A few months after spending a beautiful day at Vogelsang, an hour east of Berlin, it’s finally out. Hanna & Kerttu’s music video for their song I Drive for Ya, turned out beautiful and we think it captures both the feeling of the song and the somewhat unsettling ambiance of the Soviet Military base. Check it out, along with some of our favorite screen shots below.
Direction, postproduction & concept by Alejo Franzetti
Direction of photography by Berta Valín Escofet
Styling by SemiDomesticated (Anette K Hansen and Alex Sebag)
Make-up by Rimma Günther
Jewelry by Papayapie
Music by Hanna & Kerttu, recorded at Wintersolitude studios 2013
About the location
After the end of World War II, a site north of the village [Vogelsang] became important within the Western forces of the USSR. From 1952, a barracks town was constructed within the woods, that eventually was capable of housing 15,000 people, including military personnel and their families. The town was self-contained and off-limits to non-essential personnel, and contained a theatre, shops, offices, a gym, school and medical facilities. During the Cold War, it was the third largest Soviet base inside East Germany,after the base at Wünsdorf.
Forces stationed at the base included the: 25th Panzerdivision; 20th Armored Division; 162nd Panzerregiment; Armored Regiment, the 803rd Schützenregiment; Rifle Regiment. But the most important were the 1702nd Anti-aircraft missile regiment. In early 1959, three years before the Cuban Missile Crisis, they were equipped with 12 of the R-5 Pobeda nuclear missiles, capable of launching from a mobile launcher from one of four tennis-court sized sites capable of handling the larger R-12 Dvina. Other similar sites were set up atFürstenberg/Havel (4 pads), and Lychen (1 pad).
Soviet military records state that the R-5 were withdrawn in August 1959. But records obtained after the fall of East Germany, and the release of records from the CIA, British Military Intelligence and French Military Intelligence, suggest that they could have been in residence until a period after the Cuban Missile crisis ended, probably until the R-5 was retired in 1967. These records show that much as though the site itself remained largely covered and unknown thanks to the forestry cover, Western military intelligence authorities had become aware of the movement by rail of large boxes capable of holding an R-5 missile in early 1959. From the early 1960s, the site became the headquarters of the 25th Tank Division.
With the withdrawal of Russian Army troops in 1994, the military town was party demolished, with the remainder allowed to decay back into the woods. Due to the many ammunition residues in the soil, access to parts of the site is restricted, as the cordoned areas can be life-threatening.