STABILIZATION OF THE BORDER FORCE
1952 - 1960
(U) German Sovereignty
(U) Efforts to make the Federal Republic of Germany a free and equal member of the Western Alliance had been actively pursued since 1950 (see Chapter 3, The New Alliance). In 1952 the so-called Contractual Agreements, or the Bonn Conventions, were completed, laying the ground work for a sovereign Germany. The Bonn Conventions had been designed to grant the Federal Republic as much freedom as possible without endangering the security of the Allied forces stationed in Germany and of the Federal Republic itself. Upon their implementation, the Occupation Statute of 1949 and the Allied High Commission were to be abolished. Unfortunately, they had been tied to a plan for a unified European army that would include German forces and be known as the European Defense Community (EDC), and were to become effective when the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the Federal Republic agreed to join the European Defense Community. Although the Federal Republic and the United States had ratified the Bonn Conventions in 1952, the effort to have all of the Allies agree to EDC participation stalled, with the French National Assembly killing it outright in 1954. As a consequence, the Paris Accords (the Bonn Conventions with five amended schedules) were hastily drafted and signed on 23 October 1954, one basic difference being that the military contingents would keep their national identity instead of being integrated into a European Army.
(U) In addition to developing the Paris Accords, the Allied Powers also prepared a "Protocol on the Termination of the Occupation Regime in the Federal Republic of Germany," which among other things provided for the Bonn Conventions and the amended schedules to become effective upon the termination of the occupation rather than upon the establishment of the European Defense Community. One of the 'schedules" provided for the Allied Powers to retain rights and responsibilities with regard to the reunification of and the final peace treaty with Germany even though the occupation would be terminated earlier. Although there had been several modifications to the Contractual Agreements in the interim between the signings of the Bonn Conventions in .1952 and the Paris Accords in 1954, the right of the military commanders to provide for the security of their forces, and thus to continue surveillance activities along the eastern borders, was retained in the final agreement (Schedule I, Article 4, Paragraph 2, and Article 5, Paragraph 2, cited below).
(U) However, a time limitation had now been placed upon that right, the importance of which merits its full quotation:
The rights of the Three Powers, heretofore held or exercised by them, which relate to the protection of the security of armed forces stationed in the Federal Republic and which are temporarily retained, shall lapse when the appropriate German authorities have obtained similar powers under German legislation enabling them to take effective action to protect the security of those forces, including the ability to deal with a serious disturbance of public security and order. To the extent that such rights continue to be exercisable they shall be exercised only after consultation, insofar as the military situation does not preclude such consultation, with the Federal Government and with its agreement that the circumstances require such exercise. In all other respects the protection of the security of those forces shall be governed by the Forces Convention or by the provisions of the Agreement which replaces it and, except as otherwise provided in any applicable agreement, by German Law. (Schedule I, Article 5, Paragraph 2.)
(U) In a short ceremony on 5 May 1955, representatives of the United Kingdom and the Republic of France deposited ratified copies of the Paris Accords (the Bonn Conventions and five amended schedules) in Bonn, which, together with the recently deposited ratifications of the United States and the Federal Republic, were sufficient to grant the Federal Republic of Germany its sovereignty. The Federal Republic could now seek diplomatic relations with other countries and, more importantly as far as NATO was concerned, had restrictions on its rearmament and industry lifted.
(U) On the same day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10608, which abolished the US High Commission for Germany and replaced it with a US Mission. Concurrently, the US Senate approved the nomination of the HICOG, James B. Conant, as the first US Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. Among other things, the executive order defined the relationship between the Ambassador and the US Commander in Chief, Europe (USCINCEUR)*, giving the Ambassador supreme authority with respect to all responsibilities, duties, and governmental functions of the United States in the Federal
*(U) The Commander of the US European Command (USEUCOM), a joint command of the US forces in Europe that included USAREUR as well as US Air Force and US Navy elements.
Republic, and USCINCEUR authority for all military responsibilities, duties, and functions in the Federal Republic. Any action affecting the foreign policy of the United States or involving relations or negotiations with nonmilitary German authorities could be taken only after consultation wit or agreement by the Ambassador. (It should be noted that the BGS, Zoll, and Bavarian Border Police were then, and still are, controlled by nonmilitary agencies.) Essentially, this was not a significant change in the situation in that the military commanders had always worked closely with State Department organizations such as HICOG.1
(U) Border and Customs Control
If the Contractual Agreements had gone into effect, complete customs control of the German borders would have reverted to the Federal Government in 1952. The Germans made some attempt in 1952 to assert this control in spite of the fact that the agreements had not been ratified by two of the Allies and were not yet in force. The US military authorities resisted this attempt because they thought it would be premature to institute portions of the Contractual Agreements prior to their full ratification by all four parties. In the interim, the United States continued to maintain official crossing points between the various zones, which were jointly manned by American and German customs personnel in order to insure there were no misunderstandings between US forces members and the other nationals. In 1953 the United States reversed its policy and began implementing some portions of the Contractual Agreements that would ease occupation restrictions as much as possible. German customs authorities were granted the authority to inspect members of the American forces and their family members if they entered or left Germany at border crossings where American customs inspectors were not present; however, this right was not exercised in 1953.
