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 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953

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bilgola
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PostSubject: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   23/6/2013, 09:51

Hi All, only just discovered this site. I was conscripted in October 53 and sent to Essen, Germany (48th Field Regiment) as a radio operator, later got promoted to L/Bombardier and became a Dispatch Rider. I was there for a bit over a year when the regiment was posted to Korea. Because I had less than a year to serve I didn't go to Korea and instead was posted to what I think was called The Northern Army Group Ranges, (its a long time back). Again from a failing memory I think that this was near Munsterlarga and may be have been Dennis Barracks that I have read about on this website. In fact thats what prompted this contribution.

I'm really hazy on the details but I do remember those days well, probably the most enjoyable of my two year stint with HM Service. The barracks were very large I remember and played host to NATO forces from all over the world (USA, Canada, UK, France etc). I was one of a very small permanent team that ran/overseered the ranges during the NATO troops regular visits. They came with tanks and heavy artillery and fired off many rounds while we tried to ensure they didn't kill any of the local population from our vantage points in in high wooden towers.

As you would expect the Americans were the most prolific and would keep us busy from first light to sunset, we worked hard when they were in town. I remember well that they would be very keen to know how they (USA) compared with say the French or the English...we were happy to feed their ego and it was general practice to exaggerate their score, this made them very happy. They were big spenders in the NAFFI and very generous to us in fact they usually set up their own PX store which was like Harrods to us even though they rarely stayed more than a week. Other allies, including us Brits rarely fired off more than a handfull of shells...I think we couldn't afford to do more.

There were many times when the barracks were like a ghost town, the range would be quiet and we would be employed hunting for and blowing up unexploded shells. I remember we were all very casual about it, when you are not much more than 19 years old you think you are bomb proof and luckily we were, at least while I was there...there was not much OH&S in those days.

I now live in Sydney Australia but if by chance anyone who was in those places at that time reads this I'd love to hear from you.

Michael Maher
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   23/6/2013, 13:05

Hi Michael and welcome to the site.  It's nice to see another Gunner contributing, at the last Muster Parade there was only myself and Brum - I was Right Marker and Brum took the salute!   I believe that Northag Ranges became Munsterlager North and South.   I am guessing now but I suspect that Range Control moved from Dennis Barracks to Trauen Lager just south of Fassberg, this was tented accommodation used mainly by British and German Troops, occasionally American troops exercised there as well.   I can remember only one OP Tower which was known as Tower 14 situated near the village of Reddigen, on the edge of the Ranges.  Hope this fills in a few gaps?
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   23/6/2013, 22:02

welcome to the site Michael:D "G'day sport "
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   23/6/2013, 23:19

Thanks Sheldrake for mentioning Trauen Lager,I've been trying to remember the name of the railway loading ramp in the fields outside Munster for months,when we moved to Lahr we lost the support of the RE Movements staff and would load the RCHA in Lahr and then have to be in Trauen to watch them unload and then sign the freight warrant,then do it all in reverse for the trip back a couple of weeks later.
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 03:25

Wow, that was a quick response...thanks so much all.

Shelldrake, you are almost certainly right that there was only 1 OP Tower but it did stick in my mind probably because I felt very important when I was on duty up there in the tower. I was in Germany for about 20 months in all but to my shame I learned very little of the language. I was however very fluent in my radio command language to the Germans who operated the bunkers, put the targets up and down and calibrated the scores. So much so that I can still recite the words used..."Achtung! Achtung! Achtung! alles fertig ist, können Sie aufstecken die Targets und rouse". Or at least thats how I remember it.

From what you say I was very lucky with my timing because when I was at Northag our quarters were pretty damn good, in fact we live a very privileged lifestyle. Trauen Lager and tents doesn't sound so hot to me. From memory we had only one officer with an SM having all day to day control over us and he was a really nice bloke as I recall. We also worked a lot with German support staff who did most of the heavy lifting, they came with us when we went onto the ranges to find and blow up unexploded shells. Very few restrictions were placed on us, I cant remember many parades or inspections. It was just up in the morning and getting about our work which wasn't too onerous unless the Americans were in town.

John Boy. I appreciate your welcome and the the nod and wink to my adopted country.

I was going to post a few photos but the link that gives instruction on how to do that isn't working for me...and ideas.

Regards, Mike
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 04:18

Hi Bilgola welcome to one of the best sites going.
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 08:18

Shelldrake wrote:
Hi Michael and welcome to the site.  It's nice to see another Gunner contributing, at the last Muster Parade there was only myself and Brum - I was Right Marker and Brum took the salute!   I believe that Northag Ranges became Munsterlager North and South.   I am guessing now but I suspect that Range Control moved from Dennis Barracks to Trauen Lager just south of Fassberg, this was tented accommodation used mainly by British and German Troops, occasionally American troops exercised there as well.   I can remember only one OP Tower which was known as Tower 14 situated near the village of Reddigen, on the edge of the Ranges.  Hope this fills in a few gaps?
After a good nights sleep and not an inconsiderable amount of Efes Lager it came to me that Range Control moved to the Kommandanturs Office at the entrance to Hohne Camp.   The Royal Artillery opened the Royal Artillery Gunnery Training Establisment inside Hohne Camp and I am sure that the RAC had a similar setup.   I believe that accommodation for troops exercising on Munsterlager North were accommodated at Reinsehlen and troops on Munsterlager South were billeted in Trauen Lager.   More information can be obtained here:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergen-Hohne_Training_Area
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Eric England
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 09:10

Welcome to the site Bilgola.
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 10:43

Shelldrake wrote:
Hi Michael and welcome to the site.  It's nice to see another Gunner contributing, at the last Muster Parade there was only myself and Brum - I was Right Marker and Brum took the salute!   I believe that Northag Ranges became Munsterlager North and South.   I am guessing now but I suspect that Range Control moved from Dennis Barracks to Trauen Lager just south of Fassberg, this was tented accommodation used mainly by British and German Troops, occasionally American troops exercised there as well.   I can remember only one OP Tower which was known as Tower 14 situated near the village of Reddigen, on the edge of the Ranges.  Hope this fills in a few gaps?

Well look at that. I turn my back for five minutes and another Gunner pops up !
Welcome Michael.
Point of order Shelldrake. In earlier times Trauen's accommodation consisted of corrugated iron huts, (Nissen or Quonset, not sure which). It was only after the place became ramshackle that the tents were put up.
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 11:05

Thanks for all the Welcome messages. I'm quite surprised at the activity and the knowledge of the forum participants. Is there a place to upload photos and is that encouraged. I have a few from both my days in Essen with the 48th and Northag Ranges I'd like to share if that is allowed?

Mike
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 11:34

Bilgola

Welcome indeed it is always good to have a contributor from Oz. Somewhere in "Tassie" is a Ferret with the correct 9/12 Lancer markings of the 1960s era, courtesy of a lively debate on this site

Your memories of Essen will be welcome too. We have a few basic facts but more evidence based on personal experience is always welcome
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"john boy"
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 12:34


Michael you canny little fella you didn't say you were the lead singer "fair dinkum mate" ha ha ha what a resemblance:lol!:Very Happy
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"john boy"
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 12:40

Shelldrake wrote:
Hi Michael and welcome to the site.  It's nice to see another Gunner contributing, at the last Muster Parade there was only myself and Brum - I was Right Marker and Brum took the salute!   I believe that Northag Ranges became Munsterlager North and South.   I am guessing now but I suspect that Range Control moved from Dennis Barracks to Trauen Lager just south of Fassberg, this was tented accommodation used mainly by British and German Troops, occasionally American troops exercised there as well.   I can remember only one OP Tower which was known as Tower 14 situated near the village of Reddigen, on the edge of the Ranges.  Hope this fills in a few gaps?
yeah and I cooked lunch:lol!:
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"john boy"
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 12:46

