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53rd Ordnance Group
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.

7847th Ord Sup Gp (1951 - 1953)

53rd Ord Gp
(1953 - 19..)

Germersheim Ord Veh Park

Mannheim Ord Depot

Pirmasens Ord Depot

Rhine Ord Depot

Braconne Ord Depot

Fontenet Ord Depot

Nancy Ord Depot

7847th Ordnance Supply Group History
(Source: Email from David M. Amos, 7847 Ord Supply Group, 1951)
After basic training in Camp Breckenridge, KY (May, 1951 - August, 1951), I was assigned shortly thereafter to the then being organized 7847 Headquarters Supply Group as a Publications Clerk. Don't remember too much! Looked after all needed publications, forms, etc. for the group and would restock each week after procuring necessary documents/forms from Headquarters in Heidelberg.

The Group was then headed by a Colonel Henderson and as I recall we had responsibility for sub-groups in Kaiserslautern, Pirmasens, and Germisheim. After becoming a driver (because of the boredom of clerking) of various vehicles, I was assigned the responsibility of carrying mail in a pouch (with instructions not to stop the vehicle, while armed with a forty-five and five rounds of Ammo) to Kaiserslautern to return in the afternoon with a similar pouch for Colonel Henderson.

Often I would make the circuit of the three facilties with an Inspector of sorts, a Captain Weber, who seemed to carry the authority of a General, based on the scrambling reaction of several higher ranking officers at each of the three facilities. The tour would usually go from Feudenheim to Kaiserslautern, to Pirmasens, to Germersheim, back through Ludwigshafen and Mannheim to Feudenheim.

I was there for several months and then was transferred with three others to an Ammo Dump in Captieux, (Southern) France, before settling with the 4th Infantry Division in Gelnhausen, Germany for the rest of my three-year Army career as Squad Leader in a (60 mm) Mortar Squad of a Rifle Company!

I happened to be in Mannheim, Germany to speak last month (after fifty years) and went to visit Spinelli Barracks. It had changed significantly, but sure brought back a lot of memories.
David Amos

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, July 27, 1952)
The 7847th Ord Supply Gp marked its first anniversary on this day. The ordnance group was formed at the Mannheim Ordnance Depot on July 26, 1951.

The Gp controls the operations at seven ordnance depots in Germany and France:
Mannheim Ord Depot, Mannheim
Pirmasens Ord Depot, Pirmasens
Rhine Ord Depot, Kaiserslautern
Germersheim Ord Vehicle Park
Braconne Ord Depot, Angouleme
Fontenet Ord Depot
Nancy Ord Depot

Headquarters of the 7847th is comprised of 20 ofdficers and civilians employees as well as 70 enlisted men. CO of the group is Lt Col Frederic E. Hendler.

In the first year, the Gp was involved in in many missions including the construction of the depots in France and the processing and shipping of thousands of vehicles to member countries of NATO from the Germersheim Ord Vehcile Park.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, April 13 1954)
The 53rd Ord Supply Gp marked its tenth anniversary on this day. Group CO is Col Elmer M. Webb.

The Gp controls the operations at four ordnance depots in Germany:
Mannheim Ord Supply Depot - depot CO is Lt Col A. E. Kehke
Pirmasens Ord Supply Depot - depot CO is Lt Col E. J. Ormiston
Rhine Ord Supply Depot, Kaiserslautern - depot CO is Maj Don F. Riordan
Germersheim Ord Vehicle Park - depot CO is Maj Ralph W. Petring

Note: The ordnance depots in Mannheim, Pirmasens and Kaiserslautern were redesignated as ordnance supply depots in December 1953.

53rd Ordnance Group History
1951 - 1953
(Source: Historical Sketch of the 53rd Ordnance Group. Prepared by the 53rd Ord Gp in June 1953 as an information booklet for newly assigned personnel.)
  The 53d Ordnance Group was originally known as the 7847 Ordnance Supply Group until it was redesignated on 20 March 1953. The 7847 Ordnance Supply Group was activated at Mannheim Ordnance Depot on 26 July 1951, under the authority of General Order No. 17, Headquarters EUCOM, Ordnance Division, dated 25 JULY 1951. The T/D 77-7847, dated 26 July 1951, provided for an authorized strength of 7 officers, 30 enlisted men.