With the granting of full sovereignty in 1955, USAREUR relinquished control of all frontier crossing points except at Helmstedt, where the Berlin Autobahn entered the Federal Republic. At Helmstedt USAREUR continued to maintain direct contact with Soviet officials in order to regulate the movement of US military personnel, equipment, and supplies between the Federal Republic and West Berlin. The Federal Republic's control of the sensitive eastern frontiers was still coordinated with Allied security requirements. The Federal Republic raised no objections to the maintenance of US checkpoints at Helmstedt and, in general, was aware of US security requirements. Further, the Tripartite Customs Working party, under the auspices of
(U) A US soldier and a member of the German Customs Police peer across the border just inside the 50-meter restricted zone. Circa 1960.
the Allied High Commission and the Federal Government, had already worked out an agreement prior to the granting of sovereignty that made members of the Allied forces and their families subject to normal German customs inspections. Punishment for customs violations, however, remained with Allied forces military authorities.2
(U) The Border
(U) The actual look of the border did not change radically in the 1950s, except to add on to the generally restrictive measures as well as facilities and structures initiated by the Communist countries in the late 1940s and early 1950s. (See Chapter 3, The New Alliance, for more information on the build-up of the border barriers. For the American patrols it was a mountainous, rugged terrain with roads that did not always follow along the border and were often in poor condition. The border itself was marked with white posts and "Landes Grenze" signs. For American personnel, "Attention - 50 Meters to the Borer" signs were added (see above). The other side now had plowed strips several yards wide along the entire East German boundary and parts of the Czechoslovak frontier. They were kept raked in order to detect signs of border crossers who might have slipped through the barriers. The barriers consisted of three rows of barbed wire that stretched the entire length of the Czechoslovak border and on some portions of the East German boundary. The two outside rows were approximately four feet high, while the center row was six to eight feet high and had porcelain insulators installed, which indicated that it was capable of being electrified -- probably at night. Hundreds of mutually-supporting watch towers had been built, some manned full time, while others where manned only irregularly. The fences, which were located a few to several hundreds of yards from the border, had gates in them at road crossings and tunnels under them at strategic points. The specific border control measures of the two regimes toward their civilian populations were discussed in Chapter 3, but in general they differed in the following manner: the East Germans allowed people to live and farm right up on the border under carefully controlled conditions, while the Czechoslovaks tended to allow little farming or living within one mile of the border. In some instances entire villages had been evacuated and razed. As can be seen from this description, little had changed since the early 1950s except for the increase in rows and length of the barbed wire fences and the large number of watch towers.3
(U) The Border Force Matures
(U) With the inactivation of the two Constabulary border squadrons and the assumption of the complete border mission by the 2d, 6th,
the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment patrolled the central portion, while the 6th patrolled the southern portion, the latter two regiments belonging to VII Corps. The peacetime regimental boundaries between the three ACRs, shown roughly on MAP 7 in Chapter 3, in universal transverse mercator (UTM) grid map reading terminology were as follows: 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment -- Hebenshausen (NB 6494) to Lichtenberg (PA 9183); 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment -- Lichtenberg (PA 9183) to Waldmunchen (UQ 3372); and 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment --Waldmunchen (UQ 3372) to Braunau, later shortened to the vicinity of Passau (UP 8781). The 6th's coverage had been expanded 50 miles north when the 15th Constabulary Squadron had been inactivated. VII Corps' border responsibility included the 2d and 6th regiments' areas -- vicinity of Lichtenberg (PA 9183) to Passau (UP 8781). The V Corps' border responsibility extended from Lichtenberg north to the point where the US Zone met the British Zone just northeast of Kassel at Hebenshausen (NB 6494). On 3 September 1957 the German Army assumed border security responsibility for the area from Hebenshausen to Blankenbach (NB 7252). Throughout the rest of the 1950s, the annual histories of the different units describe USAREUR's border security mission as stretching from Blankenbach (or the juncture with the III German Corps in the vicinity of the Gies sen-Eisenach Autobahn) to the junction of the Federal Republic, Czechoslovak, and Austrian borders at a point northeast of Passau at map coordinate VQ 1403. The distance patrolled, depending upon the coordinates used and which history you are reading, varied from approximately 500 miles to over 700 miles. The shortening of border responsibilities in the southern sector, although not explained in the unit histories, was in all likelihood due to the end of the occupation in Austria and recognition of its neutral status -- technically, the threat would be from Czechoslovakia, not through Austria.4
The armored cavalry regiments' wartime mission was to provide a screen for other US tactical units by setting up defensive lines along the following axes or areas: the 6th ACR's was through Regensburg, Straubing, and Landshut; the 2d ACR's was through Bayreuth, Bamberg, Amberg, and Nuernberg; and the 14th ACR's went through the Bad Kissingen, Fulda, and Hersfeld axis.5
(U) Operation GYROSCOPE
(U) The 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment returned to the United States in 1955, when it exchanged stations with the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment under Operation GYROSCOPE, which was a program to return soldiers by unit rotation rather than as individuals. Advance planning
and 14th Armored Cavalry Regiments (ACR) in 1952 (see Chapter 3), stationing along the border stabilized somewhat for the rest of the 1950s -- the major changes being swap outs of like units and some minor changes in headquarters locations and border area coverage. To recapitulate, stationing in December 1952 when the armored cavalry regiments assumed the total border mission (the 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment was already assigned an extensive section) was as follows, from north to south (see MAP 8):
14th Armored Cavalry Regiment
Regimental Headquarters -- Downs Barracks, Fulda
1st Battalion -- Downs Barracks, Fulda
2d Battalion -- Daley Barracks, Bad Kissingen
3d Battalion -- McPheeters Barracks, Hersfeld (Bad Hersfeld)
373d Armored Infantry Battalion* -- Wildflecken
2d Armored Cavalry Regiment
Regimental Headquarters -- Merrell Barracks, Nuernberg
1st Battalion -- Bindlach Kaserne, Bindlach (In 1953 it was redesignated as Christensen Barracks and in subsequent years the unit was listed as being at Bayreuth as well as at Bindlach, probably due to the proximity of Bindlach to Bayreuth.)
2d Battalion -- Warner Barracks, Bamberg
3d Battalion -- Pond Barracks, Amberg
371st Armored Infantry Battalion -- Merrell Barracks, Nuernberg
6th Armored Cavalry Regiment
Regimental Headquarters -- Mansfield Kaserne, Straubing 1st Battalion -- Mansfield Kaserne, Straubing
2d Battalion -- Pinder Barracks, Landshut
3d Battalion -- Fort Skell, Regensburg
370th Armored Infantry Battalion -- Straubing
In December 1952 the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment was assigned to V Corps and patrolled the northern portion of the border;
* (U) The armored cavalry regiments were actually regimental combat teams at this point and had armored infantry battalions and armored field artillery battalions assigned. The armored infantry battalions were withdrawn from the armored cavalry regiments in the mid-50s, and they and most of the other non-cavalry elements of the regiments will be ignored since they had little impact on the border mission. Many of these subsidiary units were often collocated in the same area as the regimental headquarters.
groups were exchanged in January 1955 in preparation for the scheduled rotation in August. The principal difficulty for the two armored cavalry regiments grew out of operating commitments requiring elements of the 2d Armored Cavalry to continue border surveillance through July 1955. It was feared that the time remaining before the exchange in August would be insufficient for that organization to complete technical inspections and to turn over property to the incoming 3d Armored Cavalry. USAREUR requested that the advance parties from the 3d arrive in, Germany not later than the first week in June. When it was discovered that training and processing requirements would not permit the advance party to be sent from the United States before the last week in June, Department of the Army asked that the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment's operational commitments on the border be given to adjacent units. The final solution was to attach the advance party and the 1st and 3d Battalions of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment directly to the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment, thus allowing the 2d to retain responsibility for its emergency mission, tactical readiness, and border operations until completely relieved by the 3d. From 11 to 15 August the missions were carried out, as planned, by a task organization consisting of one battalion of the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment plus two newly-arrived battalions of the 3d, with the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment assuming all mission responsibilities on the 15th. The regimental headquarters and cavalry elements of the 3d were stationed in the same places as the 2d Armored Cavalry: Regimental Headquarters at Nuernberg, 1st Battalion at Bayreuth, 2d Battalion at Bamberg, and 3d Battalion at Amberg. The 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, as had been the 2d, was assigned to VII Corps.6
(U) In another GYROSCOPE swap out, the 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment was replaced by the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment on 20 March 1957. The 11th Armored Cavalry's headquarters and 1st Battalion were stationed at Straubing, the 2d Battalion at Landshut, and the 3d at Regensberg -- no change in stationing from that of the 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment. The 11th, like the 6th, was assigned to VII Corps.7
(U) The 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment returned to the United States under still another GYROSCOPE rotation, and was replaced effective 21 February 1958 by the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment, which returned to its old stations at Nuernberg, Bayreuth, Bamberg, and Amberg. Having completed the movement to USAREUR, it was reorganized on 10 March 1958 and resumed its old border duties under VII Corps.8
(U) The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment was also scheduled to return to its original post in the United States in 1959, but was
removed from the program. The GYROSCOPE program itself was terminated in 1959. The lineup at the beginning of 1960 showed the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment performing border duty for V Corps, while VII Corps used the 2d and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiments. Stationing was the same as it had been throughout the 1950s, with the 2d and 14th Armored Cavalry Regiments at the same locations and the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in the 6th's locations.
(U) Of note for future discussions, on 22 April 1959 the 2d Battalion of the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment was placed under the operational control of the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment. The command and control problems created by attaching portions of one ACR to another because it had more than its fair share of the border to cover-- such as was the case in 1959 -- would become an important issue in succeeding years. In prior years, and during this period also, this problem had been solved by bringing in cavalry-type detachments or units from other tactical units on a temporary basis. Borrowing from a sister border regiment on a semipermanent basis was a new wrinkle.9
(U) Border Operations
In terms almost reminiscent of its days on the American frontier, one of the regimental histories described the day-to-day routine of patrolling the border as consisting of "weariness, bad weather, and long hours."10 There was one other similarity with earlier frontier patrolling in that by the mid-1950s the armored cavalry regiments were primarily concerned with conducting surveillance of the eastern boundaries and providing a military screen, and left the border control functions completely to the German border police agencies -- the cavalry watched out for the marauding Indian tribes, while the local sheriff took care of law and order. By the end of the decade, the mission of the armored cavalry regiments required them to:
- operate as a light armored task force in security and light combat missions without reinforcement
- operate as a highly mobile armored task force when suitably reinforced
- execute screening and counter reconnaissance missions
- reconnoiter for, higher echelons, normally by independent action without reinforcement
Which was basically another way of saying that their mission was still to provide surveillance and military screening.11
40 There were no dramatic changes in border operations procedures when the armored cavalry regiments assumed the total border mission in December 1952 (see Chapter 3, Seventh Arm Border Operations). The 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment was already extensively involved in the border mission -- it had the southern portion of the border -- and several of the other regiments had been periodically loaning men and equipment to the three units tasked with conducting border operations. A major help was the transfer of the 15th and 24th Constabulary soldiers with tour retainability to the regiments taking over their areas of responsibility. For most of the regiments, assumption of the border mission involved expanding their participation in border surveillance operations, assuming responsibility for border facilities, and creating a Border Operations Section on the regimental staff, while still being ready to provide a security screen for other tactical units in the event of an East Bloc invasion.
Normally the, regiments divided their portion of the border into battalion sections, with one company from the battalion having border operations responsibility, while the other companies conducted training or were in garrison. In subsequent years, the 2d ACR (as well as the 3d when it assumed the 2d's sector) and the 14th ACR continued to assign sectors to their battalions. The battalion commanders were responsible for the border operations in their sectors, and ran the whole operation with their personnel and equipment. In those regiments, a small number of personnel were added to the S-2 section to handle the increased workload imposed at the regimental headquarters due to border operations. The 11th ACR, on the other hand, preferred to control the complete border operation from regimental headquarters and established a separate staff section for that purpose. Until January 1958 it was a separate staff section reporting directly to the regimental commander, but after that it was combined with the S-2 section -- although it still retained complete operational control for everything pertaining to the border.12
(U) The locations of the units dictated the method of dispatching patrols. The battalions of the 14th ACR in the late 1950s were housed close enough to the border to permit company commanders to send out the necessary patrols from garrison locations, but the other two regiments were further from the border and complete companies had to be moved from garrison to border camps from which border patrols and observation personnel operated. Although the border camps had come a
(U) O-1 Bird Dog (formerly L-19)
long way from their description in a 1952 regimental history as being tent camps, even with their prefabricated housing they still were not the most pleasant place to be. The regiments rotated the border patrolling requirement by sending each company up for an equal amount of time.13
By the end of the 1950s, the border operations of the armored cavalry regiments -- in spite of the multiple unit changes under the GYROSCOPE program -- had become fairly standardized. There were slight differences from border operations in the early 1950s, but these were of an, evolutionary nature and mostly involved equipment. Jeeps had always been the workhorse of the border patrols, but by the end of the decade they seemed to be used almost exclusively for the daily patrols. The one jeep and M8 armored car patrols of the early years did not' seem to be used much in daily patrolling, but the armored cars were used in a fast reaction mode. Both jeeps mounted a machine gun, but only one carried a radio, which was used by the 5-man patrols to maintain constant contact with the observation posts and the controlling headquarters. One major difference was that the regiments had more organic aircraft (eight fixed wings and two or more helicopters) and carried out most of their own air observation flights rather than borrowing air assets extensively from other units as they had in earlier years. The main aircraft was the L-19 Bird Dog, but the L-20 Beaver was replacing the L-19s as the period ended. The L-20s, by the way, were equipped with the new ARC-44 radios. In addition to the H-34 Choctaws that had been brought in for rapidly moving reinforcements during-border incidents (see below), the regiments also had been issued H-13 Sioux helicopters for reconnaissance and medical evacuation. The reconnaissance companies of the regiments had M41 tanks, while the tank companies had M48s; however, by 1958, the M41s in the reconnaissance companies were being replaced with M48s, which had heavier armor, increased firepower, better antitank capabilities, and longer range, without giving up too much tactical mobility in comparison to the M41.14
In an effort to test the radio and telephone communications network of the border patrols, during 1953* Seventh Army headquarters
* The exact date for implementation of this exercise was not given, but it was probably initiated in 1953 since it was described as a "test" in the Seventh Army history for that period. However, a Seventh Army Annual Historical, Report for 1963 claimed it had been initiated in 1951.
(U) U-6 Beaver (formerly L-20)
initiated the "Handicap Black" exercise. The procedure was a test of the speed with which reports of simulated enemy contact could be dispatched from border patrols to reach USAREUR headquarters after passing through intermediate channels. Prearranged messages would be handed by military intelligence personnel to the border patrols, which forwarded them to the regimental Border Operations Section by radio. The Border Operations Section would pass on the messages by telephone or teletypewriter through the corps and Seventh Army headquarters to USAREUR headquarters. The best times during the test period were 5 minutes for the telephone route and 13 minutes by teletypewriter. By 1959 Handicap Black exercises were standard practice and initiated daily to test the speed and accuracy of the reporting system.15
(U) Intelligence Operations Along the Border
In accomplishing the border security mission, an integrated 3-sided team had evolved composed of the armored cavalry regiments, the German border police agencies, and US Army military intelligence units, which provided liaison between the first two, screened refugees who entered the US Zone, and patrolled along the border in order to keep East German and Czechoslovak border security installations under observation. The foreign language capability of the units -- they had Russian, German, Czechoslovak, French, Polish, Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Rumanian linguists -- that was necessary for the accomplishment of their peacetime mission would be fully utilized in wartime when they would accomplish much the same mission -- liaison and interrogation. The units gathered most of their positive intelligence information about East Bloc countries through almost daily liaison with the three German border police agencies and interrogation of refugees.
Actually, they normally only screened the refugees and referred approximately 5-6 percent to other agencies for more intensive interrogations. (Refugees -- as used in this section -- includes defectors and illegal border crossers.) During an average year in the 1950s they screened between 20,000 and 30,000 refugees, depending on the flow from the east, and generated from 2,000 to 10,000 reports in response to Seventh Army and USAREUR collection requirements. It should be noted that they only screened approximately 18-20 percent of the refugees, pointing up their dependence on the German agencies to direct likely sources to them. * After the granting of German sover-
* (U) In the early 1950s, a film entitled "A Journey" was produced, which traced the movements of an illegal border crosser from apprehension by the German border police to the time he was transferred to a refugee camp. It would make interesting viewing if it were available today.
Source: 7th Army Anl Hist Rept, 1 Jan 53-30 Jun 54, p. 181 (Chart No. 44). SECRET (info used CONF.XGDS).
Source: 7th army Anl Hist Rept, FY 1955, p.151 (Chart No. 18). SECRET (info used CONF. XGDS).
eignty in May 1955, US access to refugees became restricted somewhat, especially in Land Hesse.
The Seventh Army's 5324 Military Intelligence Battalion (it had shortened its name from 532d Military Intelligence Service Battalion sometime between 1951 and the first part of 1953) provided intelligence support for US Army units operating along the border. It deployed platoon- and team-size elements throughout the border area, and during the 1950s maintained between 26 and 29 separate installations and screened refugees at 23 refugee camps (see MAPS 9 and 10). Its strength during the mid-1950s was 125 officers and 329 enlisted soldiers. To facilitate the flow of information, order of battle, editorial, and photo interpreter specialist teams were attached to the unit so that it could interface directly with the Seventh Army headquarters G-2 section.
Overall control of the intelligence function along the border was somewhat confused, but seemed to work well. On the local level, the regimental border patrols fed intelligence information gathered during their patrolling directly into the regiment's S-2 Border Operations Section. Since these soldiers also often received intelligence information directly from local German border police personnel, it was essential that there was close liaison between the regiments and the 532d MI Battalion elements, which seemed to be the case. However, the chain of communications between these two and Seventh Army was different; the 532d worked directly for Seventh Army's G-2, while the regiments reported through the corps to Seventh Army. * The 427th Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) Detachment and the 66th CIC Group still operated in the area, furnishing their serviced headquarters, Seventh Army and USAREUR respectively, with still more information. This resulted in some intelligence overlapping and would lead to a major reorganization of the intelligence structure in the early 1960s, which will be covered in the next chapter. (See FIGURES 3 and 4.)
Several other events of importance to the intelligence effort along the border happened in the latter part of the 1950s and are recorded here for reference:
* Prior to 26 December 1955 it had been even more complicated as both Seventh Army's G-2 and G-3 had supervised border operations. After that date, the G-2's Border Affairs Desk became solely responsible for border operations.
Source: 7A Anl Hist Rept, 1 Jul 58-31 Dec 59, p. 130 (Chart #2). SECRET (info used CONF. XGDS).
Source: 7A Anl Hist Rept, 1 Jul 58-31 DEC 59, p. 130 (Chart #3). SECRET (info used CONF. XGDS).
- A SECRET administrative agreement, negotiated between the President of the Federal Republic's Intelligence Service and both the USAREUR and USAFE Deputy Chiefs of Staff for Intelligence in 1957, authorized the continued presence of US military intelligence offices along the border.
- In September 1957 USAREUR, USAFE, and the Federal Republic's Intelligence Service signed an agreement whereby refugees would be interviewed at interrogation centers established by the Federal Republic in which the United States would be represented. On 1 Apri1 1958 the first Joint Interrogation Center (JIC) operated with the Germans was opened in Stuttgart, which greatly simplified liaison with the Germans on interrogation of the refugees. By 1959 the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Federal Republic had signed informal agreements permitting the establishment of quadri-national interrogation centers throughout West Germany. (See Chapter 5 for more information on the JICs.)
- The US Army Surveillance Unit, Europe, was activated in July 1958, with responsibility for some of the USAREUR surveillance aircraft. Aircraft from all over the command were often pressed into service for performing surveillance along the border, and aircraft from this unit were used extensively to supplement the dedicated regimental aircraft.
- During the latter part of 1959, three AN/APS 85 Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) systems became operational at USASETAF, V Corps, and VII Corps. One had previously been received by US Army Surveillance Unit, Europe, and stationed at Lenggries in the Federal Republic. The equipment produced photographic records of radar pictures of the ground and had a maximum range of 40 miles on either side of the aircraft. (For more information on SLAR, see Chapter 5.)16
(U) German Control of the Border
Although the armored cavalry regiments retained responsibility for military security of the eastern borders, from 1947 on the border had been increasingly controlled by German border police agencies which worked in close cooperation with the regiments and the US Army military intelligence elements working in this area. (See Chapter 3's section on the Founding of the German Federal Border Police for more information on this subject during 1950-52.) By 1953 the German border police agencies had divided their responsibilities in the following manner: in Land Hesse the Zollgrenzdienst (Zoll) --
Federal Customs Police -- patrolled the border and, operated legal crossing points; in Land Bavaria it functioned in a similar manner, but was assisted by the Bavarian Border Police (BBP) -- whose primary focus at that point was the Czechoslovak-FRG border, but would subsequently be expanded to include the portion of the inner-German boundary that ran through Bavaria; and the Bundesgrenszchutz (BGS), which patrolled along the complete Federal Republic border with a heavy emphasis on the eastern boundaries.
Although authorized 20,000 men, the BGS consisted of approximately 15,000 men in 1953-55 and was organized-into one brigade composed of three groups. Subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior, the brigade headquarters was located at Bonn, the northern group headquarters at Hannover in the British Zone, the middle group headquarters at Kassel, and the southern group headquarters in Munich -- the latter two both located in the US Zone. Groups were made up of three or four battalions. The battalions consisted of 560 men and normally patrolled in jeeps, trucks, and armored cars. They maintained a ready reserve and served as a back-up to the other two organizations in the event of serious border incidents or emergencies. Primarily, they patrolled the border daily, both on foot and in vehicles, and examined passports at crossing points.
The Zoll belonged to the Federal Ministry of Finance and was tasked with controlling goods crossing into the Federal Republic, but it expanded its activities on the eastern borders to include more extensive patrolling along the border. One immediate difference was that the Zoll members lived in the area they patrolled and were very familiar with the terrain. They patrolled in vehicles or on foot accompanied by dogs.
The Bavarian Border Police was under the control of the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior, and operated out of inspection stations and substations. Although mostly concerned with border patrol duty -- they duplicated the patrolling of the Zoll and BGS somewhat - they were also involved in criminal investigations and other police activities along the border.
(U) -Cooperation of the three was insured by law and agreements between the agencies. Article 91 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany clearly stated that in the event of an emergency, the Federal Government could place the Land police under its "instructions" and commit the BGS. Cooperation between the Zoll and the BBP was arranged in an agreement concluded in 1958 between the President
of the Bavarian Border Police and the Oberfinanzdirektion Munich and Nuernberg -- the subordinate level of Zoll command responsible for the Bavarian area jointly patrolled by the two agencies. Both the Zoll and the BBP were authorized to handle minor incidents on the spot, but normally immediately called in the BGS to take responsibility for any serious border incident.
After regaining its full sovereignty in 1955,the Federal Republic decided to establish a national armed force in 1956 (Article 87a of the Basic Law, "Build-up, strength, use and functions of the Armed Forces," 19 March 1956). The BGS, then at a strength of approximately 16,000 men, was called upon to provide a cadre for the new Bundeswehr -- the German Armed Forces. Approximately 70 percent of the officers and 40 percent of the noncommissioned officers and men transferred to the Bundeswehr, while the remainder chose to stay with the BGS.* If US military authorities had any illusions about the Bundeswehr assisting them in providing military security along the border -- there is some evidence they did -- this thought was soon put to rest when the Federal Republic issued instructions in 1958 that effectively precluded the Bundeswehr from playing any role on the border in peacetime. The Bundeswehr was not allowed to approach the eastern border any closer than five kilometers in company-size: elements or larger. Smaller elements could enter the 5-kilometer zone for operational purposes, but could go no closer than one kilometer. Individual Bundeswehr personnel in uniform were not allowed to enter the 1-kilometer zone. Further, Bundeswehr personnel were prohibited from crossing the East German an Czechoslovak borders. The Bundeswehr would continue to play no role in peacetime operations on the border, but would, of course, have an important role in all emergency or wartime operations.
In subsequent years, the Bundeswehr, was very much aware that its covering and screening forces had to able to move with minimum difficulty into their wartime areas of responsibility along the border. Bundeswehr soldiers conducted terrain walks and reconnaissance in civilian clothes, and the units maintained continuous liaison with the German border control agencies -- especially the BGS -- and the US Army units that operated along the border.
* The BGS slowly built back up to 15,000 men, but the booming West German economy made it difficult to keep up its strength. A change in the Basic Law in 1968, which allowed for the substitution of service in the BGS for the compulsory 18 months of military service, was of some aid.
The partnership forged between the US Army units and the German border police agencies became the norm and remained basically unchanged except for operational refinements. There was an attempt to integrate them more fully into the war plans in 1959. Seventh Army recognized the fact that in an emergency, the BGS units would be withdrawn from the border and used as an augmentation force for other national police units. The BGS units were organized as light infantry battalions, and it was Seventh Army's opinion that they should be under the operational control of the Seventh Army until the first major defense line was reached. The primary interest was in coordinating routes of withdrawal and passage of lines. Since a high degree of coordination and mutual planning was already in progress on a continuing basis for peacetime border operations, it was not expected to be a problem to extend this effort to the planning for the initial stages of an emergency.17
This cooperation was institutionalized in Commander CENTAG (COMCENTAG) Emergency Defense Plan (EDP) 1-61 on 1 December 1961, when three battalions of the BGS were apportioned to the two US corps for observation and reporting missions in wartime. However, the FRG Ministers of Interior and Defense wanted the Seventh Army to make provisions to pass all of the other BGS units through their lines in an expeditious manner in order for them to be used in their wartime role. They realized that in the event of a surprise attack the units would have to be under the operational control of the Seventh Army until they could be disengaged and passed through the lines, but they insisted that only the three BGS battalions already designated to serve with Seventh Army units be retained and the others passed through as soon as possible.18
(U) Border Incidents
Border incidents along the German interzonal boundary and the Czechoslovak/German border continued to be a problem throughout the 1950s. (See Chapter 3's section on Border Incidents for more information on earlier problems.) As in past chap involving Berlin, access to Berlin, and the US Military Liaison Mission (USMLM) at Potsdam will not be addressed except as they affected overall policy. Although there were more than enough- incidents to fill a whole chapter, only those incidents that were unique or raised policy questions will be recounted. Suffice it to say that the constant Soviet and East German harassment in Berlin and on the Berlin access routes did not help the overall climate in resolving incidents on the interzonal boundary.
Although HICOG (and after 1955, the US Embassy) reviewed responses and actions to border incidents, the focal point for preparing USAREUR policy in matters affecting relations with the Soviet occupation authorities was the USAREUR Soviet Relations Advisory Committee. It assumed jurisdiction for all incidents involving Soviet and USAREUR personnel and formulated plans to counter any action the Soviets might take. Established on 7 October 1952, the committee had three permanent members -- the Chief, Civil Affairs Division, who served as chairman; the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2; and the Chief, Public Affairs Division -- as well as other members of the USAREUR staff who were on call, such as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, and a representative of the Office of the Political Advisor. The committee prepared command replies to letters of protest received from the Soviet authorities as well as appropriate news releases on the incidents. Although incidents involving Berlin were normally handled by the US Commander Berlin (USCOB), the committee could act on all zonal incidents between USAREUR military or civilian personnel and Soviet military personnel. It also handled incidents involving defections by USAREUR personnel and relations with the Soviet Military Liaison Mission in the US Zone. However, it did not handle incidents involving East German personnel -- these were dealt with by USCOB or HICOG/US Embassy -- or any incidents on the Czechoslovak border involving either East Bloc or American personnel, which were handled jointly by HICOG/US Embassy Bonn and US Embassy Prague. It did investigate these incidents and would make recommendations to the HICOG/US Embassy Bonn.
In order to more effectively deal with incidents that involved USAREUR personnel who fell into Soviet hands, the committee divided them into two categories and formulated separate policies for each. In the first category were incidents in which US military personnel inadvertently crossed the border into the Soviet Zone or were kidnapped and taken into the Soviet Zone by force. The committee would thoroughly investigate these incidents and promptly make a strong protest to the Soviet authorities demanding the return of the soldiers being held. The second category was more difficult and involved cases of individuals who deliberately crossed into the Soviet Zone for the purpose of deserting or escaping justice. These incidents were handled more cautiously once an investigation ascertained this was the situation. The committee would make inquiries to the Soviets as to whether the US personnel were in Soviet-controlled territory and, if so, would request permission to interview them in order to see if they wanted to return. Negotiations for their return were carried on in as deliberate and friendly a manner as possible.19
The Soviet authorities responded to the formation of the USAREUR Soviet Relations Advisory Committee by forming a counterpart organization of their own. In July 1954 the US Military Liaison Mission was informed of a procedural change in the manner the Soviets would conduct liaison with US forces. Henceforth, matters concerning zones of occupation, zonal borders, the use of the Helmstedt-Berlin Autobahn, and similar inter-Army questions were to be transmitted by the USMLM to the Soviet External Relations Branch (SERB). Problems concerning Berlin would be discussed between the USCOB and the Soviet Commandant of East Berlin, and, as in the past, the respective High Commissions would handle all political questions.20
The most dangerous area of friction between the former Allies during this period was the long and poorly marked German interzonal boundary and the Czechoslovak/German border. Most of the incidents took place at or near border-crossing checkpoints or near towns. In general, they consisted of raids across the boundary by East German police or Czechoslovak soldiers attempting to obtain intelligence information or to arrest persons fleeing Soviet-controlled countries. The most serious incidents from USAREUR's point of view involved US soldiers on border patrol being shot at or kidnapped. The Soviets alleged that USAREUR border patrols penetrated the Soviet Zone and Czechoslovakia for intelligence gathering and to spread propaganda.
All border incidents were handled according to a routine specified by US European Command (USEUCOM), which required the nearest unit to make an immediate investigation of the circumstances and submit a "spot" report to its superior headquarters. That headquarters then forwarded the spot report through channels to USAREUR headquarters and USEUCOM headquarters. A follow-up report was to be made within 24 hours after the spot report, and would be followed by a complete report within 7 days. The reports were to contain all pertinent information obtained by US investigators at the site of the incident; the accounts of the personnel involved, if living and available; and the depositions of any witnesses. This evidence would be evaluated at USAREUR headquarters and a complete report was transmitted to the Army Chief of Staff, with the Adjutant General being notified of the status of any Army personnel involved -- dead, missing, detained, or released. The USAREUR Soviet Relations Advisory Committee would recommend to the commander as to whether a protest should be made and, if so, the nature of the protest.21
Before the reports reached USAREUR headquarters, they passed through Seventh Army's Border Affairs Desk where they were classified
as Class "A" or Class "B" incidents in order to insure the numerous border incidents being reported were given the proper weight before being forwarded to higher headquarters. Class "A" incidents were either air overflights or illegal border crossings by individuals. An example of an air overflight occurred on 17 March 1955 when an Army helicopter became disoriented during heavy snow showers and strayed into East Germany. An example of an illegal border crossing by an individual occurred on 5 June 1955 when an American soldier on leave crossed into Czechoslovakia in order to take pictures -- he was apprehended and not released until 39 days later. Class "B" incidents involved contact between troop units of the East and West. On 1 April 1955 a 2d ACR border patrol entered into the self-imposed border restricted area -- still well within the US Zone -- and was fired on by a Czechoslovak border guard. The system was simplified in 1956 when Class "A" was redefined to mean an incident that involved US military and civilian personnel (dependents and civilian employees) and Class "B" to mean incidents that involved other than US personne1.22
These and past incidents had resulted in border operating restrictions that attempted to prevent border infractions due to American soldiers' oversights. In addition to the 5-kilometer restriction on unauthorized military personnel next to the border, there was also a 100-meter restricted zone in which the border units were not allowed to operate. Because of a concern that the other side would see this self-imposed restraint as an abdication of part of the border area, USAREUR reduced the restricted zone from 100 meters to 50 meters in September 1954, forbidding entry into the zone without Seventh Army headquarters permission. Even this 50-meter restricted zone was found to be too restrictive on the units operating along the border, and on 27 August 1955 CINCUSAREUR authorized personnel of the armored cavalry regiments, 532d Military Intelligence Battalion, and the 427th Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment to enter the restricted zone while performing their observation duties.23
In 1954 several US military personnel had been seized by Czechoslovak border guards when they inadvertently crossed the poorly marked border. (See Chapter 3, Border Incidents, for more information on how the border was marked during this period.) USEUCOM directed on 20 September 1954 that English-language signs of sufficient size to be legible at a distance of 100 yards by a person with normal vision, indicating the proximity of the border, be erected on each all-weather road along the eastern borders. No fixed distance from the border was prescribed inasmuch as placement of the signs would depend on terrain
features, man-made structures, and visibility. In subsequent years, instructions simply stated that the signs would be 50 meters from the border unless the above mentioned conditions dictated otherwise.
