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Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)

Article about: I wanted to start a thread about the Occupying Forces in the City of Berlin from 1945 up to reunification in the 1990s. There are some members here who served in the Occupied City, myself in

  1. #91

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    Mark,

    Thank you for showing what it was like on the Berliner... Again, Some truly incredible times there in Berlin...

    I really hope that someone here was with the French Forces in Berlin.. Would really like to see/read from their experiences...

    I really enjoy this topic... Best time of my military career was in Berlin...

    Best regards all,, stay safe

    Smitty

  2. #92

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    If I recall from my time stationed in Berlin from 1978-81 that the French troops stationed there were mostly very young possibly fresh out of initial training recruits. I remember when for a time I was a Commander's driver that we trained with the French and even in the field they set a table with table clothes etc for their officers mess. We also did some training with the British and the Unit was the Royal Irish Rangers, many of there soldiers were as you guessed from Ireland and they sometimes weren't above criticizing the British Queen or Royal Family, however as Americans we knew enough not to criticize either as you might then have a fight on your hands. Really good guys and excellent soldiers who probably on a man to man basis were tougher than American Soldiers.

  3. #93

    Default

    Great recollections sargetom…

    Thank you..

    We conducted a joint exercise with the French and British at Ruhleben fighting city in Berlin one year. The French were attached to the US forces and the British were the aggressors. If I recall correctly the French had AMX-30 tanks and they provided support for us in the attack.. When we ended the exercise we were sitting around eating our meals (MRE's for the US troops) and the French gave us a few boxes of their rations... Very different from what we were used to, Duck patte, cheeses in tubes and other sundries and a small bottle of grape wine (which was quickly taken away by the US officers)…before we could enjoy them... It was interesting to see how the allies dined in the field..

    Smitty

  4. #94

    Default

    Quote by sargetom View Post
    If I recall from my time stationed in Berlin from 1978-81 that the French troops stationed there were mostly very young possibly fresh out of initial training recruits. I remember when for a time I was a Commander's driver that we trained with the French and even in the field they set a table with table clothes etc for their officers mess. We also did some training with the British and the Unit was the Royal Irish Rangers, many of there soldiers were as you guessed from Ireland and they sometimes weren't above criticizing the British Queen or Royal Family, however as Americans we knew enough not to criticize either as you might then have a fight on your hands. Really good guys and excellent soldiers who probably on a man to man basis were tougher than American Soldiers.
    Your are quite correct about the RIR, they were mostly from Northern Ireland although some were from the Republic (Eire) and many people even in UK don't realise it but since 1922 there have been British soldiers who call Southern Ireland home just as there are far more Irish citizens than is generally realised who hold British passports.

    Back in your time the RIR had two battalions and as incredible as it sounds one was predominently catholic whilst the other was mostly protestant and yes they used to fight each other!

    Regards

    Mark
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature with no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

  5. #95

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    Quote by Rakkasan187 View Post
    Mark,

    Thank you for showing what it was like on the Berliner... Again, Some truly incredible times there in Berlin...

    I really hope that someone here was with the French Forces in Berlin.. Would really like to see/read from their experiences...

    I really enjoy this topic... Best time of my military career was in Berlin...

    Best regards all,, stay safe

    Smitty
    Yes I would like to know more as well as throughout my time in Berlin our French allies were really quite an enigma to most of us and we couldn't figure out why to be honest.

    I believe the French train was much the same as the US one as travelling at night there were never too many "day trippers"

    I do recall however, that on night shift at Allied Checkpoint Bravo whilst the Brit and US NCOs sat at their desks all night as soon as the last French traveller had been processed (by midnight unless in exceptional circumstances) the Gendarmes would change into tracksuits and retire behind curtains into their rest room until relieved the following morning. "Different stokes for different folks" as the saying goes. Our bosses would have been apopleptic at the very idea

    It would be good to hear from any French Berlin "Old Boys"

    Regards

    Mark
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature with no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

  6. #96

    Default Train journey to West-Berlin

    First of all, I wish you all a good 2021.

