Germany: Public Warned Of Dangers At Sennelager Ranges

Personnel have warned those leaving the co-use roads throughout the ranges are risking their lives.

Personnel at Britain's largest military training area in continental Europe have urged the public to stay on the public roads through the site, warning it is "littered with unexploded ordnance".

Whilst much of the 111 square kilometre training area is wilderness, parts of the Sennelager Ranges in Germany are full of hidden, and lethal, dangers.

Different armies have been firing live rounds at Sennelager since 1892 and some have never exploded.

Adam Bright, Sennelager Range Control, said the personnel find "pieces of ordnance once of twice a week" and recently, a 90-millimetre Second World War shell was found at the training area.

"If you touch it, run over it, play with it, there is a very good possibility that this will initiate and will explode which, I can guarantee, if you’re within 750 metres of this piece of ordnance, it will kill you or seriously maim you," he told Forces News.

When there is no live firing or military activity, the public are free to drive through the training area.

But despite hundreds of signs warning of the dangers hidden on the ranges, some people do flout the rules.

Major Jules Farrow, Training Area Safety Officer at Sennelager, said "trespassers are a continuous problem".

Sennelager Training Area Ranges 290820 CREDIT BFBS
Live rounds have been fired on the ranges at Sennelager Training Area since 1892.

"Our patrol drivers have to make sure that the public are safe, that’s their primary role," he said.

"If that means we have to engage with them and remove them from the area because of the trespassing, then that’s what we have to do in order to protect them."

Mr Bright also explained that some people climb on top of disused armoured vehicles which are used as hard targets during training exercises.

"It’s frustrating when you see complete families sitting on hard targets which have been shot at by high explosive projectiles or an anti-tank weapon," he said.

Only recently an anti-tank round was discovered after a hard target was moved.

Mr Bright urged people to "stay on the co-use roads", remain in their vehicle and not to "park on the sides of the road" to ensure the area remains open to the public. 

"We don’t want fatality, we don’t want people to be hurt, we want people to enjoy what is here," he said.