bblogo History of the Military Police Berlin
287th MP-Company
Combined Police Station 1947 - 1994

Hot Spots (Bars) of the 1960s


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History of the 287th Military Police Company

When the 759th Military Police Service Battalion was activated at Ft.Ontario on 5 Sept. 1942, the 287th Military Police Company had its inception at the same time as an organic unit. In August 1943, the 759th Battalion was transferred to Africa for prisoner of war escort duties. Four months later the 759th Battalion was attached to the 5th Army and was committed in Italy where it was mainly tasked with escorting combat elements of the landing forces to the operational theaters.
During the invasion of France the 759th Battalion was then attached to the 7th Army and, on 30 Sept. 1945, stationed in Berlin where it relieved the 713th Military Police Battalion. For a period of 8 years the 759th Battalion did active duty in Berlin. In Oct. 1953, this battalion was disbanded and reorganised. In addition to the already existing 287th Military Police Company the 272nd Military Police Company was formed. Upon deactivation of the 272nd Military Police Company on 1 June 1958, the 287th Military Police Company was left by itself to assume all duties in Berlin. 1 June 1958 is regarded as the Organization day of 287th Military Police Company due to the fact that it was then listed as a separate unit. Beside the motorised patrols (jeeps, motorcycles) the US military police also disposed of a platoon of mounted military policemen which was quartered at the Dueppel Riding Stables until its deactivation on 31 March 1958. The 287th Military Police Company was the only mounted military police unit in recent history of the US Army.

History of the U.S. Army Military Police in Berlin
- - This is the original speech while the dissolution ceremony of the 287th MP Company at Clay Headquarters - -

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The United States Army Military Police presence in Berlin dates back to 1 July 1945 when Colonel Frank Howley led a military contingent of United States Forces into Berlin, where elements of the 713th Military Police Battalion immediately assumed police duties to curb black-market gangs and smuggling, and establish traffic control operations in a quickly "maturing" sector of occupation. By 30 September 1945, the 713th Military Police Battalion was relieved in place by the 759th Military Police Battalion who had previously supported the 5th Army operations in Naples, Italy, and the subsequent 7th Army invasion of Southern France. Now with a full Battalion of military police in Berlin, the first Army Provost Marshal arrived, Colonel G.W. Busbey. In early 1946, the Berlin Military Post was formed composed of the 16th Constabulary Squadron and the 759th Military Police Battalion. The 759th MP Bn. was responsible for guarding the borders.

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During 1950 and 1951, the 759th MP Bn. was reorganized and consolidated the various Military Police service units under their flag. These units were the 18th and 513th MP Service Platoons, the 7786th Prisoner Detachment, and the Horse Platoon of the 16th Constabulary Squadron. On 1 November 1953, the Berlin Military Post was redesignated as the Berlin Command and one year later, the 759th Military Police Battalion was inactivated, leaving the 272nd and 287th Military Police Companies under the command and control of the Berlin Command. It was 5 years later, on 1 April 1958, that the only remaining active duty Horse unit, the Horse Platoon of the 287th Military Police Company, was inactivated on this very location, Clay Headquarters. On duty with the 287th Military Police Company, since October 1953, the MP Horse Platoon's mission was patrol parts of the East German border. The assigned strength of the platoon was 34 men and 31 horses. Two months later, on 1 June 1958, the 272nd Military Police Company was inactivated with the 287th assuming full mission responsibility for policing Berlin with our Allied MP counterparts.

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With the construction of the Berlin Wall on 13 August 1961, the Cold War took on a new dimension which resulted in increased security along sector boundaries. As the construction of the Wall continued, Allied military traffic was limited to one access point Friedrich Strasse, thus the establishment of "Checkpoint Charlie".

