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U.S. ARMY INSTALLATIONS - KARLSRUHE
FIAT BUILDING
KARLSRUHE MISC.
 
For additions, corrections, or suggestions please contact the webmaster
MAPS
Installation Maps - late 1970s

1. Smiley Barracks and Karlsruhe AAF, 1980s

2. Neureut Kaserne, 1980s

3. Gerszewski Barracks, 1980s

4. Rheinland Kaserne, 1980s

5. Germersheim Army Depot, 1980s

6. Pforzheim RRS/Wartberg Ksn, 1960

7. Wartberg Ksn, post 1974


1950

Map of Sub-Post facilities in downtown Karlsruhe. This map was included in a handbook for newcomers to Heidelberg Military Post, issued in 1950.

Click on the thumbnail to view a larger format of the same map.

Karlsruhe facilities

1980

Topographical maps of Karlsruhe and surrounding area. These maps are reproduced from the "U.S. Military Installation Atlas" published by the 37th Transportation Group in 1980.

Click on the thumbnail to view a larger format of the same map.

Click here for a list of the installations.

Karlsruhe

 

PHOTOS
Click on thumbnail to view larger image
Karlsruhe Kasernes      

A. Mackensen Ksn


   
       
Smiley Bks

 

1. Smiley Bks, around 1968

2. Sign on Smiley Bks, around 1968
   

3. 595th Med Co

4. Barracks building on main road

5. Motor pool
 

6. Paul Revere Village

7. Barracks building
   

8. 3rd Gen Disp, Smiley

9. Bowling Center

10. Wehrmacht statue outside of Smiley main gate
 
 

Motor Pool area, Smiley Barracks, 1954
(Mystery Photo #9)

11. MP Station

12. MP Station

 
     

Headquarters Area Command Motor Pool, Smiley Barracks, 1954 (Donald Gilbert)
 

Smiley Barracks, 1954 (Donald Gilbert)
 

13. Motor pool

14. Snack Bar

15. Smiley sign main gate


16. 15th Med Det



     

Motor pool, Smiley Barracks, Karlsruhe, early 1950s (Michael Adel)
 

Smiley Barracks, Karlsruhe, early 1950s (Michael Adel)
 

17. Barracks building

18. Sub post motor pool

19. Warehouses
 
       
Phillips Bks

   

Phillips Barracks main gate, Karlsruhe, 1950s
 

Bird's Eye View of Phillips Barracks, Karlsruhe (Bing)
 
Unit Kilo, Rheinhafen

 

1. Rheinhafen

2. Unit K, RRP

3. Unit K, RRP
 
       
Neureut Ksn

 

1. UP building

2. Kaserne

3. Motor pool

4. Main street

5. Typical barracks building at Neureut
     
     
Ettlingen      

A. Rheinland Ksn

B.
Rheinland Ksn
   
       
Rheinland Ksn

   

Rheinland Kaserne main gate, Ettlingen (Jess Ray Keopke)
 

Rheinland Kaserne main gate, Ettlingen, 1965 (Dick Tatina)

Rheinland Kaserne main gate, Ettlingen, 1967 (Gary Nuismer)
 

HHC 78th Engr Bn barracks, Ettlingen, 1967 (Gary Nuismer)
 

1. Rheinland Ksn, 1967

2. HHC, 78th Engr Bn Bldg

3. Movie Theater
 

4. Area behind Bldg 9723

5. Motor pool
   
     
Germersheim      

Germersheim Army Depot, recent (Mike Smith)
 

Germersheim Army Depot, recent (Mike Smith)
 

1. Aerial of Army Depot, 1962
     
       
Knielingen      

A.
Rhein Ksn
     
     

Gerszewski Barracks, Knielingen, 1993 (www.leo-bw.de)
 

1. Main Gate sign (KB)

2. 761st Med Det sign (KB)
   
       
Pforzheim
     

Pforzheim Air Station, 1961 (Don Hall)
 

Pforzheim Air Station, 1961 (Don Hall)
 

1. Entrance

2. Mess Hall

3. Bldg 113

4. Bldgs 103 & 121

5. Access road to Air Station

6. Gate
   

7. (KB)

8. (KB)

9. (KB)

10. (KB)

