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Port Command, USAREUR Com Z
Communications Zone

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.

7703rd Major Port

11th Trans Terminal Comd

Port Command

15th TC Terminal Bn

French Ports

Army HB Diving Team

Related Links

La Rochelle


St. Nazaire

Mobile Subport

11th Transportation Terminal Command "B"

Communications Zone operated subports in the mid-1950s
(Year behind subport name indicates when the subport was opened)
(Source: Welcome! 11th Trans. Terminal Command "B", information brochure for newcomers published in the late 1950s or early 1960s)


The mission of the Communications Zone is to furnish logistical support to the US Army and other designated services stationed in Europe. The 11th TTC "B" is the foundation of this support as its primary mission is the initial receipt of cargo arriving from the United States and insuring the proper transport of this cargo in and thru the LOC (line of communications).

The 11th TTC "B" then effects the movement of cargo and things inbound and also handles outbound cargo at all the LOC Terminals in France using all available modes of transportation. At present, the 11th TTC "B," a fixed TO&E organization augmented by certain support units, has three (3) fixed Terminals located at St. Nazaire, La Pallice and Bassens; and one mobile Terminal (the 15th Trans Bn) which at present conducts the training exercises along the coast of France (these exercises are called "NODEX EXERCISES" (New Off-shore Discharge Exercises).

Caserne Aufredi - 11th TTCB Hqs after move from Rochefort in 1956 ( annotated)
In addition to the above, the 11th TTC "B" is responsible, as may be directed, for cargo arriving at ports in Spain and Portugal destined for military forces in France and Germany.

The secondary mission of the 11th TTC "B" is to provide logistical and administrative support to all military personnel and their dependents in the La Rochelle area. This support covers a multitude of functions, such as food, lodging, movies, religious functions and the requisition, storage and issuance of publications and supplies.
  Aufredi Caserne La Rochelle, France  
  Laleu Caserne (army airfield) Laleu (La Rochelle), France  
  Rochefort Arsenal Rochefort, France (1)  
  Joinville Caserne Rochefort, France returned to French Military 1956
  Touche-Treville Caserne Rochefort, France returned to French Military 1956
  Camp Bassens Bassens (Bordeaux), France  
  Camp Bussac Bussac, France  
  Bacalan Air Base Bordeaux, France  
  St. Nazaire Installation St. Nazaire, France  
(1) US Army personnel have been stationed in Rochefort since the fall of 1950, the year which saw the signing of the Franch-American Agreement which inaugurated the first peacetime Communications Zone.

In November 1950, Rochefort Arsenal and Joinville Caserne began housing a small group from the 7964th AU. La Touche-Treville Caserne, another local caserne, began housing US troops in June 1951. Together the three casernes formed the Rochefort Area Command.

In the fall of 1956, both Joinville and La Touche-Treville reverted to the local French military authorities, leaving Rochefort Arsenal -- today's Rochefort Installation -- as the center of the US Army's activities in the area.

Strip Maps
Installations in 11th TTC Area


1. Aufredi Caserne, La Rochelle (KB)

2. Laleu Caserne, La Rochelle (KB)

3. St. Nazaire Installation, France (KB)

4. Jeumont Shopping Center, Jeumont (57 KB)


COM Z Port Operations -- 1954/55
(Source: USAREUR Annual Historical Report 1954-55)
A. USAREUR Operations. Port operations were conducted by two commands, the Bremerhaven Port of Embarkation (BPOE) in Germany and the 11th Transportation Port Command B, subordinate to USAREUR COMZ. The latter operated all ports within France, including Bordeaux, Blaye, La Pallice, La Rochelle, Rochefort, St. Nasaire, and the COMZ offshore discharge exercise sites.

(1) Tonnages Handled. During FY 1955, BPOE and the 11th Transportation Port Command B handled 1,073,000 long tons of stock, or 289,000 long tons less than the previous fiscal year. BPOE alone handled some 231,000 tons less than during FY 1954, mainly shipments of general cargo and bulk POL. The tonnage of the 11th Transportation Port Command B also dropped by some 58,000 tons. The total decrease in tonnage receipts, however, was actually 77,000 tons for the French ports since shipments outloaded increased by 19,000 tons over FY 1954. Although plans under Concept C called for a shift to the LOFC in France, BPOE continued to handle a major share of tonnages. During FY 1955 the monthly average for BPOE was approximately 70,000 tons, whereas that for the entire COMZ port complex under the 11th Transportation Port Command B was only 17,000 tons. Much remained to be accomplished before USAREUR could achieve the 70-30 ratio envisaged under Concept C. (72) Table 14 shows the monthly cargo tonnages handled by both BPOE and the 11th Transportation Port Command B for FY 1955.