Military personnel on authorized visits near the border were instructed to check in at a border command post for orientation on the location of the border. All command personnel were to be thoroughly' briefed on a continuing basis of the grave international consequences, as well as personal dangers, of unauthorized border crossings. They were told that personnel who ignored these warnings did so at their own risk and could be held responsible for their actions. This was followed in 1955 by the development of a policy for the peacetime conduct of Army personnel who became lost, detained, or otherwise isolated in any of the East Bloc countries. Although all personnel were briefed, particular attention was paid to those who had access to sensitive information.24
In 1955 there was some confusion between USAREUR and US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) over where the German interzonal boundary was located: Apparently, when Seventh Army had made its survey of the borders in 1952 and upgraded its maps (see Chapter 3, Border Incidents), USAFE had not been informed or had failed to annotate its aerial maps. This problem was surfaced when USAFE pilots reported border violations by US Army aircraft when, according to Seventh Army maps, none had occurred. On 30 September 1955 a study was initiated to determine where the boundary was so that the maps could be properly annotated. During 1956 USAREUR and USAFE coordinated on the proper location of the interzonal boundary so that maps being used by both commands would be in agreement and erroneous reports of border violations by American pilots would be curtailed.25
Air incidents, by their very nature, were difficult to avoid or explain once they occurred. They also had a great potential for violence and accidents. Incidents in the airspace along the German interzonal boundary and the Czechoslovak border and in the Berlin air corridors were not uncommon. They were of two kinds, usually: those created by inadvertent flights of US and other Allied civilian or military aircraft over the borders, and those created by attacks of Soviet or other East Bloc aircraft on US or Allied aircraft. The Soviet and Czechoslovak authorities frequently complained that US aircraft violated their borders by flying over their territories to drop pamphlets and other kinds of anticommunist propaganda. As a rule, such allegations were unfounded; when asked to produce examples of this propaganda, Eastern authorities were unable to do so. The
East Bloc protests usually ended with a demand that further incidents of this type be stopped. The incidents involving Soviet and Czechoslovak aircraft attacking Allied aircraft, however, were usually of a very serious nature. They consisted of the buzzing by Soviet military aircraft of US and other Allied civilian and military aircraft while they were flying in the marked air corridors enroute to or from Berlin and of East Bloc aircraft crossing into the US Zone to attack Western aircraft. The former incidents usually involved close passes or stunts and maneuvers close to Western aircraft as they were transiting the air corridors. Czechoslovak aircraft were the most aggressive in crossing into the US Zone and interfering with or attacking Allied aircraft.
The reporting and investigation of air incidents -- border or otherwise -- followed a definite procedure. An immediate spot report was transmitted by the quickest means to the USAREUR G-2. In addition, personnel observing foreign military aircraft entering the US Zone reported immediately, to the nearest air command, Seventh Army headquarters, and USAREUR headquarters by a "flash" call on a military telephone or a "clear-the-line" call on a civilian telephone. The nearest US Air Force base was responsible for investigating air incidents involving military aircraft and would report all relevant information to the HICOG Civil Aviation Division in Frankfurt (see Chapter 3, Border Incidents' section, for rationale) and concurrently would inform USEUCOM, USAFE, and USAREUR. In cases involving US civilian aircraft, the investigation was conducted by the nearest HICOG civil, airport administrator. With the passing of HICOG and the establishment of the US .Embassy in Bonn, the investigative responsibility passed to German authorities and US military authorities, with the US Embassy maintaining policy control. In fiscal year (FY) 1955 -- 1 July 1954 through 30 June 1955 -- USAFE sought to reduce encounters between its aircraft and East Bloc aircraft by establishing a 30-mile "sterile" zone next to the eastern boundaries in which its aircraft were normally restricted from operating. In addition, Czechoslovak authorities were warned that US aircraft would return fire in the event of future incursions of Czechoslovak aircraft into the US Zone and firing on American aircraft.26
There were several border incursions by East Bloc paramilitary personnel during August 1958. As a consequence, border security was tightened through the improvement of communications facilities and the creation of a system of rapid reinforcement of the violated area by helicopter-borne cavalrymen. Communications improvements included the establishment of point-to-point communications between the German
border police agencies and US MI units and armored cavalry regiments that enabled these elements to rapidly report any border- incursions. A Seventh Army directive, published in August 1958, stated that one H-34 Choctaw helicopter would be provided to each armored cavalry regiment in order to test airborne reinforcement techniques and improve reconnaissance capabilities. This led to revisions of existing border operating instructions that would allow for rapid and positive reactions to border incursions.
The test phase lasted until December 7958. In addition to reacting to any real border incursion by airlifting an officer-led patrol to the location of the incident within 30 to 45 minutes after receiving the initial report, the units carried out practice missions to test the system. In the absence of reported border violation, two practice missions were flown each week until 15 December, when they were scheduled to be reduced to one per week. The exercises were not conducted closer than 100 meters to the border and avoided establishing a pattern for either time of day or direction of approach to the border. Various FRG agencies protested the air reinforcement operations, but they were continued until mid-December 1958, when the regiments indicated that adverse weather conditions were preventing compliance with the training schedule, and Seventh Army temporarily suspended the requirement.
Seventh Army headquarters directed, on 11 March 1959, that the Seventh Army Aviation Group furnish two H-34 Choctaw helicopters and crews to each armored cavalry regiment and that the regiments reinstate the helicopter reinforcement program on a full-scale basis, effective 1 April 1959. A third helicopter was later furnished to the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment because of its greater area of responsibility. The stationing of the crews and helicopters were jointly determined by the Group and ACR commanders, with the Group being responsible for maintaining the helicopters and insuring that no less than two flyable helicopters were available to the regiment. Prior to attachment the crews were fully checked out on border flight operations and briefed on the seriousness of border over-flights. The program was to be consistent with the test program's training schedule; however, only one helicopter was to be employed at a time, with the other held in reserve for a real incident. The 532d MI Battalion was tasked with notifying the appropriate German agencies of the new procedures.27
(U) H-34 Choctaw
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