With an over 1200 year old university and cathedral city, Paderborn with approximately 140,000 people is the second-largest metropolis in Ostwestfalen-Lippe. Paderborn is situated on the River Pader, Germany's shortest river, which was used by women to wash clothes as late as the 1950s. For this reason statues of the 'Housewives of Paderborn' rinsing clothes adorn the banks of the river as does a figure of a boy chasing geese away from the women.
The cathedral contains one of the largest crypts in Germany, in which the relics of Saint Liborius are preserved.
Just a short bus ride away is the Teutoburger Forest where a monument was built as a testament to the legendary warrior who helped the Teutons defeat three Roman legions in the year 9 AD. This was a catastrophic defeat for Rome and marked the end of expansion in Germania.
17 Nov 2005 - Paderborn, GermanyAfter the exercise in Poland it was our time to return to Paderborn, where the unit we were attached to was based. We wandered the streets as sight seeing tourists but one night out saw us visit a very squaddie orientated pub and could very easily have been a club back in Britain as short haired youths drank to massive excess.
21 Jun 2003 - Paderborn, GermanyTwo week TA exercises involve military training but we also get to participate in adventurous activities. Some exercises are more like holidays and evenings are often the chance to visit bars or nearby towns.
The first week of this camp consisted of signals training for the majority of people - learning how to use the Army's communication system and codes to ensure safe and secure communications in the field.
The course was quite intense as most TA courses are compressed versions of the Regular course. However, the evening was still free for us to experience the German summer. The middle weekend was spent on social activities where the unit stayed at the Moehne Dam reservoir and participated in sailing, wind surfing, canoeing and cycling as well as have a night out in nearby Soest. This was a heavy drinking session and after returning I retired to bed hoping for a good sleep. This bit has a good story attached to it.
At some point in the early morning I got up to go to the toilet while still half asleep. I returned to what I thought was my dorm, stripped off naked and then tried to get into my sleeping bag. Something was wrong and I couldn't get in. I tried putting a leg in then something stirred and someone shocked awake said something. Then I 'woke' up properly. I didn't know where I was and didn't even know how to find my way out of the room - mass confusion! I wandered the room looking for the way out then eventually found it. I walked out into the open then back into the room a number of times trying to make sense of where I was. Then I walked back outside again and this time some bloke was walking by. No big deal but I was naked remember. This didn't seem to bother or register with me though. I stood there starkers facing him and said good morning to him as if there was nothing unusual about this. Things started coming back to me at this point and I found my dorm. It was next door! What confusion! Interestingly, the room that I went back to was a totally different shape to my room so how did I work out that the bed I tried to get into corresponded to my bed? All very bizarre.
The Mohne Dam also had extra interest for me as it was the scene of the world famous Dam Buster's raid in World War 2. The second week was mainly spent on a demanding but rewarding exercise. On these exercises the unit deploys in detachments practising its air defence role. At the end of the exercise we had another spell of rest and recuperation which saw most of its members embarrass themselves at karaoke.
We also had a day on the firearms ranges where we got to fire the Browning pistol. Most of us don't get the chance to fire a pistol as our personal weapon is the SA80 rifle so this was another fun element to our training. Hitting a target at 10 meters isn't as easy as it may appear in the movies.