Table 14: Tonnages handled, FY 1955
(2) Personnel Movements. During FY 1955 396,692 personnel of all categories were shipped through both port commands, an increase of 16,701 persons over the previous fiscal year. Although BPOE handled some 10,843 more persons, the significant increase was at the 11th Transportation Port Command B, which saw an increase of 5,858 persons over the FY 1954 total of only 301 persons. Shipments of personnel through French ports occurred during only four months -- July and December, 1954, and January and February, 1955. At BPOE the major portion of the increase was in personnel embarking for the United States. (73)

B. NODEX Operations, 1954-1955. New offshore discharge exercises (NODEX) were begun in November 1954 after the original offshore discharge exercises (ODEX) had been stopped in February 1954. USAREUR planned to use certain new items of equipment in these exercises, such as landing craft utility (LCU), the 10,000-pound rough terrain forklift, the cargo resupply amphibious barge (BARC), and an aerial tramway. (74) In all, a total of 4 exercises were begun, with 3 of them being completed during the fiscal year. NODEX No. 1 began with the arrival of the Greece Victory on 1 November 1954 and terminated with the completion of discharge of cargo from the Lt. Robinson on 27 November. During the exercise, held at Le Verdon on the Gironde Estuary, a total of 7,832.8 long tons of cargo was unloaded from the participating ships. NODEX No. 2, began on 1 February 1955 at Le Verdon; No. 3 on 11 April at Le Verdon; and No. 4 on 27 June 1955 at La Repente, near La Pallice. (75)

In December 1954 the French Government had nominated five sites at which soil tests could be made for the selection of a permanent NODEX beach site. These included Le Verdon, Benedat Bay, La Foret de Fouesnant, Rade de Quiberon, and Rade de La Pallice. During March 1955 Base Section, COMZ, recommended Le Verdon as a permanent NODEX beach site, with negotiations to be continued for an alternate site. The only obstacle to using Le Verdon on a permanent basis was that the private property at the beach site would have to be purchased. (76)

(72) (1) USAREUR Quarterly Review of Log Actvs, 30 Jun 55, p. 80. SECRET (information used UNCLASSIFIED). (2) USAREUR Plan and Dir, 31 Mar 55, sub: Concept C, Goals for Implementation, pp. 6-9. Prepared by the USAREUR ACOFS G4. GLD 65-1. SECRET. In USAREUR Hist Div Doc Br.

73) USAREUR Quarterly Review of Log Actvs, 30 Jun 55, p. 79. SECRET (information used UNCLASSIFIED).
(74) USAREUR CINC's Wkly Stf Conf 14, 2 Nov 54, p. 5. SECRET (information used UNCLASSIFIED). In USAREUR Hist Div Doc Br.
(75) (1) USAREUR CINC's Wkly Stf Conf 17, 14 Dec 54, p. 7. SECRET (information used UNCLASSIFIED). (2) Memos, USAREUR ACOFS G4 to USAREUR COFS, 1 Feb, 1 Apr, 1 Jun 55, sub: Monthly Report of Important Planning Projects Pending within G4 Division. UNCLASSIFIED. In USAREUR ACOFS G4 Cen files, 319.1 (1955), Vol, I.
(76) Memo, USAREUR ACOFS G4 to USAREUR COFS, 1 Feb, 1 Apr 55, cited above.

NODEX 21 - Roll-off method of discharching S&P and van trailers (Leo McGowan - link)
(If anyone has good photos of Base Section or Bremerhaven POE floating equipment such as tugboats,
DUKW's, BARC's, J-boats, T-boats and other watercraft in the Com Z - please
contact the webmaster)

Port Area Command

USNS Comet, a RORO vessel, being discharged at the Port of La Pallice, France, 1960

USNS Comet, hatch #1 discharge at the Port of La Pallice, 1960
(Source: NODEX-24, La Pallice/La Repentie, 28 Aug - 3 Sept 1960)

Port Command Org 1960

PAC Ports

15th Transportation Terminal Battalion
(Source: Email from Homer Williams, 570th Trans Det (Port))
The 15th Trans Bn, with the 570th Trans Det and the 51st Boat Co (Webmaster Note: should be 81st Transportation Company (Boat)), unloaded ships over the beach. The ship we unload frequently was the USNS Comet. The Comet is a Roll-On/Roll-Off freighter. Loaded trailers were loaded onto the Ship and when it reached it's destination,Tractors would pull them from the Ship  to thier destination.  Only the two forward Cargo Holdes contained loose cargo.