USMCA Karlsruhe / 235th BSB (APO 09164) - Histories, Misc. Information
 

US Army installations in and around Karlsruhe, 1940s - 1990 (GOOGLE)
 


FIAT Building on 4 Kaiser-Allee, Karlsruhe, 1945 (Webmaster's collection)
(This building would serve as the home of HQ Karlsruhe Sub-post during the
late 1940s and early 1950s)


HISTORIES & MISC. INFORMATION
 
(Source: General Orders Naming Kasernes, USAREUR Military History Office)

HISTORY OF KASERNES (1958)

RHEINLAND KASERNE
Of the kasernes still in use to this day, the Rheinland Kaserne in Ettlingen, about ten kilometers southwest of Karlsruhe, is the oldest. The first buildings of this complex were created in 1870 to house the troops of the Second Reich.

Immediately after the war (WW II), the kaserne was used to house displaced persons flooding into Western Germany from the Soviet satellites and East Germany. During the period from 1946 until 1950, the kaserne constantly was quartering 2,000 DP's. In 1950, American troops moved into the kaserne. The area is now (1958) occupied by the 39th Engr Gp, elements of the 552nd FA Bn, and three German Labor Service Groups.

GERSZEWSKI BARRACKS
Gerszewski Barracks, now occupied by the 73rd AAA Bn, the 18th Ord Co, components of the 552nd FA Bn, 66th Ord Bn and 620th Engr Co, and 25th Sig Bn, was named for Sgt Adolf C. Gerszewski of the 397th Infantry Regiment, awarded the Silver Star posthumously in WWII.

The present complex of Gerszewski Barracks consists of two former German kasernes, the Mudra Kaserne (Sudetenstrasse) and the Pionier Kaserne (a.k.a. Rheinkaserne), both built prior to World War II. After the war, 24 January 1947, the two kasernes were unified as the "Black Hawk" kaserne occupied by the 1st Constabulary Squadron and the 15th Constabulary Regiment. The 1st Con Sq wore the "Black Hawk" insignia, denoting that they were the direct descent of the original "United States Regiment of Dragoons." Line troops were moved into the kaserne on 23 August 1948 and it was renamed "Gerszewski Barracks."

SMILEY BARRACKS
The smallest kaserne in Karlsruhe, Smiley Barracks, is the seat of the Post Headquarters. The barracks owes its name to T/4 Lester W. Smiley, who was posthumously awarded the Silver Star in WWII.

The kaserne was originally built in 1937 and was named Forster Kaserne for General Forster of the German Luftwaffe. At the conclusion of the war, the kaserne was taken over by the Americans, renamed, and now is occupied by Karlsruhe Headquarters personnel, the 285th MP Co, the 8th Med Co, the 9th, 10th, and 11th Historical Detachments, the 3rd Med Disp, the 44th Finance Disbursing Section, the 548th APU, the 595th Med Co, and the 526th QM Co, the USAREUR Film Exchange and USAREUR Dependents Education Group.

PHILLIPS BARRACKS
Phillips Barracks, formerly known as the Mackensen Kaserne, was one of the four kasernes built (in Karlsruhe) shortly before the outbreak of World War II to accommodate the ever increasing military might of the Third Reich. This kaserne was turned over to the Americans in 1945 and officially renamed in honor of PFC Adiran Phillips who died in action in January 1945.

At the present, the kaserne is occupied by the 555th Engr Gp, the 78th Engr Bn, and the 809th Engr Co.

NEUREUT CANTONMENT
The Neureut Cantonment has the unique distinction in Karlsruhe of being the only barracks built after the war by the Americans. The Cantonment is now the primary site of Karlsruhe signal units as well as three Civilian Labor Service Groups. The kaserne is home of the headquarters of the 516th Sig Gp, the 29th Sig Bn, the 17th Sig Bn, and the 532nd FA Obsr Bn.

OTHER NATO KASERNES
Sharing the NATO obligations of defending West Germany with the American Forces are German and French units. When the Bundeswehr Forces were called into being in April 1956, the gradual process of relieving American units in Germany with Bundeswehr Forces began. The first step in this direction took place on Karlsruhe's Rhine Harbor on 1 April 1958. Unit K of the US Navy Rhine River Patrol officially turned over its duties, base and craft to the 791st Interior Defence Company of the Bundeswehr.

