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Daley Barracks - The History
- Part I

From 1951 until 1991, thousands of American soldiers and their families called Daley Barracks and Bad Kissingen home. The forty year story of these men and women is largely written in English and spans the immediate post World War era, the Constabulary period, then the long Cold War and finally the end of the Soviet threat. But the opening chapters for the Kaserne on the hill and the modern updates are stories told in German. Before American olive drab, there was German Feld Grau. After American woodland camouflage, there were bright colors of German red, gold and black, Bavarian blue and white. It’s a colorful and fascinating history.

  March column during field training prior to move to Bad Kissingen.
  Motorcycle troops arrive at rail yard
during one of the frequent pre war moves to new barracks.

I was at Daley from 1978 - 1981 and like many soldiers, I wondered about the history of the area. I recall standing in formation one day and noticing how rainwater had pooled in the deeply worn granite steps that led into each barracks building. How many thousands of now nameless and faceless soldiers had stepped and turned to reach for the door handle to produce such wear? All I really knew was that the 2/14th ACR preceded the Eaglehorse, that some sort of German military unit was there during WW II and that cut into the stone monument by the cavalry dining facility were the words "Manteuffel Kaserne" .

A further investigation of the story would have to wait for some years but now, time and resources allow a closer study. Trying to understand the past of the barracks and the units once stationed there is an on going process, fragments of the story turn up in books, on the Internet and on long rolls of microfilm. Here is our most current version of both the history of Manteuffel Kaserne - Daley Barracks and some of the significant units that called this barracks home.

  Commercial post card showing machine
gunner in position.   
  Kradschutzen post card,  " They halt only to fire at the fleeing enemy! ". 

The Pre-World War II period

In the middle and late 1930s, the German military was rapidly expanding. The post World War I restrictions on size and composition were first violated in secret, then openly as new units, fighting doctrine and equipment were rapidly developed. The city of Bad Kissingen had no long standing military tradition, however, in the mid 1930s, as Germany tried to shake off a massive economic depression, every new source of income was explored.

The entire battalion on parade in
one of the Bad Kissingen parks shortly after arrival.
--Horst Hinrichse

To support the rapid growth of the military, new Kaserne were built throughout Germany. In late 1934, the Lord Mayor of Bad Kissingen proposed that his city be considered for a new barracks and a detailed plan including two parcels of land was submitted. The plan was accepted and a civil construction operation under the loose control of the German Army began work on the barracks site in August 1936. By late November, the walls and roofs of the buildings were up and, in keeping with German traditions, a Richtfest celebration was held to honor the workers. The Saale Zeitung provided an interesting insight into both the construction and the mood of the times and as the project went forward, the town knew who the first military occupant would be.

  The classic trio, driver, rifleman and gunner on
a 740 cc BMW with sidecar set..    The motorcycle offered speed and mobility on the battlefield but most often, the troops were committed as dismounted infantry.

In late Spring the following year, as construction neared completion, additional land and funds were allocated to add the “Officer Heim und Kasino“ to the plan. This building, the officer's barracks and mess, we remember as the NCO club. The total footprint was fifty acres and free use of a small field training area was granted by the nearby village of Reiterswiesen. The troop capacity for the two mess halls, six barracks buildings and motor shops was put at 1800 men. The Kaserne was named in honor of Baron Freiherr von Manteuffel of German cavalry and political fame from the previous century.

  Official post card for the open house at 
Manteuffel Kaserne with parade by Kradschutzen Battalion #2 in Fall of 1937.   
Bad Kissingen City Archives
--Jurgen Hufner
  Stunt riding was a popular way to entertain civilians and develop operator
confidence.  This photo cannot be tied
to the battalion specifically but is somewhat rare because the crew is made up of  three officers.   


Tracing the history of the units assigned to Manteuffel Kaserne can be a somewhat confusing task. Particularly in the late 1930s, units of the German Army moved frequently as far flung regiments were grouped into divisions, units left one barracks to draw new equipment and then returned to a different garrison. Large scale maneuvers testing the new Blitzkrieg doctrine led to wholesale changes in unit staffing plans.

The first unit assigned to Manteuffel Kaserne was the Kradschutzen ( motorcycle infantry ) Battalion #2. It moved from Eisenach to Bad Kissingen arriving in the early Summer of 1937 as the units comprising the 2nd Panzer Division were pulled geographically closer together.

