By Nanette Schneider, USAG Bavaria Hohenfels Environmental Division


After heavy rainfall, a flood wave moved through the village of Ransbach, June 6, 2021. (Photo courtesy Paul Boehm)

HOHENFELS, Germany — Heavy rainfall hit the northwestern part of the Hohenfels Training Area in June 2021, creating extreme conditions. Within a few hours, monitoring stations recorded a downpour of over 100 liters of rain per square meter. At the Weihermühlbach water levels raised from 4 inches to 71 inches, which resulted in a flood wave that moved through parts of the training area.


This rain event was similar to the heavy flooding in 1987, when water masses and sludge greatly damaged the village of Ransbach. Following this catastrophe, the U.S. Army built erosion control structures — such as rain retention basins. As of today, nearly 300 basins help to hold back water and sediments in heavy rain events.


These structures, alongside additional erosion control measures, prevented severe damages to the village of Ransbach this June. So despite the extreme weather conditions, enormous amounts of sludge and surface water were held back by the basins.


The local community and agencies were pleased with the effectiveness of the Army’s preventative measures. Ransbach resident Vinzenz Praller was quoted in the local newspaper, “The retention basins in HTA played a significant role in preventing Ransbach from severe damage like in the catastrophic flooding in 1987.”


Days after a heavy rain event on June 8, 2021, a U.S. Army built dam, located upstream from the village of Ransbach, successfully held back surface runoff and sludge. (U.S. Army photo by Dr. Albert Boehm / USAG Bavaria Hohenfels Environmental Division)