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  Stephen Kranovich:

"In early 1946, I was assigned to the 4th Tactical Communications Squadron and we were living in Bad Neustadt. The locals had been given 24 hours to clear out of their houses and we moved in. I recall we were living near the big Grundig radio factory and we didn't have much to do. In 1947, a few of us were assigned to the 926th and we were moved into that big German barracks down the road in Bad Kissingen and things got busy. That's the way things were with "Dog" Company, 926th Signal Battalion."


Company D, 926th Signal Battalion - 926th Signal Outpost Operations Company - First Radio Relay Squadron ... every dog has its day

This is the story of how an Army signal battalion, assisting with the development of new combined arms fighting theory, became one of the first US Air Force squadrons in Germany and then continued to play a key role with emerging technology in support of communications in the European theater. Only in Bad Kissingen for a short period of time, Company D traces its beginnings to 1 September 1943 in Aldermaston, England.  The unit story flows across France and Belgium,  then through Germany with the American fighting forces and finally to the post war period and the Kaserne on the hill.
 

The Army Air Force 9th Tactical Air Command, marshaling over 25 fighter - bomber squadrons, a part of the 9th Air Force, provided the close air support for attacking ground units from the first days of the Allied invasion at Normandy until the end of hostilities. To provide the communications links necessary for ground commanders to make their requests for fighter bomber support and then actually coordinate the attacks with in bound pilots was just one mission of the 926th and they wrote, tested and re - wrote the doctrine for radio coordination of close air support as the Allies stormed across Europe.  Much of this development was trial and error, they were always looking to solve problems as the units pressed forward.  What seems so simple now, coordinating aircraft with ground units in real time, during the war years was a major challenge.

Stephan Kranovich:

"I checked my old orders and the 926th Signal Battalion really ceased to exist as of October 47, that's when the 926th S.O.O.C. was
organized.  As I recall, for most of that Summer and Fall, we were the only company that really was staffed, the others were drawn down to no personnel. Most of this was in Bad Kissingen and it is when the radio relay program was really taking off."

"In the immediate post war period, the 12th TAC Air HQ moved to Bad Kissingen.  The 926th followed from Erlangen and the supporting signal companies that had been spread out all across Europe followed. It seemed as though the men were just passing through long enough to turn in their equipment and begin processing for return to the United States. Initially the Hqs. & Hqs Detachment, 926th Signal Bn was located in the first barracks on the left, Building # 2.  The battalion was soon reduced to just Company D and they moved across the quad from Building 6 into Building 2. They also had a new mission. "

John Allred:

"As the war veterans processed out, new soldiers from the USA
arrived almost every day. That's how I got there as a repair and equipment specialist. I had a workshop in the basement of the barracks and had 50 - 60 sets to work on as well as establishing and maintaining our new remote sites. In Bad Kissingen, we had the Town and Country Club for enlisted men and an NCO Club called the Wheel House. I guess it really wasn't that bad."

William Heflin:

"I recall Bad Kissingen very well; I was also involved with repairs and we froze in the Winter. I think only the offices had little coal stoves for heat,
my work area had nothing. Likewise, the rooms in the barracks had little or no heat ... get done with work, eat and immediately go to bed under all the covers, did that for most of the Winter. On the other hand, in the mess hall, at each table as we went in for supper, was a full pitcher of beer so I guess we made the best of it. This was also the time when the Army had fenced off about six blocks of Bad Kissingen and the Germans were not allowed in except with a pass. This was the central part of the town and all the Army Air Force headquarters units moved into the big hotels. I took some photos of that. One big street had been named Adolf Hitler Strasse and we re - named it Roosevelt Street. (Kurhaus Strasse today). In the Winter of 46 or early that Spring, the big flood came and the Germans and Americans worked hard to pump the town dry. By then I think the American sector was pretty much open to the Germans all the time."

As the other companies of the 926th stood down, "Dog" Company first received all the turn in equipment and then received a new mission. The company would be used to establish the first VHF/FM point to point multi channel radio relay system in post war Europe and this would be the framework for the major command and control signal system servicing the Army Air Forces. The unit was re-designated as the 926th Signals Outpost Operations Company in 1947 with headquarters in Bad Kissingen. The men and their equipment were found on all the peaks of Germany.

Unit History 1954:

"The main part of the outfit is like a phantom which one hears about but never sees. They are rarely seen because of the inaccessibility
of their sites. They are spread out over such an area and occupy so many mountain tops in Germany and France that someone coined the phrase, 'no peak without a First Radio Relay Site'. Some idea of the wide spread operations can be obtained from the fact that a normal month's travel consists of 140, 000 to 160, 000 miles for all vehicles. This staggering mileage is mostly over back roads which are rough and unimproved. The roving special staff that visits each site takes an entire month to make the complete circuit. "

Wayne Dorrough:

"We had 15 total sites, nine were major relays and six were small relays or terminal sites. I am sure I passed through BK when I was first assigned but I don't recall that much about it. I do recall my site, however, it was on Donnersberg mountain by the town of Dannenfels in the French zone. Our team was typical, only four guys and our NCO, we lived in a German house in the village with a housekeeper and cook, all paid for by the Army. Our site was about a mile up a very steep trail on the mountain. We had a jeep and a truck and shuttled back and forth in eight hour shifts. Rain or shine, Winter and Summer we had a man in the communications shelter monitoring the equipment, running tests and so on. About once a month, the truck made a supply run, people were exchanged now and then for medical or dental care or just to be rotated off the site. We played a lot of cards at night. This was the French area of occupied Germany and the locals hated that concept. As far as relations towards us, I never recall any problems of any sort."

John Allred:

"I assisted in setting up some of the remote sites and also traveled as
part of the maintenance contact team for Company D. Once it was all up and running, I don't think we had more than ten or fifteen men in Bad Kissingen, maybe a few more were in and out processing. I built a mobile test set and repair shop in my truck to assist with the job. I think that by the Fall of 1947, the HQ was out of Bad Kissingen and moved to Camp Pieri in Wiesbaden  - Dotzheim as the 926th Signal Outpost Operations Company.  During the period 26 June 1948 to 30 September 1949, personnel serving at least 120 days were awarded the Medal for Humane Action in support of the Berlin Airlift.  In October 1948, we were re-designated as the First Radio Relay Squadron and the unit had grown to include engineers, surveyors, land acquisition specialists and so on. We were responsible for all the relay and terminal sites in the American zone and some sites in the French zone of Germany and it continued to grow with men, equipment and responsibilities long after I departed.  The unit moved to Camp Lindsey in Wiesbaden in 1952 - 1953.  The unit subsequently moved to Ramstein AFB [just north of Kaisersalutern] in 1953.  As I understand it, there are several Air Force communications units on active duty today that can trace their heritage and lineage all the way back to "Dog" Company. I am proud that I was in on the start of it."

 dog7
Here is the antenna and commo shelter
site on top of the Donnersberg Mountain.
The site personnel lived in the village
of Dannenfels. This shows a typical
site for the relay squadron.
--John Allred


dog8
Here I am, Bill Heflin, with my 03 Springfield off on a hunt. 
The whole thing in Bad Kissingen wasn't that bad as I recall

dog6
Although the war was over, there were
reminders just a few miles outside of town.
Here is Dan C. Britt on a Panther tank
in a ditch in 46 - 47. This was only a mile
or two away from the barracks.
--Bill Heflin

dog9
My mobile radio repair van with test set installed. I
am at the far right with Corporal Vic Chanove.
--John Allred

 

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