  The very common 37 mm anti tank cannon.   Here, a three gun set goes through battle drill at their barracks.  Six of these were found in the combat support company. 
  General Guderian, to the right of center,  confers with tank regiment commanders during maneuvers, 1937.   

The official arrival of this unit was a day marked with much military pomp, circumstance and perhaps a trace of irony. A modern writer might have reported the story with the lead line, “ the sky was brilliant blue, the soldiers wore gray and the city dressed in black “; 1 June of that year marked the traditional Memorial Day to German war dead and the town was decorated in black bunting as the motorcycle columns road through the streets. There was a major parade with a host of visiting dignitaries and a detailed but somewhat misleading recollection of the event was saved in the Bad Kissingen Stadt Archiv as part of the Annual Report by the City Administrator. The article leaves the impression that 1 June was the actual arrival date. In reality, the Kradschutzen probably arrived a day or two earlier, occupied the Kaserne and then participated in the formal opening captured in both print and photographs.

There is some conflicting information stating that the unit may have first had a brief stay in Coburg prior to moving into the new Kaserne. At the time, the 2nd Panzer Division HQ was located in Wurzburg, along with the engineer and communication battalions. Artillery was at Bamberg and Meiningen, the reconnaissance battalion was located at Kornwestheim and the tank regiments were at Schweinfurt and Bamberg. To the north, in Meiningen, was the HQ of Schutzen Brigade #2 with two truck motorized infantry battalions. The motorcycle battalion moving to Bad Kissingen was a part of this brigade. The division commander during this period was Heinz Guderian, the father of armor fast attack and exploitation doctrine. To learn more about the pre Bad Kissingen history of this motorcycle infantry battalion, please follow the link: Eisenach.  
  Two views of  2nd battalion soldiers in the barracks.  Impossible to tell whether this is Manteuffel or a training area.  They strike a pose with rifles then settle down for the beer.

Motorcycle Battalion #2 was a large unit, the authorized strength was over 1000 men, divided into three motorcycle companies, a separate machine gun company, a combat support company and the headquarters company. Each line company had fifteen light and medium duty trucks as well as 56 motorcycles with sidecars. The 207 man unit was supported by 18 medium machine guns. A company was commanded by a captain, the xo and one platoon leader were lieutenants. The other two platoons were led by senior NCOs.  Click here to see the TO & E strength, personnel and equipment, of a Kradschutzen battalion. Click here to see the TO & E strength of a typical Kradschutzen company in the early war years.

The separate machine gun company of the battalion contained eight additional light machine guns and six 81 mm mortars. The mortars were probably kept in battery to support the companies, the machine gun sections might be cross attached as the situation demanded. The combat support company contained the supply and maintenance sections, a communications sections as well as the anti tank platoon and light cannon platoon.  
  I have been unable to find any images of the reconnaissance companies of the 2nd Leichte Division at Manteuffel.   Here is a selection of early war images showing sample vehicles theunit would have been equipped with.  The metal racks seen reaching over the tops of some of these scout vehicles are the radio antennas.  The images show the dangerous life that scouts have always faced. 
All images : Stefanowicz

The battalion was configured and trained along the new doctrine of the Schnelle Truppen (fast troops), highly mobile forces designed to exploit the holes punched by the tank forces. The motorcycle companies were the first into the gaps to seize key terrain and hold until relieved by the following truck mounted infantry. They also could perform reconnaissance missions and provide flank screens. The Kradschutzen were, like the US cavalry of decades later, an economy of force unit capable of a self sustained fight in a fluid environment. On October 17, 1937, the officers and men of Kradschutzen Battalion #2 held a parade and open house for the residents of Bad Kissingen. The following day, the Saale Zeitung, short on detail but filled with the politically biased writing style of the period, reported on the event.

The man who commanded the battalion in both Eisenach and Bad Kissingen was a distinguished career officer, Colonel Wilhelm von Apell. In later assignments, he commanded a Panzer division, rose to the rank of Lieutenant General and survived the war. Dates of command and records of the men who commanded the 2 Kradschutzen Battalion may be seen at left.  
  Period post card with dual view of  Manteuffel  Kaserne.      
  Period post card with view of front gate to Manteuffel  Kaserne.    

Less than six months after the open house, the unit deployed to Austria with the 2nd Panzer Division. War survivors would not officially return to Bad Kissingen again until the 2 Panzer Veteran‘s Association reunion was hosted by the town in 1968. The first military unit assigned to Manteuffel Kaserne had stayed for less than one year. To learn more about this movement, their new home and activities of the battalion in Austria, please follow the link: Eisenstadt.

The 2 Kradschutzen Battalion would participate in most of the major German campaigns of World War II including the bloodless Anschluss ( union ) with Austria, the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the invasions of Poland, France, Greece and the Soviet Union. As tactics and the nature of the war evolved, the 2 Krad was merged with the 2nd Panzer Division reconnaissance battalion while on the Eastern Front. The unit then saw combat in France following the Normandy landings of the Allies, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge and finally, Germany, during the defense of the Reich.  
  German war art post card  "Kradschutzen into the fray!!" .        
  Kradschutzen Battalion #2 on parade in
Coburg 1937.

The next sixteen months at Manteuffel lack specific detail but the key facts are known. From the Summer 1938 until August of 1939, the available documents indicate that the Motorcycle Infantry Battalion # 1 of the 7th Reconnaissance Regiment, part of the 2nd Leichte (light) Division was stationed at Bad Kissingen. This unit had initially been built near the city of Gera, north of Meiningen, and then moved south to the now vacant barracks during the hectic days of 1938. A source briefly also places two armored scout companies from this regiment’s Battalion # 2 at Manteuffel; the balance of the scout battalion was based at Meiningen. It was a fast paced and confusing period.

The 2 Leichte Division took part in the war against Poland in September 1939 and its Kradschutzen Battalion returned to Bad Kissingen with a victory parade in October [see section at left].  To learn more about the 2nd Leichte Division and view images related to the period, follow this link.

Of note, the 2 Leichte Division, a pre war configuration of armor, reconnaissance and infantry units, that had fought with distinction in Poland was expanded into the 7th Panzer Division in October 1939. At that point, the motorcycle infantry unit at Manteuffel Kaserne was redesignated as the 7th Kradschutzen Battalion. The division left its central Germany garrisons, to include Bad Kissingen, in January 1940 for camps near the far western Eifel border region. Erwin Rommel took command of the 7th Panzer on 12 February and that summer, led the division to victory in France

Commanders of the 2nd Kradschutzen Battalion
(later Reconnaissance Battalion 2)
1936 - 1945
  Colonel * von Apell          1936-1938
LTC von der Decken  1938-1939
LTC Stollbrock     Feb 39-May 41
Major Kreuznacher May 41- August 42
Captain Forster     Aug 42-Sept 42
Major Petri    Sept 42-Oct 43
Major Kuntz   Oct 43-Jan 44
Captain Reidel       Jan 44-May 44
Captain Schluz   May 44-June 44
Major von Schkopp  June 44-Dec 44
Major von Laer  Dec 44-April 45
Captain Durkes  April 45-May 45

* grades are for period in command of 2 Krad / 2 Recon only and expressed in English

Victory Parade in Bad Kissingen

Two images showing  the victory parade in Bad Kissingen following the return of the motorcycle infantry battalion from Poland in late 1939.  This unit was part of the 2 Leichte ( light ) Division which was redesignated at the 7th Panzer Division shortly after these photos were taken. [Photos courtesy of Norbert Ruckel]  
  In late 1939, the 2 Krad is long gone and after the fighting in Poland, the recon BN of the 7th Recon Regiment, part of the 2nd Light Division (2 Leichte) parade through Bad Kissingen.   Another view of the return from Poland parade.  

Victory Parade in Meiningen  
  A rare sequence of photos showing the victory parade as units of the 2 Leichte Division return to Meiningen after the defeat of Poland in 1939. The reconnaissance regiment of the division consisted of two battalions, the motorcycle infantry unit stationed in Bad Kissingen and the regimental headquarters and scout battalion located in Meiningen. Seen here, the central square in Meiningen, the banner sign reads ‘ We greet the victors - the homeland thanks you! ‘   A wide view of the scene showing the massed troops.

A close up of the senior NCOs of the scout battalion in their black Panzer uniforms and padded berets. Note that the boots are very dusty and no one wears combat decorations. The parade shows the actual day the unit returned to garrison after road marching out of Poland.
The commander of the reconnaissance regiment leads the parade in his heavy staff car followed by
the commander of the scout battalion leading at least a portion of the mechanized unit
A military band opposite the reviewing stand plays martial music as the scout vehicles thunder by … an impressive collision of traditions.


  Photo Albums
Click on the thumbnail to view
  One Soldier's Photo Collection From the 2 Krad The Life of a Draftee 1937 / 1938  
  A Musician Goes to War  Kradschutzen Battalion 2 Goes to War  



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