Furthermore, on 27 February 1957, the first unit of the Bundeswehr moved into Karlsruhe to set up headquarters in the Dragoner Kaserne, formerly assigned to Polish Labor Service units.

One of Karlsruhe's oldest kasernes, the former Grenadier Kaserne, is now occupied by a French Field Artillery battalion. The kaserne has been temporarily renamed for General Pagezy of the French Army and is one of the northernmost points of the French Forces.


 
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Dec 25, 1956)
De Gaulle Kaserne at Germersheim has been returned to the West German government by the Western Area Command. In November, 15 rooms at the kaserne were turned over to the German Army for use as classrooms. This marks the second turnover of military facilities by WACom since Oct. 25 when four buildings at Turenne Kaserne in Zweibruecken were turned over to the Bundeswehr.

 
(Source: Town Crier (Karlsruhe MILCOM newspaper), March 8, 1985)
Little post with big mission

Germer who? You might ask! Or is it, Germer's what? If you're like me, before I was assigned to find out, you probably know the Army does something in Germersheim but not what. I didn't even know where Germersheim is! I was surprised to discover that not only is Germersheim one of the most important Army posts in Europe, it also has what may be the longest and richest history of any post in the U.S. Army - dating back to before the time of Christ. Justly proud of it's role at Germersheim is the KarIsruhe DEH which has responsibility for making sure facilities at Germersheim run well so the people there can perform their mission effectively.

Germersheim is really a quiet, almost sleepy little town on the west bank of the Rhein, 13 crow-miles north of Paul Revere Village. Interesting shops and stores line a puzzle-like network of streets that wind around massive buildings, once part of a great fortress. People are friendly to Americans, perhaps because the military has always been a part of the city's history. In addition to the American post, Germersheim is also home for three German Wehrmacht caserns (should be: Bundeswehr) and a Luftwaffe casern.

When Americans talk about Germersheim, they usually mean the Germersheim Military Sub-community located on the west edge of town. About 2000 Americans live here -- 600 military members and families -- and nearly 1700 local nationals working for the several organizations that conduct the Army's business. The sub-community includes 5.2 square kilometers of land area, miles of roads, a major train depot, the only fire department in the Karlsruhe Military Community and 160 structures including everything from schools to a movie theater plus several warehouses, each of which is large enough for three football games to be played simultaneously. The post is not one of those typical German caserns with well-laid out cobbled streets lined with trees. It looks more like a gigantic parking lot for imported cars that you'd find in New Jersey or California. A closer look reveals row after row of tanks, trucks, personnel carriers, bridge sections -- more vehicles and materiel than the entire armies of many countries.

This mind-boggling stockpile belongs to the General Support Center Germersheim, just one of the "Big Three" tenants at the post. Formerly called the Germersheim Army Depot, GSCG is one of four war reserve depots in Europe, the others being in England, Luxembourg and Kaiserslautern. GSC 's main mission is to store and maintain all the equipment necessary to replenish whatever might be knocked out of action during a real war. Just maintaining the $1.4 billion worth of equipment is a big peacetime job. Every vehicle must be "exercised" periodically -- fueled, engine run, put through gear changes to make sure all seals are lubricated and so forth. Every vehicle must be ready to move out on short notice.

Another, not so visible Germersheim tenant, is the 4th Combat Equipment Company. Their mission is to store, maintain and issue vehicles and equipment in case of war and, in peactime, to troops arriving from the States during Return of Forces to Germany exercises. Their materiel, called POMCUS for "Preposition of Materiel Configured in Units Sets," isn't so visible because it is stored in massive, dehumidified NATO warehouses. Whereas the GSCG equipment must be able to move out with only a few hours notice, the POMCUS equipment must be ready to go instantly, at all times.

Last of the "Big Three" tenants at Germersheim, and most important if you believe Napoleon who said, "An army marches on its belly," is the Defense Logistics Agency -- the commissary people. Germersheim is the commissary's non-perishable food storage and transhipment facility for Europe. If food supply lines from the States were interrupted for some reason, Germersheim could keep us marching for a good while. And, since even "non-perishable" food has a limited shelf life, the commissary people are constantly rotating stock -- shipping cigarettes, coffee, canned goods, etc. all over Europe and replenishing the stock with new supplies from the States.

