Geoff Walden

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Wehrmacht Posts / Kaserne

Part 2

 

   Part 2 features Wehrmacht military posts in the following locations: Bavaria - Grafenwöhr, Bad Tölz, Berchtesgaden, Bad Reichenhall, Garmisch, Munich; Hessen - Butzbach, Giessen, Frankfurt, Fulda, Bad Hersfeld; Rheinland-Pfalz - Baumholder, Baden-Württemberg - Karlsruhe.

Note:  This page shows only a few such sites   ...  I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who would like to share similar then-and-now photos from other Wehrmacht posts in Germany. Contact me at:  walden01 (at) comcast.net.

To view various Wehrmacht Kaserne sites in northern Germany, visit the Forgotten History page.

Grafenwöhr

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The Grafenwöhr Training Area in northeastern Bavaria was established before World War I as an artillery live-fire range. It was greatly expanded before and during World War II, and is now one of the major U.S. Army live-fire range areas in Germany. The best-known site at "Graf" is the elaborate water tower on the main post, with the military Forsthaus (forestry house) beside it.  (1936 postcard in author's collection)  (MapQuest Map Link)

 

More period postcards of the Grafenwöhr Kaserne - on the left, barracks buildings; on the right, the section of the Kaserne for artillery troops.

 

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These 1938 decorations appear above doorways on several buildings in the 620-630 range (near the Post Exchange (PX).

 

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This military cemetery on the Grafenwöhr main post contains the graves of 261 Russians and Romanians who died here as prisoners of war during World War I.

Click here to see views of a military ceremony in the town of Grafenwöhr in 1940.


Bad Tölz

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One of the main SS officer cadet training academies (Junkerschule) was at Bad Tölz in the mountains of southern Bavaria. The Bad Tölz Junkerschule was taken over by the U.S. Army in 1945 and served various functions, including as a Division headquarters, Special Forces barracks, and  NCO Academy. After the Americans moved out ca. 1995, the buildings stood vacant for several years, but have recently been remodeled into a shopping area. This remodeling included removal of the famous entrance archway, as well as most of the buildings beyond the main quadrangle.
(Herbert Walther, "Die Waffen-SS, eine Bilddokumentation," Ahnert-Verlag, n.d. (author's collection)

 

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Distant view of the Bad Tölz Junkerschule  (Wenn alle Brüder schweigen, 1981 ed.)  (MapQuest Map Link)

Aerial view of the Bad Tölz complex, taken shortly after the end of the war. Under U.S. occupation, the post initially served as headquarters for the 1st Infantry Division.  (U.S. Army photo)

 

Changes and construction continue at the Bad Tölz complex. On the left is a view of the gate building from the rear. On the right can be seen the building at the rear of the quadrangle, not yet remodeled (visible through the arch in the period photo below).

 

 


Berchtesgaden

A military barracks complex was built in the Berchtesgaden suburb of Strub in 1936-38 for the 2nd Battalion of Gebirgsjägerregiment 100, and was cited in a 1940 book on German art as a classic example of harmonious military architecture blending into the surroundings. The modern view is from a slightly different angle to show Berchtesgaden's  Watzmann mountain in the background.  (1942-dated postcard in author's collection)  (MapQuest Map Link)

 

Although it has now been turned back over to the Germany military, the Gebirgsjäger Kaserne (Mountain Troops Barracks) was used by the U.S. Army until 1995.  (period postcard)

 

Further views of the Gebirgsjägerkaserne in Strub, from period architectural publications and postcards.

 

The period insignia over the entry door has been modified so that the eagle holds an edelweiss flower (symbol of the Mountain Troops), instead of a swastika.

The Lion Monument memorializes all those of the Mountain Troops who have lost their lives in war, in particular the Mountain Troops of World War II.

For other photos of Berchtesgaden area Third Reich buildings, that were taken over in 1945 by the U.S. Army but have now been returned to the German government, see the Berchtesgaden pages.


Bad Reichenhall

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A military barracks complex was built in Bad Reichenhall, north of Berchtesgaden, from 1934-36. Shown here is the Gebirgs-Artillerie-Kaserne (for mountain artillery troops), also called the Ritter-von-Tutschek-Kaserne. Still used by the Bundeswehr, it is now called the Hochstaufen-Kaserne, and the swastika below the eagle at the corner of the building has been changed to an edelweiss flower.  (from period postcards; photo below-right from a private collection)  (MapQuest Map Link)



1940s postcard views of the Gebirgs-Artillerie-Kaserne.

 

Gebirgsjäger (mountain troops) parade in the Ritter-von-Tutschek-Kaserne in these winter views.  (courtesy Stewart McCartney)

 

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This is the Gebirgsjäger Kaserne, or Mackensen-Kaserne. The period soldier paintings no longer appear on this building, which is just down the street from the Artillerie Kaserne. This Kaserne was built for the staff and 3rd Battalion of Gebirgsjägerregiment 100.  (1940-dated postcard in author's collection; my thanks to Torben Behrens for info about this site)

 


Garmisch

German Gebirgstruppen (Mountain Troops) had two posts at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps. On the left is the Gebirgsjäger-Kaserne, also called the General-von-Epp-Kaserne. The other post was a Gebirgsartillerie-Kaserne.


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This period wall mural is in a building now used by the U.S. Army as its Post Exchange (PX) in the Garmisch community.
(Note - This Kaserne was closed in 2006 and this building has been demolished.)


