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Updating a post a little tiny bit...

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That post being this one, where Blake expounds on stuff the Polish Army is taking home from Iraq.

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I mentioned in that discussion the Skoda howitzer at Pinder Barracks, Zirndorf, Germany, my first duty station after my initial Army schooling. Reader but infrequent commenter Frank C. was a fellow-denizen of Pinder, we have exchanged TINS before. This week he provided scans of his pics of the gun in question! So here is a little, tiny slice of Pinder Barracks, now long since returned to the Germans. To them it was FlakKaserne Zirndorf, barracks for the local anti-aircraft units responsible for the southwestern sector of defense for the Nűrnberg-Fűrth region. It appears it's first US occupants (outside of the combat forces moving through the area at the end of the war) was a military police railway security battalion, the the 395th MP SV. Battalion, followed by the 16th Infantry Regiment. To me it was home to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Field Artillery, 6th Battalion, 14th Field Artillery, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Armored Division Artillery, the 595th Military Police Company (we needed lots of supervision...) and the 156th Maintenance Company. After the 1st Tank Division moved out of that part of Germany, Pinder was briefly Headquarters AAFES-Europe (which had itself been moved from Munich).

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Pinder has been mostly dismantled, though the signature tower and guard room remains - and it's now PinderPark... which is nice that Zirndorf kept the name, given that it was named for John J. Pinder, posthumous awardee of the Medal of Honor. It speaks well for our overall relationship with Zirndorf that they kept the name, I think.


Rank and organization: Technician Fifth Grade, U.S. Army, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Colleville-sur-Mer, France, 6 June 1944. Entered .service at: Burgettstown, Pa. Birth: McKees Rocks, Pa. G.O. No.: 1, 4 January 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, near Colleville-sur-Mer, France. On D-day, Technician 5th Grade Pinder landed on the coast 100 yards off shore under devastating enemy machinegun and artillery fire which caused severe casualties among the boatload. Carrying a vitally important radio, he struggled towards shore in waist-deep water. Only a few yards from his craft he was hit by enemy fire and was gravely wounded. Technician 5th Grade Pinder never stopped. He made shore and delivered the radio. Refusing to take cover afforded, or to accept medical attention for his wounds, Technician 5th Grade Pinder, though terribly weakened by loss of blood and in fierce pain, on 3 occasions went into the fire-swept surf to salvage communication equipment. He recovered many vital parts and equipment, including another workable radio. On the 3rd trip he was again hit, suffering machinegun bullet wounds in the legs. Still this valiant soldier would not stop for rest or medical attention. Remaining exposed to heavy enemy fire, growing steadily weaker, he aided in establishing the vital radio communication on the beach. While so engaged this dauntless soldier was hit for the third time and killed. The indomitable courage and personal bravery of Technician 5th Grade Pinder was a magnificent inspiration to the men with whom he served.

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And many, many thanks to Richard Lippmann, webmaster of Zirndorf, for his gesture of friendship to those of us who spent time living in Pinder and the surrounding area.


I spent an uneasy night in Zirndorf in late 1976, I think it was, when my buddy and I took a jeep from Erlangen and went first to a gasthaus in Illesheim for a legendary schnitzel and pommes fritz, thence to Zirndorf Kasserne where we slept in the jeep that night. He was driving folks around in support of a Reforger or some big exercise, and had been given the weekend off, so he came and got me, and off we went. Ahh, those were the days--freewheeling around on the German countryside in green clothes, checking out the small towns and such. We even went so far as to put on jeans and T-shirts under our field jackets, so we could go inside places without problems, but that made me too nervous, so we switched back to fatigues. I didn't mind gtting caught screwing off, but I didn't want to be caught in civilian clothes in an Army jeep while screwing off. Go figure. That is one of my fonder memories of Germany, even though it was pretty dumb.
One of the very worst milplaces I ever spent a night (beneath a solid roof, not a poncho-tent) was on the return trip from Boz, at a pit stop called Babhausen. The place was seriously in need of some "Whack-a-Mold" self-help. And that's not a misspelling of *mole,* either. Geez, the Boz CONEX box I spent the winter in was cleaner...
And then there was the time we pulled into the railhead at Vilseck at about 2 AM, and the Geniuses In Command (TM) ordered us to go ahead and load and tie down each and every M109, M548, M577, gamma goat, jeep, and deuce-and-a-half in the unit. Finally got about 2 hours of sleep, whereupon the German rail officials arrived, assessed the situation, and ordered us to untie everything and move them up about 2 inches. Oh, I'm sure the difference was CRITICAL! It's not as if our "friends" in the Deutsches Bundesbahn would EVER screw with GI's, now, is it? LOL