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US Army in Idar-Oberstein, Germany


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Idar-Oberstein is a city with about 30.000 inhabitants in southwest Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate. It is close to Baumholder (Training Area) and garrison town since 1938. Today it is the home of the German Artillerieschule.

 

Apart from a short period (1945 – 1951) US Army units were stationed in Idar-Oberstein from the end of WW II until 2008, when 1/94th FA Bn left the town. Idar-Oberstein was occupied in March 1945. For a very brief time Gen. Patton's HQ was stationed at the Klotzberg-Kaserne. At least 13th Armored Division and XXIII Corps had their HQ's here as well in 1945. From 1951 until 2008 several units were stationed at Strassburg-Kaserne and Storage Depot „Nahbollenbach“ (one of the largest US depots overseas).

 

I'm going to write about the garrison's history. Collecting the facts I have learned that in contrast to the Bundeswehr unit's history, informations about the US units and installations are rather incomplete. I found many individual informations but nothing that comes close to a summary.

 

That starts with my first question: Which US unit reached Idar-Oberstein at first in March 1945? I found at least 3 different variants: „Parts of 94th Infantry Division“, 11th Armored Division or 13th Armored Division? I'm sure, I will find the answer here.

 

If you have any records about the units serving in Idar-Oberstein (among others: 95th QM Bn, 85th QM Bn, 40th Eng Bn, 6thBn/29th Arty, 1stBn/94th Arty etc.) related to this town, please let me know. I'm also looking out for personal reports, maps, pictures etc. Your help is highly appreciated!

 

Thank you very much in advance

 

Lars

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  • 1 month later...

Lars,

 

Back when I was stationed in Berlin (86-90) I attended the NATO NBC school at Idar Oberstein in October of 87, I think I still have my Flag Orders from Berlin to Idar Oberstein. I also remember I was billeted in a Gasthuas up the hill from the school. I was sharing the Gasthaus with a Major and a Colonel. I was an E-5 Sergeant then. We would walk daily to where the compound was, which was in a secured area. I have my certificate and group photo from the school, and pictures of the tramway taking us to the summit of a local mountain. We watched some folks hang gliding off the mountain. I also remember going to the location where the Passion Play was performed. Very beautiful part of Germany..

 

Leigh..

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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  • 1 year later...

@Leigh: I'm sorry that I did not answer your post then, usually not my style! Still in active service, I was very busy the last year, with only a minimum of time, to continue my projects. You talked about the NATO NBC School. This school is located at SONTHOFEN. Idar-Oberstein is the home of the German Artillery School. Could that be a mix-up?

A short update: As far as I have found out, the following US units served in IDAR-OBERSTEIN, including Quartermaster Depot NAHBOLLENBACH; some for a very brief time.

If you know of any further units, serving over here or if you know of a timeframe one of these units was garrisoned in I.-O., please let me know. Since IDAR-OBERSTEIN was a "sub-community" of the BAUMHOLDER military community, I'm sure there are some more "Rock-Veterans" out there...

 

  • HQ 3rd Army (März 1945, Klotzberg-Kaserne)

  • HQ XXIII Corps (1945, Klotzberg-Kaserne)

  • HQ 13th Armored Div (April 1945 Klotzberg-Kaserne)

  • 381st Engineer Combat Battalion (Bn) (Mai 1945, Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • 40th Engineer Bn (Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • C Battery 333rd Target Aquisition Bn (Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • HQ/HQ Battery 5th Missile Bn/6th Arty (Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • 6th Bn/29th Field Arty (Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • 1st Bn/94th Field Arty (Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • 2nd Bn 81st Field Arty (Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • 39th Transportation Bn (Movement Control Team) (Nahbollenbach)

  • 664th Ordnance Company (Co)/15th OrdBn (Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • 95th Quartermaster Bn (Straßburg-Kaserne, Nahbollenbach)

  • 85th, 522nd, 557th, 561st Quartermaster Supply Co (Straßburg-Kaserne, Nahbollenbach)

  • 9th Maintenance Bn Combat Equipment Group (Straßburg-Kaserne, Nahbollenbach)

  • 7th Combat Equipment Co (Nahbollenbach)

  • 222nd Base Support Bn Area Support Team (Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • C Co. 382nd Military Police Bn (Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • 58th Medical Evacuation Hospital (Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • 532nd Signal Co (Straßburg-Kaserne)

  • 415th Army Security Agency Co (Straßburg-Kaserne)

Thanks in advance!