The Group Headquarters was established in a newly renovated building, No. 1-02, Spinelli Barracks, as a lodger unit within the Mannheim Ordnance Depot. Lt Col Walter F. Partin, previously Commanding Officer of the Mannheim Ordnance Depot, assumed command of the Group, and Lt Col Frederic E. Hendler was appointed Executive Officer and Operations Officer.

Under its original mission, the Group was to be charged with the operational control of the assigned installations, and administration was to be a minor factor.

Upon being informed of the change in the emergency mission, a request for change in the T/D was initiated, whereby the same number of military personnel were to be authorized as in Table of Organization and Equipment 9-12 as changed.

A revision of T/D 77-7847 was subsequently published to become effective 2 January 1952, whereby the military strength was increased to 17 officers, and 73 enlisted men. On 16 January 1952, Lt Col Frederic E. Hendler assumed command of the Group.

A revised mission was published as part of Change 2 to EUCOM Ordnance Circular No. 2, dated 30 April 1952 and the scope was broadened to include:

"The military command, technical direction, and administrative and operational control of all installations, activities, troop units and personnel assigned to the Group."

At the time of the activation of the (7847) Group Headquarters, the only installation coming under control of the Group was the Mannheim Ordnance Depot, and its sub-installation, Pirmasens Ordnance Depot, and the Ordnance Class II & IV portion of Rhine Ordnance Depot.

Shortly thereafter, Pirmasens Ordnance Depot was redesignated as a Class II installation on an equal footing with Mannheim Ordnance Depot and assigned to the Group.

During the interim period, site development plans had been prepared by this headquarters for proposed ordnance installations to be established along the line of communications in France and upon activation these installations, namely, ADSEC Ordnance Depot at Foret de Haye and BASEC Ordnance Depot at Fontenet, were assigned to the Group for operations. The BASEC Ordnance Depot at Forst de Braconne, originally established as a sub-depot of Fontenet, was later designated as a Class II installation with Fontenet the sub-depot. Germersheim Ordnance Vehicle Park, located in the French Zone of occupation and established as a temporary installation to be concerned primarily with the vehicle exchange program, was the last addition to the Group installations.

At that time, therefore, the 7847 Ordnance Supply Group was responsible for the mission as outlined in Change 2, Ordnance Circular No. 2, dated 30 April 1952, and for the following installations:


Mannheim Ordnance Depot (US Occupation Zone)
Pirmasens Ordnance Depot (French Occupation Zone)
Germersheim Ord Vehicle Park (French Occupation Zone)
Class II and IV portions of Rhine Ordnance Depot (French Occupation Zone)
Nancy Ordnance Depot (ADSEC, USAREUR COMZ)
Braconne Ordnance Depot (BASEC, USAREUR COMZ)
Fontenet Ordnance Depot (BASEC, USAREUR COMZ)
On 1 December 1952, the 7847 Ordnance Supply Group had accomplished its mission. The Mannheim Ordnance Depot was used as the Mother Depot in furnishing supplies and assistance sufficiently to make Braccone, Fontenet, and Nancy Ordnance Depots, located in the communications zone of France, self sufficient to such an extent that they became operational on their own under the command of USAREUR COMZ. An agreement was made by the Group that continued support would be furnished to the COMZ depots in every way possible by furnishing supplies and assistance though they were not subordinate to the Group.

The 53d Ordnance Group was activated at Spinelli Barracks, Mannheim-Feudenheim, Germany, on 20 March 1953 under the authority of General Order No. 3, Headquarters, United States Army Europe, Office of the Ordnance Officer, dated 16 March 1953, and all personnel formerly assigned to the 7847 Ordnance Supply Group were assigned to this new Group.

As of 20 March 1953, the 53d Ordnance Group, Lt Col Frederic E. Hendler, Commanding, assumed the mission and the duties of the 7847 Ordnance Supply Group with an authorized strength of 15 officers, 72 enlisted men, 5 DA civilians, and 18 German civilians.