Munich (München)

Period postcard views of two of the several Kaserne in Munich. On the left, the Nachrichten Kaserne, built for signals units. On the right, the Kaserne for Panzer Abwehr Abteilung 7 (Armor Replacement Battalion) in the Munich suburb of Freimann. Click here to see other Kaserne in Munich.

 


Butzbach (Hessen)

Butzbach is located in the Wetterau region of Hessen, near Giessen. Before World War I, the palace of Count Philipp III was converted into an infantry barracks. This site continued to serve as a barracks through World War II, after which it served the U.S. Army as Schloss Kaserne. The area was returned to the German government in the mid-1990s, and the military buildings were torn down in 1999. The Schloss itself is being restored.  (left - 1910-dated postcard)  (MapQuest Map Link)

 

Wehrmacht infantry parade at the Butzbach Kaserne in the 1930s.  (from "Spearhead" newspaper, 21 May 1973; 33rd Armored Regiment Assn., www.33darmor.com)

 

This parade may have been on the same occasion as the photo above. The groups in the center appear to be taking
the Oath of Allegiance, as two officers in the foreground salute.  (author's collection)

 

A closer view of the doorway seen in the photos above, with a close-up of the sandstone Reichsadler.

 

These two postcards show the Kaserne in the 1930s, when it was the home of Infantry Regiment 36 (the 1930s buildings seen on the right have been torn down). In a remarkable coincidence, under U.S. Army control from the 1960s-1990s, this post was part of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, which included two battalions of the U.S. 36th Infantry Regiment.

 


Giessen (Hessen)

The city of Giessen had several military posts, some dating to the period before World War I. Above are two period postcards showing the Wald-Kaserne, or Verdun-Kaserne. This post was later used by the U.S. Army as Rivers Barracks, and is now the Giessen Automeile.  (MapQuest Map Link)

 

The Verdun-Kaserne had several bunkers. Click here to read more about these bunker systems.

 


Frankfurt am Main (Hessen)

Drake Kaserne in Frankfurt am Main was the headquarters for the U.S. 3rd Armored Division (Spearhead) from the 1950s until the early 1990s. The entry gateway featured two Reichsadlers and an iron gate with interlinked swastikas (this iron gate and the eagles were removed in the 1970s).  (photos courtesy Doug Stanley)

 

On the left, an overall view of the Drake Kaserne gate in 1958. On the right, Gibbs Kaserne in Frankfurt as it appeared in 2006, complete with Reichsadler still on one building.  (from the U.S. Army in Germany site)

 


Fulda (Hessen)

In 1937 a Kaserne was built in Fulda for artillery observation units. The major tenant unit during most of the Cold War was the Regimental HQs and 1st Squadron of the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment from 1951 until it was reflagged as the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1972. Under U.S. use, the Kaserne was known as Downs Barracks. In 1993, following the end of the Cold War mission, the Kaserne was returned to German control, and it now houses several government and police offices, and small businesses. (Click here to visit OP Alpha, one of the border sites guarded by 1/11ACR.)  (US Army in Germany page; thanks to Max Whipps for further info)  (MapQuest Map Link)

 

Then and now views of the main gate building.  (period postcard)

 

  The Kaserne was originally named in honor of Gen. Erich Ludendorff, a World War I hero (and early member of the Nazi Party), and the original plaque still remains at the main gate.

  Ludendorff was one of the major participants in the 1923 Munich putsch, in which the early Nazi Party attempted to take over the Bavarian government. Ludendorff marched with Hitler to the Feldherrnhalle, where he was the only marcher to advance against the line of police without retreating.

 

Period tunnels still exist beneath the parade field of the former Ludendorff Kaserne.

 


Bad Hersfeld (Hessen)

In 1937 a Kaserne was built in Bad Hersfeld for motorcycle and armored car units. The major tenant unit during most of the Cold War was the 3rd Squadron, 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment from 1951 until it was reflagged as the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1972. Under U.S. use, the Kaserne was known as McPheeters Barracks. In 1993, following the end of the Cold War mission, the Kaserne was returned to German control, and it now houses several small businesses, government offices, and a school. (Click here to visit OP India, one of the border sites guarded by 3/11ACR.)  (period postcards; thanks to Max Whipps for further info)  (MapQuest Map Link)

 

The former McPheeters Barracks is one of the best-preserved Wehrmacht/Cold War posts, that is no longer in use by the military. The Kaserne area is now called the Gewerbepark Hohe Luft.  (period postcards)

 

Click here to visit a site about McPheeters Barracks in the 1960s and 1970s.


Karlsruhe (Baden-Württemberg)

Rhein-Kaserne was built in the Karlsruhe suburb of Knielingen from 1935-38. It was occupied by the U.S. Army as Gerszewski Barracks. The photo on the left shows the Hoheitszeichen on a building beside the gate - remains of the swastika still appeared under U.S. Army control in the 1950s and 1960s. The eagle remained until the Kaserne was torn down in 2004.  (from the U.S. Army in Germany site and the 79th Engineer Battalion site)

 

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All contents copyright © 2000-2014, Geoffrey R. Walden; all rights reserved.  All photos taken by or 
from the collection of Geoffrey R. Walden, except where specifically noted.  Please respect my property rights,
and the rights of others who have graciously allowed me to use their photos on this page,
and do not copy these photos or reproduce them in any other way.

This page is intended for historical research only, and no political or philosophical aims should be assumed. 
Nothing on this page should be construed as advice or directions to trespass on private or posted property.

This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.


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