Daley Barracks - the
Story Behind the Name
Tens of thousands of American troopers passed through Daley Barracks
in Bad Kissingen from 1952 thru 1992. It existed as a place name on
orders, an APO number and finally a physical location as the TMP
shuttle van, military bus or German taxi swung through the town,
climbed the hill on to Ring Strasse and then made the turn at the
gate. The first impression for arriving troops, the Daley Barracks
gate sign and then the Frontier Movie theater. I guess I’ve arrived
… wonder what’s playing at the movies?
Soldiers, young men who thrive in the present, seldom consider the
distant past and I think I speak for many - I seldom gave thought to
who Daley was or how his name came to that arched sign. I have a
faint memory of one of the few times I went to the Offices of the
Post Commander located over the 2 - 41 FA mess hall. On the wall
was a oil portrait of a soldier in WW II uniform; I asked the
secretary about the painting and she simply replied, “That is
So who was this soldier and how did his name come to occupy the sign
at the Main Gate? Decades after departure, you may not be able to
recall the names of all the men in your platoon or section, stumble
over the details of the chain of command and draw a blank as to the
Supply Sergeant - but that place name, Daley Barracks - always is
recalled. Let me introduce you to the man you never met.
Tech 5 William T. Daley
In early April 1945, the US 14th Armored
Division, operating just to the west of the 3rd Infantry Division,
briefly passed through Bad Kissingen and then continued north moving
parallel to what we recall as Highway 19. On 9 April, the division CP
was located at Unsleben, the first small town just north or where our
border camp would be located a few years later. There had been a brief
but sharp fight by Wollbach.
With the 94th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron
running fast in front, the division continued to just southwest of Meiningen and then turned hard right. Rather than attempt to meet the
Russians, the 14th Armor would now thrust east by southeast against
where planners believed the Germans would make a final stand.
The Cav squadron leading, on the 14th of
April, the division was in the vicinity of Bayreuth. The following
day, a Headquarters Troop transportation section leader and truck
driver, Tech 5 William T. Daley would win the Distinguished Service
Cross, lose his life and lend his name to US Army history as
remembered at Daley Barracks.
Tech 5 William T. Daley and the fight
at Creussen on 15 April 1945
The 14th Armored Division around Bayreuth, the
94th Cavalry Recon Squadron pushed south along the Bayreuth - Nurnberg
Autobahn and through adjacent towns and villages. There had been
little major opposition from the German forces but seemingly everyday,
there was an ambush and casualties were taken. Often, the cavalry
troops fought running battles; attached to the squadron were least two
platoons of tanks as well as a few armored anti tank guns, usually
enough to carry the attack. The squadron moved forward, POW’s and
wounded troopers evacuated to the rear.
Squadron Commander, Major George W. England
Jr., began to wonder if his units had raced too far forward to be
supported by the division. With one Troop over 30 kilometers south of
Bayreuth by the town of Pegnitz and two other Troops in the towns of
Creussen and Trockau, about 20 kilometers away from the city, it was
not an ideal position to defend. When a lone German scout plane passed
back and forth over the area, Major England acted to consolidate his
forces near the small town of Creussen. He also informed his higher
command, Combat Command" R" that he sensed a possible attack and
requested reinforcements. It was sunset on April 14 and they began to
hear tanks in the woods.
Gruppe Grafenwoehr was an ad hoc unit formed
from training cadre, available tanks, half tracks and light artillery
found in the large training area. With thirty five tanks and over two
battalions of infantry, the unit, although fast composed, was still a
potent combat force and for one final time, a German unit would go on
the attack to try and clear American forces from the area south of
Bayreuth. The final objective was to fight into the city and continue
to engage the 14th Armor Division. Their attack on 15 April was the
last coordinated Wehrmacht offensive action above battalion level
mounted in southern Germany. Attacking out of Grafenwoehr on several
different routes they soon closed on the 94th Cav at Creussen.
Major England and his Troop commanders
realized this would be a fight and they had one surprise. The town of
Creussen, although little more than a village, had a small arms
factory staffed with slave laborers from conquered Eastern countries.