By this time, similar vehicle access control points were also established at "Helmstedt" (Checkpoint Alpha) and "Dreilinden" (Checkpoint Bravo) on the immediate outskirts of the city, stemming the famous Berlin-Helmstedt corridor. For this reason, the 287th Military Police Company assumed positive control of three checkpoints as well as actively patrolling the Autobahn between Helmstedt and Berlin. During this decade of tension, MP's of the 287th often negotiated with Soviet officials to obtain the release of U.S. Forces members detained in East Berlin by the Polizei. Additionally, the 287th Military Police Company provided railway security of the famous "duty train" operating between Berlin, Bremerhaven and Frankfurt/Main, and in 1958, commenced harbor patrol operations in Wannsee Lake. The MP boat ' Wannsee1' provided security missions on Havel river , lakes and canals next to the GDR border line. From September 21, 1961, until December 31, 1976, 3 MP soldiers from the 287th MP Co. have manned the "MP Detachment of Steinstuecken". The MPs were flown in and out by helicopter and always were in duty there for 1 week. With the signing of the Quadripartite Agreement in 1972, wherein the four major powers all recognized and agreed upon proper procedures and operations on access to and within Berlin, the 287th Military Police Company clearly established themselves as "the Law East of the Elbe".

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On 9 November 1989, the MP's of the 287th manning Checkpoint Charlie and patrolling portions of the Berlin Wall quickly learned about crowd control and refugee operations as the "Iron Curtain" fell, opening numerous access points to freedom in the West. By the end of March 1990, all restrictions to travel in the Soviet Sector were rescinded, and on 22 June 1990, Allied Checkpoint Charlie was closed. On 29. September 1990, Soviet officials closed all checkpoint operations on the Berlin-Helmstedt corridor. At 2400 hrs, 2 October 1990, Allied MP checkpoint operations at Checkpoint Bravo ended, and one minute later, on 3 October 1990, the occupation of Berlin ended and East-West reunification began.

The new mission for the 287th Military Police Company, evolved in 1991, reflecting the continued versatility of a "force on call" ready to respond to all contingencies. In direct support of the Berlin Brigade, the 287th Military Police Company "chopped" one platoon from its organisation and assigned it as a "light fighter" force. This resulted in MP deployments throughout 1992 and 1993 to Kenya in support of Operation Provide Hope and Macedonia. Yet, while deploying MP forces out of Berlin, the 287th Military Police Company remained vigilant in its peacetime policing of the American military community in the city.

Flexibility, versatility, an quick response have been the characteristics of the U.S Army Military Police presence in Berlin over these 49 years. The original MP organisation comprised of jeeps, horses, and foot patrols has given way to HMMWV's, dog patrol teams, patrol cars, and even bicycles. Yet the time-honored mission of the MP foot patrol is as alive today in 1994 as it was in 1945!

Today, we are honoring the U.S. Army Military Police departure from Berlin as a tribute to 49 years of vigilance, protection, and service. We now prepare to depart Berlin for the last time as a victorious force having won the Cold War. Shortly, the 287th Military Police Company will receive their final order from the Deputy Community Commander and formally march out of this headquarters signifying successful completion of its 49 year mission in Berlin.

Remark: see my photos: "Farewell" celebrations


Cooperation between the US MilitaryPolice and the Berlin City Police
Original German text from the GP "memory book 1985"
translation by Evelin Seward and Peter Ebbert (PMO Interpreter)

As of 1947 the joint US military police and West Berlin city police patrols were part of the Berlin city scene, an institution unique in its kind in Germany and probably world-wide. If the history of the 287th MP Company appears lively, so did the quartering of the MP station during the initial years. Beginning with the year 1945 the respective US MP stations were sheltered at the following locations in the American sector of Berlin:
-Askania Haus, Bundesallee
-Roosevelt Barracks, Gardeschuetzenweg
-McNair Barracks tower, adjacent to present Platz of 4th July (former "4 Ring")
-former Keitel Villa on Foehrenweg

In 1952, the MP-station was finally moved to its present location at 127 Baseler Strasse, 1000 Berlin 45, on Andrews Barracks. During the first years of joint MP/GP patrols the German police officials were picked up their American patrol partners at their respective police stations in Zehlendorf, Steglitz, Schoeneberg, and Neukoelln, and taken back there at the end of each shift. The duty schedule for the police officials committed with the joint patrols was adjusted to that of the MP soldiers who worked 3 different shifts a day with weekly rotation basis: 0800-1600 hrs, 1600-2400 hrs, / 2400-0800 hrs.

