View Full Version : Ferris Barracks, Germany, My duty station in the 70's

08-05-2007, 08:14 PM
Ferris Barracks was originally, a Kaserne for horse drawn artillery, built around 1900. located in Erlangen, Bavaria, Germany. about 10-12 miles from Nurnberg.It was later used by the Wehrmacht, and there was an underground facility, as seemed to be the rule for the reich. The underground facilities included a motorpool area, and an aircraft maintainance area, (a historical note, is that the airstrip at Erlangen was used to fly out the bodies of those hung after the Nurnberg trials.)I will post some pictures of the post, and our presence there, and will add to the pics from time to time, so check back. I arrived at Ferris in april of 72' departed in late 74' and after a bit as crewman, became commander of an M60-A1 . The first pic is of one of the entrances to the Wehrmacht motorpool, it was flooded and sealed off as there were tanks and other vehicles abandoned by the Wehrmacht, who had taken time to mine them. so we were not able to go into it.The only other entrance was located in the air maint. hanger, and had a large elevator for moving equipment, etc. in and out. The one pictured is mostly buried, with only about 4 ft. of the gate showing. the water comes up to ground level.
The second pic is of my company assembling for a road march to a local training area.
The 3rd is out of my window, showing the horse stable building. further, there is a statue to the troops of the 1st. world war, and there was a ceremony to honor those men and a time capsule was found behind the plaque we really never knew alot about this statue, and called it "Old Fritz"
then another marshalling for a march to Hohenfels training area, up north, and an image of the drivers compartment of an m60 A1 Additionally, a pic of a "mad minute" on the Tennenlohe machinegun range a few miles from Ferris. And something to take the edge off the summer heat, winter ops in North Germany.

08-07-2007, 12:13 PM
The motorpool pics show the tank park we used, it lies directly over the Wehrmacht counterpart, the image is looking north. toward the air maint. hanger, where the second entrance/elevator was housed.The airstrip was to the right of the point of view. There is also a pic of night fire, with the m60 tank, and a pic of the church at the market square in Nurnberg. (Where these days, the Christkindle Markt is held each year.)
The Church had an ornate clock, with figures that on the hour, would dance around beneath the clockface. Church ,and clock have been restored, and people gather to see the figures dance.
Also a couple pics of the post, frome the air, and of the buildings my unit occupied. second floor right building. And one of Cobra King, the lead tank in the fight to break the Bastogne encirclement. it had been saved to be our unit's monument all those years. It looks fine, but the inside is crispy. No one knew if it was from the fight, or afterwards. Some of us wanted to repair it, get it running, but found the engine/trans missing. C.K's fate following the closing of the post in the 90's is unknown to me,, hope they didnt scrap it.

George Eller
08-07-2007, 11:32 PM

Nice pics tankgeezer :)

Here is a link and picture from the WebShots gallery of professional photographers - the church and Christkindl Market in Nuremberg as it appears now.

They also have a section with a multitude of military albums as well. Great place to display photos of military experiences.

Christkindl Market, Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany



08-08-2007, 12:18 AM
Thanks George, :) that sure brings back memories,,, The ornate fountain, the church, and the vendor's stalls,,, they sold roasted nuts, candy, Christmas cakes of all kinds,Glu wine, (a spiced wine served hot) ornaments, you name it, Anything Christmas was there.

08-09-2007, 09:56 PM
This two are my favorites. :)



08-09-2007, 11:43 PM
They are Dramatic, night fire is a whole different world. (Like Halloween) Mostly illumination is provided by non firing tanks, (we couldnt light our own targets, the searchlight wont allow it. ) some targets are engaged under white light, others using Infra red. Not alot of detail in the old I.R. sights, you have to learn which blob is the one you're trying to shoot.Mostly a matter of contrast. dark green for the background, light green for your target.

12-10-2010, 11:09 PM
A few more pics For my Buddy Grumps,

12-11-2010, 02:04 AM
One hell of an interesting set of pics TG my friend. :)
It is a privilege to see them, and a pleasure to view them.

Warm, Kind, and Respectful Regards TG my friend, Uyraell.

12-11-2010, 06:48 AM
Moved back to Cold War forum. Interesting, I think I missed most of these pics...

