Become our sponsor and display your banner here
Page 6 of 7 FirstFirst ... 234567 LastLast
Results 51 to 60 of 64

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. #51

    Default

    During the 1950’s when I was in Berlin, we had relatively little contact with our British and French allies. We did not conduct joint exercises with them in Berlin while I was there. F Company visited the British and French tank parks on a single occasion. My faulty recollection is that the British were equipped with the 50-ton Centurion, with a 20 pdr main gun (appx. 83mm) and a 4-man crew. Its size, weight, armament, and crew put it in the same class as our M-48’s.
    Smitty mentioned the French AMX-10 which brought to mind the AMX-13/75 that the French had when I was there.
    The French called the AMX-13/75 the Char 13t-75 Modèle 51. It was a most unusual tank. The AMX-13/75 was a very small, 3-man tank weighing just under 15 tons but carried a very hot 75mm x 61 main gun. What made the tank so unusual was its auto-loading main gun that eliminated the need for a loader. The auto-loader was in the bustle, the extended part on the back of the turret. There were two 6-round magazines attached to the gun plus 24 rounds stored individually in the bustle. The AMX-13 turret was in two parts; the upper part of the turrett and the gun were actually a single unit and the gun was not mounted on trunions. To elevate the gun, the entire upper part of the turret cammed back, while the lower part of the turret remained in place on the hull. The turret could rotate 360 degrees. As I recall, there was a sort of expandable “gasket” that filled the gap between the upper and lower parts of the turret when the gun was elevated. The major drawback was that once the 12 rounds were expended, the tank had to withdraw to a safe place to reload.
    Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)
    The tank had no rear deck. The driver was on the right side and the engine was beside him on the left side. The tank commander, seen here, was on the left and the gunner , seen standing on the turret,was inside the turret on the right side, behind and slightly above the driver who is seen standing in his hatch. Another surprising thing for us was that the engine was rated at only 250 hp. The guy standing on the ground near the front of the tank is an officer, probably the platoon leader. Dwight

  2. #52

    Default

    Dwight,

    Thank you for this informative topic..

    It is interesting to hear that there was not as much interaction between the allies when you were there. It would seem that our counterparts were content on occupying their sector and that was it.. I know that when I was there we held joint exercises all the time and to show our support for each of our counterparts we often invited the Brits and French to attend joint training events and we even exchanged platoons for a week. For one week we would host a British and French platoon in our battalion and they would go through normal daily activities with us. They would get up in the morning and do PT with us, eat in our chow hall and do training all day long with us.. There were of course some language barriers with our French counterparts but their platoon leaders spoke decent English and we were able to overcome,,, but we all got along great and this opened opportunities for our US Soldiers to attend French Commando School and other schools conducted by the British and French, and then it also opened up trading opportunities. I was able to get a real nice British map case in trade for a US field jacket.. Not a bad trade and I still have the map case (which I will post later)...

    Some good training opportunities and even better memories..

    Smitty

  3. #53

    Default

    Smitty, you guys were certainly much more active than we were back in those days. You are right, the prevailing attitude was they watch their sectors and we will watch ours. Once in a blue moon, a British scout car would show up in our tank park for a look around, but those brief stop-bys were totally spontaneous. Because I speak German, the officers often tapped me to run errands for them and furnish the beer, tables, and mugs for their company officers' parties. The only invitees to those parties that I recall were officers from the 6th Infantry and sometimes the motor pool (the source of jeeps). I visited the NAAFI Club only once in 3 years. The British did provide some troops to set up checkpoints during our one-time escape and evasion problem as did the Berlin Police, with whom I had an encounter during the exercise, and that same night I did pass through a British checkpoint--very easily, I might say. And I did attend the Queen's Birthday Parade at the Olympic Stadium just to see it. But that was about it for inter-service mingling.

  4. #54

    Default

    Well I haven't had the chance to update this in a while so here is a photo of our Company at the Brandenburg Gate. This picture was taken the same time that the Soviet SMLM vehicle in the previous pictures I posted came around seeing what an entire US infantry Company was doing. This photo was taken in the summer of 1987. I am on the far right side under the green star that I painted onto the photo. These are the Officers and men of B Company 6th Battalion 502nd Infantry Regiment (Berlin Brigade).