Although the weapons were of suspect quality, the newly freed workers
were more that willing to help out in the battle and as the sun rose
on 15 April, the scouts could hear the approaching German tanks.
From the 14th Armored Division
"By 1030 in the morning, enemy tanks and
infantry had surrounded Creussen on three sides, south, east and
"E Troop had gone into firing positions in the
hills just northwest of the town, and E Troop‘s assault guns were
caught in the crossfire of five German tanks. E Troop knocked out
three attackers, lost an M 7, an M 8 and a half track and finally
managed to pull back into Creussen."
"HHT Commander, the Squadron S-4 and Squadron Liaison officer were
captured near Gottsfeld (one of those roads that had been open only an
hour before, but the Germans had cut it off), and all but the Liaison
officer escaped later."
"Two of the squadron gas trucks were knocked
out in that same area and the drivers killed"
COL [Ret] Karl Keyser:
"I was the Troop D commander for much of our
time in Europe but by the time we got to Creussen, I was the S3. I
wish I could help you out more with Daley but I just don’t recall much
beyond the fact that the road leading into town from the north (our
rear ) was cut for a while, several of our staff were captured in that
area but then escaped and the truck convoy was ambushed. It did not
"The battle on the 15th was a surprise because
we did not think the Germans were capable of anything of that size at
that point of the war. Major England got the 94th into a good
defensive position and although there were several attacks, none of
them were particularly well coordinated and we held our positions.
During the battle, Major England and I would meet on occasion at the
CP but we spent most of the time at the Troop positions. We wanted to
keep Combat Command " R " informed of the situation and we knew that
sooner or later, they would push through to the town. I never felt we
were in any danger of being overrun. I do recall we used the liberated
Czech laborers as infantry and they were happy to do the job. This
helped because we just did not have the troops to properly defend a
town. I don’t recall our casualties from the day, they could not have
been too bad because we were back on the move the following day."
Frank Coffee, gunner, Company F (light
tanks), 94th Cav, from his unpublished memoir:
"At Creussen we had freed 600 slave laborers
who had been making anti-aircraft weapons and rifles for the German
armies. This was a select group, as they were doing precision factory
work. Many of the females were young and attractive, either Czech or
part of the Service du Travail Obligatoire, the French labor force
that the Vichy government had sent to work in German war factories."
"As our units took up position, I was sent on
a patrol back to the labor camp. When the laborers realized that we
had liberated them, a spontaneous celebration broke out. In the middle
of Germany, in the middle of the war, they were dancing and singing.
As we joined in, they found some German liquor and the bottles went
around and around. There was one particular young woman who was the
most beautiful thing I had seen in months."
"There were just seven of us on foot
investigating the camp when we became aware of a large German patrol
probing the area. We figured the camp was not the target and we took
off through the woods back towards Creussen. Much running and crawling
and a few short bursts of fire and we safely made it. Two of our guys
who had had too much to drink to make the run were hidden back in the
camp by the Czechs."
"Early the next morning, under a rising fog,
two German tanks made a run through our end of town and cut back
towards the work camp. The men at the infantry anti - tank position
were so surprised, they abandoned their position. Sergeants Ruder and
Hayes had taken a jeep back towards the camp to retrieve the two guys
when they were caught by machine gun fire. All Creussen was alerted
and the next wave of three German tanks moved into range and were hit
by our tank destroyers and medium tank fire. But other tanks slipped
past and we were aware that they now had cut the roads leading into
town from the north. At that point, I recall the weapons were handed
out to the Czech laborers who had fled into Creussen."
"Troop E was located in the woods northwest of
town and they engaged the new German tank threat and scored some hits.
Other German tanks set up a cross fire and the Troop was forced out of
position and pulled into town after losing an M7, M8 and one half
track. From what I know, that is when the party from Squadron HQ was
ambushed and captured on the road and the gas trucks were destroyed
and Daley was killed. I never knew him personally but I knew him by
sight, he brought fuel to us many times."
