Charlie Battery - Kleingartach/Hardheim

23 Year Odyssey in Rural Germany - 1959 - 1982

Site News - Winter/Spring - 2020




Charlie Battery Remembered

In This Issue...!

This is the time for a new newsletter because we have some very interesting information to announce regarding the ongoing Charlie Battery history and its continuing popularity in the collective memory of the people around the Heuchelberg, and the greater Heilbronn area as well.

As I have previously stated a great source of the ongoing information and history about Charlie Battery are the plethora of articles by Local and regional newspapers like the Heilbronn newspaper called "The Heilbronner Stimme", and Zaber-Neckar Post. Our battery has been well documented by these newspapers that have been writing articles since the Battery was first proposed back in mid 1950's, and it still continues.

A great example of this may be viewed in the "Beginning and the End" articles that have been combined into one PDF. Both articles are by the Zaber-Neckar Post, local Zabergäu paper. So please “Click Here” for a local point of view. As I am sure you remember the Zabergäu is the valley that goes from the Neckar River at Lauffen, and it runs all the way up to and past Brackenheim, Haberschlacht " Stockheim, Guglingen, Pfaffenhofen, up to Zaberfeld. You can view Uli Pfingstler's excellent PDF about the Zabergäu (pronounced Zabergoy), so please “Click Here” to update your memory and a great overview.

Included here are events that have led to even more recent activities that continue to document Charlie Battery's presence and history on the Heuchelberg.

The Installation of Information Kiosks Around Charlie Battery

After the kaserne was no longer used for Nike Guided Missiles, it continued to be used by the U.S. Army for other guided missile purposes. For a while there was a Hawk Unit, and later a Pershing Tactical Nuclear Mobile Missile Unit used the base. The Pershing was a tracked missile that was truly a mobile and self contained weapon, so barracks and launching areas were not necessarily required. So, with no fixed equipment required, all of the areas like the launching area, the barracks, and the IFC basically fell into an ever increasingly state of disrepair and degradation. Finally the Kaserne was deactivated and returned to Bundes Republic, or German Government.

There is a wonderful newspaper article by Claudia Kostner about 3 gentlemen who were very much involved in Charlie Battery in one way or another. Günter Walter, Robert Böckle, and Werner Kümmerle are featured in this piece and I highly recommend that all will read and honor their efforts, and stories about their experiences, which are directly related to this discussion. Please “Click Here” to open this document.

For the most part the base languished and was forgotten and over grew , returning to nature. But the base was never forgotten by the local people, and it always visited by people who were out for a walk or their flying model airplanes over at the IFC Model Airplane Aerodrome.

The Launching Area was completely torn down, including the revetments, missile hangers, concrete pads... Everything. After everything was removed it was discovered that the area was seriously toxic and polluted, so it was decided to turn it into a construction waste landfill, and the rest is history. Interesting information can be read about the state of the landfill by selecting the link available in next few paragraphs below. Three short, but very interesting stories come in this three part article that reveal new information, so “Click Here” to open this document.

The entrance to the landfill is from the new road that was cut through the woods, just around where the Gasthaus in The Woods is. The road runs from Brackenheim where it just by passes Haberschlacht, which there is an exit to, up the hill, over and down to Kleingartach to Schwaigern road. A right turn goes to Stetten and beyond. However, just as you come off the hill just before that road is a left turn off that leads to a very well organized recycling depot, or in German, deponie. This recycling depot is for the general public, opposed to Launching Area landfill, which is for commercial construction only.

Also, I think this website helped with the historical reconnect ion, as it offered photographs that reignited memories of the "Good ole Days". Those who were interested, and later became good friends, contacted the website, offered historical documents, and news of events, as well as interesting photos which helped local folk see their history in a new light.

In 2011 the area celebrated the "Year of the Forest". The event included food, music, children's games, and a display tent that featured history and information about Charlie Battery. You can read stories and view photos of the event, so “Click Here” to visit that PDF.

It was about that time the local Forester Jochen Rüb got the idea that it would be a helpful to install Information Kiosks in each of the Charlie Battery areas, so that people who visited the former Kaserne would have accurate historical information about activities of each area. He asked for help in the project from Thomas Schulz, who has long been our good friend, as he was a great person who could really contribute to the effort.

