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 Karfreit Kaserne
 
Named after the capture of the town of Korbraid (Karfreit) in the Isonzo Valley, by the Mountain Troops of the Alpine Corps in WWI.
Built - 1935
Home to:
German
 
1st Battalion Jaeger Mountain Regiment 100.
Staff of the Reinforcement Regiment 157 and other
Reserve Wermacht Regiments.
 
American
 
 304th Station Hospital, U.S. Army May 1945
112th Evacuation Hospital, U.S. Army Jan – Mar. 1946
3rd Squadron 66th Constabulary Squadron, U.S. Army  May 1946
Re-named 3rd Battalion 6th Armored Cavalry December 1948- October 1950
US Army Medical Training Center. (EUSCOM) April 1951- October 1953
Detachment B Co. of 508th MP Battalion.U.S.Army 1951 - 1954
 
British
 
 12 Wireless Squadron, Royal Signals (part of kaserne) August 1955-August -1958
 
German
 
Gebirgspionerbataillons 8 occupy main part of Kaserne June 1957
Still occupied by the Bundeswehr 2008
Due for closure 2010
 
 The following pictures are courtesy of Manfred Benkel, who wrote the book;  - Brannenburg. Die Geschichte des Standortes und seiner Soldaten. Anyone wishing to buy the book, which is priced at €8 are to email Manfred Benkel by clicking here.
 
The camp under construction circa 1935.
Courtesy of Manfred Benkel, 'Degerndorf - Brannenburg. Die Geschichte des Standortes und seiner Soldaten.
 
Home of 12 Wireless Squadron (sub-unit of 1 Wireless Regiment), the location of the camp was actually in deepest, darkest Bavaria.
 
 
Celebrations within the Kaserne.
Courtesy of Manfred Benkel, 'Degerndorf - Brannenburg. Die Geschichte des Standortes und seiner Soldaten.
Celebrations in the Kaserne - 1936. Wir Schaffen für Ehr ünd Wehr - We are working for honour and defence.
Courtesy of Manfred Benkel, 'Degerndorf - Brannenburg. Die Geschichte des Standortes und seiner Soldaten.
 

Entrance to the Kaserne before WWII.

Courtesy of Manfred Benkel, 'Degerndorf - Brannenburg. Die Geschichte des Standortes und seiner Soldaten.

 

 

The barracks when housing the Wehrmacht.

Courtesy of Manfred Benkel, 'Degerndorf - Brannenburg. Die Geschichte des Standortes und seiner Soldaten.

 

The troops above parading through the village.

Courtesy of Manfred Benkel, 'Degerndorf - Brannenburg. Die Geschichte des Standortes und seiner Soldaten.

Early occupants circa 1945
 
 
Left - American forces on the Parade Square
Right - American Troops with Howitzer
Courtesy of Manfred Benkel, 'Degerndorf - Brannenburg. Die Geschichte des Standortes und seiner Soldaten.
The photo is of the entrance to the main part of the Kaserne, when occupied as a EUCOM Medical Training Centre from 1951 until 1953 by the Americans. The Royal Signals 12 Wireless Squadron moved in to part of the Kaserne in 1955, with the Bundeswehr occupying the main part of the Kaserne in 1956.
Courtesy of Manfred Benkel, 'Degerndorf - Brannenburg. Die Geschichte des Standortes und seiner Soldaten.
 
 
The camp in 2007.
Courtesy of Manfred Benkel, 'Degerndorf - Brannenburg. Die Geschichte des Standortes und seiner Soldaten.
 
As a National Serviceman, (57/01) who survived Catterick, 10 Wireless Squadron, (mostly in the Nissen Huts), and to finally arrive at the edge of Bavaria, it could only be described a a 'dream come true'.

These were ex Jaeger Mountain Troops barracks, built before WW2 and initially under American control. The new German Army had been established in the 1950s , and the main part of the barracks were now occupied by them, with the British section fenced off and used by 12 Wireless. These were substantial, double glazed, and centrally heated, with local cleaning and domestic staff. We were on the edge of a village, with a local cinema, (plus one in the German section), and local bars. The shift system as Spec. Ops. made the 'day off' free for exploring locally, and further afield. Austria was a few miles away, and on one leave, I went to Italy and visited Rome.
Munich was easily reached by train, and the Ocktoberfest was a 'must' for those who could get there. Bicycles and skis were handed down from demob lads going home to the new arrivals and the bike was the main way of getting about.

I don't know now, or perhaps just don't remember(!) the history of the place. It was up and running when I arrived in June 1957, and contained a substantial number of Royal Signals and I Corps personnel. In addition, there were others on guard duties, transport, medical, etc. You will see from the group photo, what I mean by this. Dental or serious medical treatment was carried out at the American base at Bad Aibling, (USASA Base with a British Detachment).

I was there from June/July 1957 and by early 1958 there were rumours of the place closing down. By mid 1958 the transfer of staff had begun, and after a brief stay at Birgelen, I was transferred to Langeleben. Back to Birgelen in December 1958 for demob.

 
Taken from part of the kaserne fenced off and used by the Royal Signals.
 
 
 
A room with a view!
 
Taken in June 1958, this picture shows the officers and men of the Squadron, with Major Sugden as CO, shortly before the closure of the unit, and transfer to 1 Wireless Regiment at Birgelen in the north, near the Dutch/German border.
 
Above is a QSL card used by the radio enthusiasts in the Unit whilst not on duty, when they would make contact with all and sundry around the World. This card was sent in acknowledgement of the contact.
 
Bill Lloyd's Visit of 2008
 
It was the big ''70' recently, and I thought it was about time I went back to visit the barracks where I did part of my National Service with the Royal Signals, before the place is handed back to the Local Authorities for sale and for future development.
 
The Germans have a saying about the 'teeth of time' gnawing at the fabric, and whilst the place looks in good condition to me, ( and might put some of the British Forces' accommodation to shame!), the decision has been made that the Kaserne will close in either 2009, or 2010.
 
With a direct flight from Edinburgh to Munich, there is quite a difference with a two hour flight, and a two day journey of yesteryear.so, no excuse for me.
 
I have a contact in the village, and through his approach to the current CO I was able to have a tour of the Kaserne, and the opportunity of seeing our accommodation, etc. of 50 years ago. The 'before' and 'now' comparison is interesting.
 
 
 Main gate to the Kaserne.  (Yours truely, posing.)
 View out of the window.  The trees have grown, and restrict the view now, but the clock tower can still be seen in the distance.
 Cookhouse 1, with Tower, (used by the Bundeswehr).
 Close up of the Clock Tower restored to its original paintwork by the Bundeswehr  after we left.
 Cookhouse 2,   and NAAFI, (used by Royal Signals).
 View of Barracks today.
 Taken in 1958...  'Off Duty Recreation'
The same room today.. now a Lecture Room.
 View from outside main gate showing  The Bläser von Karfreit (on right on side of building)  sounded his horn/trumpet to rally the troops of the Alpine Corps during the battle of Karfreit.
Close up of the Bläser von Karfreit.
View of Kaserne looking towards the mountains. Now obscured by the trees.
'Room with a view'.  Again obscured by the trees now, but now from the road outside, the Heuberg, is still there!