German Organization of the Base from the Beginning Stages 1934.
   The skies are above London knew the strength of the Luftwaffe in 1940-41.  Austria felt Hitler's might in 1938 and that same year the Sudetenland shook at the hands of the well trained Luftwaffe pilot.

   Where did these pilots come from?  Where were they trained?  Many of them received their training right here at Herzo Base, which was built by private firms for the German Government between September 1934 and October 1935. Since Germany was forbidden to have an Air Force by the Versailles Treaty, the Post was used initially as a Hitler Yourth Glider Training Base.  Soon, however,fighter pilots were being trained here in civilian clothing.

   In March 1936 when Hitler marched into the Rhineland and announced rearmament, the "civilians"  in training here put on uniforms and became Luftwaffe pilots. In the same month two years later HerzoBase served as a fueling and ammunitions point for the air cover over Hitler's triumphant march into Vienna shortly after Germany's Anschluss (annexation) of Austria.

   Six month later, in Septmeber 1938, planes flew from here over Czechoslovakia when the Sudetenland was secured by the Munich Pact. At this time Hitler ordered plywood planes put on the field here, and in all other German Air Bases to give the false impression that Germany had a massive air force on the ground as well as in the air. On November 9 each year, the Nazi Parteitag   (Party Day), planes from Herzo Base flew over the gigantic rallies staged at Zeppelinfeld  (Soldiers'Field) in Nuernberg.

    The name of Herzo Base was originally the Deutsche Flieger Schule, or German Flying School, and the first building to be erected here was the present Post Exchange.  It was the project office and canteen for civilian workers who built the base.  Carved on the beam in the store room today as the works "Dienst is Dienst (und) Schnaps is Schnaps" (Work is work and drink is drink). In the project office blueprints were kept and final plans for construction of the base were made.

    The Headquarters Building was the next to be erected.  Construction on the barracks followed, and them work on the hangars began. Three sections of the Post were completed by October 1935.  A fourth section was to contain an indoor swimming pool and complete athletic field, but construction materials were diverted to more strategic projects. Many of the buildings are use today in the same way they were used by the Germans.

    The Guard House at the Main Gate is the same, and the small cells inside still serve their intended purpose. The Headquarters Building served the same purpose then too.  In front of it, where
the parking lot is today, was a concrete commnications bunker which was later blown up.

    The Base Commander lives in the same house.  The AYA was the German Quartermaster Supply, while the Bachelor Officers' Quarters and the Dispensary are the same. The Officers' Club was the Mess Hall for enlisted men; it was only one large room then.  On the right of the Officers' Club was a small PX for personal items.  Across the street where the Education Center stands today was a school for signal units and telephone operators. The telephone operators were young women who lived in the present day non-commissioned Officers' Quarters.

    Our Snack Bar was the NCO Club them.  Above it, where the Service Club is, was the German Officers' Club.  The Generator Building which sits beside the U.S. Officers' Club was built by Americans in l949. The little unoccupied building across the street from the Snack Bar held the emergency rations for the base.  Farther down, on the same side of the street, is the SACom Telephone Exchange.  It served as a telephone exchange for the Luftwaffe too, and the wires leading to the building were installed by Germans and have been used ever since. Our Mail Room was a gas chamber the German soldiers used for training.

    The company areas were basically the same.  The only difference is that married officers and NCOs lived  in the billets with the men.  They lived in the apartment like areas at the end of the wings. The attics of the buildings them were company supply aeas, while basements served as wash and shower rooms and bomb shelters.

    The Motor Pool serves the same purpose today.  The barren rocky area in the center, now a truck park, was once covered with grass. The German motor pool was a depot for converting confiscated privately owned cars into staff cars for front line use.

    The Rifle Range by the Rod and Gun Clubwas a testing area for aeroplane weapons such as Messerschmitts' cannons which had to be syncronized with the propeller. The Rod and Gun Club held the feed for Angora rabbits kept in hutches surrounding it.  The rabbits provided both a source of food and of fur for lining flying jackets.

    Across from the Rod and Gun Club stood a long wooded hanger, Number 6, which held the Hitler Youth's gliders.  It was destroyed just before the war ended. In Hangar  Number 5, the Old Operations Building, were the planes ready for scramble.  Usually five Messerschmitt-109s, and later five Focke-Wulf-190s, were kept ready to defend the base. The main air strip ran for 2,000 meters out of Hangar Number 5.  It contained six million bricks laid by hand. Hangar Number 4, the present Operations Building, housed fighters ready for the defense of Nuernberg.

     The Signal Maintenance Building was an aeroplane weapons repair shop.  Behind it, the NCO Club was a Mess Hall for 5600 civilians working on post. The Theater served as the main engine repair shop for aircraft.  The Chapel and Kindergarten area across the street was a central supply for parts, tools, and chemicals.

