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Officers Club, USAAF Schleissheim, 1945

Officers Club, USAAF Schleissheim, 1945

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Officers Club, USAAF Schleissheim, 1945

Here we see SSgt Clarence W. Anderson in front of the Officers Club for the 344th Bombardment Group at Schleissheim in Germany, where they were based at Christmas 1945.

Many thanks to Bill Anderson for providing us with these pictures, which came from the collection of his father SSgt Clarence W. Anderson, who served with the Officers Club for the 344th Bombardment Group. These pictures show the group's Christmas party of 1945, celebrated at Schleissheim in Germany.


The foundations of the Armed Forces Recreation Center, Europe were laid in 1945, soon after the end of hostilities in Europe. The Army's 10th Armored Division rolled into Garmisch-Partenkirchen on April 30 that year, while the 101st Airborne Division captured both Berchtesgaden and Chiemsee a week later. As soon as the occupation began, Army Special Services officers wasted no time getting the prewar tourist facilities back into operation. Golf, hunting, fishing, skiing and sailing awaited the war-weary soldiers. Word about this Bavarian wonderland travelled fast to service members in occupied Europe. Soon troops from all over U.S. Forces Europe Command were flocking to southern Germany for rest and relaxation.

World War II unit histories & officers

Although details are added on a daily basis the latest major changes are:

Period Change
August 2006 added a lot of information about the US Marines in the American section
September 2005 website migrated to the new environment (from &
August 2005 several British Armies, Corps & Divisions added
Summer 2005 US Army officers section started
September 2004 officers of the 1st British Airborne Division (Arnhem) added

This website aims to give a full spectrum of data on World War II fighting units, including details on organization, commanders, and literature. All units from different countries can be included in due time. When we can find the time, and get enough response from enthusiast people who like to contribute to the site with information, scans etc., this site could grow into a marvelous reference work on World War II military history.

Please, contact us with your opinion about this initiative, or when you think you can contribute in any way.

389th Bomb Group

B-24 Liberators of the 389th Bomb Group fly in formation during a mission. B-24 (HP-J_, serial number 44-40245) nicknamed "Skerby" is visible in the foreground. Handwritten caption on reverse: ' Munich 2/7/44.'

A B-24 Liberator of the 389th Bomb Group flies over countryside with a disabled engine. First handwritten caption on reverse: '389 BG over france with a feathered prop.' Second handwritten caption on reverse: '272821 HD-T+ Liberty, Prop feathered.'

Major-General William E. Kepner talks with personnel of the 389th Bomb Group. Official caption : '74093 A.C. Major General William E. Kepner chats with an officer of the 2nd Bomb group Division, 8th Air Force, as he enjoys refreshments at an air base in England. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO.'

Ground personnel of the 389th Bomb Group attend to the smoking engines of a B-24 Liberator piloted by Second Lieutenant C.E. White that has crash landed on the 13th of February 1944. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Pilot 2/Lt. C.E. White. Hmm what a lick, 2100185 Lt 566BS 13/2/44.'

Two airmen of the 389th Bomb Group with a B-24 Liberator used as a Flight Assembly Ship. Image via Tom Britain

Personnel of the 389th Bomb Group stand atop the engine of a B-24 Liberator (serial number 42-40787) nicknamed "Vagabond King". Sitting (left to right): Staff Sergeant David C Shattles, Staff Sergeant Louis H Raines, Corporal Alfred P Rossi. Standing (left to right)Second Lieutenant Masco, First Lieutenant Marvin Mendlesohn, First Lieutenant George A Brinton, Captain John B. McCormick, Staff Sergeant William J Budai, Staff Sergeant Richard W Weaver 'They have bombed ten different countries. Associated Press photo shows: The crew of the Flying Fortress, "Vagabond King", which has flown over 250,000 miles in combat missions and bombed targets in ten different countries, including the airfields at Ploesti. They are (left to right, sitting): S/Sgt. David C. Shattles, of Atlanta, GA., Gunner S/Sgt. Louis H. Raines, of Chesson, ALA, Gunner Cpl. Alfred P. Rossi, of Philadelphia, PA., Gunner (standing): 2nd Lt. Masco, of Chicago, ILL Bombardier 1st Lt. Lt. Marvin Mendlesohn, of Rockaway, N.Y., Navigator 1st Lt. George A. Brinton, of Salt Lake City, Utah, co-Pilot Capt. John B. McCormick, of Syracuse, M.Y. Pilot S/Sgt. William J Budai, of Toledo, Ohio and S/Sgt. Richard W. Weaver, of Scottdale, PENN.'

Navigators of the 389th Bomb Group draw up a flight plan in the 'Peace Room' at Hethel, May 1944. Image stamped on reverse: 'Keystone Press.' [stamp] and '323481.' [Censor no.] A printed caption was previously attached to the reverse, however this has been removed.

Captain John Driscoll of the 389th Bomb Group checks his machine gun. Image stamped on reverse: 'Keystone Press.' [stamp], '323482.' [Censor no.] A printed caption was previously attached to the reverse, however this has been removed. Handwritten caption on reverse: '389 BG- Capt John Driscoll works on completing sight for flexible guns.'

Personnel of the 389th Bomb Group fit a rocket launcher to the tail of a B-24 Liberator.

The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943 and 25 August 1943 and at Massicault, Tunisia, between 19 September 1943 and 3 October 1943. During this period, the detachment carried out bombing raids over Crete, Sicily, Italy, Austria and Romania. The Group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for the Ploesti oil fields mission on 1 August 1943.

Earl Zimmerman, a radio operator during the Ploesti mission, has this to say about the origin of the insignia: "I first learned of the name Sky Scorpions during the early 1960s when the book Ploesti was published. Up to that time I had never heard of the name although I went over with the original Group and came back with the Group two years later. No one has confirmed it, but I assume the name came from Capt. Kenneth Caldwell's plane 'Scorpion'. Now about the formation ship, the Green Dragon. M/Sgt. Pashal Quackenbush is the original artist of the Dragon painted on the officers club wall. That dragon was green. His original painting of the dragon was blue and during the reunion at Colorado Springs, Pashal donated it to Al Kopp then VP of the 389th. The original now rests in the Library in Norwich. When I had the 389th patches made they were copied from the original, therefore the blue dragon."