    Great stories about your train journey between the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin. I also traveled to West-Berlin by train. Not with a military train but with a regular international train.
    This train ran from Hoek van Holland (ferry to Harwich, UK) via Utrecht, Hannover, Helmstedt (W-Germany) to West-Berlin. If I am correct, this train went on to Warsaw and Moscow.
    I can still remember that the train consisted of passenger wagons of the East-German railways, the DR. The benches on this train were pretty hard. If you had to sit on it for 10 hours, it was not very comfortable.

    Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)

    My train journey to West-Berlin started at the Utrecht railway station. The train left in the evening, I believe this was at 9:00 PM. On the border of the Netherlands and West-Germany, the Dutch engine was exchanged for a West-German engine. At that time, Europe still had passport control at its inner borders. This was done at the same time as the exchanging of the engines, so there was hardly any delay.
    Nothing happened until Helmstedt, the last stop before the inner German border. The train stood still for some time at this railway station. I don't know what the reason was. Maybe another train had to pass first. The train continued its last kilometers on the West-German railway network through dark, unlit rural areas.
    Suddenly the train entered a brightly lit area. In the glow of the lampposts I could see barriers and sentries on both side of the railway line. So, this had to be the inner German border. In my opinion, the barriers run parallel to the railway line up to Marienborn station in the GDR.
    At Marienborn the train stopped again to change the West-German engine for an East-German one. At the Marienborn station the East-German border police (Grenztruppen der DDR) got on the train, not far from the compartment where I was sitting. The door through which the border police got on the train was the only door open. The other doors of the train were locked.
    Again, it took a long time to exchange the engines so I decided to get some fresh air on the platform. I had also done this before at the Helmstedt station but I experienced this was not allowed at the Marienborn station. I saw no harm in it and opened the door which was not locked. The station platform was almost empty. There was only a border police officer with a watchdog. He walked away from me. To get out, the train door had two steps. I did not go down the two steps. The border police officer on the platform turned and blew a whistle. At the same time, I was tapped on the shoulder by a border police officer who was on the train. The incident happened in seconds.
    The border police officer said to me in German; You are not allowed to leave the train, you have to sit in your seat.
    The border police officers sat in the compartment next to me and regularly one of them poked his head around the corner to see if I was still around my place.

    Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)

    Later the passport control followed. The border police officers on the train were equipped with a briefcase with a carrying strap which they carried in front of them on their belly. This briefcase was nicknamed a "Bauchladen" (belly shop). In the briefcase they had all kinds of papers, visas and a UV lamp to check the passports for authenticity.
    The border police stayed on the train during the journey through the GDR. There was no stop on any GDR railway station. Just before West-Berlin, the border police got off the train and the engines were exchanged again. The final station of the train journey was Berlin Zoo. Before the unification of Germany, this was the main station in West-Berlin.
    The only souvenirs I have left from this train journey are the Transit visas that I received from the East-German border police. In the examples I have removed my passport number.

    Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)

    Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)

  7. #97

    Default British Troops Berlin /Berlin Infantry Brigade.

    Just bringing the thread up again;

    Here are a couple of formation signs worn by British pers in Berlin.

    The uppermost is the first type worn from 1945 - 52. It is red thread on black felt.

    The other two are the 2nd type introduced in '52 and worn until circa early '80s. These are of black twill material with the red woven into the same piece of cloth.

    The two sizes are of no significance and they are identical in construction. However, the smaller version is roughly the same size as the first type which might indicate earliest production. These were still being worn when the rest of British Forces had stopped wearing formation signs for reasons of operational security during the Cold War.

    NB.This situation changed back after the end of the Cold War and now there is the Tactical Recognition Flash aka TRF which is probably as prolific as formation signs ever were.

    Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)

    Regards

    Mark
    Last edited by Watchdog; 02-25-2022 at 03:41 PM. Reason: typo
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature with no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

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