The 51st Boat Company used landing craft, DUKW's and BARC's to transport the cargo to the beach. A BARC was capable of carring 100 tons of cargo. The BARC had 14-foot wheels and could haul the Cargo from the ship to the rail head.

I was assigned to a 40-ton Crane and Maintaince while in Garrison, when we were on what they called NODEX (New Off-shore Discharge Exercise = unloading a ship over the beach). I operated a 20-ton mobile crane or a 10-ton tracked crane. I also worked on the beach with the Manifest keeping the cargo separated by destinations and making sure everything on the manifest was accounted for and that it was sent to it's proper destination.

The Army sent the unit two Walter tractors made for unloading the Roll-On/Roll-Off ships. The Walters tractor had four wheel steering that was needed to remove or place trailers in tight places on the ship. Sp/5 Friedbaure and I were assigned to test the Walters tractors and recommend any modifications we thought were needed. At the time the tractors arrived it took two men to operate a tractor. After we had changes made to the tractor, one person could operate the tractor.

Also, when the MP's were on alert and had to move, myself and others became MP's.

I must say the 570th had the best bunch of Stevadores.

The following photos were taken while I was stationed with the 570th Trans Det (Port):

(Source: Email from Jim Smith, son of WOJG Hugh J. Smith who served with the 81st Trans Co (Boat))
In the above post on COMZEUR, you mention the 51st Boat Company and their participation in the New Offshore Discharge Exercises off the French coast. My father, WOJG Hugh J. Smith, was stationed with the 81st Transportation Boat Company in Rochefort, France in the early fifties. He wore the COMZEUR shoulder patch. He was later the S4 for the Rochefort Arsenal, and was assigned to the 11th TTC (B).

Could there be an error in the numeration of this boat company in the COMZEUR piece, or were there more than one boat company nvolved in NODEX in this timeframe (1952 - 1954)? Otherwise, I cannot find anything on the 81st Boat Company on the internet.

Webmaster Note: Jim also provided a heads up on some newly posted NODEX documentation that can be found in the Vertical File Reference Material section on the Biggs Library and Information Center website (US Army Transportation School, Fort Eustis, VA). Careful!!! Some of the NODEX files are very large 100+ MB.

15th Trans Bn
Rochefort, Fr.


1. Port of Rochefort (KB)

2. US Army Vessel (KB)

3. Bow ramp of the RO/RO being lowered (KB)

4. Causeway platform (KB)

5. Tractor trailer disembarks (KB)

6. Sedan disembarks (KB)

Topping of the fuel tank of a USAF sedan (KB)

CONEX containers are loaded onto a landing craft (KB)

Several LCU's of the 81st Boat Company on a beach in France
(Source: Email from Paul Pratt, 81st Boat Company, 1955-56)

81st Trans Co
I was assigned to the 81st Boat Co. in September, 1955 as it was moving out of Rochefort and being relocated just outside of Soulac in a pine forest. I was stationd with the 81st from 9/1955 to 12/1956.

We initally lived in squad tents but eventially moved into wood and tarpaper shacks housing up to 16 men and heated by 2 small pot bellied oil stoves. Water was obtaind outside the mess hall [a large tarpaper shack] from a water trailer.
There was also a DUKW company and a stevedore company stationed in the woods.

Our company had about 20 LCM 6's and 8's and four live aboard LCU's. I was stationed on the oldest one for a few months which was built in the forties in Buffalo, NY and used in WW2. It had a crew of 13. Our skipper was WO Mr Kiely.

Most of our ship unloading took place on the beach near Le Verdon at the mouth of the Gironde River. There was a special exercise in 1956 in Talmont on the east side of the Gironde River that used a Texas Tower type arrangement with cabes and [sky cars] to haul off loaded cargo to waiting 2½-ton trucks.

In September,1956 we were assigned just outside St. Jean De luz, a few miles north of the Spanish border. We were there about a month and a half living in pup tents.

I remember that our company was part of the 15th Trans. Bn.

I hope this information is useful to someone at your end.

