The Navy, like the Bundeswehr as a whole, presented itself at the 129th Kiel Week for over 26,000 civilian and military guests.
“I am very satisfied with the course of the Kiel Week at the Kiel-Wik naval base,” summed up Frigate Captain Jan Dobberstein, commander of the naval base. He concluded: “The more than 4,000 international marines felt comfortable, there was a peaceful atmosphere and the more than 22,000 visitors to the Open Ship were very impressed by the diversity of the Bundeswehr.”
Especially on the first weekend of the Kiel Week, there was a lot for the guests of the Open Ship and the open base. The demonstration of the naval aviators was particularly well received: From a Sea-King helicopters rappelled down paratroopers in a very short time and boarded a small barge in the middle of Kiel’s naval port.
Dozens of large and small grey warships filled Kiel’s naval harbour to the brim – and were well attended. Long queues formed for some very special guests. Above all, the USS “Paul Ignatius”, commissioned only four years ago and thus one of the newest destroyers of the American Arleigh Burke class, inspired many visitors.
The ships were located in the port for a long weekend, which traditionally forms the arrival in Kiel, the conclusion of the largest annual NATO naval exercise in the Baltic Sea, the US United States-led manoeuvre BALTOPS. For the inspector of the Navy, Vice Admiral Jan Christian Kaack, the presence of so many partners this year had another festive significance. “You see a very happy smile on my face,” says Kaack. “Two days after we have the 175. The birthday of the German navies, we have the pleasure of receiving almost 40 units from 15 nations here at the Naval Base Kiel.”
During the days of the Open Ship, visits to the Uruguayan sailing school ship “Capitán Miranda” and the Moroccan frigate “Allal Ben Abdellah” were also worthwhile. On the latter, the sounds of traditional music welcomed the guests on board. The frigate of the Royal Moroccan Navy had travelled exclusively to visit the Kiel Week and returned home after its end.
The flagship of the German Navy at this year’s Kiel Week, however, was the frigate “Bavaria” from Wilhelmshaven. At official receptions on board, the democratic justification of the German naval forces 175 years ago was also the subject of speeches. In addition, the ecumenical service and the concert of the Kiel Marine Music Corps were particularly well received. All events took place under the open sky on the frigate’s helipa deck.
In memory of the seamen of all nations, a wreath laying down in Laboe was also traditionally held. Among others, representatives of the German Navy, the German Naval Association, the state and local politics as well as friendly armed forces gathered in the Marine-Ehrenmal. The ceremony also included a joint devotion to the Catholic and Protestant military chaplains of the Kiel site.
The main focus of the sporting competitions was on the naval cutter regattas, which took place on the Kiel Fjord throughout the entire week. Its tradition at Kieler Woche dates back to 1881. A total of 19 crews took part, which provided exciting sailing competitions in changing winds.
Further on the sporting fields competed in basketball and football tournaments in a good mood and highly motivated ship crews from different nations against each other. With a healthy portion of ambition and a lot of joy, they determined their respective Kiel Week champions.
For students, the Kiel-Wik base once again offered the Camp Marine. Around 350 interested people from 13 schools around Kiel took on the offer.
On the promenade next to the Gorch-Fock-Mole, the army, the medical service and the armed forces were found. Among other things, the seabatheillon, the tank reconnaissance battalion 6 “Holstein” from Eutin and the special pani peasant pavilion 164 from Husum were present. The demonstrations with the state-of-the-art Puma armor armor had a special impression.
The Kiel Week at the Navy closed with the last regatta rides of the naval cutter on 24. June. Officially, the entire Great Fair will go on 25th time. June.
“This year everything worked out wonderfully. And next year, in addition to some small surprises, we are planning to participate again with the participation of our sailing training ship ‘Gorch-Fock’,” said Dobberstein base commander at the end. Planning for Kiel Week 2024 begins shortly after the summer break.