P-18 radar station, P-37 radar station, PRW-11 altimeter, PRW-16 altimeter. The Soviets also used the RSBN system - Radio Technical System for Close Navigation. The base in Bagicz had very extensive radar and communication systems. The airport's codenames were Masandra from 1965 and Swjasnoy from 1990. The codename of the communication node is Mieczenos.

In addition to typical shelter hangars, there are many other hiding places, shelters and bunker warehouses for aircraft on the base. We can only guess about the purpose of some of them. Among the more interesting buildings, the most noteworthy is a reinforced concrete structure in the shape of a pipe covered with earth called Granit. This type of concealment can be found in almost all post-Soviet bases, and not only air bases (for example, Świnoujście Mulnik), operated in Poland. Self-propelled launchers of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles of the R-11 type with a range of 300 km were hidden here, and then the RSD-10 Pionier.

There is no evidence for this, but it is highly probable that the Soviets had nuclear weapons warehouses at the base. Ships adapted to transport nuclear weapons often arrived at the port in Kołobrzeg. The information collected shows that a missile unit was also stationed in Bagicz.

As we mentioned above, after the naval aviation unit, fighter and fighter-assault units appeared in Bagicz. The first was the 159th Novorossiysk Fighter Aviation Regiment. According to available information, the 159th Regiment was transferred from Kluczewo to Bagicz on January 1, 1961. MiG-15, MiG-17 and MiG-19 fighters were in service. But already on September 1, 1966, the regiment was transferred to the airport in Żagań.

Another Soviet unit based in Bagicz was the 871st Pomeranian Fighter Aviation Regiment. The unit had the number JW. PP 35517. It was part of the 239th Baranowska Fighter Aviation Division. Until 1966, the regiment was stationed at the Białogard airport, specifically in Dębica near Rymań. Interestingly, this airport did not have a concrete runway. There was a headquarters in Białogard. After the 871st Regiment was transferred to Bagicz in 1966, the airfield in Dębica was transformed into an alternate airfield. Sometimes transport planes bringing supplies for the garrison in Białogard landed there. The Soviets moved out of Dębica on April 19, 1991.

In 1965, the regiment was equipped with MiG-21 PFM and MiG-21 U aircraft, and in 1972, the regiment was armed with MiG-21 PFM and MiG-21 US aircraft. They also included units adapted to carry nuclear weapons. In 1973, the regiment received new MiG-23 M aircraft. The 871st Regiment, or more precisely the command, maintained close contacts with the Polish 28th Słupsk Fighter Aviation Regiment based at the Redzikowo airport near Słupsk. The 28th PLM was the only one in Poland to use MiG-23 MF/U aircraft. Sometimes planes of the 871st Regiment landed in Redzikowo and vice versa.

In 1966, the construction of shelter hangars began at the airport. This date is certain because the design of shelter hangars was closely related to the experiences of the Vietnam War. Also at this time, facilities began to be built to store aircraft-borne nuclear weapons.

There were also anti-aircraft defense batteries stationed around Bagicz until the beginning of the 1990s. One of them, or perhaps the only one, with the Neva missile system was located in Łasin Koszaliński.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Su-17 planes were also stationed at the airport in Bagicz. They probably belonged to another Soviet unit that was stationed at a different airport on a daily basis. Although we suspect that one squadron based in Bagicz was equipped with Su-17 fighter-bombers. This is all the more likely because the regiment's name was fighter-assault, and the MiG-23 M is a fighter aircraft. Su-17 planes were seen landing in Bagicz in 1980, which closely resembled the Polish Su-22 fighter-bomber planes imported in 1984.

MiG-23 M plane crash. 1989.

On July 4, 1989, a strange crash of the MiG-23 M plane from Bagicz occurred. The plane without a pilot flew 900 km and crashed in Belgium. A subsequent investigation explained how this happened. We write about it in a separate article. After this accident, the 871st Regiment was transferred to the airport in Brzeg on September 1, 1989. In 1990, the aircraft was re-equipped with MiG-23 MLD aircraft.

Soviets go home.

In accordance with the plan to withdraw the Soviets from the territory of the Republic of Poland on June 10, 1991, the regiment was moved to the Smolensk area. The next unit that arrived at the airport in Bagicz was the 314th Independent Helicopter Squadron, whose goal was to prepare the Soviets to leave the base. In June 1990, it was moved from Legnica to Bagicz. Here the unit was disbanded. The squadron's number was JW PP 32937. The squadron had helicopters; Mi-8, Mi-24 K, Mi-24 W, Mi-24 RCh.