" The enemy attacked several times and it was
only through our artillery that was just in range and then air cover,
that we turned them back. The weather was perfect and four nearby
towns that had been used as German assembly areas were reduced to
rubble. Later in the day, as the battle seemed to stop, I was ordered
forward with a patrol to investigate the slave labor camp. "
"We found that the camp had been hit either by
artillery or bombs and that several of the laborers had been killed. I
found the pretty girl I had seen so alive just 24 hours earlier, dead
in one of the buildings. I guess I considered myself a battle seasoned
soldier but I recall that sight to this day as the single saddest,
most depressing event I personally encountered in the war. We
continued the patrol and took fire from a 20 mm cannon mounted on a
"Later that night, there was a second thrust
and heavy German patrolling. Col. Hudelson sent a strong counter
attack towards Trockau and Gottsfeld and after a sharp fight, the
Germans retreated. It should be noted that part of the initial relief
force that reached Creussen while the first fight was still on were
members of the Negro Provisionals, the supply and labor unit in the
Division who had received infantry training at Compiegne and
authorized into combat as of 26 March. They fought well, we got ready
Tech 5 William T. Daley was from the small
upstate New York town of Jamestown. He was a truck driver and
assistant section leader for the Headquarters and Service Troop fuel
and ammunition section. On the same road where the HHT Commander and
party were captured, German tanks closed in on Daley’s truck and one
driven by Tech 5 Leslie Perry as they tried to run much needed
supplies into Creussen. As observed by US forces, both trucks were
soon disabled and burning ...
Tech 5 William T. Daley's
recommendation for the Distinguished Service Cross:
"... when hostile tanks and supporting
infantry ambushed a supply column which Technical Fifth Grade Daley’s
truck was leading into Creussen, Germany, he dismounted beside his
vehicles and firing his carbine from his exposed position,
successfully diverted enemy fire away from his comrades seeking cover.
Leaving this position for one offering a better field of fire, he ran
to the doorstep of nearby house and resumed his gallant effort, even
as an enemy 75 mm shell demolished a truck close by. While the enemy
maneuvered for better positions, he continued to hold them off until
all of his comrades had secured cover. Technical Fifth Grade Daley was
mortally wounded in this action, but his unselfish courage and supreme
devotion to duty will live on in the finest traditions of the military
As the day wore on, fierce fighting continued
just outside of Creussen and in the nearby hills.
From Vernon H. Brown ‘s memoir of
service in Troop D, Mount Up .... We’re Moving Out:
"By noon things in general began to not look
so good. The enemy now held all the towns around us and it was
apparent that D Troop was surrounded and cut off some fifteen miles
out ahead of the rest of the Division. Combat Command" R" radioed that
they were on the way to relieve the pressure but were meeting stiff
resistance and unable to make headway. Our tank destroyer had
meanwhile lost a track and was immobilized which left our one
remaining M4 to protect all the roads leading into town by rumbling
from one to another."
Colonel Hudelson, commander of CC "R",
continued to push down towards Creussen and by late afternoon, had
captured the adjacent towns of Trockau and Gottesfeld. This relieved
the pressure on Creussen and created a coordinated defense.
From Vernon H. Brown Jr.:
"At 1802 hours, the grim faces turned into
incredulous smiles of joy as out of the dust came five scarred,
sandbagged, tired, wheezing beautiful M4 Sherman tanks mounting a
couple of platoons of the 7th Provisional (Black) Infantry, the first
black troops we had ever seen. CCR had arrived ... and destroyed ten
German tanks on the way."
COL [Ret] England picks up the
"This was the first time I saw the black
troops in combat. By that time, each division had a company of those
soldiers set up as a supply and services unit. Through the balance of
my career, I saw the Army successfully integrate and it was the right
thing to do. During the war, the black support troops often had the
worst jobs, grave digging and brute labor. Towards the end of the war,
they were allowed to form volunteer combat platoons under a white
chain of command. These units then were attached to the Combat Command
"Reserve". This is how they got into the fight at Creussen and helped
turn the tide."
Through the night of the 15th and the
following day, the 94th Cav and reinforcing units from the 14th AD
continued the fight south of Bayreuth and the German counter attack
was destroyed. Within a day, the US forces were back on the attack.
Tech 5 Daley was buried with the other fallen US forces from the
battle in a temporary cemetery and Major England informed his
commanders that any recommendations for awards related to the fighting
of Creussen needed to be submitted quickly and accurately for his
consideration and endorsement.
On 17 February 1953, General Order # 21,
published by the Headquarters, United States Army Europe, designated
the former Manteuffel Kaserne in Bad Kissingen and newly occupied Army
Barracks as" Daley Barracks" under the signature of BG L.V. Warner,
Adjutant General as drafted by MG Edward T. Williams, Chief of Staff.
John Bandy, a trooper with the 2/14th ACR as they moved from
Schweinfurt to Bad Kissingen does not recall any sort of formal
ceremony for the "naming" of the new barracks.
William Treet Daley: forgotten then
Verlah Daley, William’s younger sister:
"William was my older brother and he was
everything you could have hoped for. Always with a smile and joke, a
joy to my parents and my sister. He was a few years older than me and
I don’t recall if he graduated from the high school or not. As the war
year began, he had worked for the local railroad and for a commercial
dairy. In July 1941, he married his sweetheart and was drafted in
November. William was already on the way to Europe when his son was
born. We received several letters over the years and then he was
killed. My brother was returned to Jamestown for burial in 1946. Many
of the war dead were returned that year after initially being buried
in Germany or France and it seemed so odd and sad that the war was
over, and we were reading about and going to funerals just as the
first waves of veterans came back. We laid Willy to rest at Lake
The story then takes an interesting twist
after 44 years. Verlah was contacted by the Veteran’s Association of
the 14th Armored Division to let her know that they were placing a
memorial to the actions of the Division at Fort Knox and one panel
would include the names of those soldiers who had received significant
decorations. As the next of kin of one of seven soldiers who had
received the DSC, they wanted Ms. Daley to be aware of the event. She
thanked them for the honor and noted that no one in the family could
recall the DSC award ever being sent. The telephone call was the first
time anyone was aware of Willy being awarded this medal.
Through the actions of the 14th Armored
Division Veteran’s Association and then Mr. Amo Houghton, member of
the US House of Representatives for lakes region, New York, the medal
and citation were presented to Verlah in August 1992. She sent it to
Willy’s son in Tennessee.
I was able to locate Ms. Verlah Daley through
luck and diligence and explained the web site, the reason for my
research concerning her brother and how the Army had come to honor his
name by designating Daley Barracks in 1951. She and the family were
totally unaware that his name had lived on for so many years with the
US Cavalry in Germany. I sent copies of photographs showing the
various signs that carried the name " Daley Barracks " at the main
gate and a brief history of the barracks and the units that had
garrisoned there. Verlah Daley was thrilled to learn that the Army had
chosen to honor her brother in this way.
Creussen today is larger, but still just a
small town off the Autobahn. The factory area, much remodeled, once
used by the slave laborers, is still an industrial space. No one could
recall the day long fight; they were convinced that Creussen had been
bombed by mistake in the last days of the war. There is a memorial to
the sixteen "forced laborers" who died in the bombing.
Telling this story required the assistance of
a number of individuals. I would like to thank Ms. Verlah Daley,
COL [Ret] George W. England, COL [Ret] Karl Keyser, Mr. Frank Coffee,
Historical Society of Panama - Jamestown and Lakes Region New York and
Mr. Jim Lankford, Deputy National Historian for the 14th Armored
Post Script: COL [Ret] Keyser
wanted to add, "As a note, I commanded the 2/11 ACR when it was first
re-constituted in 1951 at Camp Carson, CO. As the unit was built, we
did much or our training at Fort Irwin and we won several gunnery and
unit inspection awards in the process. I am proud of my war time
service with the 94th Cavalry, proud to have led men like William T.
Daley and proud to have commanded the Second Squadron, 11th Armored
Cavalry Regiment when it rejoined the active Army."
the Daley Barracks Main Gate – Through the Years