Until 1956, only jeeps were utilised as patrol vehicles. They were then gradually replaced by sedans. Police officials assigned as patrol partners in MP sedans were, particularly during wintertime, envied by their fellow-policemen when they saw them at the scene of an incident in the well-heated "Ami super-cars".
One of the requirements to do duty as an "MP patrol partner" was and still is a certain command of the English language. Many of the patrol partners, the "officials of hour zero", acquired their knowledge of the English language during their time as prisoners of war in America and England. The initial "occupant/occupied" relation of post-war times rapidly developed into amicable relations in the scope of missions to be jointly carried out, and solid friendships were taken up, some of which are still being maintained. The most important things a "newcomer" had to learn were:

-the call sign of the US radio station,
-the call number of a patrol for a certain patrol area
-the locations of the formerly numerous "Ami" bars,-(almost every unit had a hangout of their own)
-the "10 series", (for example: "10-3" was the code for a traffic accident)

Due to the fact that even today MP patrols are equipped with American radios only, radio communications are almost exclusively made in the English language. The "10 series" was a form of code similar to the police screening aids, using numbers for the code. For several years now, radio traffic between the patrols and the radio station at the US MP desk has been carried out in clear exclusively. However, the mandatory procedure of radioing the mileage reading at the beginning and end of a trip when female persons are transported in a MP vehicle is still in force. "Starting Ks" and "Ending K`s" are then recorded on the MP desk radio log in order to be able to retrace the route travelled if necessary.


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Police Precinct 197 (MP Station)

When the MP desk moved into the Provost Marshal building on Baseler Strasse, the German police agency "R 197 (MP Station)" came into being. However, as it results from the designation, the station was not a separate office but a sub-station of Police Precinct 197, quartered in the immediate vicinity at the intersection of Finckensteinallee and Baseler Strasse. Supervision of the officials utilised at the MP station was in the hands of the chief of Police Precinct 197.
At the same time the MP station moved to Baseler Strasse, the 8-hour shift regulation previously followed was changed to the normal German police 12-hour shifts for 3 teams, but the officials doing duty here were still members of their regular duty station with the exception of 3 officials who were permanently assigned to the MP station already in 1952.

Extract from the -Special orders-
Pertaining to the police officials attached to the US MP station: Effective 19 Feb. 1952, with the approval by the vice-president of the police and after co-ordination with the commander of the city police, one police official (rank E1) is permanently attached to the MP station for the purpose of safeguarding German interests. For the officials designated the following special orders are issued:
1.) Number of police officials: Special duty at the MP station will be done by 3 officials (rank E1), one of them will at all times be in service
2.) Duty times: The officials will work 12-hour shifts, 0800-2000 hrs and 2000-0800 hrs.

It was not before Feb. 1961 that the special duty people were transferred to the then existing Police Inspectorate Steglitz and administered by Police Precinct 197.
The US Provost Marshal subdivided the American sector in patrol areas that were steadily serviced by a MP patrol. These patrols, as far as personnel strength allows it, are at all times manned with German police official as a patrol partner. During the course of the years the delimitations of these patrol areas were from time to time altered to adjust to the number of incidents at focal points that shifted frequently (closing of numerous "Ami" bars, implantation of new houseing areas, etc.). The call sign for the US radio was also repeatedly changed from the "Two Sugar Love" Tough Emblem, Nighthawk, of the initial years to the "Tough Watchdog" presently utilised.