At the same time, the 55th Sevastopol Independent Helicopter Regiment was transferred to Bagicz Airport. It was in June 1990, and the regiment was moved from Brzeg. In March 1992, it consisted of three air squadrons: two combat squadrons equipped with combat helicopters (38 Mi-24 W machines and 2 Mi-24 P machines), and one transport squadron (10 Mi-8 MT machines and 12 Mi-8 machines ).

On November 25, 1991, a Mi-24 W helicopter from Bagicz crashed near Kamień Rymański. At 4:35 p.m., the Soviet machine crashed into a grain warehouse located in the buildings of PGR Rymań (a state-owned farm). It immediately burst into flames. The local volunteer fire brigade and fire brigades from Kołobrzeg, Białogard and Świdwin were called in to extinguish the fire. The helicopter was conducting a training flight together with another machine, so there was no ammunition on board. After the accident, the second machine circled over the crash site until its own units arrived. Two pilots died in the accident, including the deputy regiment commander. The third crew member, a mechanic, jumped with a parachute from a low height and suffered only minor injuries. An initial investigation revealed that the cause of the crash was engine failure at low altitude.

On May 11, 1992, the transfer of the 55th Sevastopol Independent Helicopter Regiment began from Bagicz to the airport located near the town of Korienovsk, 60 km north of Krasnodar.

Bagicz Airport was large enough to handle cargo planes; An-12, An-24, An-32, Il-76. Strategic bombers certainly also landed at the airport; Tu-22 M, Su-24.

When the decision was made to withdraw Soviet units from the Republic of Poland, all airports controlled by the CCCP army, as they had no customs control (including Bagicz), were used to transport everything they could. What could not be proven, they tried to sell. The black market was flourishing. Even short and long guns were sold. It wasn't difficult. After all, the Soviets had been developing shady barter trade for decades. Fuel came first. Before the Muscovites left Bagicz Airport, the traffic of transport planes was huge.

The Muscovites officially left Bagicz on May 28, 1992. A group of 50 people stayed at the airport to complete the transfer of property to the Polish Administration. They left soon after.

Bagicz in the Republic of Poland.

The estate and part of the airport were developed by the Polish authorities, and the city was enriched with a new housing estate. In this way, Kołobrzeg gained a new district. Unfortunately, as the city grew, new problems emerged, including environmental pollution.

As we know, the Muscovites had no regard for environmental protection laws. At the request of the State Inspectorate for Environmental Protection, in the period 1992-1993, an assessment and inventory of ecological damage was carried out in the former garrisons of the Northern Group of Soviet Forces. Such research was also carried out in Bagicz. Here, the area contaminated with petroleum substances was approximately 5.43 ha, and the amount of floating fuel was 4.60 ha. It was estimated that the total amount of petroleum products in the Bagicz airport area is approximately 2,150 m3. The area of landfills is approximately 1.40 ha. The areas of the land surface damaged not only by petroleum substances, but also by heavy metals at the Bagicz airport amounted to 13.30 ha. Cleaning was carried out in 1994 by the company Czyste Powszeche on behalf of the Environmental Protection Fund.

The city of Kołobrzeg tried to secure the obtained property. Unfortunately, this was not fully possible in such a large area. Many metal items were stolen by scrap metal thieves. (People collecting scrap for sale at collection points). The city of Kołobrzeg tried to develop the former base in the most sensible way possible. The matter was made more difficult by the fact that the area was divided into two communes. The easiest way was with the settlement/town of Podczele.

Podczele housing estate.

If we talk about the airport in Bagicz, we must realize that it was more than an airport. It was an aircraft carrier. From 1945 to 1992, it was almost a self-sufficient facility. There was a hospital, school, shops and apartment blocks in the town. There were about 40 buildings in total. Most of the buildings were built in the 1930s, with characteristic steep gable roofs. But there are also large slab blocks from the 70s. 2,000-4,000 people lived on this aircraft carrier. Carrier personnel sometimes went ashore. Mutual visits between Polish officers from units in Kołobrzeg and Soviet officers are known. Especially during various celebrations. These were courtesy visits ending with a loose discussion at the common table.

Baltic Aero Club.

