The Armorer shared this little video of Grafenwoehr Training Area, in Germany. GTA has long been the primary live fire training area for US and German units in Europe. Indeed, as the video shows, it’s been fulfilling that mission since before the First World War.


I’ve been around the track there a time or two. How about you? Any memories of GTA?

14 thoughts on “Graf”

  1. I have no memories. My younger 19E brother does. He hated the place when he was there ’77-’79. He was stationed at Elvis former Kaserne and didn’t mind that, but all the stories about Graf were bad. I think he was a bit disillusioned about what he found in the Army during that period and that would color all else.

    1. I was stationed on Elvis’s former Kaserne from 1999-2003. It was Ray Barracks, in Friedburg. Elvis lived off post in the town of Bad Naueheim, which is just a couple of farmer’s fields away. There was still a barber shop in Bad Nauheim that Elvis used to go to, though I am not sure if any of the barbers still worked there. Elvis was in “the other tank battalion” when I was there so we didn’t claim “Elvis lineage” the way they did.

    2. I don’t know which battalion he was in. If I get back to the farm I can look on the wall where he posted a cert he got from his BC and see. I don’t back there much because of family strife, alas, and just want to stay out of it.

  2. When we were stationed at Leighton Barracks in Wurzburg, I used to go there a few times a month to visit friends or for Girl Scout meetings. Some days were verbotten due to maneuvers.

  3. Well, in the dead of night, I had a German train full of new BMWs hit one of my tanks while we were moving by rail to Graf. It tore off the #7 and #6 skirts and sprayed a shrapnel of skirt parts into the new BMWs, causing significant damage to both cars and my tanks. The report went up to the DIV CDR that I had lost a ballistic (and secret) skirt, which was not actually true; only tne non-ballistic skirts. I did not know any of this until I was briefed by the rail meister in the morning and then was met by the division commander who had the erroneous report of a missing secret skirt. On the same Graf rotation, the air defenders attached to my company managed to spray 88 rounds of 25mm from their Bradley Stinger Fighting Vehicle out of sector, some of which hit the red tile roof of the schoolhouse in the small German village just to the north of Graf, causing an O6 to do an investigation of me and my company. I was ultimately absolved, when the entirety of blame could be placed squarely on the duck hunter observer/controller team that had built the scenario for a battalion LFX but had not proofed the targetry in conjunction with the rest of the range proofing. This incident, I am not so proud to say, was mentioned on a Paul Harvey spot, though he said a tank shot a schoolhouse, not that the Bradley did it.

    1. I coudldn’t draw a SDAD, but I understood what the heck they were for.

      For you non-tankers out there, the side skirts of the M1 are made of a proprietary (and classified Secret) laminated armor. Any incident that exposed the inside of the armor had to be reported and appropriate measures to minimize the security breach taken.

  4. Lots of connections here. I did Basic in the 37th Armor at Ft. Hood back in the summer of ’60. Our mess hall had a juke box donated by Elvis.

    I also spent a lot of time at Graf (and Hoenfels) as a member of a 4.2 FDC crew. The last time was the winter of ’62-’63. The warmest it got on that trip was a few degrees BELOW zero.

  5. My memories are of the dust. Before we left, we’d get our heads shaved, lose the mustache and make “Graf rags” from the slings in the first aid kits to cover our mouth and nose. You could tell the guys who had been there more than once because they had goggles. Coveralls, Graf rag, goggles and CVC. We looked like a bunch of pickles running around on the range. Highlight was the combined fire excercises with the Cobras, cav platoon and tanks. Rest of it was humping rounds and waiting to start your runs. Glad I did it, but don’t miss it a bit. Couldn’t tell you anything else about the damn place but I remember the dust.

    1. There are a couple or three things I remember my brother mentioning. One was the dust. Second was the mud. Third was the routine of breaking track because of the actions of a butter bar LT that didn’t know what he was doing.

      At the time he told the third story, I didn’t know enough to ask questions. Now that I do, I have no interest in going around family to ask them, and the story, the little I remember doesn’t add up. The only time I’ve had to break track was to replace some links that were worn out.

  6. I remember doing nightfire in our Brads right before we were scheduled for demo training (scout platoon). A couple of drivers fell asleep en route to the demo range; luckily no accidents on the tank trail. Learning how to wire up electric and non-electric detonaters while only about 1/3 awake was surreal. Even the shot of adrenaline while crimping the blasting caps wasn’t enough to wake me up.

    Gotta say that watching the 25 mm tracers through my VVS-2 was pretty cool, and being blinded by mortar flares a couple of ranges over wasn’t.

  7. Mud everywhere

    Mud on the tank trails the consistency of babyshit

    Dust everywhere, even if it was muddy…muddust

    The biggest pricks in the world working range control

    Bribing the ASP local nationals with a 3 pound can of Maxwell house so they would allow my vehicles into the ASP

    The biggest f-ing boars in the world


    The bastard prick Commie Czechs jamming the range control freq anytime there was a live medevac

    Unit lounges


    Some of the vilest smelling latrines…ever

    Bribing the washrack operators with a fifth of Jim Beam to use the washrack on a Sunday

    Did I mention the mud?

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