The only sign that has overcasted the years is the German call sign for the MP station "Martha Paula"(standing for MP in the German police spelling alphabet).
During certain situations at the scene, it sometimes occurs that the radio traffic between the German police desk sergeant and the "GP patrol partner" at the scene is carried out in the German language. In addition to the aforcementioned patrols, which include the US traffic accident unit, a permanent border patrol was assigned from the time the Berlin border wall was erected in 1961. This was to document the presence of the US protective forces at the border. This MP-GP patrol has been suspended 1981, at that time border patrol duties were entrusted to the infantry units.
The radio call signs and locations of the MP station may have varied, but the MP Company s motto has not changed:"Law east of the Elbe"

Directorate 4 - Public Safety 16 (Dir 4 OeS 16)
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On the occasion of the reformation of the organisational structure of the Berlin police, the official designation for the "MPStation" also changed. Police Precinct 197 was dissolved, and the "MP Station" was placed under the supervision of the Public Safety Section of Police Directorate 4, and was originally denominated "Police Group South (Directorate 4) Public Safety 1 (MPStation)".
After completion of the reorganisation this station received the now permanent office designation of Directorate 4 Public Safety16 (Dir 4 OeS 16). Officials applying for a position at Dir 4 Oes 16 are required to dispose of a minimum sufficient knowledge of the English language beside experience in patrol duties. The chief of the Public Safety Section of Directorate 4 conducts a qualification interview with any applicant during which the commander or Dir 4 OeS 16 also checks on the applicant s command of the English language. As of early 1974, American women were given the opportunenity of joining the US Army. A short time later the first female MPs arrived in Berlin and were also utilised in line duty. While at the time this was entirely new, causing surprise on the part of colleagues outside the MP station, it is, however, comparable to the enrolment of the first female persons in the German uniformed law enforcement's corps, however, so far none of the female officials has applied for a position at the MP station. Upon assuming duties at the MP station, the "newcomers" receive an on-the-job-training (OJT) over a 4-week period from "old-timers" to make the familiar with their future duties. The "OJT", similar to that practised by the US MPs, who are individually replaced every 2 years, begins with the of the American sector of Berlin),

-the locations of US installations (barracks, ammo dumps, housing areas, training areas, etc.),
-standard marching routes for US military vehicles,
-US radio procedures (predominantly in the English language),
-alert and FTX or ARTEP missions and operations on the occasion of extraordinary events.

Beside the daily commitments within the scope of joint MP/GP patroling, comparable to those performed by the officials at the local police precincts (Abschnitt), the officials at the MP station are further tasked with the following commitments specific to this station, being understood that this uplisting can only be of a summary nature:

-Escorting US convoys or heavy or large vehicles (German traffic police squad support is only requested exceptionally).
-Assignments to parades on the occasion of US national
-holidays, changing of command, inspections, etc..
-Escorting US money transports.
-TCP assignment to and escorting of US Brigade runs.
-Assignment of liaison officials to certain activities (at the Harnack House, receptions by the generals at their residences, etc.).
-Conducting joint US MP/Dir 4 OeS 16 roadside vehicle inspections.
-Assignment of area security patrols for US installations(where the MP soldier is a patrol partner in the Dir OeS 16 patrol sedan).
-Assignment on the occasion of alert, field training, or logistic exercises.

See the following passage extracted from a US SOP to appreciate the ranking attributed to the support by "WBP" (West Berlin Police) in the planning of exercises and other operations:

"If at any time during movement, WBP escorts offer reasonable suggestions or request assistance concerning convoy movements or routes, march unit commanders will respond in a positive manner. Commanders will ensure their subordinate leaders provide maximum co-operation to the West Berlin Police supporting their units.

For any major FTX s and any time the US protective forces are in charge of a joint FTX for the 3 protective forces, it is requested that for the duration and 3 officials to be attached to the different elements as "contact persons" for police actions becoming necessary. On the occasion of military exercises, the deployment of police officials assigned to Dir 4 OeS 16, has proved successful because the protecting powers can immediately turn to them - their "GOLF PAPA"- for advice when co-ordinating troop movements outside the exercise area or when talking to onlookers in order to draw attention to the danger connected with military exercises.

