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Quartermaster Supply Center / Main PX

 

As an important component of the concentrated kaserne construction between Somme-Kaserne (later called Reese Barracks), and the Westfriedhof before WW II, a Heeres­verpflegungshauptamt (Central Army Supply Department) south Bavaria was built. In the years 1937/38 seven Reichstypenspeicher (typical Reichs-warehouse) and a Heeres­bäckerei (army bakery) were constructed by the Wehrmacht. The huge five-storey warehouses were designed as sturdy reinforced concrete skeletons with solid concrete slabs, containing vast attics. Loading ramps and railroad tracks along the buildings allowed direct loading/unloading of supply trains. This type of warehouse was constructed all over Germany. 

In addition, an underground POL depot was constructed as well as a coal yard with 15 open bunkers parallel to Flandernstraße in the south. The traffic connection to the warehouse area came from the east side, at that time a vast open space. Augsburg’s Localbahn (local railroad company) connection ran parallel to today’s Bürgermeister-Ackermann-Straße across the river Wertach to Pfersee (south) and Göggingen. 

After WW II, the U.S. Army occupied the almost undamaged 12.5 ha area (1 ha = 10.000 m2 resp. 2,47 acres, 12.5 x 2.47 = 30.9 acres). Due to the dangerous Cold War situation, a longer stay of the U.S. Army became apparent. Therefore the Army used the former Heeres­verpflegungslager as Quartermaster Supply Center, Buildings 61 thru 67, basically in the same way as once the Wehrmacht.

Already at the beginning of the 1950s, the Army replaced the old Wehrmacht fuel storage tanks with 16 underground storage tanks for gasoline, diesel and JP4 with a total capacity of one million liters. Two railroad tracks led to the western area. For the supply of Army gas tankers, several filling jibs were installed at the Fuel Area. Photographs of that time show how this huge construction project was executed with rather modest means. The POL Area was closed at the end of the 1970s due to massive ground and ground water pollution because of unprotected surfaces. The old gas stations in the kasernes were replaced by new, German TÜV-approved, stations – one per kaserne.

The coal yard for inexpensive US coal with its overhead travelling crane*) and an Army added heating plant (Bldg 92) were used for many years, until the Army shut down all heating plants - due to environmental protection problems and Army energy saving requirements - in favor of District Heat, provided by the Stadtwerke (city works) Augsburg who constructed a gas powered heating plant next to QM Supply Center in1987.

 

Quartermaster Supply Center versus west at the beginning of the 1950s. In the foreground, the chimney of the former army bakery (Photo: via Reise House).

 

Construction of the new POL storage area. Around 1950, manholes are constructed and the supply pipes to the filling stations installed. In the background the Herz Jesu church in Pfersee, in the middle the Westfriedhof (cemetery)(Photo: via Reise House).

 

                                    The new Fuel Area with the filling jibs (Photo: via Reise House).

 

                                                 The old heating plant next to the coal dump area.

 

                              The warehouses in 1999. Still visible in the foreground: coal remains.

 

      Directional sign at the access road to the U.S. gas station at Bürgermeister-Acker­mann-Straße.

 

                                                        The old gas station and POV repair shop.

 

                                              Main gate of Quartermaster Kaserne / Supply Center.

 

In 1955, after the construction of the Centerville, Cramerton and Sullivan Heights Housing areas, the Commissary (Bldg 91) was added at the western perimeter of QM. It provided for the tremendous demand for food supply by the many American families that had moved to Augsburg. Other requirements were covered by the Main PX Shopping Center, extended in 1977, where all kinds of duty and surcharge free US goods were available - six days a week from morning till night. Like all U.S. stores, the PX was “Off Limits” to Augsburgers. Certain goods that seemed to be ideal for illegal resale, e.g. cigarettes and hard liquors, were limited per (ID card holding) customer. Of course, Bavarian and Augsburg souvenirs could also be purchased here.

Further components of QM were a Clothing Sales Store with an alteration tailor’s, a Finance Center, a “Stars & Stripes” book store, a small veterinary practice, as well as a Burger King at the east access that was “patronized” by clever Germans having the mandatory US $. Next to that fast food restaurant, a small pre-fabricated Youth Center building was put up in the 80s. Building 65 was the Housing Furnishing Warehouse. 

The Main PX became a vivid American lifeline at Augsburg’s western perimeter that could easily be reached from the parking lot along B. A. Street. Due to the expected traffic increase caused by the then new Bundesstraße B 17, a wooden pedestrian bridge had to be erected by the City of Augsburg, allowing pedestrians from Centerville North and Reese Barracks to reach the Shopping Center safely. To ensure that also those in a hurry took advantage of the new bridge, mesh wire fencing was installed on the median lawn strip. In the autumn of 2006, the bridge had to be demolished because special trucks, transporting giant large-bore diesel engines - manufactured by MAN Augsburg - were unable to pass underneath the bridge. For many Augsburgers, the PX as well as the Commissary provided long-time, cherished jobs where permanent German-American friendships developed.

 

 

                                                      Delivery area between the warehouses.

 

                                                                     PX main entrance area.

 

                                              The Commissary on the western perimeter of QM.

 

The wedge shaped QM area with railroad connection in the northwest of Sullivan Heights Housing Area.

 

Translation: Heinz Strüber, April 3, 2012

 

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