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Sheridan Kaserne

 

After the consolidation of Pfersee’s three former Wehrmachtskasernes as Sheridan Kaserne, there was a second extensive U.S. area besides Kriegshaber’s Reese Barracks in the west of Augsburg. 

Historically, there were the General-Kneußl-Kaserne (also called Neue Infanteriekaserne), northwest of Grasiger Weg, the Heeresnachrichtenkaserne adjoining Pfersee, and the Luft(gau)nachrichtenkaserne in the south. The construction of a fourth Kaserne in the north, initiated in 1937, was stopped pretty soon - never to be completed. The U.S. attached it to the General-Kneußl-Kaserne. The whole area, covering 1.200 meters north-south and approx. 700 meters east-west, was with 67 ha (1 ha = 10.000 m2 resp. 2.47 acres. 67 ha = 165.5 acres) the largest single kaserne in Augsburg. 

While the infantry design guidelines of Kneußl-Kaserne and the Heeresnachrichtenkaserne were requiring barracks with three floors (plus attic), stables, shops and extended motor pools, the Luftgaunachrichtenkaserne in the south had scattered, lower buildings with large outdoor spaces. Vast courtyard areas as well as five, each almost 160 meters long, solidly constructed motor pool buildings with attics dominated here. 

In1953, the consolidated kaserne was for the first time named Sheridan Kaserne after PFC Carl V. Sheridan, who had been posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry during “the attack on Frenzenberg Castle in the vicinity of Weisweiler (community of Inden) Germany”, on Nov 26, 1944 (award citation)

(Please see also: > Naming Real Property).

 

                                  Burg Frenz today - the place where Carl V. Sheridan was killed.

 

Until autumn of 1946, the troops of the 71st and 9th Infantry Division used the name Pfersee Kaserne. Later, the northeast area of the kaserne (Heeresnachrichten) went by the American name Patch Barracks. The respective order in writing of U.S. Headquarters Europe was dated September 25, 1946. On the same orders, the remaining kaserne area was named Sheridan Kaserne. Nevertheless, the U.S. called the former General-Kneußl-Kaserne still Kneussel Kaserne for years - as can be seen on old drawing.


In 1945, the U.S. occupied an almost undamaged kaserne area that they excellently maintained and repaired/technically upgraded until base closure. Four Guest Houses, the Chapel (1951), the ballroom of the Officers Club, the Child Care Center annex, the Gymnasium north of the athletic field, the Bowling Alley (1983), and the temporary dry storage structure for vehicles in the north were added. As can be seen on U.S. Air Force aerial pictures, several unimportant structures south of Bldg 121 were demolished immediately after WW II. In the fifties, the U.S. constructed there a fenced in, guarded ammo storage area with, at first, four and, later, fourteen storage structures. This can be seen on drawings, aerial pictures and photographs of the constabulary era.

 

Around 1951: M26 Pershing Tank of the Constabulary in front of Bldg 146 (at that time not completed), Photo: Del Tergo.

 

                                                         Bldg 146 opposite Westfriedhof in 2004.

 

The historical bisection of the northern kaserne area explains why there were two main gates at the Mittlerer Weg: for the western (General-Kneußl-) and for the eastern (Heeres­nachrichten) area. The Grasiger Weg, at that time a public street, was, with its parallel wall, the southern kaserne perimeter. At that time, the southern Luftnachrichtenkaserne had a separate gate (Bldg 104) near the later Pfersee Gate. Only when the kaserne areas were consolidated, the well-known Pfersee Gate and Stadtbergen Gate, connected by the now no longer public plane tree alley Grasiger Weg, were established and recalled by everybody.

 

                                   Grasiger Weg, the boundary between Sheridan north and south.

 

                                    Pfersee Gate in the 80s. A small gatehouse was to follow later.

 

    Former Main Gate of the Heeresnachrichtenkaserne, later Military Police headquarters, Bldg 148.

 

Left: Main Gate of the General-Kneußl-Kaserne at Mittlerer Weg. Bldg 152, after WW II utilized as hospital. Right: Former mess hall, later admin Bldg 153.

 

                                                                           Bldg 149 in 2004.

 

After the end of WW II, at first the troops of the 71st (The Red Circle) Division and from October 1945 also the 9th Infantry Division (Old Reliables or Octofoil) occupied the area that was to be called Sheridan Kaserne later. Beginning in November 1945, the area Kneußl-(Infanterie)Kaserne was utilized by the 115th Station Hospital with, at first, 250 beds, until about 1947 with 150 beds. In1946, units of the occupation police - the 74th Constabulary Squadron - as well as the 5th Cavalry Regiment, and two years later, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Dragoons) moved in. On February 2, 1951, SHAPE General Dwight D. Eisenhower visited at the unit in Augsburg. 