Police operations concerning incidents without German involvement are added to the above mentioned "general" and "specific" tasks. These incidents such as domestic disturbances among Americans, disturbing noise in US housing areas, etc., fall under the jurisdiction of the US protecting power. During these operations, the police official of Dir 4 OeS 16 is brought into action, too, for it is needless to mention, that he will support and cover his MP partner, if necessary, by deed. Due to the fact that over many years the German police official has accompanied American MPs on patrols, he has sufficient knowledge of US military law to give his American partner a valuable piece of advice. Often, the police officials of Dir 4 OeS 16 are asked to help when, "on the spot" or at a police precinct, their colleagues cannot communicate with the "opposite side" because of language difficulties. The police official then acts as an interpreter even if this is not always easy because of the various nationalities involved.

During the past few years the German officials at this station have started increasing the number of complete police investigations including all paperwork for incidents involving US Forces members, preparing them at this station and thus giving the local Abschnitt police patrols a break and allowing them to be available for "All-German" incidents. The designation of "patrol partner" still applied to the officials working here is no longer appropriate due to the fact that with their complex activities they must without reservations be placed on the same level as officials doing line duty at the other police stations.

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To what degree the performance of the Dir 4 eS 16 police officials is appreciated by the US Army was demonstrated in 1985. PHM (E 8) Heinz Richter, former GP D/SGT, retired August 31, 1984, was honored for his 25-year term of service at the MP station by Brigadier General Thomas N. Griffin on Jan. 8, 1985. During a ceremony at Clay Headquarters Mr. Richter was awarded the "Commanders Award for Public Service", the highest-ranking decoration the US Army confers to civilians.

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Cooperation between USACIDC and German Police Crime Control Department

As of 1947, close cooperation has been exercised between US CID and the Berlin "Kripo" (Criminal Investigation Police). Until 1958, 2 agencies were in charge of crime control: the 11th MP CI, and the GCIS (German Criminal Investigation Section). The 11th MP CI investigated all incidents involving US command-sponsored personnel as perpetrators and German nationals as victims. The GCIS, on the other hand, investigated incidents involving US command sponsored persons as victims where the prepetrators were possibly German national persons. The GCIS, where 14 German Kripo agents were on duty, was deactivated in 1958. Until the time of the reorganization of the Berlin police, only 7 German Kripo agents worked with the 11th MP CI, which was later redesignated to "CID" (Criminal Investigation Department). As a result of the reorganization of the Berlin police, the officials at "KI ST NSt" were placed under the supervision of Directorate 4. This agency is now designated as "Dir 4 VB NSt" (Directorate 4, Crime Control, Sub-Office). Five German Kripo officials are presently doing joint duties with the members of the Berlin Resident Agency, Second Region, USACIDC.

If after November 1989 the Berlin Wall came down also the Combined Police Station (PMO) had found its fast end. What in 1947 began was finished now October 1st 1990. At that day all Golf Papas, except of 8 -Polizeihauptmeister- (like E8), left the US MP-Station and continued their police work at other "normal" German police departments. The last 8 GPs should stay at PMO until 1994 to assist the MP D/SGT. Their new job was now to "guard" the telephon and help with translations. But somebody had changed his mind.
November 30, 1990, -- I have been in duty, -- suddenly a new order had arrived me: Just a few words: -"After shift end it's all over"--!!!

It has been a very bad feeling for me to leave my beloved duty place at Andrews Bks. after almost 11 years! About 3 hours before I've received that new order I had taken the very last picture of me and my MP comrades. In that moment nobody of us knew that after a very short time everything is over for ever! So I had to "shoot out" the lights of the Combined Police Station!
We all were a fantastic team, our MP comrades and especially our old GP-Captain PHK Wolfram Schrankenmueller.

The very last day of the COMBINED POLICE STATION -PMO- BERLIN

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Hot Spots (Bars) of the 1960s

see my written memories: ' We need a Golf Papa '