Browse 389th Bomb Group photographs and other documents in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library digital archive here:

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Constituted as 389th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 Dec 1942 and activated on q Dec. Prepared for duty overseas with B-24’s. Moved to England, Jun-Jul 1943, and assigned to Eighth AF. Almost immediately a detachment was sent to Libya, where it began operations on 9 Jul 1943. The detachment flew missions to Crete, Sicily, Italy, Austria, and Rumania. The group received a DUC for the detachment’s participation in the famed low-level attack against oil refineries at Ploesti on 1 Aug 1943. For his action during the same operation, 2d Lt Lloyd H Hughes was awarded the Medal of Honor: refusing to turn back although gasoline was streaming from his flak damaged plane, Lt Hughes flew at low altitude over the blazing target area and bombed the objective the plane crashed before Hughes could make the forced landing that he attempted after the bomb run. The detachment returned to England in Aug and the group flew several missions against airfields in France and Holland. Operating temporarily from Tunisia, Sep-Oct 1943, the 389th supported Allied operations at Salerno and hit targets in Corsica, Italy, and Austria. Resumed operations from England in Oct 1943, and until Apr 1945 concentrated primarily on strategic objectives in France, the Low Countries, and Germany. Targets included shipbuilding yards at Vegesack, industrial areas of Berlin, oil facilities at Merseburg, factories at Munster, railroad yards at Sangerhausen, and V-weapon sites at Pas de Calais. Participated in the intensive air campaign against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944. Also flew support and interdictory missions on several occasions, bombing gun batteries and airfields in support of the Normandy invasion in Jun 1944, striking enemy positions to aid the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul 1944, hitting storage depots and communications centers during the Battle of the Bulge (Dec 1944-Jan 1945), and dropping food, ammunition, gasoline, and other supplies to troops participating in the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Flew last combat mission late in Apr 1945. Returned to the US, May- Jun 1945. Inactivated on 13 Sep 1945

1950-1994: Harnack House during the Cold War

The Harnack House on July 4, 1982.

Soon after Harnack House was taken over by the US Army it quickly became apparent that the building designed as a clubhouse and to provide guest accommodation could only meet the new requirements and intended purpose to a certain extent. There were no large rooms for exuberant parties and glamorous celebrations. In the early 1950s, extensions were added and the building’s structure was permanently altered.

The Berlin Brigade began planning the renovation of the building shortly after its confiscation. The lecture theatre was converted into a dance bar based on designs drawn up by the architect Eckart Muthesius. The lectern and lab bench gave way to a dance floor and the ascending rows of seating were removed. The new Marine Bar soon became a firm fixture in Berlin’s “Little America”. The rest of the building also underwent extensive structural work. A ballroom was built directly adjacent to the lecture theatre. Until 1953 only a narrow corridor had connected the main building with the lecture theatre. Another floor was now added in its place for the ballroom.

Builders also set to work in the main building. The club reception (today the Planck Lobby) was made many times bigger with the addition of the Wintergarten Hall. The terrace, previously accessible directly from the lobby, disappeared as a result.

Shortly after the war Harnack House was still largely fitted out with the old interior furnishings. Some items were reclaimed by individuals and Institutes or by the Max Planck Society’s Administrative Headquarters. Their whereabouts are unknown.

The most significant structural work internally took place at the end of the 1960s when the wife of Robert G. Fergusson, the serving general, extensively revamped the building according to her own style of décor. The ballroom was also presumably fitted with artificial stucco features, mirrors and floral carpets at this time. These furnishings disappeared during the renovation in 2014.

The house was increasingly shaped by its American occupants from this time onwards. The modern-day Einstein Lounge was used as a pub where Guinness and lager could only be bought with US dollars. The American Women’s Club organized fetes and theatrical performances in the Goethe Hall. The public was allowed into the venue for certain events at which Germans and Americans established closer relations. The US allies only completely opened up the house to the Berlin public shortly before their departure.

Officers Club, USAAF Schleissheim, 1945 - History

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Click here for Key to Map

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1. Warner Kaserne
2. Oberschleissheim Army Airfield
3. Will Kaserne

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Aerial photo of former Jensen & Stetten Barracks, April 1970
(Bayerische Vermessungsverwaltung, München)
(Click on image to view a higher resolution version)
Aerial photo of McGraw Kaserne, April 1989 (Bayerische Vermessungsverwaltung, München)
(Click on image to view a higher resolution version)
Aerial photo of Warner Kaserne, July 1963 (Bayerische Vermessungsverwaltung, München)
(Click on image to view a higher resolution version)
Warner Kaserne motor pool - a beehive of activity, 1961

Looking towards Warner Barracks main gate area, c. 1965 (Richard Hackwith)
Aerial photo of Henry Kaserne, July 1963 (Bayerische Vermessungsverwaltung, München)
(Click on image to view a higher resolution version)
596th Trans Co Lt Trk motor pool, 1956 (Charlie Weaver)

Aerial photo of Will Kaserne, July 1963 (Bayerische Vermessungsverwaltung, München)
(Click on image to view a higher resolution version)
A D7 Dozer of 609th Engr Co at Panzer Kaserne (Will), c. 1945

Panzer Kaserne (Will), c. 1945

Will Kaserne (foreground) and Warner Barracks (background), c. 1965 (Richard Hackwith)

A team of German historians collected documents and photos and interviewed both Germans and Americans about their experiences in Munich between the years 1945 and 1992 when the garrison was closed in the early stages of the military drawdown of the 1990s. Their efforts have now been compiled into a book that captures, in 228 pages and close to 300 photos, the experiences of both US soldiers and their families as well as their German neighbors and provides a window into the American way of life, Munich style.

