In the last week of June 1955, around 3000 NATO aircraft from Canada, Denmark, Greece, France, Norway, the UK and USA took part in the largest allied exercise held since the Second World War. Code-named CARTE BLANCHE, the exercise was held in West Germany and included the simulated use of tactical nuclear weapons against airfields and troop concentrations.
In just two days the delivery of 300 atomic bombs had been simulated by tactical aircraft, which would have caused an estimated 4.5 million civilian casualties. The result of the exercise made it clear that the use of battlefield nuclear weapons would render any supporting military operations meaningless.
During CARTE BLANCHE, photographic reconnaissance aircraft flew many low-level missions to detect the locations of 'enemy' forces. On the opening day of the exercise, 23 June 1955, sortie 541/3017 was flown from RAF Wildenrath by a Gloster Meteor PR10 aircraft of 541 Squadron, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Meyer.
Forward-facing oblique photographs of military targets in West Germany, including Kitzingen and Rhein-Main airfields, taken at low-level during NATO exercise CARTE BLANCHE.