Address; Aeroklub Bałtyckiego Bagicz 10 78-110 Ustronie Morskie. Around 2000, the Baltic Aero Club was organized. He uses facilities on the eastern side of the base and part of the DS (RWY). This is a 1,080-meter eastern section of DS, 40 m wide. Direction 26/08. The northern part of the ascent field, 150-200 m wide, is marshy. The Aero Club is focused on summer activities. A hotel, camping site and tent site were at the pilots' disposal. The hotel is located on the heliport and offers reasonable rates for your stay. In 2008, it was PLN 25 per person per day. Caravans are also rented, also at low prices, from PLN 50 per day, with access to a bathhouse and kitchen. The basic flying equipment are small tourist planes and motor hang gliders.

Currently, the former airport is treated as a place adapted for takeoffs and landings. So it's not an airport, but a landing strip. The main take-off and landing direction is west. The flight area is limited from the north by the coastline from Dźwirzyno to Sarbinowo (excluding Kołobrzeg with its restricted zone), and from the east, south and west by a broken line marked by several characteristic towns: Sarbinowo - Dobrzyca - Wrzosowo - Gościno - Byszewo - Dźwirzyno. Pilots must remember that this is a border, seaside and health resort region. There is a total ban on flights over Kołobrzeg. The alternate airports are; Zegrze Pomorskie, azimuth 116 degrees / distance 41 km; Świdwin: 169 degrees / 46 km; Darłówko: 062 degrees / 47 km.

The aim of the Aero Club is; promoting Polish aviation, airplane and glider training, supporting and representing the interests of its members, representing air sports on the international arena, supporting children and youth in their aviation interests, promoting broadly understood national culture, publishing and popularizing activities, promoting defense and security of the Republic of Poland.

In 2015, the Baltic Aero Club Association in Bagicz was founded. Bagicz is often visited by modellers and a team of aerobatic aircraft of the Żelazny aerobatic group, which is one of the showcases of the Polish Air Sport.

How to develop the remaining part of the base area?

This is an important question and there is no rush. In 2002, talks were held with Baltic Center Polska. The company planned to build a hotel, a swimming pool and a golf course. Unfortunately, nothing worked out. From time to time, the press reports on a new idea by municipalities or a foreign investor with large capital who will build a recreation center, hotels, a wind farm, a solar/eclectic farm, a plastic surgery clinic, a sports center and many other attractive facilities. The time will show.

Like every former military airport, also in Bagicz, motor events are held. Motorcycle and car rallies. The first place to be mentioned is Ole Karter Klub, which attracts owners and lovers of two-wheelers.

In 1999, the gates of three shelter hangars were dismantled and the money from their sale for scrap went to the city coffers.

A major problem of the facility in Bagicz, which we do not encounter at former Polish Military Airports, are unexploded ordnance. In this respect, the area is very dangerous. For example, in 2004, several bombs were discovered on the beach after a storm. Sappers summoned from Trzebiatów detonated the dangerous find. In turn, in May 2005, further unexploded ordnance was found while working on the bridge in Podczele. The sappers also detonated them on the beach.

Organization of the Bagicz Base.

The base covered an area of 1,624,800 hectares. Two dormitories (RWY) were built in the area. The first main one with dimensions of 2,500 m x 40 m in the direction 08/26. It has an area of 100,000 square meters. It was capable of accepting medium transport aircraft, e.g. An-12, Il-76. The second DS (RWY) with dimensions of 1,150 m x 60 m in the direction 09/27. It had an area of 69,000 square meters, intended for use by helicopters, which, being heavily loaded, took off from a roll. The main aircraft parking area had an area of 48,000 square meters. The second DS and the parallel DK (taxiway) were also used as a staging area. In total, all DKs were approximately 5,650 m long. Their width ranged from 15 to 60 meters. All surfaces are concrete.

41 shelter hangars for combat aircraft were built. Their structure resembles Polish shelter hangars, although they differ in details. In Bagicz they are slightly smaller in size. They have (had) main gates made entirely of metal. They are covered with a smaller layer of earth. They are equipped with much smaller rear gates. Their main task is to remove exhaust gases from running engines. At Polish airports, starting engines in hangars was not practiced. The reason is simple - economics. It is cheaper to transport the plane to the parking area using a tractor. However, shelter hangars for the F-16 Jastrząb have rear airlocks. The construction of shelter hangars in Bagicz began in 1966. The base area is fenced. There were guard posts and even observation towers in many places.

Railway at the base in Bagicz.

Railway line No. 402 runs next to the base in Bagicz, from which a railway siding was run to the base. The line was built in 1880. Railway line No. 402 connects Koszalin with Goleniów via Kołobrzeg, Gryfice and Nowogard. The line is single-track, electrified in 1988, but only on the Koszalin-Kołobrzeg section. It is open along its entire length. It is used by passenger and freight trains.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman