THE 106th AND THE "POW TEMPORARY ENCLOSURES"
Creation of the PWTE's
An aerial view of PWTE A-2, located between Remagen and Kripp, Germany. (Signal Corps)
In charge of camps on the Rhine River
Col Herbert J. Vander Heide
3rd Infantry Regiment
Camp A4 Buderich
1st Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment
Camp A1 Rheinberg
6950th Provisional Guard Battalion
Camp A9 Wickrathberg
AT & Cannon Companies, 3rd Infantry Regiment
Lt. Col. Robert H. Stumpf
424th Infantry Regiment
Camp A12 Heidesheim
2nd Battalion, 424th Infantry Regiment
Camp A7 Biebelsheim
1st Battalion and AT Company, 424th Infantry Regiment
Camp A6 Winzenheim
3rd Battalion, 424th Infantry Regiment
Camp A3 Bad Kreuznach
6952nd Provisional Guard Battalion
Camp A8 Dietersheim
2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment
Colonel Leon L. Kotzebue
159th Infantry Regiment
Camp A2 Remagen
6951st Provisional Guard Battalion
Camp A5 Sinzig
3rd Battalion, 159th Infantry Regiment
Camp A11 Andernach
2nd Battalion, 159th Infantry Regiment
Camp A10 Coblenz
1st Battalion, 159th Infantry Regiment
Brigadier General Leo T. McMahon
106th Division Artillery
Camp C3 Heilbronn
106th Division Artillery
Camp C4 Heilbronn
106th Division Artillery
A visit to PWTE A-2 Remagen
The photos below were taken in March 2012 on a visit to Remagen. In one of the towers of the former Ludendorff Rail Bridge in Remagen, a small museum is located. The Friedensmuseum is mostly dedicated to the capture of the bridge by the 9th Armored Division on 7 March 1945 but it also contains information about the PWTE's that were located at Remagen and Sinzig.
An overview of the Rhine valley between Remagen and Kripp. In 1945 the large meadows between the two towns were filled with thousands of German prisoners. This photo was taken from the Erpeler Ley, the large hill on the opposite bank of the Rhine River near the Ludendorff bridge.
Anthill - 1945 aerial view of the same field between Kripp and Remagen. Every dot is an encampement made by German prisoners. Due to the immense ammount of POW's, there were inadequate shelters. German prisoners proceeded to dig themselves in, using blankets or Zeltbahnen (tent ponchos) as overhead cover. Some fatalities occurred when moisture caused a collapse of the dirt walls, burying prisoners alive. (Signal Corps Photo)
The view from the bank of the Rhine River in Kripp, looking towards Linz am Rhein. Personnel of the 6951st Provisional Guard Battalion were billeted in Linz for some time.
Here across the river lay the pontoon bridge from Kripp to Linz am Rhein. The "Rozich-Blackburn-Tompkins Bridge", a Class 24 Heavy Pontoon Bridge was constructed under supervision of the 51st Combat Engineer Battalion. Its commander, Major Robert B. Yates, had defended the town of Trois Ponts, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. The pontoons and equipment were supplied by the 181st and 552nd Heavy Pontoon Battalions. The bridge from Kripp to Linz was named in honor of three men who died during the construction, which occurred under constrant bombing and strafing by German jet planes and V-2 rockets. Major William F. Tompkins Jr, commander of the 552nd, was killed during such an attack on 13 March 1945.
The view from the other end, looking towards Kripp. The smoke stack in the distance belongs to the Kripper Lederfabrik, in which the hospital for PWTE A-2 was located.
The photo above shows the conditions in PWTE A-2. The high barbed wire fences seperate the various cages and contain men of different branches, such as SS troops or Kriegsmarine personnel. A seperate cage existed for female prisoners.
SERGEANT WILLIAM MYERS (6951st Provisional Guard Battalion)
Sgt. William Myers was part of the 6951st Overhead Provisional Guard Battalion, Detachment F. This outfit was responsible for handling POW's at the Temporary Enclosure A-2 Remagen.
Myers enlisted in the Illinois National Guard in 1942 at Robinson, Illinois. He entered active military service at Fort Sheridan, Illinois in January 1943. In October of that year he went overseas to serve in Scotland and later at Burtonwood Base at Warrington, England overhauling aircraft engines. He remained there till March 1945 and entered the 89th "Rolling W" Division as a replacement.
On March 12, the 89th started their offensive and plunged across the Sauer river and in a rapid advance across the Moesel on March 17th. The division crossed the Rhine on March 26th and in April it attacked towards Eisenach.
The division took the town on 6 April. The division continued to move eastward toward the Mulde river and took the town of Zwickau by April 17th. There their advance came to a halt. It stayed there till VE-Day, taking on security duties and patrol action.
Meanwhile Sergeant Myers was re-assigned to the 6951st PG Battalion, Detachment F, which was attached to the 106th Infantry Division. It was assigned to the A-2 Enclosure Remagen, one of the largest camps in the Rhine POW area. In July of 1945 he was re-assigned to the 69th Amphibian Tractor Battalion. This was around the time A-2 Remagen was closed and handed over to the French Army. Myers served with this unit until it was deactivated in March of 1946 at Camp Kilmer. He remained unassigned untill his discharge in August 1946. During this period he was on furlough and reported to Camp Beale, CA for training and redeployment to Hawaii. It was Sgt. Myers intent to stay in the Army, but due to his wife's health, he found it was better to request a discharge.
A picture of men of Detachment F, 6951st PG Battalion at Camp A-2 Remagen taken on or after May 5th, 1945.
Sitting in front of the Motor Pool building are:
Back Row: German POW's (Georg Wippel; Karl Zander)
Middle Row: T/4 Goulet; Lt. Woolsey; Sgt.(?) Kielert; PFC(?) Knutson
Front Row: Sgt. William Myers
The sign reads:"6951st PWTE MOTOR POOL 'Doomsday Green'"
Doomsday Green was the callsign for Detachment F.
The Jeep on the right has "6951st PW - TE A2" stencilled on the fender. The windshield reads: "Motor Sergeant"
Photographs and information courtesy of Roger Myers, son of Sgt. William Myers (deceased)
A visit to PWTE A-6 Bretzenheim
Chuck and Mary Lowery talk to Frau Spietz of the Dokumentationszentrum für die Rheinwiesenlagern in Bretzenheim. The museum has an extensive collection of memoirs, photos and relics on PWTE A-6 and the other camps in the Rhine valley.
In October 2010 we visited the grounds of the former PWTE A-6 in Bretzenheim-Langenlonsheim with Sergeant Charles Lowery of Company "I", 424th Infantry Regiment. While on PW Duty, his unit was stationed in the village of Langenlonsheim and billeted in the Hotel Stadt Kreuznach. We were successful in finding the building in which he stayed in 1945, but it was no longer a hotel.
With the help of Wolfgang Spietz, curator of the Dokumentationszentrum für die Rheinwiesenlagern in Bretzenheim we visited the location where the PWTE once stood. It is known to the Germans as the Feld des Jammers (Field of sorrow).
A visit to the documentation center and museum is recommended. Chuck Lowery was the first American camp guard to visit the museum.