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1st Infantry Division
Big Red One

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me.

Division History (1945-1955)

Reorganization of Tactical Forces

Page 2
Inf Regts
Div Arty

Page 3
1st QM Co
1st Repl Co
1st Med Bn
701st Ord Bn

Hq/Hq Co, 1st Inf Div

1st Sig Co

1st Engr Bn

63rd Tank Bn

1st Recon Co

6th Ranger Co

42nd Scout Dog Pltn

Division History
1945 - 1955
Special Anniversary editions of The American Traveler

Reorganization of Tactical Forces in Post-war Germany
The historical study "Reorganization of Tactical Forces, VE-Day to 1 January 1949" is part of the excellent OCCUPATION FORCES IN EUROPE SERIES. This study was prepared with a view toward highlighting the peculiar conditions affecting the organization of US Army, Europe from the end of the war in Eruope to the end of 1948. A great deal of emphasis was placed on two organizations in particular: the US Constabulary and the 1st Infantry Division - together, they comprised the bulk of tactical troops in US Army, Europe, after 1946.

The following excerpts provide some detail of the organizational changes of the 1st Infantry Division as it performed its occupational missions during this period.
Chapter I - The First Two Years
This chapter covers the early concepts for employing the forces required to occupy Germany after the end of World War II and the impact of the ensuing manpower problems - caused by redeployment and the ever-diminishing troop ceiling (Occupational Troop Basis) - on these concepts. We pick up the discussion in mid-1946, at a time where the tactical units consisted of the Third Army (Heidelberg) with three infantry divisions (1st, 3rd and 9th) and several separate regiments (3rd, 14th, 29th and 508th Abn).

NOTE: The 3rd Infantry Division was in the process of being redeployed back to the United States. Another separate infantry regiment - the 5th - was located in Austria but came under the control of US Forces in Austria.
11. Nontactical Role of Tactical Troops

a. The idea of a tactical reserve was finally abandoned. At the time of the creation of the U.S. Constabulary, plans had called for a tactical reserve of three divisions. Later plans reduced the reserve to one division. But on 19 September 1946 a letter from European Theater Headquarters to major commands, outlining the reductions necessary to meet the 1 July 1947 0TB of 117,000, provided for a reduction of the reserve to a single regiment less a battalion. Tactical units were to have primarily static duties in the Occupation and were to subordinate their tactical capabilities to their administrative and custodial duties. No service forces were to be retained for the purpose of supporting the remaining tactical elements in a combat role. The first phase of reducing to the 117,000 OTB was to include discontinuance of the four separate regiments remaining in the Theater and of some elements of the 9th U.S. Infantry Division; reduction of Third Army Headquarters to a static rather than a combat role; and redeployment in the Theater of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division to replace the separate infantry regiments. In the final phase, the entire Third Army Headquarters would be phased out.

b. On 24 September 1946 the 1st Infantry Division, then concentrated in the area Bamberg-Regensburg-Landshut with the mission of training as a tactical and strategic reserve for the European Theater, was given the new mission of serving as a static force in the Occupation. In a conference on the OTB at USFET (US Forces, European Theater) Headquarters on 24 September 1946, a representative of the G-3 Division said:

"We recognize and the War Department recognizes that we have no tactical capabilities and that we will not have any tactical capabilities; and the training of battalions, regiments, etc., for tactical work is over and that the only training we can do will be individual training, very small group training, and most of that will be on-the-job."

c. Toward the end of 1946 the War Department requested a new survey of the combat efficiency of major units in the European Theater. With combat efficiency of 100 percent regarded as ability to take the field on a combat mission, Headquarters, European Theater, estimated the combat efficiency of U.S. Constabulary -- the only unit available for tactical missions in the Theater - as 65 percent. The 1st Infantry Division, deployed in small detachments throughout the Occupation Zone, was estimated to have a combat efficiency of only 20 percent.

d. By 1 July 1947, U.S. Constabulary provided a tactical force believed capable of dealing with internal security in the Occupied areas and charged with the primary mission of maintaining order in those areas. But there was no strategic or tactical reserve other than that maintained within the organization of U.S. Constabulary, and troops of the 1st Infantry Division were so widely dispersed on static assignments that "operational capability of the Division as a tactical fighting unit was greatly reduced."

Chapter II - The Search for Tactical Manpower

12. Revival of the Tactical Reserve Concept

a. During the latter part of 1946 and the early months of 1947, a plan was formulated for the reorganization of the European Theater by re-establishing military districts and making the military communities (military posts) the basis for reorganization of the entire Occupation Forces. This plan aimed to conserve manpower and to avoid the necessity for further reorganization if the strength of the Occupation Forces were to be still further reduced. Under this plan, the 1st U.S. Infantry Division and the U.S. Constabulary would each be responsible for administration of a military district. The main purpose was to reduce administrative overhead by placing all units under the military posts in whose geographical boundaries they were stationed.

b. The first effect of the reorganization, however, was to further weaken the combat elements of the Occupation Forces. Remaining combat elements became the first victims of the search for manpower with which to strengthen 1st Division and Constabulary headquarters and to man the station complements of the military posts. The light tank elements of the Constabulary were the first to go. Reduction in strength in other elements of the Constabulary occurred soon after, as it did in numerous service, administration, and intelligence units.

c. However, the immediate impact of the reorganization did not reflect its long-range implications which, if no further drastic reductions in troop strength occurred, meant a manpower saving. Such a manpower saving would at an early date permit at least a partial reassembling of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division. At the same time, it was expected that a gradual reduction in the police-type duties of the Constabulary would take place as the German police force, customs service, railroad police, and other services became operational. Thus the Constabulary, too, would be available as a reserve.

d. On 8 August 1946, Lt. Gen. Clarence R. Huebner, wartime commander of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division, was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff, USFET, and, on 31 August 1946, Chief of Staff, USFET. But the date which may be taken as the real start toward reconstituting the United States Army in Europe as an effective tactical force was 15 March 1947, when Headquarters, U.S. Ground and Service Forces, Europe, was established at Frankfurt, Germany, with Lt. Gen. Clarence R. Huebner as Commanding General. Headquarters, U.S. Ground and Service Forces, Europe, was redesignated, effective 15 November 1947, Headquarters U.S. Army, Europe, (USAREUR).

13. Situation of 1st Infantry Division on 1 January 1947

a. At the beginning of 1947 the 1st Infantry Division was distributed (6) as follows:



1st Bn, 26th Inf Reg Ludwigsburg Wuerttemberg-Baden
2nd Bn, 26th Inf Reg Munich Part of Bavaria
3rd Bn, 26th Inf Reg Nürnberg War Crimes Trail
Div Arty, 5th & 33rd FA Bns Fulda Greater Hesse
32nd FA Bn Bamberg Part of Bavaria
7th FA Bn Landshut Part of Bavaria
The dispersion of the 1st Infantry Division was actually much greater than is shown in this tabulation since some of the battalions were further subdivided. The 2d Bn, 26th Infantry Regiment, for example, was distributed in three companies and six detachments in nine towns, in addition to its headquarters city, Munich. In the early part of 1947, with its troops so widely deployed that training and control by the divisional commander was impossible, headquarters administrative responsibilities further reduced the potential effectiveness of the unit as a field headquarters in time of emergency.

b. General Huebner's appointment as Commanding General, U.S. Army, Europe, indicated a return to the concept of a tactical reserve, to be realized as rapidly as manpower could be uncovered. This was also shown in preparations to open the Grafenwöhr Training Area, formerly an extensive training area of the German Army, as the training center of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division. Headquarters, 26th Infantry Regiment, was directed to move to Grafenwöhr, with the mission of preparing the area for use by 1 May 1947. It was planned to use the center for the training of company-size units, which would be given a 4-week basic training course. Training began in May, and continued in five training cycles until the middle of November. Each battalion, except those of the 16th Infantry Regiment, was required to release a company or battery periodically for training.

c. When the 26th Infantry Regiment was assigned to establish a training center at Grafenwöhr, General Huebner wrote a letter to the various post commanders and the commanding officers at the Bremen Port of Embarkation and the Berlin Military District announcing his intention of reassembling at the earliest possible moment the scattered elements of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division. In effect, this letter served notice that the 1st Division would soon be unavailable for static duties in the Occupation and that military posts where 1st Division units were presently assigned would have to find other manpower to carry out those duties, or reorganize in such a way as to free them. The 4-week release required immediately for training purposes was simply a first stem in this direction.

d. As a result of these letters and the growing belief that it was essential to re-establish a reserve force in Europe, the various posts and agencies of the European Command conducted a critical self-scrutiny beginning is the spring of 1947, with the express purpose of tightening organization, eliminating jobs wherever possible, making better use of available German labor as well as of U.S. and Allied or neutral civilians, and closing out at the quickest possible rate the secondary missions growing out of the war.

14. Re-emergence of the Reserve

a. By the summer of 1947 the establishment of a combat reserve as an element of the Occupation Forces had been accepted as EUCOM Policy and, after a period of eight months without a reserve, dating from the reduction in strength imposed in the fall of 1946, the European Command was again establishing a combat reserve designed to cope with special emergencies. This reserve was kept within the prescribed troop ceiling, with no request to the War Department for an increase in strength, and was made possible only by a reduction in the number of troops available for the day-to-day tasks of the Occupation. The first stage in development of the reserve was the freeing of combat elements from their static duties for periods of field training and maneuvers.

b. The new reserve consisted of three principal elements. The first element, a general reserve, consisted of the 26th Regimental Combat Team and the 18th Infantry Regiment less one battalion. The second element, the Constabulary reserve, consisted of one regiment, supported by certain additional combat elements, especially the 7th Field Artillery Battalion, trained to operate in the field in close conjunction with the Constabulary reserve regiment. The third element was a mobile field headquarters maintained and trained as part of the headquarters of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division.

15. Concentration of the 26th Regimental Combat Team

a. In the summer of 1947 the Commanding General of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division was directed to prepare detailed plans for the concentration of the 26th Regimental Combat Team, which was to be established as a reserve for support of the U.S. Constabulary in the event of internal disorders in Germany. Early plans provided for the inclusion of one infantry regiment, one light artillery battalion, one medium artillery battalion, one medium tank company, one engineer company, one medical company, and detachments of signal, ordnance, and quartermaster troops. Toward the end of July it was announced that the 26th Regimental Combat Team would be established in the Grafenwöhr Training Area, beginning on 1 August, and with concentration complete by 25 September. After training there, the 26th RCT would be stationed permanently in the Bamberg-Erlangen-Grafenwöhr area. A directive published on 24 July 1947 revealed that the 26th RCT would consist principally of the three battalions of the 26th Infantry Regiment, the 5th Field Artillery Battalion, the 33d Field Artillery Battalion, and one company each from the lst Engineer Battalion and the lst Medical Battalion. Other elements were to be added by the Commanding General of the lst Infantry Division. The addition in August of one medium tank company would mark a reversal of the earlier policy which had eliminated tank elements from the Occupation Forces. At this time too, it was proposed to the War Department that light tank elements organized on a provisional basis be re-established in U.S. Constabulary. The medium tank company added to the 26th RCT was the 12th Medium Tank Company. In September another medium tank company, the 11th, was organized on a provisional basis and made part of the 26th RCT.

b. By November the 26th RCT, then located at Bamberg and Erlangen, was composed of the following units:


26th Infantry Regiment less cannon company and anti-tank company
5th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm, Howitzer, Truck-driven)
33rd Field Artillery Battalion (105mm, Howitzer, Truck-driven)
11th and 12th Medium Tank Companies (Grafenwöhr)
Company C, 1st Engineer Battalion
Company C, 1st Medical Battalion
Detachment, 1st Quartermaster Company
1st Platoon, 1st Signal Company
Detachment, 701st Ordnance Company
Detachment, 1st Military Police Company
It was referred to in November as the European Command reserve, and its concentration on a permanent basis, rather than for a training and maneuver period only, was significant. Its training program was prescribed and supervised by the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division. If committed to action in event of an emergency occurring in U.S. occupied territory, it was to be released to the Commanding General, U.S. Constabulary, or the Commanding General, U.S. Forces, Austria. It was required to be ready to move one-third of its force on four hours notice and the remainder within twelve hours.

16. Effect of 26th RCT Concentration upon Other Elements of the 1st Infantry Division

a. When the 26th RCT was concentrated in the Grafenwöhr Training Area in August and September 1947, it was necessary to replace the units comprising it by other units of the 1st Infantry Division for performance of the static duties of the Occupation. The first effect of the concentration was to spread even more thinly certain of the other elements of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division. The 26th Infantry Regiment and the 5th and 33d Field Artillery Battalions were relieved from their static duties largely by the 1st Battalion of the 18th Infantry Regiment which was withdrawn from duty in the Bremen Enclave and stationed in Stuttgart, Nuernberg, Dachau, and Darmstadt. Henceforth, no combat unit was stationed in the Bremen Enclave, but arrangements were made with the British Occupation Forces for reinforcement of U.S. service troops there in event of emergency, and movement of a force of the U.S. Constabulary across the British Zone to the Enclave.

b. That the wider dispersal of 1st U.S. Infantry Division units was only a temporary expedient was demonstrated toward the end of 1947, when plans to form a second regimental combat team from elements of the 1st Infantry Division were formulated. This action meant that military posts where such units were stationed would have to rely even more heavily than before on other available manpower and curtail to the utmost their Occupational duties, limiting such activities to essential tasks. On 1 March 1948 the 18th Infantry Regiment, less its 1st Battalion, was released from assignment to EUCOM Headquarters and returned to operational control of the Commanding General, 1st Infantry Division. Almost immediately, training to prepare the 18th Infantry for combat operations was begun.

c. By the spring of 1948, when plans for summer training were formulated, the goal toward which Theater planners were working with regard to tactical forces was fairly clear. Their plans called for the concentration of the 1st Infantry Division, less the 16th Infantry Regiment (serving in Berlin and Austria) in the Grafenwöhr Training Area, where unit training, including training at the regimental combat team level, and the use of automatic weapons, was to be stressed. Summer training was to point to a divisional exercise in which the 1st Infantry Division would be joined by the 2d Constabulary Regiment and the 91st and 94th Field Artillery Battalions. The object of the training was to prepare the 1st Infantry Division to operate as a strategic reserve.

(The remainder of Chapter II and all of Chapter III deals with changes within the US Constabulary.)
Chapter IV - Reorganization of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division in 1948

29. Difficulties Involved in Reorganization

a. Simultaneously with the reorganization of the U.S. Constabulary, plans were made to reorganize the 1st Infantry Division under the new T/0&E prepared by the Department of the Army. Such a reorganization followed logically upon the reassembly of the Division and the return to the Commanding General of the Division of operational control of its elements from the various posts at which they had been stationed. Although reorganization was delayed by the fact that certain of the Tables of Organization and Equipment involved had not yet been approved and published, it was indicated that the new organization would require approximately five thousand spaces more than the old-type infantry division. On the other hand, the increase in personnel within the division would make it more nearly self-supporting in line with the aims of current Command policy governing tactical troops.

b. On 17 September, EUCOM was directed by the Department of the Army to
proceed with the reorganization of the 1st Infantry Division, which would have an authorized strength of 952 officers, 48 warrant officers, and 17,751 enlisted men, aggregating 18,751. The reorganization was to be effected by 10 October. Actually, as in the case of the Constabulary, provisional reorganization was already under way.

c. It was impossible for EUCOM Headquarters to consider the reorganization of the 1st Infantry Division apart from the reorganization of U.S. Constabulary and the composition of the OTB, for the major problem in connection with the reorganization was that of finding within the authorized Theater troop basis 3,297 spaces to implement the reorganization. The actual difference between the old-type division and the new-type division was 5,662 spaces, and in July U.S. Constabulary was informed that, in effecting its reorganization, it would have to provide 3,500 of the required spaces. However, the addition of other units resulted in approximately 2,365 spaces being made available. After discussions with the various staff divisions, OPOT decided that other spaces required would be drawn from various services, military posts, and units in the Theater; and in this way, through small requisitions on many agencies, a total of 3,222 spaces were yielded leaving OPOT Division with a reserve of approximately 190, mostly officers.

30. Changes in the New Division T/0&E

To make 1st Infantry Division conform to the new T/0&E, the Department of the Army directed that the following actions be taken: Headquarters Special Troops to be redesignated as 1st Replacement Company and inactivated; in the 1st Medical Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment to be redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company and Company A redesignated as an Ambulance Company; Company B to be disbanded; Company C to be relieved of assignment to Company B and redesignated Medical Detachment, Division Headquarters, 1st U.S. Infantry Division; Company D redesignated as the Clearing Company. The 701st Ordnance Light Maintenance Company was to be redesignated the 701st Ordnance Maintenance Company (drawing additional equipment for maintenance of tanks). One mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop was to be transferred intact from U.S. Constabulary and redesignated the 1st Reconnaissance Company. An additional company, Company D, was to be activated for the 1st Engineer Combat Battalion. In each of the Division's regiments - the 16th, 18th and 26th - the medical detachments were to be redesignated Medical Companies. An antitank company and a cannon company were to be activated and redesignated as Tank Company and Heavy Mortar Company, respectively, for each Regiment. A tank battalion, the 745th, was to be activated and redesignated the 63d Heavy Tank Battalion; and the 639th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion was to be activated and redesignated the 48th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion. All of these units which were to be newly activated or reorganized were to be assigned as organic elements of the 1st Infantry Division.

31. Provisional Reorganization

a. Although the official reorganization was not to be effective until 10 October 1948, by 22 July the provisional reorganization directed by EUCOM Headquarters, with Department of the Army approval, had been completed. Most of the reorganization was carried out, despite serious shortages in trained officers, prior to 1 July, and on that date, the following units, including organic elements and those for support of the 1st Infantry Division, were present with the Division in the Grafenwöhr Training Area:


16th Infantry Regiment (minus 3rd Battalion)
18th Infantry Regiment
26th Infantry Regiment
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st US Infantry Division Artillery
5th Field Artillery Battalion
7th Field Artillery Battalion
32nd Field Artillery Battalion
33rd Field Artillery Battalion
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st US Infantry Division
1st US Infantry Division Band
1st Signal Company
1st Quartermaster Company
701st Ordnance Company
1st Medical Battalion
1st Engineer (Combat) Battalion
7825th Station Complement Unit (Mobile)
11th Tank Company (Heavy)
12th Tank Company (Heavy)
531st Ordnance Tank Maintenance Company
511th Quartermaster Service Company
556th Ordnance MAM Company
58th TC Truck Company
63rd TC Truck Company
425th Army Band
7866th Headquarters and Headquarters and Service Company, Heavy Tank Battalion
7711th Air Liaison Detachment
7793rd Augmentation Detachment
1st Military Police Company
Units assigned to the 1st US Infantry Division but not present in the Grafenwöhr Training Area were:


57th Field Hospital Würzburg  
3rd Battalion, 16th Inf Reg Berlin  
8591st Labor Service Platoon Darmstadt  
24th TC Truck Company Nürnberg  
59th TC Truck Company Nürnberg  
544th TC Truck Company Nürnberg  
590th TC Truck Company Nürnberg
7931st Ordnance Evacuation Company Kitzingen

b. By 22 July the provisional reorganization was completed pending the assignment of personnel and the issue of equipment to fill the T/O&E. Tank companies for the 18th and 26th Regiments had been formed previously as the 11th and 12th Tank Companies, respectively, and on 7 July, the 16th Infantry Regimental Tank Company and the 1st U.S. Infantry Division Heavy Tank Battalion were organized. The 1st U.S. Infantry Division Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion (Self-Propelled) was formed on 17 July and on 1 August, the 1st Reconnaissance Company was organized.

c. To meet the over-all personnel demands required by the reorganization, arrangements for the transfer of spaces from U.S. Constabulary and from other Theater units were directed by OPOT Division, EUCOM Headquarters. It was more difficult to find in the Theater enough available officers with sufficient field training to handle their assignments. However, between 1 July and 10 October, a thorough search was made of other units and agencies in the Theater, and wherever feasible, ground officers with experience were transferred from static assignments to the new elements of the Division. By the middle of August a flow of officers from the United States had completely alleviated this problem. By 10 October, when the formal reorganization became effective, the actual reorganization had already been implemented by the organization of the new organic units to be added and by the addition of necessary personnel and equipment.

32. Training of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division during 1948

a. During the first six months of 1948, the training of the Division was along the lines generally in use in the Theater. It consisted largely of individual training with small arms and training in the use of crews served weapons, as directed by the OPOT Division, EUCOM Headquarters plus small unit training in tactical problems. Previously, emphasis had been placed entirely upon on-the-job training for occupational tasks. The widespread adoption of tactical training, even if provided for a short number of hours each week (as was the case with most troops in the Theater unattached to a tactical organization and even with many attached to tactical units but assigned to Occupational missions) represented a significant change in Occupation policy.

b. By the spring of 1948, the provisional reorganization of both the 1st Infantry Division and the U.S. Constabulary was visualized and under way, and during the rest of 1948 exercises were projected in which both these organizations were to participate as units of U.S. Army, Europe.

c. Throughout the latter half of 1948, the 1st Infantry Division pursued its own training courses in addition to the combined exercises. The divisional exercises were designed to test and perfect various operational procedures. On 5 August the Division was alerted early in the morning and moved out of the Grafenwöhr area to assembly areas south of Nürnberg, spending the night there and returning to Grafenwöhr the following day. During the month of August, all infantry battalions of the Division engaged in river assault training under the direction of the 1st Engineer (Combat) Battalion. On 23 August the Division began a series of exercises called PRIME and GREEN. Exercise PRIME, held in August, was designed to test the mobility of the Division and its reaction to alerts. Various other exercises involving only the 1st Infantry Division were planned and carried out during the remainder of the year, some of them involving co-ordination between artillery and infantry, and between fighter bomber groups and ground forces.

HQ 1st Infantry Division

Emery Barracks, Würzburg, home of HQ 1st Infantry Division, c. 1953 (Wilmer Braunel)
(Source: Email from Anne (Tubinis) Audette, daughter of a former member of the 1st Inf Div, 1951-53)
Emery Barracks, early 1950s
Headquarters troops of the 1st Infantry Division were stationed at Emery Barracks in the 1951-53 timeframe.


Location of 1st Infantry Division unit, 1954 (Webmaster's collection)
(Click on image to view higher resolution version of map)

Hq building, 1st Infantry Division, Emery Barracks, 1954 (Webmaster's collection)

(Source: various STARS & STRIPES issues)
Airfields under 1st Infantry Division control (1955) :

  Division airfield Emery Barracks airstrip (Würzburg)
  16th Infantry Regiment (Conn Barracks, Schweinfurt)
  18th Infantry Regiment Nilkheim airstrip (Aschaffenburg)
  26th Infantry Regiment Bamberg airstrip
  Division Artillery Ferris Barracks airstrip (Erlangen)

1st Signal Company
(Source: 34th Anniversary Issue of the AMERICAN TRAVELER, August 1951)
1st Signal Company, composed of 13 officers and 354 enlisted personnel, is the oldest signal unit in the United States Army, having celebrated its 53rd anniversary July 27, 1951.

Composed as it is entirely of specialists, the Signal Company is looked to for trained signal personnel for all units of the 1st Division. Training Courses in radio operation, field wire construction, message center and teletype operations are constantly conducted.

Lt Col M.C. Mautz, Division Signal Officer, directly supervises all 1st Division signal operations, and advises the commander on all communications matters. The Signal Company is commanded by Captain Thomas P. Cunninham.

A partial breakdown of the company's four platoons and 10 operating sections will give some idea of the complexity of operations in which the specialists of the unit are engaged. Some of the more distinct divisions are: the headquarters platoon, message center platoon, Division signal supply office, construction platoon, telephone and teletype section, radio relay, radio operations, and motor sections.

The initial means of communications in the infantry division is continuous wave radio, followed by radio link carrier and very high frequency equipment system which remains in operation until wire can be installed.

(Source: Email from Paul Durant)
I was shipped to Vaihingen, Germany assigned to an AGL (air-ground liaison) unit. AGLs were new. Shortly after arriving (Jan 2, 1952), a training alert required us to bivouac in the Alps. I had not yet been assigned winter gear and I nearly froze my GI ass off hanging out in the cab of a deuce and a half. A couple month later, the AGL units were abandoned because of bad experiences in Korea.

I was transferred to the 1st Signal Company of the 1st (Inf Div) then located in Darmstadt and practiced my MOS, a cryptographer. A couple months later I was TA'd to a signal school where I learned to be a teletype repairman. Prior to this school, I had displayed no mechanical ability. I was also supposed to assum crypto maintenance duties. I can't remember where the school was but it was not at Ansbach. I can remember that one of the instructors on fundamentals of electricty was a German National who spoke very good "American" and was Physic teacher in a prior life.

I visited regimental HQs to repair their fancy new teletype machines. I was therefore given access to a jeep. The Regiments used their own permanent assigned personnel for signal support. Had not contact with DivArty except that they tried to recruit me to transfer and play on their football team. The prior year I was on SMU's freshman team.

When in the field for training and war games I was assigned beer duties. That is, evening refreshments for a small group of Sig Sup specialists. By this time, we had moved to the Hindenburg Barracks in Wurzburg which still showed the left over damages from bombings.

I remained there until rotation back to the US and subsequent discharge in April, 1954.


1st Signal Company Honor Guard at Hindenburg Kaserne, 1953
(Source: 36th Anniversary Issue of the AMERICAN TRAVELER, August 1953)
1st Signal Company moved from Darmstadt to Hindenburg Kaserne, Würzburg, in July 1952.

(Source: 37th Anniversary Issue of the AMERICAN TRAVELER, May 1954)
The 1st Signal Company provides communications for the 1st Division. It sounds simple. You string a wire -- finis. It isn't simple. It is tough work, back-breaking work, long work.

The company has to be there "before" and it's got to clean-up "after." It has to contend with forests and rivers and mud and wire-breaks and the enemy.

Commanded by Capt George W. Ghent, the 1st Signal Co does all of these things and it does them well. Its work is sectionalized so that experts in different fields can devote primary concentration to the job making use of their particular skills.

The Division signal officer's section issues all signal operation instructions and standing signal instructions for the Division. It also controls all means of communications with the Division, particpates in field exercises, and represents the commanding general in matters pertaining to communications with the Division.

The administration section handles the supply room, the mess section and the training section.

The motor pool section insures that all vehicles within Signal Company are properly maintained at all times.

The Division signal supply section is divided into three sub-sections:
1. repair and maintenance
2. photographic
3. signal supply


Hindenburg Kaserne, Würzburg (Infomation = early 1950s; Photo courtesy Tom Crowder)

USAREUR Signal School, Barton Barracks, Ansbach (John Veit)
(Source: Email from John Veit)
I was in the 1st Signal Company at Hindenburg Kaserne in Wuerzburg. I was a radio operator (hi-speed). We usually operated radio teletypes between Division and Corps, and used dits and dahs for Division to Regiment and lower level units.

In the USAREUR Signal School photo (above), there looks to be a radio van of the type we used, behind and to the left of the helicopter. Note the stairs up to the door and the antenna mounted. Right inside, on the right, was a BC 610 transmitter as I recall, and other receivers and one or two teletype machines. Our deuce and a half had a ring mount at the front for a 50 caliber machine gun that we used to shoot now and then.

The photo of Hindenburg Kaserne (above) is how I remember it. The whole area looks bigger than I remember.

EM Club / Mess Hall -- The large building on the left in the photo was the EM club and mess hall. The EM club was on the upper floor of the building so marked. The mess hall was on the lower floor and staffed by Germans, so we did not have to pull KP duty.
The low building to the right was obviously repaired some in that the original roof was removed and replaced. During my time there that building was just one story high, the middle 3 floors were bombed out and the roof was resting on what was left of the first floor.

To the right of it was the Company Headquarters (marked as 1st Sig Co Hq). The first floor of the building housed the admin offices of the Company. The message center / crypto guys and company admin staff billeted on the upper floors. There were also some rooms where we practiced sending and receiving code. In the basement was a tailor
shop / laundry. One of the guys was missing an arm, which he said he lost in the war as a bomber crew member.

To the right of Company Hqs building were "our" quarters (1st Sig Co Billets). This was another 4 story building which also housed most of the radio ops. The barrack walls were about a foot and a half thick and composed of reinforced concrete. The floors were nice wood floors and we
had steam heat. Very nice quarters. There was an armory in the basement of our barracks from which we got guns and ammo in the case of an test/alert that the Russians were coming. Then we headed out of town to prearranged areas.

The next barracks was for the quartermaster company drivers (1st QM Company). And their warehouse is also shown. The warehouse was the long building on the other side of the gym building which I don't recall we used as a gym. It could have been a warehouse as well at that time. As to the warehouse, one night on guard
duty, I found the doors at either end of the warehouse were unlocked. I had my partner call for the officer of the guard while I checked out the building which was a bit tenuous. We carried carbines and ammo at the time. I put a round in the chamber as the building was near to the fence, and the Germans also knew it was a warehouse, so having an exit ready (the second open door)would make sense for burglars to do that. - No burglars.
John Veit as a student at the NCO Academy at Munich
  Note that the scaled drawing (of Hindenburg Kaserne on the Würzburg Page) shows the barracks fronting on the street. Some of our guys traded cigarettes for 20 marks with the locals out the window on the street. It wasn't legal, but I think we paid about $1.20 a carton at that time, and 20 marks were worth $5.00, so a mini black market was born.

Don't recall what the buildings across the street from the barracks were used for.

We exited to the street on which the barracks fronted, and turned left to walk to town and gasthauses on the way. For a mile or so all the building on one side of the street were gone from the first floor window sills up. They had been blown away. And on the other side of the s
treet, there were just the shells of buildings, the front sides having been blown away. At least that's how I remember it. Too bad I was not a camera buff. Looked just like the black and white films that showed the WWII ruins of some cities.
Wurzburg was specifically targeted for a saturation raid, and several thousand people were killed in one raid. More info on that is on Wiki.

Also, the long narrow building on the left of the scaled drawing were used to house the QM CO trucks. And the long row of buildings on the north of the drawing were used to house some vehicles and as I recall they had narrow pits in them that we drove our vehicles over for servicing.

We used to use gasoline to clean the oil off of the floor of the pits as needed. Stupid and very dangerous, but "they" wanted the floors clean, so you did what you did. At least they had no smoking signs (nicht rauchen) :-).

(Source: Email from Bennett Dickson, Army dependent, 1st Infantry Div)

1st Inf Div returns to US, 1955
I came across your pictures of the return of the Big Red One in July, 1955.  The ship was the USNS Upshur and I was standing somewhere on the deck, near the band. I was eight years old at the time.  My father had commanded the 3d Battalion, 16th Infantry, but was appointed the Division G4 and put in charge of the Advance Party for our trip to Ft. Riley.  Many other ships were to follow, but we were the first. This took place in Bayonne, I think.

My Aunt and Uncle lived in New Jersey, so we went to their house while they unloaded our car which was in the hold and we drove to Kansas.  The troops went by train.  That night, the band and my dad appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York City.  It was the first time that I had seen a television.
I later served a total of 9 1/2 years in Germany in the 3d Armored Division and 8th Infantry Division in Gelnhausen, Hanau, Mainz, and Bad Kreuznach from 1971-75 and 1981-86. We left Germany in 1986 and went to Ft. Riley (where else?) where I commanded the 5th Battalion, 16th Infantry.

On another page, you have the 16th Infantry Regiment in Furth from 1951-55.  They were at Ledward Barracks, Schweinfurt in 1954-55.

Great web site, glad so see someone doing the labor of love to document all of this, it's almost all gone now.

A historical look at the Big Red One, DUTY FIRST, Summer 2006


Related Links:
Society of the First Infantry Division - A wonderful site hosted by the official organization of veteran's who have served in the 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One) of the U.S. Army.
16th Infantry Regiment Association - The website has a great deal of historical information on the regiment, including a fair amount on the 1945-55 period when the regiment had elements in Germany, Austria, and Berlin.
26th Infantry Regiment Association - A great site dedicated to the "Blue Spaders" vets