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Cold War Reenactors? Reforger anyone?


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I had the Graf parka also, made by the wife of one of the other Platoon Leaders. However, Bradleys are kind of tight, so you didn't want to wear too bulky of clothing. Many times we would wear just our BDU shirt with the field jacket liner underneath it. Except for Winter Warrior exercises, it was usually adequate as long as we were on the move.

 

And the heaters in the Bradleys were mostly psychological too. However when they would work, they were hot enough to heat an MRE, but that was very rare.

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Bundeswehr Armor School, REFORGER '75. These were my Siamese twins.... SP4 Rooks and Champion. In another thread on TCQC at White Sands, NM - I showed them in the desert and remarked they were inseparable. Well, here they are; halfway around the world (in FRG) and still inseparable. This was fairly standard for the way we looked when we started a field problem. All nice and "Army lookin", lol.

 

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Blase am Aller, Oct '75. Wellll..... 8 days later (after 24 hour a day operations), it's a different story. I'm on the left, and the other 3 guys are my recon platoon leaders. We're reallll tired, cold and wet. The only thing we are wearing in common are field pants. I'm wearing a German-made tanker's jacket, a pile cap, Hermann tanker's boots and a yellow wool scarf my mother knitted for my dad while he commanded a tank company in Creighton Abram's tank battalion. The next guy is Mike Shores (post #121). Is that the same guy? Next, Dan Peterjohn - wearing his "rubbers" and a Korean-made tanker's jacket he picked up on a prior tour in Korea. Last - Bob MacKenzie - the Wild Man. Wolf fur parka hood on a field jacket, WWII vintage M-3 shoulder holster and SF boots (where the Hell did those come from?). He's holding his new (at that time) "hockey puck" CVC helmet.

 

In the background, you can see a cluster of highly agitated Bundeswehr colonels. Bob found this bridge, and going against the REFORGER scenario; we captured the bridge and were responsible for the annihilation of the 1st Panzer Grenadier Division. The German CG threatened to court martial me if I didn't relinquish control of the bridge; but that's a story for another day. What a GREAT day for the Brave Rifles!!!

 

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REFORGER, Oct '75, Munster. First Platoon, prepping tracks for the next day's FTX. Somebody mentioned earlier, wearing the wolf fur hood on your field jacket. Well... on the far left, there ya go - my guys often did that in the field.

 

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Wow are those the famous black cav berets w00t.gif being worn, in the photo?

"The reason the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices it on a daily basis."

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"Wow are those the famous black cav berets being worn, in the photo?"

 

Ya mean these things, lol? Oh yes. think.gif In the fall of 1974 (just in time for our annual "vacation" in Europe, it was decreed that the 3dACR would wear berets. Because the RXO (Regt XO) had previously commanded 1/17 Cav (82d Abn Div) at Bragg, he chose the 1/17 Cav beret flash. I really wasn't a big beret fan; but when the RCO sez........ "Wear it", you wear it. I felt the beret was ill-suited for desert wear (no eye shade and it collected desert heat like a vacuum cleaner); and it smelled to Holy Hell when it got wet in Germany.

 

Below - 2d Plat NCOs at Munster Nord, Oct '75: SGT Hampton (mortar sqd), SSG Gobbles (inf squad) and SGT Smith (Scouts). I usually centralized my Four-deuces near the troop TOC; and used them as my hip-pocket mortar battery. SGT Hampton had RVN mortar experience and was an outstanding mortar NCO (especially in quarterly live fires). I gave him total responsibility for mortar trainging. He always had us in the Regt's top three squads.

 

 

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"If you are not ready, see your NCO".

 

I LOVE IT!!!

I remember them using the excuse that "dedicated infantry communist killer" was abbreviated "dick" so they could call us motivated dicks in front of the officers. :lol:

"The reason the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices it on a daily basis."

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The German CG threatened to court martial me if I didn't relinquish control of the bridge; but that's a story for another day. What a GREAT day for the Brave Rifles!!!

 

No way CPT, that story sounds way to good to dangle and not share!

 

T-Bone

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OK, T-Bone...... by popular demand. :rolleyes:

 

We had been delaying against the 1st Panzer Grenadier Division for 7 days. They had pushed us back from Ulezen (on the East German border), to well west of Munster. At our squadron commander's meeting on the night of the 7th, our CO pulled me aside. He told me the Germans had gotten behind us, by using a pontoon bridge. They were wrecking havoc, but they were on a peninsula. It was a gutsy move, but if they lost the bridge, they were in deep s**t. Our squadron CO, who was THE LEAST warm and fuzzy human I've ever known, told me the bridge was believed to be in my troop's sector. I'll never forget - he glared at me and said "Find that bridge, take it and DO NOT give it up". Well, that settled the issue of violating the REFORGER scenario, lol.

 

Around day break the next morning, it was terribly foggy and I figured we would never find the bridge. Then Bob, my 1st platoon leader, broke radio silence. "Six, six - we're closing on the bridge. What do we do?" I told Bob to take the bridge, and make d**n sure they got to the other side. 15 minutes later he told me they were on the other side, but German umpires were beserk and wanted me at the bridge. By the time I got to the bridge, it was a royal cluster f**k. My 2 other platoons were tryin' to cross. Finally, one of the German colonels laid in front of one my M-113s, to stop my troop. I told him that was very dumb - that everybody knew GIs used drugs and they just might run over German officers.

 

My squadron CO had been monitoring my troop command net, and "reminded" me NOT to relinquish the bridge, German colonels or not. He then proceeded to call in as much of V Corps arty fires as possible. Umpires said "scratch the 1st Panzer Grenadiers". Then, my soon-to-be pal, the CG of 1st Panzer Grenadiers arrived and proceeded to rip me a new heinie. He was furious - his face was purple and his spit was flying in my face. He promised me I was going to be court martialed. I'll admit - I was getting a little nervous, but I just kept on grinnin'.

 

Then a Huey (with a 3 star general's plate) landed next to my track. Out popped LTG Fair, V Corps commander. He pulled me away, and we walked over to the river. "Captain, tell me what the Hell is goin' on here". I told my story, then he simply stated - "Very well, carry on" and flew away. Several hours later, the FTX ended and my squadron CO called on his net....... "In one hour, be at coordinates XX12345678. OUT!!" My driver and I arrived at the coordinates, which turned out to be the division HQ of 1st PzGn. I was instructed to leave my driver in the jeep; and enter a hall. Now I was sure it was court martial time.

 

Upon entering, it turned out to be a place that looked like a teutonic knights hall...... timbered ceilings, old coats of arms, etc. I looked around, and noticed there were about 750+ German officers in field gear, and I was the only American in the place. Suddenly, the room was called to attention, and in walked "my pal", the German general. Then, the most impressive thing happened.... every German officer in the room kept their eyes on him, all the way from the rear of the room until he was on the podium. I remember thinking - if a US general walked into a room of LTs & CPTS (after an 8 day FTX), half on them would fall asleep.

 

It soon became apparent that this was the CGs debrief of the field problem. For an hour, there was a presentation (all in German) including overhead slides. Suddenly, the CG became furious. A slide of the Richmond, VA area was shown, and I heard...... "blah, blah, blah, Peninsula Campaign, blah, blah". At that point the CG was livid, and pointed at me, in the rear. EVERY German officer in the place turned, looked at me and gave me a nasty stare. Then, the meeting adjourned. Everyone left the hall, and there I sat. That's it!! I might as well pack my bags for Leavenworth!!

 

The general's aide approached. He thanked me for attending. I asked what the general said about me, in the debrief. "Oh, he said that because of young American captains who did not follow rules, we lost WWII. Learn to think like him." As the general walked by me, he winked.

 

It was a long jeep ride back to Munster, but I was on Cloud 9. Turner (my driver) and I even stopped at a gasthaus and had "a few" brewskis. :P

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The general's aide approached. He thanked me for attending. I asked what the general said about me, in the debrief. "Oh, he said that because of young American captains who did not follow rules, we lost WWII. Learn to think like him." As the general walked by me, he winked.

 

It was a long jeep ride back to Munster, but I was on Cloud 9. Turner (my driver) and I even stopped at a gasthaus and had "a few" brewskis. :P

 

You have no idea how much I love that story. Better than I hoped.

I can hear the, "Das ist nicht fair!!!!" all the way around the World.

Love the BW they are easy, it is the BGS which are hard.

 

T-Bone

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Hot damn! That's a GREAT story!!! I'll be grinning all night just thinking about it!

 

In the end, it sounds like that kraut general was a good man, too.

 

This is a great thread - I gotta scan some more photos...

 

Steve

Collecting 3rd Armored Division items of all kinds from all eras, specializing in the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment.

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That is the story of a career! Did you hear any more of it from your own chain of command? It should have been worth a case of beer for the first crew over the bridge at least!

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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OK, T-Bone...... by popular demand. :rolleyes:

 

We had been delaying against the 1st Panzer Grenadier Division for 7 days. They had pushed us back from Ulezen (on the East German border), to well west of Munster. At our squadron commander's meeting on the night of the 7th, our CO pulled me aside. He told me the Germans had gotten behind us, by using a pontoon bridge. They were wrecking havoc, but they were on a peninsula. It was a gutsy move, but if they lost the bridge, they were in deep s**t. Our squadron CO, who was THE LEAST warm and fuzzy human I've ever known, told me the bridge was believed to be in my troop's sector. I'll never forget - he glared at me and said "Find that bridge, take it and DO NOT give it up". Well, that settled the issue of violating the REFORGER scenario, lol.

 

Around day break the next morning, it was terribly foggy and I figured we would never find the bridge. Then Bob, my 1st platoon leader, broke radio silence. "Six, six - we're closing on the bridge. What do we do?" I told Bob to take the bridge, and make d**n sure they got to the other side. 15 minutes later he told me they were on the other side, but German umpires were beserk and wanted me at the bridge. By the time I got to the bridge, it was a royal cluster f**k. My 2 other platoons were tryin' to cross. Finally, one of the German colonels laid in front of one my M-113s, to stop my troop. I told him that was very dumb - that everybody knew GIs used drugs and they just might run over German officers.

 

My squadron CO had been monitoring my troop command net, and "reminded" me NOT to relinquish the bridge, German colonels or not. He then proceeded to call in as much of V Corps arty fires as possible. Umpires said "scratch the 1st Panzer Grenadiers". Then, my soon-to-be pal, the CG of 1st Panzer Grenadiers arrived and proceeded to rip me a new heinie. He was furious - his face was purple and his spit was flying in my face. He promised me I was going to be court martialed. I'll admit - I was getting a little nervous, but I just kept on grinnin'.

 

Then a Huey (with a 3 star general's plate) landed next to my track. Out popped LTG Fair, V Corps commander. He pulled me away, and we walked over to the river. "Captain, tell me what the Hell is goin' on here". I told my story, then he simply stated - "Very well, carry on" and flew away. Several hours later, the FTX ended and my squadron CO called on his net....... "In one hour, be at coordinates XX12345678. OUT!!" My driver and I arrived at the coordinates, which turned out to be the division HQ of 1st PzGn. I was instructed to leave my driver in the jeep; and enter a hall. Now I was sure it was court martial time.

 

Upon entering, it turned out to be a place that looked like a teutonic knights hall...... timbered ceilings, old coats of arms, etc. I looked around, and noticed there were about 750+ German officers in field gear, and I was the only American in the place. Suddenly, the room was called to attention, and in walked "my pal", the German general. Then, the most impressive thing happened.... every German officer in the room kept their eyes on him, all the way from the rear of the room until he was on the podium. I remember thinking - if a US general walked into a room of LTs & CPTS (after an 8 day FTX), half on them would fall asleep.

 

It soon became apparent that this was the CGs debrief of the field problem. For an hour, there was a presentation (all in German) including overhead slides. Suddenly, the CG became furious. A slide of the Richmond, VA area was shown, and I heard...... "blah, blah, blah, Peninsula Campaign, blah, blah". At that point the CG was livid, and pointed at me, in the rear. EVERY German officer in the place turned, looked at me and gave me a nasty stare. Then, the meeting adjourned. Everyone left the hall, and there I sat. That's it!! I might as well pack my bags for Leavenworth!!

 

The general's aide approached. He thanked me for attending. I asked what the general said about me, in the debrief. "Oh, he said that because of young American captains who did not follow rules, we lost WWII. Learn to think like him." As the general walked by me, he winked.

 

It was a long jeep ride back to Munster, but I was on Cloud 9. Turner (my driver) and I even stopped at a gasthaus and had "a few" brewskis. :P

 

 

 

HA HA HA!

 

That was awesome, i almost fell out my chair laughing!

Honorably Discharged OEF VI/VII Veteran

US Army Military Police

SGT

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Thanks T-Bone, because of you I had to run down in my basement and dig these out! thumbsup.gif

A person would also MOST DEFINATELY need a pair of 5 buckle rubber boots.

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And if you're a tanker, you'd need a insulated tankers jacket, it does get cold sometimes over here. This is a 50's-60's model, (so I've been told), I had the patches sewn on it, wanted to sell it on German eBay, no takers. :(

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"Old tankers never die, they just smell that way!"

A co. 4/73rd Armor, 1st Infantry Division (Forward)

 

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OK, T-Bone...... by popular demand. :rolleyes:

 

... Finally, one of the German colonels laid in front of one my M-113s, to stop my troop. I told him that was very dumb - that everybody knew GIs used drugs and they just might run over German officers.

 

 

The general's aide approached. He thanked me for attending. I asked what the general said about me, in the debrief. "Oh, he said that because of young American captains who did not follow rules, we lost WWII. Learn to think like him." ... :P

 

 

Hank, as alwaysI love to follow your memories with all these wonderfull details, pictures etc... Grewing up in the FULDA gap I rember these exercises (and the populations reactions) since I was a child very well. Later on I joined some REFORGER FTX myself as a young Cav trooper (Panzeraufklaerer) and, as far as I remeber, we too have had lot of fun ourself with the „enemy“.

 

Two little remarks on your "REFORGER day of your life" story:

 

My first thoughts on the lying colonel were: Wow, obviously this colonel must have been totally drunk. Never have seen German colonels lying around on bridges (That's a big problem today: PRE-traumatic stress disorder). Then I realized, that he might was a battle proven (eastern front) veteran, who has learned to knock out all these T 34 the hard way, now trying to do the same with your M113?!? :lol:

 

The General you mentioned acted like a typical, rear echelon (= western front) person, with a little deficit in history knowledge. Of course it was not the wrong behaviour of German captains (in comparison to American captains) why we lost the war, it was, in fact, the "competence" of some members of his own pay bracket... lol.gifhapy0004.gifhapy0003.gif

 

My highest respect for your steadfastness, I believe to know how you felt at the end of this day - it was YOUR day" bravo.gif

Horridoh Joho!

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I know, I'm repeating myself again, happens more often the older I get. :( But these pictures and "Cold War " stories bring back good and bad memories, but the bads ones are almost all gone now. As I look out my window now, Saterday, 28th March, it's raining and cold right now in my part of Germany it is definately Reforger/field problem weather! w00t.gif

Back to Cold War reenacting, you can't forget the ever observing enemy, the East german Border guard.

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"Old tankers never die, they just smell that way!"

A co. 4/73rd Armor, 1st Infantry Division (Forward)

 

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I'm trying to stay in the "Cold War" category, after the "Wall came tumbling down", I was given this "trophy" from a East German, "50 YEARS SOVIET MIGHT".


Anybody else out there have any "Cold War" souvenirs and/or "take homes"?

"Old tankers never die, they just smell that way!"

A co. 4/73rd Armor, 1st Infantry Division (Forward)

 

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Achtung, Panzer!

 

 

 

The bumper marking on the lead tank reads 3/33 Armored of the 3rd Armored Divsion. Contrast the camo paint with the bright yellow searchlight cover. Also, it may just be the photo, but it looks like the camo pattern is only on the upper surfaces of the vehicle, while the bottom of the hull is plain OD. Once again this looks like a late 1970's camo pattern, featuring a black star on the front of the hull.

 

Gil, that photo had to be taken before 1975 or after May 1980, because during that time frame, 3/33 Armor was an M60A2 battalion. My guess is that it's pre-75.

 

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Me on the left, in bad need of a haircut, wearing mechanics coveralls and corcorans, in a forest near Stadt Allendorf. Operation CONSTANT ENFORCER, August 1979. I was the driver on the LTC's tank in HHC 3/33 Armor.

Judges 1:19- And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

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