Originally, Headquarters of the Munich Military Post was located at
107 Königinstrasse in Munich (Webmaster's collection)

Organization of Munich Military Post, 1947

The post, currently under the command of Brig Gen Edmund B. Sebree, has its headquarters at McGraw Kaserne in Munich. With its area of responsibility covering 11,000 square miles (about the same size as Maryland), the post is the largest single military establishment under the control of the US Army. The post's American population is about the same as that of Albany, NY its German population matches that of Cincinnati, OH.

McGraw Kaserne, Hqs Munich Military Post, 1950

Designated now as a "major command," the Munich Military Post is divided into a headquarters area and seven subposts: Bad Tölz, Berchtesgaden, Murnau, Degerndorf, Regensburg, Landshut and Straubing.

One of the largest sections in the MMP post structure are the Post Engineers. Under the direction of Lt Col Sam P. Graham, the Munich post engineer officer, the section's staff consists of 14 officers, two warrant officers, a handful of EM's and over 7,000 German employees. The post engineers are allotted over 50 percent of the post's annual budget to fund the various activities the engineers are responsible for. For example, the section maintains 1,231 dependent houses, a large number of bachelor billets, plus other requisitioned property totaling approximately 3,000 individual parcels of real estate. Through the Engineers, the post provides everything from a cake of ice for the familiy ice box to community fire departments.

To my regret I did not keep in touch with other members of the unit, not even the baseball and basketball team members of which I was one. IMostly interested in the team members, of course, though I'm not sure what records might exist - or have existed - for the teams.

Physically, the 7822 was in a building that was at one time - so we were told - and insurance office building quite near the English Gardens. Both barracks and offices were in the same building, though the Post Engineers (attached) had offices in a second building nearby.

The "mess hall" was across the street from the main building - and was a real shocker on a GI's first visit. You walked into a lobby with a (probably) Polish DP as a greeter, then through a curtained doorway into the dining area. There were no lines - you simply sat down at a table with plate and utensils already in position, and dishes of food on the table from which to serve yourself. Waiters constantly replenished the dishes, and your drink, as needed. Oh, yeah -- we were also told the mess hall had at one time been a stable. Sure couldn't tell it.

About a block to the west was a main thoroughfare, Koeniginstrasse (which comes up if you "Google" the area), and a short distance south a Gesundheitstrasse (believe it or not) - which does not come up.

The 7822 was pretty well splintered - I don't remember the full unit ever being assembled at one time - which may be one reason I fail to remember names. That and old age.

When I first arrived, the incoming group apparently was more in number than expected. I and 3 others lucked out by being given a room formerly occupied by a 1st Sargeant, so we weren't even in the main barracks area - possibly another reason names escape me.

I was initially assigned to the engineers as a "cost accountant," a job I knew absolutely nothing about, and later to the AG section. There I and a couple of other guys simply filled requisitions from other units for the forms the Army seemed to constantly require.

I played on the post baseball team - won (I believe) 10 games as a pitcher with no losses. And I can't remember a single name from that team. Ditto the basketball team. In fact, the only names I remember are Don Korth, one of the 3 others in the sergeant's room, and Don Smart, who accompanied me on a couple of short leaves. Ran into Korth out in Maryland when I was called backed for Korea (he was, also). He was a Mormon, as were the other 2 guys in that first room, and from Utah. Smart was from Kansas (I think).

Munich Military Post Command to move to McGraw Kaserne by Aug 1

The command group of MMP will move by Aug 1 from its current location (1) to McGraw Kaserne. MMP is commanded by Col Sevier R. Tupper. McGraw Kaserne is the home of the Office of Military Government for Bavaria.

The top floor of the main building is being cleared for the post executive and chiefs of staff.

Outlying agencies of the post, such as the finance office and civilian personnel office, will move into the former post headquarters.

(1) Webmaster note: Headquarters of the Munich Military Post was located at 107 Königinstrasse before the move to McGraw Kaserne.

Brig Gen Edmund B. Sebree, CG, 2nd Constab Brigade, assumes command of Munich Military Post

On June 1, Brig Gen Sebree will replace Col Sevier R. Tupper as the commander of MMP. (Tupper is returning to the US for reassignment.) Sebree will retain command of 2nd Constab Brigade in addition to his new duties as post commander.

Col Tupper has commanded the Munich post since August 1947. Under Tupper the post has grown to include seven subposts.

Among the many improvements introduced by Tupper was the unique Post Service Center setup at Dachau to handle all of the service functions for the thousands of soldiers and civilians assigned to the area. This centralization of houseleeping has met with great success.

Brig Gen Sebree has commanded the 2nd Brigade since September 1947.

Munich Military Post Highway Patrol Detachment

The Highway Patrol was organized in November 1948. The Munich Detachment operates as a special branch under the MMP Provost Marshal's Office. There are 46 enlisted men and one officer assigned to the det. Detachment commander is Capt Vernoin H. Shively.

For road patrol, the detachment is equipped with 13 sedans, six jeeps and 8 motorcycles. These vehicles cover an average of more than 60,000 road miles a month on the Munich post.

The main station is in Munich and three substations are located at Chiemsee, Passau and Regensburg.

An ultramodern commissary is scheduled to open soon at McGraw Kaserne. The commissary is expected to be finished around Jan 1 1950.

The new commissary will be of an entirely new design, similar to large Stateside retail self-service grocery stores. Features of the new store include: 72 feet of meat counters 24 feet of counters for dairy products 116 feet of counters for fruits and vegetables 40 feet of counters and refrigerators devoted to the frozen-foods department special types of counters that can hold 2,600 different kinds of items nine checkout counters and a lounge.

With the opening of the new store, the Harlaching (1) and Schwabing (2) stores will be closed.

Parade in downtown Munich initiates the Soap Box Derby event in 1950 (Webmaster's collection)

Among the celebrities attending were Land Commissioner for Bavaria Clarence M. Bolds, Munich GYA Officer LtCol Gustav Albrecht, and Sgt Ted Rohr, GYA noncommissioned officer for Munich. To Bolds went the honor of driving the first racer down the specially constructed ramp.

The actual racing began Saturday after an address by Bolds, Albrecht and the lord mayor. A highlight of Saturday's events was the race down the ramp in soap box racers by three of the top racing drivers in Europe before the war, Manfred von Brauchitsch, Ewald Kluge and Rudolf Carracciola.

The money which was won by the new Munich Soap Box Derby champion will be used to further his education, and was donated by a Munich merchant.

The US Army recently returned 11 additional local properties that had been requisitioned after the war for use by US troops. They included:
three former displaced persons camps (Feldafing, Föhrenwald and Schleissheim)
one kaserne (on Rosenheimer Strasse in Munich)
three empty plots of land at Gauting
a sanatorium
two residences - one 45-room and one 13 room building

Properties Released by MMP

The Munich Military Post Realty Office released more than 100 properties (located in various cities throughout MMP) during the first six months of 1952.

Among the properties returned to the German economy:
31 family residences
21 office buildings
13 factories
12 apartment buildings
11 barracks (buildings)
7 hotels
5 warehouses
5 restaurants
4 hospitals

An earlier article (June 8, 1952) reporting on 29 properties returned at that time, listed four labor camps, a kaserne, and part of the BMW factory in Munich.

The Munich Military Post derequisitioned and released an additional 30 properties recently.

Properties in Munich:
a 15-room residential building
a German youth center of 32 rooms
an office building
three parcels of land

Properties in Bad Tölz Subpost:
4 residences with a total of 116 rooms
a garage
a shop with 5,255 sq feet
a parcel of land

Properties in Landshut Subpost:
/> the Drexelmaier Hotel
/> two gasoline pumps

Properties in Regensburg Subpost:
a 50-room office building in Kötzing

Properties in Straubing Subpost:
a training area of 4,518 square feet
3 houses (residences)
2 garages

2. Aerial & ground photos of kasernes & housing areas
Subject: Looking for period photos of the US Army installations (including dependent housing areas, schools, shopping centers, service (gas) stations & miscellaneous storage or maintenance facilities used by EES/AAFES, Quartermaster, Ordnance, Signal and Transportation units/activities) in the Greater Munich area, Dachau, Schleissheim, Freising and Bad Aibling from 1945 to the 1990s.
Contact: webmaster

3. Installation maps
Requester: Webmaster
Subject: Looking for facility/post engineer maps of the various installations, activities and housing areas in the Greater Munich, Dachau, Schleissheim, Freising and Bad Aibling areas from 1945 to 1990s.
Contact: webmaster

4. Military Community map
Looking for a map that shows in detail the Munich military community boundaries for the period 1974-1990.
Contact: webmaster

5. Post Telephone Directory
The post telephone directory (any time frame) often provides great historical information on units and activities located on post, including building numbers. The table of contents of a typical post telephone directory can be found here.
Contact: webmaster

First days of the Occupation -- thr 45th Inf Div during the Memorial Day parade in Munich, 1945

3rd Army Unit Directory at an unidentified
intersection in downtown Munich, 1946

Memories of days gone by . an Army shuttle bus approaches the Karlstor in downtown Munich

There is very little I can tell you about Leopold Kaserne. I arrived there in August of 1953. Just finishing basic at Fort Ord California. I was assigned to the Headquarters 562nd QM Petroleum Supply Co (Mobile) , APO 108. In the same Barracks was the 626th Refrigeration Trucking Co.

Our motor pool was on the corner of Leopold Str. and Dachau Str. (in the direction of intercity of Munich). I was assigned to the motor pool as a driver for 562 Petroleum Co. on call from the Quartermaster HQ Depot. I was also assigned as a driver for Depot Commander Col. Brill, among other duties such as driver for the Inspector General. My last assignment there in Munich was a dispatcher from the motor pool.

There was a Detachment from the 626 Refrigeration Trucking Co. in Nuernberg, however I do not know the name of the Kaserne, but it was directly across the street from the famous Palace of Justice.

In February 1954 the 562 Petroleum Co M was transferred to Camp Busac France. I was there with them for about one month before being transferred to Ingrandes Depot, Ingrandes, France.

I put in for a transfer back to Germany and in April 1954 was assigned to 43rd Inf. Div. Sheridan Kaserne in Augsburg.

Little is know about the U.S. Army units in Oberwiesenfeld. In 1945 some C-47 were either stationed there or frequently visitors.

Around 1950/1955 a helicopter unit with H-19's was stationed there. (Some years ago I received a letter from a GI stationed at Oberwiesenfeld. Unfortunately this letter is still in one of my 30 unpacked packing cases. I'll see if I can find this letter . )

The terminal building was used by Radio Liberty from 1953 until 1968.

In 1957 the U.S. Forces handed the airfield over to German authorities. It is not known, if only the aviation surface and control or the complete airfield area including barracks were released. (It might be of interest: the barracks near the airfield had no relation to aviation before 1945.) According to some contemporary witnesses, GIs were still on duty as guards at the perimeter fence of the area after 1957.

The Cold War convinces the US of the necessity of stationing American troops in Germany on a long-term basis. Starting in 1947 and with the help of German civilians and prisoners-of-war, "Schleissheim Airfield" is (repaired and) chiefly used by transport (army aviation) units. The American army helicopter unit organizes its air and alpine rescue service for southern Bavaria from this base.

The soldiers' tour of duty at Schleissheim usually lasts only two years. Initially there is little fraternizing, but this changes with time. Many of the locals work as civilian employees at the field. Once a year the Americans hold an "open house" at the installation.

Inconveniencing of the local population due to air traffic noise reaches its peak in 1966/67 during the Vietnam War. At the American flying school located at Schleissheim at this time, the only one outside of the US, pilots are trained for service in Vietnam on some 100 helicopters (based at the school).

Funkstreife Isar 12: "Billiges Benzin" (= cheap gas) Episode -- Part 1, 2, 3

One episode, "Billiges Benzin," involves the sale of US gasoline stolen from the Warner Kaserne motor pool by local national employees and sold on the black market. A lot of the filming was done in and around Warner Kaserne. Most on post scenes - the main gate, a tank park (3rd Bn, 34th Arm), and the local training area - appear in parts 2 & 3. Dialogue is in German and English.

I am pretty sure the SACom Public Affairs Office authorized the filming on the US Army post and, it appears, actual members of the 508th MP Battalioon had bit parts in the episode.

The Saar-Kaserne, later known as Stetten-Kaserne was one of three barracks at the Schwere-Reiter-Straße in Schwabing. The Saar-Kaserne was used by the US forces after the war by the name Jensen Barracks. I was there as a Lieutenant when it housed a part of the German officers school at the end of the 80ies.

Officers Club, USAAF Schleissheim, 1945 - History

"The Americans in Schleissheim, 1945 - 1995"

From September 1945 until February 1946 the 344 th Bombardment Group and thereafter the 70 th Fighter Wing / Detachment "A" was stationed at Schleissheim. In 1947 the U.S. Air Force handed Schleissheim Airfield over to the U.S. Army. For an intermediate period the airfield was used as an ordnance depot and scrapp yard for military surplus. Starting in 1956 Schleissheim was then mainly used as a base for helicopters and the flying sections of artillery units: Headquarter 8 th Transportation Battalion, 110 th Transportation Company, 587th Transportation Company, D Troop 9 th Cavalry, 6 th Msl Bn 62d Arty, etc.

Sikorsky H-34 of the 110th Transportation Company, 8th Transportation Battalion.

The Americans at Schleissheim formed there the first air rescue service in Bavaria, especially in the high mountain area. They were also responsible for the Army's VIP transportation service.

In the foreground a Bell UH-1B Huey rescue helicopter, behind on the aperon six
Sikorsky H-37 Mojave medium transportation helicopter and right one D.H.C. U-1 Otter.
In the background the old maintenance hangar and New Schleissheim Castle.

For some months it was the only army aviation training center (7 th AATC) outside the USA, forming fixed wing pilots into helicopter pilots, mainly for Vietnam. During these years it was the busiest U.S. Army Airfield in Europe. The helicopter training ended in 1968 and the Army Aviation finally left Schleissheim Airfield in 1973.

The Bell H-13 Sioux was used for basic helicopter flying training.

Since 1953, the eastern part of the airfield was used as a monitoring station by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Therefore the runway was shortened to 1140 yards (1000 meters). RFE/RL was the last American installation that left Schleissheim airfield in June 1995.

RFE/RL Monitoring Station Schleissheim.

In 1953 the Lone Star Flying Club was founded here by a group of soldiers and later renamed Red Barons Flying Club (U.S. Army). This club still exists today but was converted into a flying club according to German law after the German reunion.

N-registered Cessna 172 of Red Barons Flying Club in Schleissheim 1989.

Officers Club, USAAF Schleissheim, 1945 - History


There are two strands to the Sea Urchins history. The first, quite naturally, is that of the RNR (in its many forms) on Merseyside, without which the Sea Urchins strand would not exist.

By its very nature, history is a lengthy subject and we are only able here to give the potted version without all the invaluable detail and sailor’s yarns that make naval history so much more interesting.

We are indebted to one of our members, Canon Bob Evans, who has graciously allowed wholesale plagiarism from his book – HMS EAGLET – the story of the Royal Naval Reserve on Merseyside, written in 2003 to commemorate 100 years of the Reserves, and which we would commend you to read.


1903 Formation of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

1904 Mersey Division established under the command of the Earl of Lathom in HMS EAGLE and a year later in the Customs House, Liverpool.

1911 Headquarters moved to HMS EAGLE. a 74 gun frigate, commissioned in 1804. The strength of the Division was now six companies of 100 officers and men, four at Liverpool, two outlying companies at
Birkenhead and Southport.

1914 World War 1 – Sussex, Mersey and Clyde Divisions formed into Howe Battalion of the Second Brigade of the RN Division for military, not naval service. The RN Division won undying fame at
Gallipoli, Vimy Ridge, Passchendale and Cambrai.

1922 Mersey Division reformed under the command of Captain W. Maples, RNVR. HMS EAGLE had been renamed HMS EAGLET to enable the RN to commission an aircraft carrier.

1926 The wooden walled HMS EAGLET replaced by a First World War sloop. HMS SIR BEVIS and renamed HMS EAGLET.

1939 HMS WALLACE, a V and W Class Destroyer, attached to the Division to train gun crews.

1939 World War II – 1,000 Officers and men of the Division mobilised for service with the Royal Navy, of whom 120 lost their lives in the conflict. HMS EAGLET commissioned as Base Ship
Liverpool wearing the flag of the Commanders-in-Chief western Approaches, Admiral Sir Percy Noble and Admiral sir Max Horton the latter is buried in Liverpool Cathedral.

1946 The Division reformed under Commander, later Captain E N Wood, DSC, VRD, RNR.

1947 MMS1045 attached to the Division as Sea Training Tender and named HMS MERSEY.

1952 RNVR wavy stripes replaced by straight stripes with ‘R’ in curl. WRNVR formed.

1953 Golden Jubilee of the RNVR.

1954 HMS AMERTON, Coastal Minesweeper, replaced MMS 1045 as the Division’s Sea Tender and renamed HMS MERSEY.

1955 HMS DROXFORD, seaward defence boat, attached to the Division and renamed HMS DEE.

1958 RNVR amalgamated into a new, unified Royal Naval Reserve.

1959 Centenary of the old RNR. HMS AMERTON replaced by HMS POLLINGTON and renamed HMS MERSEY.

1965 HMS MERSEY with RNR Ship’s company made operational visit to West Indies.

1972 HMS EAGLET moved to new shore Headquarters at Princes Dock. Official opening by Vice Admiral Sir Gilbert Stephenson (The Terror of Tobermory).

1975 HMS MERSEY renamed HMS POLLINGTON and returned to RN service.

1976 HMS CRICHTON repositioned from South Wales Division at the advent of hull sharing post Mitchell report.

1977 HMS HODGESTON repositioned from Severn Division.

1978 HMS CROFTON repositioned from Solent Division.

1981 Division converted to mine hunting and HMS BRERETON repositioned from Tyne Division.

1984 HMS STRIKER (Tracker Class) commissioned and attached to the Division.

1985 HMS STRIKER repositioned to Liverpool University RN Unit. HMS BRERETON returned to RN Service.

1986 HMS BITER (P2000 Class) commissioned as Sea Tender to the Division.

HMS RIBBLE (Fleet Minesweeper) commissioned as Sea Tender to the Division.

1990 HMS BITER returned to RN Service with Manchester and Salford University Unit.

1991 HMS RIBBLE taken into preservation at Portsmouth.

HMS HUMBER transferred from London Division.

1993 Freedom of Entry into the City of Liverpool was conferred upon HMS EAGLET on 2nd May.

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Atlantic.

1994 HMS EAGLET re-categorised as a Reserve Training Centre.

1998 The New Headquarters Building opened in October by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.

2003 The Centenary of the formation of the RNVR.

2004 The Centenary of the formation of Mersey Division RNVR.


1800 August Laid down at Northfleet … HMS EAGLE … launched 1804.

1859 August Royal Naval Reserve (Merchant Navy) formed. 1862 June 29th Arrived in Liverpool under tow from Spithead to become RNR Headquarters in Queens Dock in place of

1873 August 5th Liverpool Corps of Royal Naval Artillery Volunteers formed.

1892 March 31st RNAV disbanded.

1904 January 1st Mersey Division RNVR formed.

1904 March 8th First RNVR drill in HMS EAGLE. 1904 HMS EAGLE moved to Salthouse Dock.

1905 RNR returned to HMS EAGLE. RNVR moved to Customs House (prior to this RNR had trained in seagoing cruises).

1911 RNVR returned to HMS EAGLE.

1914 – 1918 Served as Flagship for SNO Liverpool.

1918 June 8th Renamed HMS EAGLET on launching of new carrier HMS EAGLE.

1921 Mersey Division RNVR reformed.

1926 September 2nd Last drill in HMS EAGLET. Classes marched to new HMS EAGLET.

September 29th Guns removed by floating crane in Salthouse Dock.

1927 February 16th Towed from Liverpool.

1927 April 19th Destroyed by fire at Mostyn.


1918 May 17 th Launched from yard of Barclay Curie & Co as HMS SIR BEVIS.

1920 February 20th Paid off.

1923 September Went to Manchester as HMS IRWELL, Headquarters of Manchester Sub-Division, which was formed in 1922.

1926 August 25th Returned to Liverpool to relieve old HMS EAGLET.

1926 September 2nd Renamed HMS EAGLET. First drill on board.

1941 Became Flagship of Admiral Sir Percy Noble C in C Western Approaches.

1946 March 1st Mersey Division RNVR reformed.

1958 January 31st RNVR disbanded. Reformed as RNR together with old RNR.

1971 March Towed to Garston (Liverpool) breakers yard.

1918 Built at Goole, but never commissioned. Laid up in Gareloch.

1926 September Berthed alongside old HMS EAGLET in Salthouse Dock.

1926 September 2nd Renamed HMS IRWELL.

1926 September 4th Went to Manchester.

1931 Manchester Sub-Division disbanded. HMS IRWELL towed to Birkenhead.

1932 May 1st Opened as drill ship in Birkenhead.

1939 – 1945 Served as Depot Ship for minesweepers in Wallasey.

1956 Modernised as training ship in Morpeth Dock.

1956 February 16th Towed from Morpeth Dock, Wallasey to Salthouse Dock, Liverpool and berthed on HMS EAGLET.

HMS IRWELL was used for radar instruction and social events, but was really not needed. In the early sixties she was towed to the breakers yard at Garston.


This is the seventh ship to have borne the name.

The first was a 6th rate, 26 gun Conway class Frigate of 451 tons. She was launched by Courtneys of Chester Note 1 in 1814 and carried 18 x 32lb, 8 x 12lb and 2 x 6lb carronades. Laid down March 1813, launched 23 March 1814, completed 26 April 1814 at Plymouth Dockyard, broken up at Portsmouth in July 1852 .

The next was a wooden steam Frigate of 3733 tons. Built at Chatham Dockyard in 1858, she carried 28 x 10″ cannons and 12 x 68 pounders. She was scrapped in 1875 and was followed in 1885 by a 2nd Class Cruiser of 4050 tons. Also built at Chatham, she carried 2 x 8″, 10 x 6″ and 3 x 6lb guns. She was sold for scrap in 1905.

The ex Brazilian River Monitor MABURA became the next HMS MERSEY. She was built by Vickers in 1913 for the Brazilian Navy and was bought by the Royal Navy in 1914. She was of 1260 tons and carried 3 x 6″ and 2 x 4.7″ Howitzers. Sold in 1921 and broken up in 1923.

After the Second World War, the reforming of the RNVR and later the RNR, three coastal Minesweepers attached to Mersey Division, have borne the name as mentioned in the history above.

HMS Pollington was laid down in 1955 and launched on 10 October 1957 by Mrs J Howard at Camper and Nicholson’s shipyard, Southampton. Commissioned on 5 September 1958.

Courtneys (Cortney) of Chester.

The following is taken from Herbert Hughes’ book, Chronicle of Chester: the 200 years, 1775/1975, published by Macdonald and Jane’s in 1975.

“As the years go by it is clear from the newspaper and other records that the trade of the Port of Chester is drifting desultorily but inexorably into the silting sand. But if the
bigger ships of the day can no longer reach her, the history of former times repeating itself, the old Port can at least build ships for others. And so, from the pen of J. H.
Hanshall, second Editor of the Chronicle, we have a contemporary picture of the Crane boat-yards about 1816. ‘Beyond the Watergate are Crane-street, Back Crane-street,
and Paradise Row, the whole of which lead to the wharfs on the river. For a number of years Chester has carried on a considerable business in shipbuilding. Within the last ten
years the trade has wonderfully increased, and even now it is not unusual to see ten or a dozen vessels on the stocks at a time. In fact, there are nearly as many ships built in
Chester as in Liverpool, and the former have always a decided preference from the merchants. Indeed, Chester lies particularly convenient for the trade, as by the
approximation of the Dee, timber is every season floated down from the almost exhaustless woods of Wales, at a trifling expense and without the least risk. The
principal shipwright in Chester is Mr. Cortney, but Mr. Troughton’s is the oldest establishment. There were lately nearly 250 hands employed in the business, two-thirds
of whom were in Mr. Cortney’s yard, but the trade is at present flat. Six vessels of war have been built by him, and within the last two years (1814-15) two corvettes and two
sloops of war, The Cyrus, The Mersey, The Eden, and The Levant, from twenty to thirty guns each. The firm of Mulvey and Co., formerly of Frodsham, have established a yard
near the Crane.’ Cortney’s yard launched a brig in 1804, an East lndiaman of 580 tons in 1810, and in 1813 a West India-man of 800 tons, in addition to the corvettes and war
sloops mentioned by Hanshall.”


In early January 1941, Biloxi city officials assembled a formal offer to invite the United States Army to build a base to support the World War II training buildup. The War Department activated Army Air Corps Station No. 8, Aviation Mechanics School, Biloxi, Mississippi, on 12 June 1941. On August 25, 1941, the base was dedicated as Keesler Army Airfield, in honor of 2d Lt Samuel Reeves Keesler Jr., a Mississippi native and distinguished aerial observer, killed in action in France during the First World War.

Congress initially appropriated $6 million for construction at Biloxi and an additional $2 million for equipment. By the time the War Department allocated the funds in April 1941, the projected cost had risen to $9.6 million. On 14 June 1941, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded contracts totaling $10 million to build Biloxi's technical training school. At the time, it was the most expensive government project to have been undertaken in the State of Mississippi.

When the War Department activated Keesler Field in June 1941, not only was Keesler getting a technical training center, but it would be getting one of the Army's newest replacement, or basic training centers. The first shipment of recruits arrived at Keesler Field on 21 August 1941. Many stayed at Keesler to become airplane and engine mechanics, while others transferred to aerial gunnery or aviation cadet schools. Development of the base stimulated businesses and residential construction in Biloxi.

The Tuskegee Airmen were trained at Keesler. More than 7,000 Black soldiers were stationed at Keesler Field by the autumn of 1943. These soldiers included pre-aviation cadets, radio operators, aviation technicians, bombardiers, and aviation mechanics.

Keesler continued to focus upon specialized training in Consolidated B-24 Liberator maintenance until mid-1944. Thereafter, the base expanded its curricula to train mechanics for other aircraft. By September 1944, the number of recruits had dropped, but the workload remained constant. Keesler personnel began processing veteran ground troops and combat crews who had returned from duty overseas for additional training and follow-on assignments. The number of men who went through basic training wound down markedly after the end of World War II, and it was discontinued at Keesler on 30 June 1946.

Cold War Edit

In late May 1947, the Radar School was established at Keesler (transferred from Boca Raton Army Air Field), making it responsible for operating the two largest military technical schools in the United States. Thereafter, shrinking budgets forced the base to reduce its operating costs: the Airplane and Engine Mechanics School and the Radar School were consolidated on 1 April 1948.

In early 1949, the Radio Operations School transferred to Keesler from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. In addition to training radio operators, Keesler was to begin teaching air traffic service technicians aircraft approach controllers, ground radar mechanics, and radar repairman/ground controlled approach specialists. The last mechanics training courses had moved to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, by November.

In early 1956, Keesler entered the missile age by opening a ground support training program for the Atlas missile. In 1958, all control tower operator, radio maintenance, and general radio operator courses were put under Keesler's already broad technical training roof.

During the early 1960s, Keesler lost many of its airborne training courses, but it remained the largest training base throughout the 1970s. This included limited flight training operations in the T-28 Trojan for Republic of Vietnam Air Force (VNAF) student pilots.

Hurricane Camille produced considerable damage as it passed over Biloxi in 1969. Most of the Back Bay housing area was under water.

Keesler's student load dropped to an all-time low after the Vietnam War ended. As a result, Air Training Command inactivated the USAF School of Applied Aerospace Sciences on 1 April 1977 and replaced it with the 3300th Technical Training Wing, which activated the same day.

During the early 1980s Keesler's air traffic control program garnered publicity when the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization walked off the job in August 1981. When President Ronald Reagan fired the strikers, Keesler-trained military air traffic controllers were used to direct some of the nation's air traffic. As the air traffic control school it was also the logical location for the USAF Combat Controllers.

Keesler AFB was the primary training base for many avionics maintenance career fields, including Electronic Warfare, Navigational Aids, Computer Repair and Ground Radio Repair. It was also the primary training base for most USAF administrative career fields.

From the 1990s Edit

Driven by deep defense budget cuts, base closures following the end of the Cold War forced an end to technical training at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois, and Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, when those bases were closed by Base Realignment and Closure Commission actions. Keesler acquired Chanute's weather forecasting courses and Lowry's meteorology and precision measurement equipment laboratory training programs during 1992 and 1993.

Massive restructuring of the Air Force in the early 1990s also meant several changes for Keesler associate units. The first occurred when the 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron was inactivated in the active duty Air Force, transferred to the Air Force Reserve and reactivated on 30 June 1991.

On 1 July 1993, the Air Training Command (ATC) was redesignated the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and the command reactivated Second Air Force (2nd AF), stationing it at Keesler. Second Air Force's mission is to oversee all technical training conducted within AETC. The same day, Keesler Training Center was inactivated, and the 81st Training Wing arrived at the base. The 45th Airlift Squadron (45 AS), part of the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, was also located at Keesler. The 45th AS provided flight crew training in the C-21 Learjet until 2007, when it moved to Scott AFB.

On 29 August 2005 Keesler sustained a direct hit from Hurricane Katrina, which made its third Gulf Coast landfall as a Category 3 storm approximately 30 miles (48 km) to the west. Although non-essential personnel and Hurricane Hunter planes had been evacuated in advance, "drastic damage" was sustained by the base's industrial and housing areas. Due to storm surge about 50% of the base came under water the commissary, base exchange, and some base housing units were flooded with more than six feet of water. By August 31, however, relief flights were landing at the base. On September 1 the first set of Airmen were evacuated to Sheppard AFB, TX. Other Airmen reached Sheppard AFB the next day, where they were welcomed and given basic items.

Units today Edit

From 1993, the 81 TRW has provided technical training of airmen in select skill areas immediately following their completion of basic training, as well as providing additional or recurrent training. On average, Keesler has 3,100 students on base at a time. Much of the training they receive is in the field of electronics, such as wideband maintenance, ground radio, information technology, avionics, cryptography. The wing also trains meteorology personnel, radar operations, air traffic control, Aviation Resource Management (ARMS), and tropical cyclone forecasting. Keesler AFB is one of the largest technical training wings in AETC, with four training squadrons located in the training building complex known as "the triangle," the 334th, 335th, 336th, and the 338th. The 81st Medical Group is also located at the base and operates the second largest medical center in the Air Force.

The Air Force Reserve Command's 403d Wing is also on base, and is an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained composite unit. It has an airlift squadron (the 815th Airlift Squadron), and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, a WC-130 unit known as the "Hurricane Hunters."

Finally, Keesler is also home to CNATTU Keesler (Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit), a training unit for U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps enlisted personnel receiving training at Keesler, such as enlisted meteorology training, with their Air Force counterparts.

Previous names Edit

  • Biloxi Air Corps Technical School, 13 June 1941
  • Keesler Army Airfield, 25 August 1941
  • Keesler Air Force Base, 13 January 1948 – Present

Major commands to which assigned Edit

Major units assigned Edit

  • HQ and HQ Sq, 69th Air Base Group, 12 June 1941
  • 59th Air Base Squadron, 4 August 1941
  • 51st Training Group, 5 August 1941 – 30 April 1944
  • 52d Training Group, 6 August 1941 – 30 April 1944
  • 55th Training Group, 29 August 1941 – 30 April 1944
  • 56th Training Group, 21 July 1941 – 30 April 1944
  • 57th Training Group, 5 March 1942 – 30 April 1944
  • 58th Training Group, 22 February 1943 – 30 April 1944
  • 59th Training Group, 22 February 1943 – 30 April 1944
  • 60th Training Group, 22 February 1943 – 30 April 1944
  • Army Air Fores Basic Training Center #2, 14 August 1941 – 1 August 1947
  • Air Corps (later Air Forces, later USAF) Technical School, 14 August 1941 – 15 August 1973
  • Air Corps (later Air Forces) Mechanics School #2, 5 August 1941 – 30 April 1944
  • Air Corps (later Air Forces) Mechanics School #7, 13 April-3 June 1942
  • 602d Training Group, 13 April 1942 – 30 April 1944
  • 603d Training Group, 5 March 1942 – 30 April 1944
  • 607th Training Group, 15 April 1942 – 30 April 1944
  • 611th Training Group, 23 July 1943 – 29 February 1944
  • 1169th Training Group, 18 December 1942 – 30 April 1944
  • 1170th Training Group, 18 December 1942 – 30 April 1944
  • 21st Training Wing, 22 February 1943 – 29 February 1944
  • 61st Training Wing, 23 July 1943 – 30 April 1944
  • 3704th AAF (later AF) Base Unit, 1 May 1944 – 22 August 1948
  • 3380th Technical Training Wing, 26 August 1948
  • 8605th (later 8625th) Technical Training Wing, 26 June 1949 – 28 May 1951
  • Air Force Processing Center, Keesler, 27 September 1950 – 16 February 1978
  • 11th Weather Squadron, 20 April 1952 – 18 November 1957
  • USAF Air-Ground Operations School, 25 January 1957 – 1 November 1973
  • 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, 1 July 1973-30 Jun 1991, 1 Nov 1993-Present
  • 403d Wing (Air Force Reserve Command), 1 Nov 1983–Present
  • 81st Training Wing, 1 July 1993 – Present

Flying and notable non-flying units based at Keesler Air Force Base. [2] [3] [4] [5]

Units marked GSU are Geographically Separate Units, which although based at Keesler, are subordinate to a parent unit based at another location.

Brize Norton

RAF Brize Norton was opened in 1937 as a training base. By the 1950s Cold War tension was escalating and the United States envisaged stationing nuclear bombers in the United Kingdom as a deterrent to Soviet aggression. Unlike all the other airfields on this page which have been returned to nature, Brize Norton has become the principal military airbase in the UK.

As an example of its importance Brize Norton was used in the July 2010 spy exchange between Russia and the USA. US planes landed here before going on to Vienna for the actual exchange.

Photo Wikicommons : Public Domain

RAF RAAF USAF C-17s 2007.jpg

The 301st Airlift Squadron (U.S. Air Force), 99 Squadron, Royal Air Force, and 36th Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, C-17 flight crews and aircraft maintenance personnel assemble in front of their C-17s on the flightline at Royal Air Force Brize Norton, United Kingdom, June 4. In the front row are the squadron commanders: Lt. Col. Stephen Rickert, 301st Airlift Squadron commander Wing Commander John Gladston, 99 Squadron commander and Wing Commander Linda Corbould, 36th Squadron commander, along with Col. Lloyd Neblett, retired commander of the 301st Troop Carrier Squadron, predecessor to the 301st. The crews met for the first time as sister squadrons, re-establishing a relationship with the British that goes back to World War II.

Watch the video: Thunderbolt, 1945 (August 2022).