    After the company picture was taken I also took some platoon photos for the different sections.. When I find them I will post them too..

    Smitty
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)  

  5. #55

    Default

    I never did get back to this thread, but I've now uploaded the meagre bunch of pictures that I have. I joined my regiment in July 1969 at Napier barracks (Brackel) near Dortmund, and I remained there until (about) April 1971. The base used to be home to a squadron of Focke Wulf 190's during the war, and many of the buildings were built within the densely wooded area. The main runway was still there, as were the perimeter tracks and the old concrete structure that was used for zeroing and harmonising the aircraft guns. My regiment was a light air defence unit, and at that time we were equipped with the Bofors LA 40/70 AA gun. Each gun 'sub' consisted of three Leyland six-wheeled 10 ton wagons, one for the gun, one for the FCE 7 radar set, and one for the Meadows 27.5 KVA generator. Al the equipment at that time was still painted green, and even our combat suits were still green. This is the earliest picture that I have of myself on exercise. It was taken in 1969 before I was assigned to my gun sub.


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


    I never got to see Berlin... in fact I never even got to see ANY of the Iron Curtain! But my recollections are that we always seemed to be out on exercise. I remember one exercise where our driver pulled to the left to let an oncoming car pass on a narrow country road... and we ended up in a ditch. I was sat in the back of the wagon keeping my eye on the generator we were towing and the large towing bar we had hooked up in the back came crashing down and just missed my head as we slid onto our side. The following day we were on the move again, and I recall passing another wagon that also ended up in a ditch.


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


    Every year we used to go up to Todendorf where we would fire our guns out to sea at a wind sock which was towed by vintage Hawker Sea Fury's flown by a small band of women who worked for Baroness Riebnitz von Thyssen. Their speciality was to beat up the firing point at zero feet -flying from right to left, and then performing a barrel roll as they powered away... it was a truly wonderful sight to behold at the time.


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


    There were other ranges we went o as well, one at Den Helder where the targets were towed by drones... but we always seemed to 'accidentally' aim at the drones and bring them down, and then there was Mourmelon le Grande in France where we used to practice our ground target techniques. I recall firing the 3.5 inch rocket launcher at an old Sherman tank once, and the wiring loom in the back of the rocket became firmly embedded in my back when I pulled the trigger. The camp itself was full of all kinds of redundant WW2 armour, and it was from this camp that we used to make the annual pilgrimage to Verdun.

    We used to get the usual 'standby' orders where we were confined to camp for 48 hours (I think), and then occasionally we would get the call and would have so many hours to clear the camp. To be honest I don't remember much of this period, but I DO remember the 'admin' parades where were always held on the main runway. But in 1970 it was decided to hold it 'in the field', and what a disaster it turned out to be. It rained, and rained, the vehicles were bogged down to their axles in thick mud... and there we stayed for the best part of a week before we could dig our way out. That was the first and last time that was ever done. A picture of our gun being cleaned up by me and my mate Phil Gallagher, and the other is of 9((Plassey) Bty lined up near the garages.


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


    There was another place we used to go where we practiced our winter warfare skills, but in truth it was just a glorified break from duties. The regiment had access to a chalet on the outskirts of Sonthofen. I recall that the chalet was situated in a valley next to the one where they filmed: 'Where Eagles Dare'. I am in the back row, third from the left.


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


    Of course all good things come to an end, and in early 1971 we received orders to return to UK to relieve the Coldstream Guards from ceremonial duties while they were sent to Northern Ireland. After about a month of 'square bashing' under the watchful eye of the Guards RSM we were deemed fit to take over. Upon the Guards return we started our own training for Northern Ireland and eventually got sent to Andersonstown in November 1971, and we remained there until March 1972. That tour was generally recognised as the finest - and most successful tour ever carried out by any unit of the British army. A few pictures of Andersonstown RUC station and one of the back of the bus depot where our living quarters were.


