Warner Barracks in Bamberg, Germany
Warner Barracks is a United States Army military base in the city of Bamberg, southern Germany. The base has been occupied by American forces since the end of World War II. Elements of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and 45th Infantry Division entered the town on 13 and 14 April 1945. But before the war, this military site had a colorful history that goes hand-in-hand with Bamberg’s history, which began in the 10th century. Bamberg was originally a fort on a hill. The view enabled soldiers of the time to watch the city and guard it against possible attacks. In 973, the Duke of Bavaria gained control of the fort. The city and fort fell under Swedish Protestants’ control during the Thirty Years War when the Swedes engulfed the city and took it forcibly. The year was 1634.
In 1891, Warner Barracks, then known as “Lagarde Kaserne”, was built by the Royal Bavarian Army as an infantry barracks. Many of the buildings to the west were constructed around the start of the 20th century, and several of these are classified at historical monuments. From World War I to War World II, almost every branch of the German Army was stationed here, the most famous being the 35th Tank Regiment and the German 17th Cavalry Regiment. In 1917, the present Muna area was established and, in 1928, the present airfield was added. After 1933, the forces here were augmented with the addition of the 79th Artillery Regiment, and in 1936, Warner Barracks I, the eastern portion of the military base, was constructed as "Artillery Kaserne".
Prior to World War II, almost every branch of the German Army was stationed at Warner Barracks at some time, the most elite being the 35th Armor and the 17th Cavalry Regiments. The cavalry was composed of noblemen who were wealthy and had their own riding school. Claus von Stauffenberg, who was known for 20 July plot of 1944 to assassinate Adolf Hitler, served in the cavalry regiment; it was his family's traditional regiment. The stables and school occupied the PX, Commissary and community engineering areas. After World War II, the headquarters of the U.S. Constabulary, created to occupy Germany, was located in Bamberg. The Constabulary was a highly mobile unit made up of the 26th Infantry Regiment and the 1st Infantry Division. The unit was responsible for patrolling the American occupied quarter of Germany.
The current Warner Barracks complex was appropriated in 1950 by U.S. forces and renamed in honor of Cpl. Henry F. Warner. Warner was killed in action on December 21, 1944 after his heroic anti-tank actions in Bütgenbach, Belgium. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor six months later, on June 23, 1945.
In 1951, development for long term use of the post began. A dispensary, dental clinic, schools, a PX, gymnasiums and an education center were established. The post commander was always the senior officer of the infantry brigade until 1970 when Bamberg became an official U.S. Army Europe community with a general officer appointed as post commander.
Over the years, the installation was a sub-community of Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Würzburg. All the installations located in Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Würzburg. U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg is subordinate to United States Army Installation Management Command – Europe and is an indirect report garrison under USAG Ansbach.
The Bamberg Ammunition Plant (“Muna”) was originally built in 1917 for the production of ammunition for World War I. During World War II, it was reactivated and expanded, with 67 buildings, mostly ammunition bunkers, in 1945. Each of the bunkers had a storage capacity for 60 tons of explosives.
In April 1945, only 10 days after the U.S. forces entered Bamberg, the 2nd Platoon, and 33rd Chemical Decontamination Company captured the ammunition plant, and placed guards at the facility. The depot was cleared, but it was decided that the facility should remain under U.S. command. An additional chemical shell dump was closed in Bayreuth on 5 May by the 61st Chemical Depot Company. Chemical supplies from this depot were transported to Bamberg.
During the first year of occupation, a total of 12,000 tons of ammunition was removed from the Bamberg Ammunition Depot. 10,000 tons of this ammunition was shipped to U.S. depots, while 2,000 tons were destroyed.
After all German ammunition was removed from the Muna, the U.S. forces used the facilities for ammunition storage. Personnel at the depot provided technical and operational supervision for the Ordnance Ammunition Companies that were stationed in the installation and in the sub-depot Breitenguessbach after 1947. The sub-depot at Breitenguessbach, which was utilized for the storage of engineered high explosives and mines, was closed 15 March 1951. The Oberdachstetten Explosives Depot also fell under Bamberg’s operational control; this was closed in 1947 after the disposal of all the captured enemy ammunition.
During the Cold War, Muna was home to the 504th Maint Co 71st Maint Bn. during the 70's and 80's. and various US Army Units were stationed at Warner Barracks, including: The 3rd Infantry Division; the 4th Armored Division; 2nd Armored Cavalry; 5 Missile Battalion, 39th Artillery (LaCross Missile); 2nd Battalion, 35th Artillery (155mm towed guns), 1st Battalion, 75th Artillery (8" Self-Propelled Artillery), 6th Battalion, 10th Artillery (175mm Self-Propelled Artillery), and various support units. Most of the Artillery units were posted on the lower Kasserne, on Pödeldorfer Strasse. The building housing the 5th Missile Battalion, 39th Artillery later became the headquarters of the 35th Artillery Group.
Two soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 75th Artillery gave up their own leave time to build a major extension to the Chapel located at the Kloster Maria Frieden (later the Abtei Maria Frieden) in Kirschletten. This was built in April and May 1964. Those two lived in the wash house of the convent, working from dawn to dusk, 6 days a week, to get this project built. Other soldiers would come out on Saturdays, to assist with the building. The 82nd Engineers lent some construction equipment (jackhammers and a cement mixer). In addition to doing the construction work, the soldiers involved also collected money from most of the units in Bamberg to help pay for this project. Eventually, because of the good publicity that this project gained for the Army, these soldiers had their leave time restored to them, and the US Army gave them "Administrative Leave" for the entire two months it took to complete the addition. They were also brought back from field exercises, when the Bishop of Bamberg dedicated this Chapel.
That addition is still standing, but has been turned back over to the German people.