Starting with the Korean conflict and the intensification of the Cold War confrontation, the existing troop units were replaced by units of the National Guard Reserve, e.g. the 28th (Keystone) Division, 43rd (Winged Victory) Division and finally the regular 5th Infantry Division (Red Diamond) until February 1956. 

Beginning in 1956, Sheridan Kaserne was the home of major parts of the 11th Airborne Division (Angels), reflagged as 24th Infantry Division (Victory Division). Long-term residence of these troops that were also prepared for nuclear warfare, had great influence on the life in the Augsburg garrison, in and out of the kasernes, until 1970. During the following three decades before base closure, various units - e.g. until 1982 the 3rd Battalion, 63rd Tank Regiment with M60 and, finally, with M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, as well as VIIth Corps Artillery (Jayhawk Corps) plus several security and intelligence units e.g. the 701st Military Intelligence Brigade resp. the 66th MI Brigade/Group, active at Gablingen’s Army Security Agency Field Station - were stationed at Sheridan Kaserne. A special feature from 1973 until 1996 was the Naval Security Group Activity Augsburg with snow-white uniforms, also on duty at the Field Station.

(Please see also: Location Augsburg Barracks Life: Navy Day Ball 1994)

 

                  Early history: Headquarters Bldg 101 at the time of 11th Airborne Div, 511th Infantry.

 

11th Airborne Division had a training tower for parachutists also at Sheridan. This picture was taken right of Pfersee Gate on the area of the former Heeresnachrichtenkaserne.

(Photo: Dillon Prendergast)

 

Left: Main entrance Bldg 101 after base closure.

Right: The final commander in Bldg 101 was female: COL Barbara G. Fast.

 

                                                             Headquarters Building 101 in 2004.

 

                                                 An ensemble: Bldgs 101 (top) thru 106 (bottom).

 

Due to its overall appearance, Sheridan Kaserne was always special with regard to the other kasernes. Last but not least, cultural as well as military events took place in the Officers Club, Bldg 180, where, at certain times, important decisions were made. The 600 meters long and 80 meters wide Dawson Field lawn area between Bldgs 134 (a former mess hall, then Child Care Center) and 118 (Bavaria House mess hall) in the south of the kaserne allowed for sumptuous parades, helicopter training during the Cold War confrontation, as well as utilization as an athletic field, including a tennis court. There was not a single comparable area in the city of Augsburg that offered such an uninhibited view!

 

                      Unobstructed view from west to east: In the background Augsburg’s hotel tower.

 

After decades of well-maintained lawns and carefully preserved trees, the kaserne had the appearance once intended by its architects IAW their design philosophy - and as camouflage against air raids. Abundant green, combined with the ideologically influenced military installation design of a declined era - well preserved without insensitive design modifications - created an incomparable kaserne ambience. The Americanization of the Nazi architecture was historically unique and displayed an unusually interesting contrast between the ideas of the architects and those of the actual user. 

The American GIs felt well here. For many former soldiers, their dependents (and also for many citizens of Augsburg), the “Sheridan” became a short term, in some cases even an almost lifelong, Heimat, a cherished reminiscence even decades later. The demolition of nearly all buildings as a prerequisite of the “conversion”, however, eliminated this important component of our personal history – not only that of the city’s – so that even a mental reconstruction is no longer comprehensible for present time American visitors.

With this look back, Amerika in Augsburg e.V. would like to make a recollection of Sheridan Kaserne possible for those concerned.

 

(Please see also: Location Augsburg

                                                                  Summer in Sheridan Kaserne.

 

                                                                 Autumn in Sheridan Kaserne.

 

Marlboro cowboy pointing at Augsburg map and kaserne plot plan in front of the Community Bank, Bldg 114.

 

                                                      Headquarters Bldg 165, at first a mess hall.

 

                                                   Typical barracks in the north of the kaserne.

 

                                                        “Bavaria House” mess hall, Bldg 118.

 

                                                 Bldg 104: At first gatehouse, then Judge Advocate.

 

Left: Shop, Bldg 167. Right: U.S. Mail in the southeast of the kaserne.

 

Left: One of the huge motor pools in the southern area.

Right: Stadtbergen Gate, motor pools at right.

 

                                                 Motor Pool, Bldg 125, with hardstand on rear side.

 

                             Functional and attractive: Bldgs 156, 155, and German Kantine (right).

 

Left: Bldg 157 in 1956 (Photo: Dillon Prendergast).

Right: The same barracks in 2004.

 

Left: Gymnasium, Bldg 166, and athletic field.

Right: Surprise during the demolition of the gymnasium: A Wehrmacht air raid shelter with a meter-thick concrete ceiling.

 

Left: Southwest corner with antenna tower and Building for POV TÜV (rear right).

Right: Directory at Nestackerweg to Stadtbergen Gate.

 

                                                                  Winter in Sheridan Kaserne

 

Translation: Heinz Strüber, Nov 31 / Dec 06, 2011

 

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