I arrived at Rrochefort in the middle of Sept.,1955 just in time to relocate just outside of Soulac, to another tent city. Within a few months, small 16 man wood and tarpaper billets were built and occupied by the 15th Trans Battalion.

Our LCU's were moored off a beach in LeVerdon and the LCM's on the beach. We unloaded several ships off that beach.
That winter, the LCU that I was stationed on [LCU569] was towed to Bordeaux for repair and we spent a couple months in the old German sub pens now used for dry docks.

In the Spring, I was assigned to Talmont on the east side of the Goronde River where a large texas tower [a floating pier with legs that raised and lowered] was installed off the cliffs and aerial cars carried off loaded cargo from the pier to the cliffs. Very impressive.

In September 1956, we carried out an exercise in  St. Jean-De-luz, just a few miles north of the Spanish border. We who weren't stationed on an LCU, lived in pup tents for about a month and a half.

My last three months were spent in the tar paper billets in Soulac. Our company commander was Capt. Seeley. My skipper on LCU569 was Mr Kiley who later became the Chief Boat inspector for New York State was part of the NYS Conservation Dept.

Both the LCM's and LCU's were used for unloading cargo. A 2½-ton truck just fit onto the LCMs and the LCU's could fit 5 or 6 trucks. The ship would often unload large boxes that just fit into the bed of the truck [ conex boxes ?]. Every night, one of the LCUs would do liberty run, taking non-coms and officers to Royan across the Gironde River, about five miles wide at the mouth. There was no housing on the west side off the river being wine and tourist country. Soulac was mostly cottages and very busy in the summer with a great beach.

A BARC of the 522nd Trans Pltn (BARC) during NODEX 21 in 1959 (Leo McGowan - link)
(If anyone has good photos of the BARC's in the Com Z - please contact the webmaster)
(Source: NODEX-24, La Pallice/La Repentie, 28 Aug - 3 Sept 1960; USAREUR STATION LIST 31 Dec 1960)
  HQ 15th Trans Bn (Term) Rochefort, France TOE 55-116D
  81st Trans Co (Lt Boat) Rochefort, France what types of floating equipment were assigned?
  97th Trans Co (Term Svc) Laleu (La Rochelle), France  
  460th Trans Co (Amph Trk) Rochefort, France where were the DUKW's normally parked?
  522nd Trans Pltn (BARC) Rochefort, France where were the BARC's normally parked?
  570th Trans Co (Term Svc) Rochefort, France  
81st Transportation Company (Boat)
strength: 187 Officers, Warrant Officers, and EM
provided landing craft: LCU's, LCM-8's; and LCM-6's
460th Transportation Company (Amph Trk)
strength: 3 Officers, and 48 EM
provided 15 DUKW's
522nd Transportation Platoon (BARC)
strength: 2 Warrant Officers, and 48 EM
provided 4 BARC's

Army HB Diving Team
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, April 30, 1963)
The Army HB Diving Team is located at Rochefort, France. Strength: 7 (includes five divers). The team reports to the commanding officer of Rochefort Sub-Post.

The Army diving team is the only one stationed in Europe.

Their responsibilities include making underwater repairs on Port Area Comd's fleet of landing craft, tugs, repair ships and barges; recovering equipment lost overboard; making underwater inspections of seacoast areas in advance of NODEX ship-to-shore landing exercises. The divers also perform regular inspections and make repairs on the underwater pipeline off Donges through which tankers anchored offshore pump their liquid cargoes directly into Com Z's European petroleum pipeline network.

The divers wear deep-water diving gear or scuba equipment for work in shallow waters.

Fully rigged for deep water diving, a diver wears a 54-pound helmet and breastplate (a.k.a. "hat"), an 18-pound rubberized canvas diving suite (a.k.a. "dress"), a 96-pound lead-weighted belt and 21-pound metal-soled boots (a.k.a. "shoes"). (Total weight: 189 pounds) (When not in use, the helmets are stored on a rack with high-wattage light bulbs burning inside them to cook out all moisture.

Related Links:
  US Army Assignments Bruce Richards - Bruce was assigned to the 77th Transportation Company (37th Trans Gp) out of La Rochelle, France, and has a photo page on La Rochelle on his website.  
  Caserne Aboville Yahoo Group - Caserne Aboville in Poitiers, France served as the headquarters for BASEC (COMZ Base Section) from 1961 to 1967, when the US military was asked to leave France. This very active Yahoo Group is open to military and civilian personnel and their dependents who served at Poitiers and surrounding area during that period.