In addition to the "Big Three," Germersheim is also home for the 137th Ordnance Company, which provides ammunition to prestock points in the Karlsruhe community, and Company B, 63rd Signal Company, which provides communications support to USAREUR headquarters.

"Germersheim is really a factory," says Lt. Col. John K. Joseph, the two-hatted commander of both the sub-community and GSCG. "It's like a major industrial complex with a lot of different functions and we count on DEH to keep us in business." The DEH boss at Germersheim is Engineering Support Division Chief Rolf Raab. "Raab does a super job, says Joseph. "He's our roads and grounds, boiler plants, utility support for the shops, emergency repair service; he even does minor construction and provides support to our marshalling areas -- support damage, etc."

Joseph says that since arriving from Washington, D.C. in July 1983, he's seen a lot of renovation projects completed including the troop billets, dining facility, theater, post exchange and bowling alley. "If the weather warms up, we'll also be breaking ground shortly for a new school building." Division Chief Raab says there's a lot more on the drawing board. New projects already approved include construction of a small arms repair shop, a vehicle maintenance shop and a child development center. Other upcoming projects include road widening, fence repair, a new parking lot for the commissary warehouses and several renovation projects. "In all, about 35 projects are planned," says Raab, "and if everything is approved and funded, we will have rehabilitated 60 percent of all the buildings in the sub-community." Joseph also has high praise for Rudy Nothdurft, DEH's chief housing watchdog for Germersheim. "We lease six high-rise apartment buildings," says Joseph, "but of course we can't spend any military money on improvements. Rudy has been very successful in getting the landlords to provide playgrounds and equipment for the kids. All of this helps to make the sub-community more livable for the residents."

How do Americans like living in Germersheim? Joseph says he can't speak for everyone but for him, "Germersheim is a paradise compared to living in Washington, D.C. "

 
(Source: Town Crier (Karlsruhe MILCOM newspaper), October 28, 1988)
Behind the scenes warehouse operation ensures goods in commissaries and dining facilities

By Debbi Merrill
Editor
"You shouldn't have to think about how the products get to the commissary or the mess hall; it should just happen," claims Maj. Kevin Scott, chief of the Defense Subsistance Storage Facility at Germersheim, where semi-perishable products are stored.

Behind two guarded gates at the Germersheim sub-community, on the far side of fields filled with tanks, trucks and assorted stored vehicles, sit three mammoth warehouses. Inside each warehouse is row upon row, pallet upon pallet of 2,000 assorted food and associated products for resale to commissaries and for use by soldiers.

Scott's job is to supervise about 200 local national employees in the running of the massive operation that keeps soldiers and their families eating in Germany and other locations. Only one other American is assigned to the facility and he is NCOIC, SFC Lorenzo Cruz.

"We're the wholesaler that ships to the commissaries," Scott said.
 
 
The warehouse system was established at Germersheim in 1975 and the operation has been computerized since the beginning. The main frame computer is in Zweibruecken. The actual accounts file is in Philadelphia, Penn.

Requisitions for food and other supplies go through the main office in Mechanicsburg, Penn. The process required to take the food from the warehouse shelves to individual commissaries or dining facilities is long on distance, but actually fairly quickly accomplished in terms of time.

Requisitioned products are trucked 75 miles to the Port of Baltimore where they are then loaded onto ships. The ships then head for either Rotterdam or Bremerhaven. From there the goods travel down the Rhein River to Ludwigshaven, Germersheim or Karlsruhe-Worth Port. Again the crates are loaded onto trailer trucks and the products are hauled to the Germersheim warehouses.

"We have a system of control to sell the items before the expiration dates," Scott said. "The computer keeps track of shelf life,"

As each shipment arrives in 40 foot metal vans, the workers unload the goods by forklift and stack them in the warehouse.

"We check over each shipment to verify quantities and shelf life and to see if there are any insects or obvious defects," Scott said.

After the products are stacked in their respective areas, they remain -- usually for a short time, until they are requisitioned.
When a release arrives from the inventory control center, the goods are again on their way, closer to their final destination.