There was a long pause in the project until the end of 2015 due to other important issues that the Forestry Service had to deal with. Climate change has put many forests under extreme pressure. So, attention to these kinds of problems, which many Forest Services are            >>>

Kiosk Installation Continued...

having, forces them to devote serious attention to try and understand them. But then the Kiosk project began to speed up resulting in many phone calls, e-mail, and early morning meetings in Eppingen and on the Heuchelberg.

Jochen and Thomas selected photos, information text, and created designs for the sheets of each area. However in 2017 the Breitenbach Company, the company chosen to create those sheets for the Kiosks, rejected their designs due to technical problems, so the company redesigned them and after the 3rd or 4th version.

So, Breitenbach finished the sheets in June 2018, however, because of the really hot and dry weather in 2018, the Forestry Service had deal with dying trees and other wood damages happening in the forests, so they could not install the finished Kiosks.

In Germany every process has its own time, progress, and finality. But finally in October 2019, the Charlie Battery Information Kiosks were installed.

Here is a brief timeline provided by Thomas Schulz that really illustrates just how involved and detailed the project was, but like fine German Wine, it takes time, effort and commitment that each step along the way to completion.

Kiosk Creation And Installation Timeline

Involved in the project:

  • The Heilbronn forestry service

  • Martin Rüter, head of the Eppingen branch and deputy head of the forestry service; supports and permit the project in the state forest.

  • Jochen Rüb, the local Forester around the Heuchelberg who conceived the project

  • The forest workers who installed the kiosk

  • The forest worker trainees who made the wooden racks

  • Some of the various department clerks who helped in many, often little things along the way.

  • The state surveyor´s office in Stuttgart - they approved the use of the aerial image.
    ( Seen on each Kiosk)

  • The archivists of the "Heilbronner Stimme" who allowed the use of the (1959) "Official opening" image.

  • Several people who allowed the use of their images (they know who they are...!

  • Charlie Battery's dear friend Herbert Ade-Thurow with his area maps

  • Max Ehrle, a buddy of Thomas Schulz, who optimized the images

  • Breitenbach company, the sheet maker

  • And finally Thomas Schulz and his tireless efforts

To all who assisted with the project, we pleased that your project has been successfully completed. Congratulations to you all for your persistence and very hard work. Such detailed efforts, along with such great results, must give you all a feeling of satisfaction for a job well done. And to Jochen Rüb, Thomas Schulz, and Herbert Ade-Thurow, your past efforts, and continuing support and interest in the Charlie Battery and the 3rd/71st experience over the years, have been, and will always be appreciated, as will our friendship. So we are honored and humbled that our contributions are, and continue to be remembered and appreciated.

Vielen Dank Dear Friends

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- - - Breaking News - Late December 2020 Update - - -

I received the following e-mail from Dr. Otfried Kies, from Hausen on the Zaber, which is a small village just a few kilometers from Brackenheim. He is conducting historical research on the Zabergäu and the Castle Stocksberg. The “Zabergäu” (pronounced Zabergoy) is the valley view of Stockheim and beyond that we used to enjoy from the castle, and the Zaber is the small river running through the valley. Click the link to refresh your memeory.

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Dear veterans of charlie3rd71st

My name is Dr. phil. Otfried Kies. I am a local historian of the Zabergäu region, where Charlie 3r, 71 st. had their base near Stockheim-Haberschlacht-Kleingartach. I just have finished a book on the history of Schloss Stocksberg - Stocksberg Castle. I found out that many of you - while being stationed on the Nike Base - used to have a mug of beer and a plate of schnitzels in the castle, enjoying the beautiful view of that part of the world.

There is a plan to edit another volume of the book, comprising the castle's history after World War II. In this volume I would like to publish among other reports features of those members of Charlie 3r, 71 st. on their memories, impressions, thoughts of and on Stocksberg Castle - as you have been part of the castle's history during the years you arrived at Haberschlacht and left for Hardheim. The book is a non-profit enterprise, so I won't be able to pay a writers' royalty.

You all are invited to share your memories with those people who live in this area and have no knowledge of your service here "winning the peace with peace through vigilance, strength, honor, resolve". In would be pleased to receive your words about Stocksberg - which for you may be not only, but also a pleasant memory.

Best regards,
Dr. Otfried Kies

Hausen an der Zaber
Elsternweg 6
D-74336 Brackenheim Germany
Phone Germany 07135 2080
Dr. Otfried Kies

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It would be great if those who spent time at the castle would share your stories with Dr. Kies. If you like, and to make it easier, you can send them to me and I will forward them to Dr. Kies. Please use the email address found at the bottom of each website page... Thanks guys...!

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