 

Lars

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Lars,

 

To answer your question again, I looked in my old scrapbook and found my certificate for the NATO school. The NATO NBC defense course that I attended was actually in Oberammagau, Germany. This was back in 1987 when I attended the course. I recall that I drove through Idar Oberstein on my way to the school.

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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I spent 1/1/2 years in Baumholder 1974-75 and made several trips to Idar Oberstein. Usually off duty. What I remember most was that it was a beautiful town. There was a river "Nahe?" that you crossed to get to the main street. Stone on the hillsides, , very picturesque I can still see it in my mind. A nice day trip for a change of scenery from Baumholder.

 

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If I remember correctly I also remember seeing a Church that was built into the side of a mountain in that region. Not sure if it was in Idar Oberstein or not, but it was a remarkable church. If I can find my pictures I will post them..

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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If I remember correctly I also remember seeing a Church that was built into the side of a mountain in that region. Not sure if it was in Idar Oberstein or not, but it was a remarkable church. If I can find my pictures I will post them..

 

Leigh

@Leigh: Without any doubts, that was the "Felsenkirche" (Rock Church) in Idar-Oberstein, the town's landmark

 

@Irish: Yes, your 100% right, the Nahe flows through I.-O.

 

Best regards

 

Lars

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  • 2 months later...

I was stationed at Strassburg Kaserne from 2000-2002. When I initially PCS'd to Germany, it was still A Btry/94th FA at Baumholder but they were building to become 1st Bn/94th FA (MLRS) and we moved to Strassburg in spring of 2000. I PCS'd to Ft. Sill after that but made a return trip in 2004 and 2006 and the battalion was still there, ran into some old friends that managed to extend their tour over there. If you would like documentation, I believe I still have my PCS orders for Germany.

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  • 5 months later...

Lars,

 

Nice to see your post. My father was stationed at Strassburg-Kaserne from June 1951 to November 1952. He said that the area had recently transferred from French to US control, which made him happy [he was originally from southwest Louisiana and French was his first language, so it gave him a chance to keep in practice!] He was a member of what was then known as the 522nd Subsistence Depot Company [later became the 522 QM Co.], and said that his unit helped in the construction of Nahbollenbach QM Depot while he was there. He and I went back in 1987 and got to see how things had changed over the years, the main thing being that the Nahe River had a road built on top where it went through Idar-Oberstein. Thanks again for the post and hope to see more in the future.

 

Alan

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  • 1 year later...

From about 1992/1993 until about 1996/1997, U.S. Army Materiel Command - Europe (AMC-E) operated the European Redistribution Facility (ERF) at Nahbolenbach Depot. Originally there were three (3) ERFs in theater, one for each of the two U.S. Corps and a central one. By 1995, those three had been consolidated into the one at Nahbolenbach. The purpose of the ERF was to take in excess equipment, technically inspect it, document it, and then find a new home for it. If the remaining U.S. units in Europe needed the equipment, they would be issued it. If not, then either the equipment was returned to CONUS, or disposed of through the Defense Reuitilization Materiel Office (DRMO).

 

The ERF at Nahbolenbach was headed by a U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel. The last time I went through that area, and looking at Google Earth today, the headquarters building remains at the sight, but all the warehouse buildings have long since been torn down, and replaced by commercial buildings.

 

Todd

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Thank you all for your input. I really appreciate that you're sharing your memories here! Yes, the Nahbollenbach facilities are gone completely except the main building. This building was a former Wehrmacht food storehouse and is now hosting civil companies. It's called the "Kennedy Center" also the main street through the former depot area is the "John F. Kennedy-Straße". Will post pictures of the building soon.

 

Thanks again for your support!

 

Lars

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lars,

 

I was stationed on the Baumholder Kasserne from 2003-2009. Spent a good bit of time in good ole Idar-Oberstein. Is there anything I can provide you? I've scoured the hills above JFK Strasse, with a metal detector.

 

I miss it.

 

v/r

James

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