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Infantry Kaserne

(The almost forgotten U.S. Kaserne)

 

The former Prinz-Carl-Kaserne*), located in Augsburg’s Hochfeld district, was utilized by the U.S. Forces during 17 years only. From 1951 thru 1968, it was the fourth kaserne that had to provide space for the Cold War strengthening of forces.

In November 1884, two battalions of the 3rd Royal Bavarian Infantry Regiment “Prinz Carl von Bayern” moved into the new kaserne between Von-der-Tann-Straße**) and Schertlinstraße***). In 1897, a further battalion was relocated from Lindau to Augsburg-Hochfeld, requiring the construction of two additional troop billets. The area covered more than 10 ha (1 ha = 10.000 m2 resp. 2.47 acres. 10 ha = 24.7 acres), the buildings were located on the perimeter, the interior contained vast parade grounds and unoccupied space. Two huge clinker brick billet buildings dominated the north and the south side. They were the home of one each battalion with 750 resp. 770 soldiers. Later, there were a vast sports field and horse training area on the east side of the interior area.

After WW I, the victorious Allies insisted on the reduction of the regiment down to a single battalion. But with the rearmament during the Third Reich, two long motor pools and a vehicle maintenance building were constructed. The new name Infanteriekaserne was selected in 1935. Intended was a Panzergrenadier reserve battalion, in 1940 reflagged as Schützen-Regiment 40, and from 1943 on as Panzergrenadier-Regiment 40. In March 1945, the kaserne was hit several times along Hochfeldstraße by Allied bomb raids, which destroyed, among others, the billets at Von-der-Tann-Straße. (The U.S. demolished the half ruined building not until the 1960s).

 

                           Bldg 301, the southern troop billets with main entrance at Schertlinstraße.

 

                                         Bldg 309, the northern troop billets at Von-der-Tann-Straße.

 

                                          Perimeter fence and Bldg 308 at Von-der-Tann-Straße.

 

                                     Northwest Bldgs 307 and 308 with painted brickwork facades.

 

                                                          North Gate with street near Bldg 309.

 

After 1945/46, several bomb-damaged buildings were demolished while the remaining billets provided space for bombed-out citizens, refugees and displaced persons. In 1950/51, the U.S. Forces occupied the real property. The buildings received 300 #. The U.S. Army added only a snack bar and a theater on the west side. Hence, the architecture of three different military epochs was united.

The U.S. utilized the existing buildings as practical as everywhere: Bldg 313 at the southeast corner of Schertlin- and Hochfeldstraße became a chapel, Bldg 304 near the railroad a mess hall. The smaller building 302 at western Schertlinstraße was altered to an EM Club. The big billets, Bldgs 301 and 309, were used as such. The former garrison detention building resp. military prison was used as such for white soldiers. After the closure of the kaserne in 1968, the prison area was separated for civilian prison usage. At the same time, an annex was constructed. The historical brick building was utilized as youth detention centre.

A historical peculiarity did actually suit the Americans: In the center of the area was the 3rd Royal Bavarian Infantry Regiment “Prince Carl” Memorial with a bronze lion, erected in 1898 on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the regiment. During WW I, the bronze lion was cut into several parts for melting down in order to gain metal. As this did not happen for whatever reason, he was helped to a new life. In honor of the soldiers that had been killed in action during 1914/1918, the monument was restored and surrounded by a clinker brick wall with semicircular stilted arches and inaugurated a second time in 1933.

 

The Regiment‘s Lion Memorial in 2011. Right: On November 20,1966 this commemorative plaque was installed by the 24th Infantry Division as a memorial of the deceased.

 

Today, it is difficult to find out the correct units that were stationed in the kaserne in the mid 50s. It is, however, sure that the Highway Patrol as well as the Military Police were there. From November 1951 until spring of 1954, units of the 3rd Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division were accommodated at Bldg 301 at Schertlinstraße: Headquarters Company, L Company and M Company for heavy infantry weapons. Their ammo was stored at Gablingen, where also the Headquarters,109th Regiment, with the NCO Academy were located. 

After the arrival of the 11th Airborne Division in Augsburg, the 11th Company of the 17th Airborne Recon Cavalry was stationed at the Hochfeld, beginning in 1957 also the 508th Military Police Battalion (C and later D Company). With the reflagging of the division, several units of the 24th Infantry Division, present all over Augsburg, were stationed there until kaserne closure: in the northern building (309) at Von-der-Tann-Straße the 246th Transportation Army Aviation Maintenance Company, in the southern building (301) the 24th Combat Aviation Company of Haunstetten Airfield and the complete 24th Medical Battalion. In the main building (301) at Schertlinstraße was also the Replacement Detachment of the 24th Infantry Division. Before the occupation of the Infantry Kaserne ended, there was also the Petrol Supply Company of the 657th Quartermaster. Contrary to the other big U.S. kasernes that were located in Augsburg’s west, Infantry Kaserne was almost in the heart of the city.

 

385th Transportation Company, 109th Infantry, on building 301 at the Schertlinstraße. In the background the railway tracks at the breakpoint Morellstraße. (Photo: Jonnie Worth, 3rd Bn 109th Inf, 1951).

 

Motor Pool area with garages Bldg 310, in the background of the bombed-out east wing of Bldg 309. (Photo: Jonnie Worth, 3rd Bn 109th Inf, 1951).

 

Wehrmacht Motor Pool on the east side of the kaserne, in the background (left) the military prison (Photo: Norman D. Guiling).

 

                       Backside of Bldg 309 with the kaserne’s vast lawn area (Photo: N. D. Guiling).

 

         The destroyed eastern wing of Bldg 309 at Von-der-Tann-Straße (Photo: Norman D. Guiling).

 

               View of Bldg 307 with the flagpole in the middle of the lawn (Photo: Norman D. Guiling).

 

             Officers and NCOs of A-Company, 24th Medical Bn (in the background northern Bldg 309).

 

Service scene around 1960 in the southern part of the barracks. Right Bldg 304 (Photo: Kelling/ Dollrieß).

 

                                In the background southern Bldg 301 (Photo: 24th Infantry Division).

 

A 1956 summer scene at the South Gate Schertlinstraße: 3rd Battalion 188th Infantry Regiment Eagles. (Photo: Gregor Grover via Walter Elkins).

 

Handshake - coming and leaving U.S. soldiers at the Replacement Detachment at Schertlinstraße (Photo: private).

 

After closure by the U.S. in 1968, the kaserne, again called Prinz-Karl-Kaserne, was the home of several smaller Bundeswehr Dienststellen (agencies) of the Territorialheer (territorial army), among these the Verteidigungbezirkskommando (defense district command) and the Kreiswehrersatzamt (recruitment/conscription agency). The southern of the two billet buildings – both protected per German Historical Preservation Law – was restored in an exemplary way, as well as two other buildings. The remaining kaserne area was converted to a mixed residential area and developed into a placid little district of the city. One half of the vast lawn with the historical Lion Memorial remained as recreation area. The northern billets with the 1870/71 War Memorial (4th Royal Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment) are still - 2012 - waiting for appropriate repair IAW historical preservation principles.

 

*) Carl Theodor Maximilian August Prince of Bavaria (1795-1875), General Field Marshal

**) Ludwig von und zu der Tann-Rathsamhausen (1815-1881), General Commandant in Augsburg

***) Sebastian Schertlin von Burtenbach (1496-1577), Town Captain of Augsburg

 

Left: GI Thompson from California left his mark for posterity on a roof truss of Bldg 309 (Northern building at Von-der-Tann-Straße) in 1965. A comrade from Cincinnati did follow. Right: W.T. Cooper II from Belleville/Michigan marked the chimney in the attic of Bldg 309. U.S. graffiti besides a mural from the Royal Bavarian time! A military symbiosis without comparison. The photos were taken in 2016.

 

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