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


    At the end of the tour we returned to England and started re-equipping with Rapier. Our Bty was the first unit to try out this new system, and the operating manuals were largely based upon our experiences with it. Our first 'shoot' was at the Hebrides, and on one memorable occasion one of the missiles dove into the sea, so the 'destruct' button was activated. Moments later the missile came roaring out of the water and headed back to the firing point! In 1973 we took Rapier to Germany while we conducted further trials, and at one of our positions I came across a German helmet floating in a duck pond. Most of the next group of pictures were taken in various locations in Germany - with just a few on Salisbury Plain. At the beginning of 1974 I was warned for another tour of 'ops' in Northern Ireland, and shortly after my wedding in April 1974... I started my training. After completion of the tour I left the army, and that is a fairly condensed history of my military career with BAOR and back in England.

    Cheers,
    Steve.


    Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)
    Last edited by HARRY THE MOLE; 08-12-2020 at 11:40 AM.
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.... 'A Salford Pal: Pte Thomas Jay.'

  6. #56

    Default

    You lucky bastard, all we did was parade.

  7. #57

    Default

    Dwight... I can honestly say that those six years were the best time of my life. True friendships were forged, and survive some 46 years after leaving. Working in 'civvy' street was an eye opener to me. I started working 'shifts' in the chemical industry, and the bosses always banged on about the importance of team work. Well my idea of team work, and their idea of team work were entirely at odds with each other. need I say more?

    You might find our regimental Part 1 orders of interest too... these being the one's issued at the end of our operational tour in Northern Ireland. Click on images to enlarge.

    Cheers,
    Steve


    Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)Occupied Berlin, 1945-1990 Allied Forces (US, British, French, Soviet)
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.... 'A Salford Pal: Pte Thomas Jay.'

  8. #58
    ?

    Default

    What a fantastic thread , Ive enjoyed reading the whole lot very much .
    If I can contribute anything of interest its some passes and photos that belonged to my mother in law.
    She ended up in Germany when the war ended .
    Cheers Rick

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

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

  9. #59

    Default

    This has been great looking at some of the photos and other items from our Allies in Berlin..

    Strange though that we have not seen too much from our French counterparts in the divided city..

    Would like to see or hear from our French members who may have been stationed in Berlin or knew some French troops who were there...

    In any regards keep the memories coming..

    Smitty

  10. #60

    Default

    Quote by Rakkasan187 View Post
    Strange though that we have not seen too much from our French counterparts in the divided city.Smitty
    Yes I too was wondering.

    However, I say this apropos of nothing beyond mild ribbing and maybe just a little provocation;

    When we used to have the annual Allied Military Police Drinking (sorry pistol ) Competition the French Gendarmes that turned up were always much older than the rest of us and were people we had never seen before during duties together and would shoot like they were at the Olympics The rest of us, W.Berlin Police included would just get some rounds down range, pick up brass and move onto the apres-shoot which entailed a softball game and the bit we were allways in the top two at, "Miller time". The Gendarmes would have made excuses by this time, then the WBP would politely take a beer then depart which left us and the USMP to get down to the real contest of demolishing a couple of 50 gallon drums full of beer bottles and ice

    On one occasion my Pl Comd said to me "Sar'nt I think we should be getting back" to which my response was "Sir, if we leave a single beer undrunk we will cause offence. Do you want to explain to the Allied Commanders why we have an international incident?" He caved in under the weight of my argument

    Anyway, come on Monsieurs I know you are out there so respond to the challenge or I will tell about the pyjamas and wine after 1800 hrs at Checkpoint Bravo

    Regards

    Mark

    PS I am presently trying to find a bunch of pictures I took of the E.German National Day Parade which will surely please the "trackheads" here. Stand-by

    PPS Soviet and NVA Berlin vets must be lurking here so lets hear from you as well!
    "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."

Page 6 of 7 FirstFirst ... 234567 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. 09-04-2020, 02:46 AM
  2. 08-31-2020, 05:51 AM
  3. 02-17-2020, 09:43 PM
  4. 3 Allied WW2 Machetes (French, British, US)

    In Other Militaria For Sale
    09-18-2011, 06:18 AM
  5. Allied Forces HQ pass

    In Doc's, paper items, photos, propaganda
    05-13-2009, 04:27 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •