US Army Reforger and Trains

US Army Reforger and Trains (USTC)

By Roger Heid


While stationed in Germany, during the 70’s, I participated in a total of seven Reforger exercises. Reforger is an abbreviation of ‘Re-deployment of Forces in Germany. These maneuvers were quite involved. They usually took place in fall of a given year. USTC is an acronym for US Army Transportation Corps. They use trains and boats and planes and trucks and such, you see. No horses or mules or donkeys, lately.

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During one of these events, I was detailed to ride shotgun on a USTC train, along with a few other MPs.  We were armed to our teeth, with life ammo, that is. The cargo was classified, and we were not allowed to have cameras. Therefore, I have no pictures of my own. The ones I show will give you the idea, however. The departure and destination points, well, that is not the issue here, either. It was somewhere in Southwest Germany, sometime in the later 70’s. Dig it?

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For obvious reasons, I had neither the time nor the opportunity to check and see what type of engine this train was pulled by, leave alone hitching a ride on it. Oh yeah, I could have forced my way into the cab, at gun point. I would have loved to, but that sort of action would have been politically incorrect, at that time. Some 30 years too late, don’t you think?

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At one time, I got a brief glimpse of the front of the train. From the engine noise I had heard, I gathered there was hefty diesel power involved. The best I could make out was a red pair of Class 218 Diesel Locomotives, but I cannot be absolutely certain, but they sure looked like 218s.

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Decades later, in my retirement age, I felt compelled to create a model train reflecting the days described above. I bought a whole bunch of familiar military hardware models from Reynaulds. I have a very long train consisting of Military Freight. The most recent acquisitions were a couple of new Roco models.



A Class 218 Diesel is not on my roster, yet. In the meantime, I use any locomotive that tickles my fancy, including the UP Big Boy. It is quite a show!



2 Responses to US Army Reforger and Trains

  1. William E. Weizel says:

    Interesting article based on first-hand experience. The good news is that there is further information available through the Eisenbahn Journal series of publications by Merker Verlag. Many details are wrapped up in the German-language text in their 3-volume series on ‘Military Transport on the Rails,’ but the series is replete with an absolutely wonderful collection of photos and drawings throughout. The series even includes information on how the ‘other side’ (read Warsaw Pact Treaty Forces–in this case largely former Soviet and East German Forces)handled rail transport of their military equipment. Such information may be useful to those who are modeling the post-war East German Deutsche Reichsbahn. These interesting publications are available through Reynauld’s Euro-Imports…

  2. Lawrence Hinchee says:

    Boy I remember those days. Some good times and some bad times. I didn’t know what to expect my first one. Quickly learned.

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