Shelldrake wrote:
Shelldrake wrote:
Hi Michael and welcome to the site.  It's nice to see another Gunner contributing, at the last Muster Parade there was only myself and Brum - I was Right Marker and Brum took the salute!   I believe that Northag Ranges became Munsterlager North and South.   I am guessing now but I suspect that Range Control moved from Dennis Barracks to Trauen Lager just south of Fassberg, this was tented accommodation used mainly by British and German Troops, occasionally American troops exercised there as well.   I can remember only one OP Tower which was known as Tower 14 situated near the village of Reddigen, on the edge of the Ranges.  Hope this fills in a few gaps?
After a good nights sleep and not an inconsiderable amount of Efes Lager it came to me that Range Control moved to the Kommandanturs Office at the entrance to Hohne Camp.   The Royal Artillery opened the Royal Artillery Gunnery Training Establisment inside Hohne Camp and I am sure that the RAC had a similar setup.   I believe that accommodation for troops exercising on Munsterlager North were accommodated at Reinsehlen and troops on Munsterlager South were billeted in Trauen Lager.   More information can be obtained here:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergen-Hohne_Training_Area
is this the gaff
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 13:34

Shelldrake wrote:
Hi Michael and welcome to the site.  It's nice to see another Gunner contributing, at the last Muster Parade there was only myself and Brum - I was Right Marker and Brum took the salute! ...............
...........................................................................................................................

I'm miffed, forgotten........  Better get that nominal roll updated before pay parade.  

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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 14:52

brum wrote:
Shelldrake wrote:
Hi Michael and welcome to the site.  It's nice to see another Gunner contributing, at the last Muster Parade there was only myself and Brum - I was Right Marker and Brum took the salute!   I believe that Northag Ranges became Munsterlager North and South.   I am guessing now but I suspect that Range Control moved from Dennis Barracks to Trauen Lager just south of Fassberg, this was tented accommodation used mainly by British and German Troops, occasionally American troops exercised there as well.   I can remember only one OP Tower which was known as Tower 14 situated near the village of Reddigen, on the edge of the Ranges.  Hope this fills in a few gaps?

Point of order Shelldrake. In earlier times Trauen's accommodation consisted of corrugated iron huts, (Nissen or Quonset, not sure which). It was only after the place became ramshackle that the tents were put up.

First of all, sincere apologies to cartav, I can only put it down to the Efes and the Sun (Troopship to Blighty is booked for Tuesday week).   I was obviously far too young to remember the Nissen huts!!EmbarassedEmbarassed
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 15:18

john boy wrote:
Shelldrake wrote:
Hi Michael and welcome to the site.  It's nice to see another Gunner contributing, at the last Muster Parade there was only myself and Brum - I was Right Marker and Brum took the salute!   I believe that Northag Ranges became Munsterlager North and South.   I am guessing now but I suspect that Range Control moved from Dennis Barracks to Trauen Lager just south of Fassberg, this was tented accommodation used mainly by British and German Troops, occasionally American troops exercised there as well.   I can remember only one OP Tower which was known as Tower 14 situated near the village of Reddigen, on the edge of the Ranges.  Hope this fills in a few gaps?
yeah and I cooked lunch:lol!:
"Cooked"??Rolling EyesRolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 15:47

Welcome to the site Michael I am also ex gunners

Remember corrugated sheets
There was the Sgt No one,  who wanted to return his corrugated iron shelter to stores. He could not spell corrugated so wrote wriggly tin
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   24/6/2013, 16:13

bil wrote:

I was going to post a few photos but the link that gives instruction on how to do that isn't working for me...and ideas.

Regards, Mike
Mike, if you sign up to Photobucket (Photobucket.com)(costs nowt), you can upload to their website from your downloads and then on to this website.   It's really easy. (For a Gunner)!Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   25/6/2013, 01:23

Ah the hat...I get told that a lot but stick a guitar in my hands and you will soon know the lie.

Essen was my first posting out of training (training what a wake up call that was). I must say I enjoyed my time with the 48th, made many friends most of who's names I can no longer remember but I do remember them and the stuff we did together well. Most of my mates were Welsh for some strange reason, I do remember Glyn Johns, and Shep (he was a shepherd). Unlike Northag, Essen was  very much ongoing training which meant, parades, inspections, spit and polish, drills, war games and the like...to an 18 year old it could be great fun and I enjoyed every minute. Does anyone remember a large war game exercise, I think called "Peter Pan"? It involved all NATO troops and went on for quite a long period. I think I was killed twice in that...eventually our half track vehicle conveniently broke down in an out of the way Hamlet and we spent the rest of the war interacting with the local community, including attending a wedding.

About half way through my time with the 48th I was promoted to L/B and asked if i could ride a motorbike, when I said no I was told "...well start learning" and pointed towards what I think was an old 500cc BSA with rigid forks...it was old even by the measure of that time. I had plenty of advisers on how to ride the thing. They put the bike up on its rear stand and taught me how to change gear while going nowhere. It was a pretty crude method and potentially dangerous but it worked and in very short time I was driving round the gun park with a confidence that far exceeded my ability. I didn't have that bike for much more than a week.

One day, still early in my Don R career, when I was starting to feel like this was a doddle, I was riding around the gun park when a truck driver waved me over. I went over to his cab and he yelled out "...its too far advanced you need to retard it your revs are too high". This meant absolutely nothing the me and hadn't been covered in my course to date. He, realising I was an idiot, put it in more simple terms "....that lever above your left hand pull that back a little". That, I understood and quick to please I let go of the clutch to follow his instructions not remembering that the bike was in gear.

The bike accelerated across the gun park at a rate of knots with me hanging on and completely out of control. It was winter and of course I hit a patch of ice at the exact same time I remembered where the brakes were. I slid, not too gracefully, for a short distance before disappearing under a parked truck. I had the good sense to let go of the bike at it went under the truck which was good because it hit the truck with quite a thump.

The net result was that the rigid front front forks were no longer rigid. I had visions of Courts Marshall, the Glasshouse or at least being busted back to Gunner but no they just gave me another bike this time a 350cc AJS...with tele forks. Some months later I was to write that off too but thats a different story and that time it wasn't my fault.
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PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   25/6/2013, 09:42

john boy wrote:
Quote :

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergen-Hohne_Training_Area
is this the gaff
Is THAT what the squaddies are living in now ? What a bunch of poofs ! (those vintage wooden posts are familiar though).
Johnboy, if the new avatar is a pic of you then you've REALLY let yourself go, my son !
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Registration date : 2011-04-26

PostSubject: Re: 48th Field Regiment Essen 1953   25/6/2013, 17:51

bilgola wrote:


About half way through my time with the 48th I was promoted to L/B and asked if i could ride a motorbike, when I said no I was told "...well start learning" and pointed towards what I think was an old 500cc BSA with rigid forks...it was old even by the measure of that time. .............
......................................................................................................................


Ah ! The old BSA M20 !  An unbreakable lump of pressed tin & cast iron. We had two, best part of 20 years old even in the mid-50's and bikes which I doled out to the inevitable smart arse on our in-house DR courses, the ones who had a biker brother and knew it all.  Doing the cross country stuff one wet day, we had a go at taking the learners through a wet patch, all shallow water & mud.  One with an M20 couldn't cope, he paddled through the hazard......  "All right for you on the Matchless " he griped  "...... this thing's useless".  Right lad, give it here, watch & learn.   Going in the water,  steady plodding with handlebars kept firm in a straight line was fine, now for a rapid exit out of the mud beyond..........

On the side valve BSA the carburettor was level with the legs of the rider, sticking out to one side.  We scorned those riding breeches, always wore loose denims. Winding back the twist grip sucked more air in the carb, it also sucked in a quantity of loose denim.  M20 coughed & stopped, rider didn't, the neat puddle formed by his crash hat slowly filled with water. Watching  trainees loved it & cheered. He who had complained bitterly took it all in, then said quietly " I think my way was better, even if I did have to put my feet down ".   .  
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