     Hangar Number 3, presently a supply warehouse, was an instruction hangar and housed the base commander's plane.   The Fire Station was the same then. Hangars Number 2 and 1, today the Mess Hall and Gymnasium, respectively, were used for initial training. The EM Club was built by the U.S. in l949.

 Camouflage of the Base from the Allies and Saving the Base from German Destruction.
   Perhaps the most important visitor to the Luft Krieg Schule during its existence here at Herrzo Base was Julius Streicher, the Gauleiter ( District Leader) from Nuernberg. But better known were two of German's most famous aces who were trained here during the war. One of these was Werner Moelders, the youngerst wing commander in the Luftwaffe, who had a record of shoooting down 103 alliedair planes before he was killed on the Russian front. The other was Hans Rudel, author of the book Stuka Pilot.  He flew a stuka Modified with 37mm cannons for hunting tanks.  Rudel is said to have "killed" more than 323 Russian tanks during the war. At the end of the war he had flown 476 missions, a record not matched by the combined mission totals of any two pilots in the Allied Air Forces.

   Probably the most memorable personality associated with the Post, at least to the German fliers stationed here, was the first and last commanding officer, Colonel Klenk.   Col. Klenk was assigned here from 1934 to 1938 and again in 1944-1945.  He was with the Von Richthofen Flying Circus of Worl War 1 where he served under Hermann Georing.

     Klenk was in the Air Force for a while, then dropped out to work as a teacher, and later came back into the Luftwaffe.  Some of the soldiers who served under him said that when the colonel left the Headquarters Building everyone would drift to the oppostie side of the base to avoid him. Each day Col. Klenk would take his little Arado 96 up to check out his pet peeve...the camouflage.

     Camouflage was practically the only protection the base had.  The only ground to air fire power here was one anit-aircraft gun positioned  just north of the road to Herzogenaurach, about 200 yeards from the Main Gate.  A small mound of dirt in the field is all os this postion that remains today.  The guns were of small caliber and they were never needed because there was nothing to attract Allied aircraft here.

     Herzogenaurach was a town of 4,600 population and there was virtually no industry there (today, l964, it is a city of 10,800).  The base was so well camouflaged that on a foggy day and at nights pilots often had to land at Fuerth because they could not find their home base.  Cattle and sheep grazed on the runways.  Grass and trees grew on op of the hangers and the streets and buildings were painted green in the summer and white in the winter.

     During alerts the aircrafts were rolled into hangars and into the woods at the end of the runway or where the city dump in now.  The livestock was only incidental camouflage; its main purpose was to supply fresh meat for the base.  During the war not one bomb hit the base or Herzogenaurach.As the fighting ended, Col. Klenk left and reportedly gave a Major Platten with about 200 men the responsibility of destroying the base.  The Major is said to have disobeyed his orders and left the base intact.  Finally the Waffen SS ( Schutz Staffel) troops who were with drawing through this area interceded with direct orders from Hitler through HImmeler to blow up the base.

     So with the aid of an unidentified electrician who helped build the base, the SS placed their charges.  The final charge was placed on what the electrician called the main power cable which rain underground behing the billets.  The SS Troops set off this charge and placed time fuses on the remainder of the expolsives in the buildings and left. The electrician was a civilian who had been conscripted into service here.  Foreseeing the possibility of having to destroy all his work, he buried a length of cable behind the billets.This was the "power line" the SS blew up.  After they left, he cut all the fuses on the charges they planted.

     One day passed before U.S.troops reached the base, and during this time farmers in the area looted the base, carrying away anything they thought they could use.  Advancing U.S. troops fired occasional artillery rounds and two of the erratic rounds hit the base on April 16, l945.  These shells caused fires which destroyed the wooded Hanger Six and the roofs of some of the buildings in the Motor Pool, leaving the stalls which remain today.   This was the only damage here during the war.

     The first unit to occupy the base was a U.S. transportation unit.  This unit was followed by a detachment of the 64th U.S. Fighter Wing.  The detachment left in May 1946 and the 2nd Radio Corps moved in.  The Base became the 6th Field Station in 1947, and in l957 the 318th arrived here.

With the coming of the fall 1964, Herzo Base celebrated its thirtieth year of continuous military service, and remained ( at the time of this article in l964 ) a tribute to all who had served there

History of Herzo Base by  2nd Lt. John Caruso, Jr. of Co. A.  The history is  based  on material  Lt. Caruso gathered for training classes he presented in  March 1964.  The article was in the 318th Battalion newspaper called "Foxy's Feats" Note: A special "Thanks" to Paul Marshall dual@lightspeed.net who was a t Herzo 62-64 and sent me a few copies of the "Foxy's Feats" newspaper.

Home Button

Copyright 2001-2004 Herzo63.com 318th ASA Site. All rights reserved
Send e-mail to with questions or comments about this web site 
 Site designed by 
KS Graphics  South Plainfield NJ