"If goods don't sell by 35 days prior to the expiration date of shelf life, we have to do something - usually change the prices to sell quickly," Scott said. "Some commissaries will order items to sell at a discount."

Members of the 7th Medical Command Veterinary Services inspect products at the Germersheim facilities. Other veterinarians inspect food products in individual commissaries.

"They open packages and look at the items and after the expiration date they test to make sure the product is still wholesome," Scott said. "They also determine how long the item will have shelf life."

He said the government buys food with a warranty that the food is in good condition when it is purchased. "Food damaged in shipment is not refundable if it's not the fault of the manufacturer," Scott said.

Although all of the items stored in the warehouses may be easy to resell if they were to fall to dishonest people, the highly pilferable ones which include cigarettes and coffee, are kept in a security warehouse. Scott said there haven't been any thefts from the warehouses in years.

When a shipment is being readied to leave the warehouse and the items have been selected and stacked to go, cases of products are positioned under a machine that takes a giant plastic bag and shrinkwraps it around each case.

"We shrink-wrap everything because the plastic is stronger than straps; it melts on the (packaged) merchandise," Scott said. "In the States, the cartons go through a big oven on a conveyor belt, but our smaller machine works just as well."

What happens when a commissary is too busy to accept their order?

"If a commissary is swamped, for whatever reason, and can't unload products, they are held here until the commissary can take it," Scott said. "This saves the government detention charges. If we have usable floor space and there is a commissary in a bind, we'll hold the order."

In addition to the commissary and dining facility storage work, the warehouse is also the location of operational rations which are dehydrated food and T Rations for the troops. During recent REFORGER operations, Scott said there were long lines of trailer trucks waiting to be loaded with goods for the field.

"We also send all Department of Defense equipment from here," the chief said. "There are 171 different schools that we ship to."

Although the Defense Subsistence Storage Facility in Germersheim is in a part of the Karlsruhe Military Community, only a dozen of the products stored there make their way to the Karlsruhe community commissary. Karlsruhe's commissary items are channeled through facilities in Mannheim.

"In an emergency, the Karlsruhe commissary manager could get items from Germersheim offline products," Scott said.

Another mission is one that hopefully will never be tested.

"The rations for different forces are stored here," Scott said. "The quantity of dehydrated items the Army has purchased is based on a pre-determined plan. During wartime, we would not be running commissaries."

Gerszewski Barracks
(Source: Email from Don Morton originally sent to Paul Strasser)
 
It was definitely called Rhein Kaserne [notice the spelling] and this picture was taken on the back side of one of the buildings occupied at the time by the 56th Medical Battalion which the 761st was a part of.

I don't remember which way was north or south at Gerszewski but the building was the one [if standing at the front gate] in the back left hand corner of the Kaserne. You had to go behind the building which was up against the fence in order to see it. This picture was taken in 1963 while I was at the 761st.

History of Wartberg Kaserne, Pforzheim
(Source: Email from Marco A., Germany)
  An overview of the history of Wartberg Kaserne.

Click on the chart to view a larger resolution image.

Anybody who has additional details about Wartberg Kaserne in Pforzheim or knows about units that served there is kindly requested to contact the webmaster.
VKK 523 FOB
The Verteidigungskreiskommando (VKK) was an element of the German Territorial Army (Territorialheer), the part-time reserve component of the German Army. The Territorialheer was organized, trained and equipped to reinforce the Bundesheer (Active Army) on short notice. Most Territorialheer soldiers lived close to their mobilization stations, and most units were earmarked for operations in their home regions -- thus the name 'Territorial Army'.

The VKK 523 home station was Pforzheim.
Higher headquarters for VKK 523 was the VBK 52 (Verteidigungsbezirkskommando) in Karlsruhe.

Related Links:
Rhine River Patrol, Karlsruhe (Unit K) - a great photo page (photos provided by Ralph Rice) on Andrews Baggs' web site dedicated to the US Navy's Weser and Rhine River Patrols
79th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy) - Joe Nisil's page on the 79th Engr Bn and Gerszewski Barracks, Knielingen (Karlsruhe), 1979-81
Rhein Kaserne - a Bruce Christman history page
Gerzsewski Barracks - a Bruce Christman history page