PARSBERG, Germany- Military enthusiasts gather at Parsberg train station to watch the arrival of the French tanks on Nov. 1, 2019. The French soldiers of the 501st Main Battle Tank Regiment, Free French 2nd Armoured Division offloaded at the rail station in the small German town on their way to Dragoon Ready at the Hohenfels Training Area.
Gathering as early as six o'clock in the morning to get a glimpse, snap photos and marvel at the French tanks also called Laclercs, what may seem unusual to some coming out to these events appear as natural as taking a breath for these enthusiasts.
"We are here this morning because we are very interested in all military activity in this area, so we take photos of these events as a hobby," said Claus Laurer, a self proclaimed military enthusiast and former German soldier.
Laurer, a native of Velberg who served six years in the German Army, says he is always present when foreign militaries come into town. Laurer gets most of his information as far as time and locations from the internet, local newspapers and friends in the area.
"We hear the information from friends, readings on the internet and Bavaria radio tells us to be careful because foreign militaries will be driving on the roads and we come out to see it because we like it," Laurer said.
Sharing this passion with his cohorts for ten years he loves the Hohenfels area stating while other enthusiast travel to other countries to exercise their hobby, he stays local for the opportunity joking about this being "his" area.
"I do not go to other areas I like Hohenfels, so this is my area," said Laurer.
Having a deep-seated interest in military equipment he was very happy to have seen the French tanks as they were being loaded off the rail cars.
"I love the way the optics are, the cannons, sound and colors of camouflage," Laurer said.
Being in this area for so long he also pointed out how interesting it is to see all of the different soldiers in their different camouflage and how all of the countries militaries come here to work together.
"When there is a rotation on post there are a lot of foreign armies coming here and it is very interesting to see how they work together," said Laurer.
With the training exercise Dragoon Ready 20 taking place in the Hohenfels training area, Laurer advocated that these exercises are welcomed by him and that they are good for the community.
"We like that the military is here we bring our kids here to these events, and dress in our own camouflage to enjoy it, this is pure genius," Laurer said.