The mission of the 53d Ordnance Group and subordinate installations is as follows

1. The military command, technical direction, and administrative and operational control of all installations, activities, troop units and personnel assigned or attached to the Group.
a. Military command includes the military training, administration, and tactical employment of the elements assigned or attached to the Group.
b. Technical direction includes the technical training, management, and execution of ordnance service.
c. Administrative control includes the performance of all administrative functions normally required of any intermediate military headquarters unit in the administration of elements under its control.
d. Operational control includes all of those functions which can be performed by the Group to increase the operational efficiency of the elements under its control. This will include the coordination and supervision of Ordnance General Supply Service within and among the elements under control of the Group. Operational control will also include, but will not be limited to, proper receipt, classification, identification, inspection storage, preservation, maintenance-in-storage, and issue of Ordnance General Supplies; compliance with established storage and stock control policies; maintenance of adquate stock records; reclamation of supplies as directed; execution of assigned depot missions, work measurement programs; and technical matters dealing with Ordnance General Supplies.

2. The execution of plans and policies and the compliance with technical directives as issued by the Office, Chief of Ordnance, Headquarters USAREUR, to govern the operations of the Ordnance Supply Service within the command.

3. The operation and administration of the Supply Group Headquarters directly under the Office, Chief of Ordnance, Headquarters USAREUR.

4. The coordination with the 51st Ordnance Maintenance Group in respect to Supply and Reclamation operations at installations under the control of the Maintenance Group, the Ordnance Procurement Center and the Ordnance Stock Control Center in respect to overall command requirements for Ordnance General Supplies.

5. The preparation of statistical and other reports as required by the Office, Chief of Ordnance, Headquarters USAREUR, or higher authority.

6. Review of budget estimates, request for changes in established annual funding programs and civilian personnel authorizations, and the submission of recommendations to Office, Chief of Ordnance, Headquarters USAREUR, based on analysis of past and projected workloads, Review and recommendations with regard to equipment requirements.

1. Master depot for receipt, classification, identification, storage, preservation, reclamation, maintenance and issue of Class II & IV supplies, SNL G through N, including Federal Stock Items but excluding H-14, tires and tubes. Issues are effected on requisitions received direct from authorized requisitioning agencies, as directed by Office, Chief of Ordnance, Headquarters USAREUR.

2. Classification, processing and shipment of designated supplies to the Zone of Interior.

3. Responsible for field maintenance of depot materials handling equipment.

4. Demilitarization of combat material in accordance with current directives.

5. Returned Material General Supplies. To receive, inspect, identify, segregate, reprocess, preserve and package returned Ordnance general supplies in accordance with specific instructions as furnished by Chief of Ordnance, Headquarters USAREUR, appropriate to the mission of the depot.

1. Command Supply. Issue depot for major items of SNL A through F (less wheeled artillery) and for authorized spare parts and assemblies (items listed in Ordnance 5-5 and 5-4 series) in SNL Groups A through F. Filler depot for all Ordnance Class II and IV material., except major items.

2. ZI Shipments. The classification, processing and shipment of designated supplies to the Zone of Interior.

3. Demilitarization. Of Ordnance equipment in accordance with instructions and as directed by the Office, Chief of Ordnance, Headquarters USAREUR.

4. Manufacture. As required and directed for immediate issue or for command stocks.

5. Returned Material. Responsible for processing returned material which is appropriate to the mission of the depot.

1. Command Supply. The receipt, inspection, classification, storage, processing, preservation, maintenance-in-storage and issue or shipment of all types of vehicles, as directed by the Office, Chief of Ordnance, Headquarters USAREUR.

2. Field Maintenance. Performs field maintenance on vehicles being stored or processed.

1. The first mission of the former Rhine General Depot, together with Rhine Ammunition Depot, was "the receipt, storage, maintenance and issue of supplies as authorized and directed for the Commander-in-Chief, Headquarters EUCOM, by the Director, Logistics Division." These early supplies were strategic in nature and vital to the combat effectiveness of European Command. During this period these installations were the only ones our Army had west of the Rhine River.