Rising Sun*
12-11-2010, 07:19 AM
I seem to recall making a comment (or maybe just thinking about making one) about this a long time ago, but apparently not in this thread.

I do love the tank "Civilian at heart".

What were the rules (I assume there had to be some) about naming tanks?

Which raises the related question of naming aeroplanes and applying logos to them in WWII and since.

12-11-2010, 07:51 AM
Member "Grumps" was posted to C Co. of my Battalion, I was in B Co. one floor down, and wanted to see some additional pics of the place.Naming rules were fairly lax, the only true rule being the first letter of the name had to be that of the Co. letter designation, A,B,C, or H were the usual, it couldnt be profane, or overly mushy. Didnt have to be English either, A fellow commander's tank was named the Dutch word for "Feet Car"
A new Division Commander was installed, and he banned naming vehicles,(typical West Pointer) so we then had to paint them out. I'll edit in some captions later..

Rising Sun*
12-11-2010, 08:19 AM
A new Division Commander was installed, and he banned naming vehicles,(typical West Pointer) so we then had to paint them out. I'll edit in some captions later..

My inclination would be that his actions might have done more damage than good to esprit de corps, if only by removing the identity a crew had with its tank and the crew's belief that they had some independence of action.

But the end result would probably be that the crews would retain their identity and cohesion, because the grunts generally do that in spite of, rather than because of, the dictates of higher command.

12-11-2010, 11:14 AM
I agree, but he had his mind made up,, thought it a huge waste of man hours, and resources. He cast a jaundiced eye upon a Battery Commander once for not having the names removed from his SP guns. He was young for a Major General, only 45 IIRC. Hopefully he mellowed with age.

Iron Yeoman
12-11-2010, 02:42 PM
Sounds like he had a charisma bypass to me. Senior officers mate, they're always thinking up 'good' ideas to keep soldiers busy.

12-13-2010, 08:34 AM
He was Mr. all business, went through sedan drivers like crazy, and nearly exploded when someone backed a deuce n' a half into his prized sedan, and had it up on two wheels. Hell possessed no matching fury that day..

12-14-2010, 08:24 AM
Grumps here, as I recall my tanks name was called Corruption and when I first got to Germany in July of 72 I endded up going to Bad Tolz for radio school, about 15 miles from Munchin. Same time as all that trouble went down at the games. I also remember having a stereo in the tank for awhile, ( may have been an 8 track ) that was nice for the long road marches. I was in Erlangen until Feb of 75. Just a note, I was also in Atlanta when the bomb in the park went off, only two games I've ever been to. I don't think I'll go to anymore of them.

12-24-2010, 07:22 AM
I noticed that there has been a 3 year gap since the last entry on this forum so here goes. I was at Ferris Barracks back in the 60s. Way back. I have memories though particularly fond of the place. The tank titled civilian at heart said it all. That tank was at Erlangen back in the 60s. I left the US Army in February 1968 then joined the Air Force Reserve in 1978. Retired 5 years ago in 2006. We'll exchange stories when I hear from you all.

Dennis Johnson, SMSgt, USAFR (Ret)

Rising Sun*
12-24-2010, 08:04 AM
The tank titled civilian at heart said it all. That tank was at Erlangen back in the 60s.

Did the tanks get christened and hold the same name with different crews?

A bit like the notion with boats that it's bad luck to change a boat's name?

Or could a crew change the tank's name?

12-24-2010, 08:55 AM
I can only tell you what I saw. Bad luck? Perhaps! Going to Erlangen was bad luck in my opinion. You would have to understand the cold war era of the 60s with Viet Nam and all. Our training in the Army was not good during that period. My AIT was in artillery but I ended up in an armor battalion, in a ground survellience platoon (recon) performing extra duty, guard duty, KP, etc. Our mission was to slow down a.k.a. "speed bump" the Russian if they poured into Germany until reenforcements from the states arrived. In the 70s Viet Nam was winding down. But the tank name (civilian at heart) was there in the tank park. Since even some of the tank commanders were draftees like myself that particular commander liked it and did not change it. Then again the name could have been resurrected. Draftees would not think about the luck issue. I know I wouldn't back then. No one would consider tradition when tradition was not in the minds of draftees. Only going home.