Click here to read some early history provided by Bill Evans of the mid to late 50s.
Click here to read some Elint history from Gil Bouffard.
Short Chronology (Provided by Ed Railsback Dec. 99):
1920s An observation tower (read that a big pile of rocks) is erected on Schneeberg's summit. Dubbed the "Backoeffle" because of its resemblance to an oven, the tower becomes a popular destination for hikers prior to WW2.
1945 Immediately after WW2 the US Army establishes a monitoring post atop Schneeberg to track Russian troop movements. The first Signal Corps reconnaissance teams initially operate from the "Backoeffle".
1951 A SigC team equipped with primitive EW equipment sets up shop on the side of the Hill. Soon thereafter the location becomes a permanent site operating around the clock.
1952 A wooden frame building is built on the summit. It houses operations, billets and a kitchen/mess area. The stone wings are apparently added a year or two later. The building is known as "ops" until the site is closed in 1970 and the "Det building" after it reopens in 1975. This is the only structure used by the US Army that remains standing in the late 90s.
1953 EW units from Ft. Devens arrive
1955 Elint functions are transferred from SigC to ASA.
1959/60 The "cabin", a long, brick extension to the small wooden cabin located 200 meters from the summit, is completed. Most of the single troops stationed on the Hill are billeted here until the site is closed in 1970. A small number (mainly support troops) continues to be housed in a wing of the "ops" building. The other wing of the "ops" building is subsequently converted into a recreation room and becomes known as the "Kino".
1961 Three metal buildings called Acamol (A-moll) huts are erected on the Hill: one within the compound on the summit and two near the cabin. Operations are transferred to the A-moll hut on the summit which is now called "new ops." One of the huts located near the cabin serves as the mess hall, the other as a club.
1965 The access road from the "Krankenhaus" (H"henklinik) at the bottom of the Hill to the summit is paved for the first time, thereby bringing to an end two decades of dust, mud and potholes. For the most part, the construction crew consisted of two guys armed with shovels and a case of beer. The new road was narrow, and the asphalt layer was thin. The road was later widened and given a good layer of asphalt - apparently during the early 70s when there was no US Army presence on the Hill. The road is still in excellent shape today.
1970 Operations on Schneeberg are discontinued and the site is closed. Plans call for the Hill to be turned over entirely to the German government.
1974 The ASA "rediscovers" Schneeberg, and Col. Jim Freeze convinces the Army to reactivate the site.
1975 In October Schneeberg again becomes a permanent site. The old "cabin" had meanwhile become uninhabitable (part of the roof had caved in). The troops now live on the economy in Bischofsgruen. Schneeberg subsequently becomes part of the "Border Command" operated remotely from FS Augsburg.
Late '70s/early '80s The wood/stone structure - now known as the "Det building" - is renovated and a kitchen is added. New structures built include a "half gym" funded by the Grafenwoehr Command. The old cabin and the three metal A-moll huts (mess hall, club, "new ops") are torn down along with other dilapidated wooden structures.
Late 80s/early 90s Operations are gradually phased out. The last operations personnel are pulled off the Hill during Operation Desert Storm. Later, a small unit of engineers takes up temporary residence on the Hill and dismantles all structures previously used by the American forces except for the wood/stone building and a few antenna masts.
1994 The Bundeswehr abandons the tower. Schneeberg is now totally deserted.
1996 The local county government (Landkreis Wunsiedel) finally succeeds in purchasing the real estate on summit. Schneeberg again becomes accessible to the public (see photo).
1999 The "Bergwacht" (mountain
rescue service) builds a cabin on the site of the old cabin and
mess hall of the 60s.
Just when you thought we had forgotten about the Tanzcafe Reissmann ..... remember!
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