2. When it was redesignated, Rhine Ordnance Depot became the vehicle issue point for the theater. The current mission includes:
a. Receipt, storage, and issue of wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, small arms, tires and tubes, and ammunition. A major portion of this task consists in processing and in storage maintenance of vehicles and large caliber weapons.
b. Receipt, processing and repair of the overflow of heavy maintenance on general purpose vehicles from Seventh Army Headquarters USAREUR, Communications Zone, Air Force, and United States Forces Austria.
c, Providing administrative and logistical support to the Air Force and Quartermaster supply activities remaining in the depot. The former signal, medical, engineer, and transportation activities have been discontinued.
If you have more information on the history or organization of the 53rd Ord Gp, please contact me.

(Source: Email from Elmo G. Hinkle)
I was stationed with the 75th Ord Supply Depot in Pirmasens 1952-1954. I was assigned to the 75th Ord Supply Depot in Oct. 1952.

We were billeted at Husterhoeh Kaserne in Pirmasens. We would ride to Massweiler to the storage area. At Massweiler there was a warehouse and hardstand, plus the caves.

A Sgt. Blevins was in charge. Each of us was assigned to a specific cave to supervise German civilian workers. There was one cave on the top of the hill that had never been reopened. The first units arriving there opened the caves and ordnance material was stored.

I was put in charge of Cave 201 which stored small arms parts. There was bins for 5000 small arms parts. Other caves had major items such as carbines (M1's), etc.

In Oct.1953 the 75th was relocated to Nancy, France. Three of us were reassigned to a Service unit (7834 Service unit), on a temporary basis, to finish up some of the move and then we were sent to Nancy in Jan. 1954 to rejoin the company. It was really good duty. The civilian workers were very cooperative. After all is said and done it was really the life of Reillly. I enjoyed it very much.

France was hell compared to Germany!

P.S.the other storage areas showm on the map each stored some type of Ordnance Material, such as motor vehicle parts and major replacement parts.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Oct 13, 1953)

The 53rd Ord Gp is headquartered at Mannheim-Feudenheim. It is the only Ordnance Supply Group in USAREUR responsible for Class II and IV supply activities.

The Group includes
the following installations:
Mannheim Ord Depot
Rhine Ord Depot
Pirmasens Ord Depot
Germersheim Ord Veh Park

Until Nov of 1952, the Gp included ordnance depots at Nancy, Braconne and Fontenet, France. These were transferred at that time to Com Z.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, December 30, 1954)
Headquarters of the 53rd Ordnance Group (Maintenance & Supply) is located at Spinelli Barracks in Mannheim.

The Group operates seven major maintenance and supply depots in Germany in support of 7th Army, the Air Force in Europe, US Forces in Austria, Communications Zone and the nations participating in the Mutual Defense Assistance Program (MDAP).

Mannheim Ordnance Supply Depot: this depot, also located at Spinelli Barracks, is the center of supply activities in Germany. Every month an average of 5,000 tons of supplies and materiel are shipped all over Europe. The 53rd Group supervises, expedites and assists in this operation.

Germersheim Ordnance Vehicle Park: through the Germersheim Ord Vehicle Park, the 53rd supervises the flow of tanks, trucks and amphibious vehicles, as well as towed artillery pieces, to NATO countries.

Mainz Ordnance Depot: Mainz Depot rebuilds small arms, automatic weapons, field artillery and anitiaircraft pieces, fire control equipment, combat and special purpose vehicles, and target materiel.

Ober-Ramstadt Tire Rebuild Depot: this depot salvages and rebuilds practically all types of rubber products, with emphasis on tires of all sizes.

Karlsfeld Ordnance Depot: Karlsfeld performs part of the 53rd's maintenance mission on engines, power trains and other major vehicle assemblies. In addition, the depot conducts technical studies and development of "field fixes."

Schwäbisch-Gmünd Ordnance Depot: the Schw.-Gmünd depot performs the same mission as the Karlsfeld depot.

Böblingen Ordnance Depot: The Böblingen Depot, located at the old Böblingen Airport, repairs and rebuilds all types of wheeled transport vehicles and many of their component parts.

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