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Fürth Medical Depot
European Command

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me.

FMD History

33rd Medical Company

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1945 - 1951
(Source: Chapter XI, Redeployment and Occupation from the Medical Supply in World War II, Office of Medical History, Office of the Surgeon General)


Depot Activities

At the end of the war in Europe, the medical depots supporting the combat armies were located deep in the heartland of Germany, some in areas soon to be occupied by the forces of other Allied Nations. This led to considerable confusion during May and June of 1945, with the transfer of medical depot sites to the French, British, and Russian forces and a concurrent relocation of United States forces into the area designated as the U.S. Occupied Zone of Germany. During this period, U.S. Army medical depot companies performed commendably, transferring not only U.S. Army stocks, but also the bulk of critical captured medical materiel into dumps in the U.S. Zone (map 27). These captured supplies were destined to be invaluable in providing medical care to vast numbers of displaced persons and prisoners of war who were under U.S. control. By 1 July 1945, transfers of area responsibilities were largely completed, and the medical supply structure to support the occupation was operational, consisting of a medical depot to support each of the separate major commands, which included Berlin, Bremen, the subdivisions of the U.S. Zone (Eastern and Western Military Districts of Germany) and U.S. forces in Austria.

The Weinheim Medical Depot was in operation as a key filler depot in the Western Military District of Germany, Seventh U.S. Army area. Operated by the 30th Medical Depot Company, the depot had originally been established on 1 May 1945 as Medical Depot M-416T with a mission to supply the 6th Army Group and Continental Advance Section. However, 1 July 1945 found the company still in the process of getting established and faced with an enormous task of expansion. After V-E Day, units redeploying for the Pacific theater and the United States were turning in their medical equipment and supplies. Again, after V-J Day, the speeding up of redeployment to the United States brought in an ever-increasing amount of excess equipment that had to be checked, repacked, and stored. Designation of the 30th Medical Depot Company as a category I occupation force unit meant that many additional problems of supply and storage would have to be met. Other medical depots, not designated as occupational units, began the process of moving a great portion of their stocks to Weinheim. Thus, the entire activity of the Weinheim Medical Depot for the final 6 months of 1945 was one of constant expansion, always with the cry for space and more space.

The original warehousing facilities at the Weinheim Medical Depot were unsatisfactory and had to be reconstructed to accommodate the storage of 6,000 tons anticipated under the occupation. All construction required at the depot was accomplished by medical troops, German civilians, and prisoners of war, with supervisory personnel and heavy construction equipment furnished by other services.

The Furth Medical Depot, in operation as the key filler depot in the Eastern Military District of Germany, Third U.S. Army area, was established by the 33d Medical Depot Company on 26 April 1945 in the waning days of combat in what was a former German Medical Sanitats Parke (Medical Point). Although the structure at this site was not particularly desirable from an issue viewpoint, it did afford adequate covered storage space for approximately 4,000 tons and an abundance of open storage space. The structure consisted of a four-story, triple-winged building with 10-foot ceilings which made forklift operations impracticable. Elevators available in the building made storage more accessible and easier to handle. Road and rail communications leading to this depot were excellent, and necessary docking and ramping facilities made shipping, unloading, and handling a minor problem. As a consequence, the depot was established as a key depot for certain items of medical supply necessary in the maintenance of U.S. forces in the occupied zone. By 31 December 1945, total stocks at the Furth Medical Depot had reached a level of approximately 7,015 tons. Ultimately, in 1946, the Furth Medical Depot was to become the only medical depot supporting the U.S. occupation forces in Germany (fig. 97)..

The Bremen Medical Depot, operated by the 70th Medical Base Depot Company at a site near the port of Bremerhaven, served not only as a filler depot for the Bremen Enclave but also as a base depot for inshipments from both the United Kingdom and the Zone of Interior. Although the depot was small, the troop strength supported directly by it was also small. Moreover, access routes into the depot were excellent. It was decided that, by augmenting the depot’s ramp facilities to expedite off and on loading, the depot could continue to serve as a base depot to handle the receiving and shipping functions in support of the occupation forces.

The Berlin Medical Depot, operated by a detachment of the 15th Medical Depot Company, was established in the Berlin Enclave to initially support approximately 50,000 troops. Its site was near the grounds of the 279th Station Hospital located in a small enclosed tennis court. Due to the reduced strength of the Enclave, the depot was shortly inactivated and became an issue point under the 279th Station Hospital.

United States forces in Austria received their medical supply support from the 226th Medical Supply Detachment located in Glasenbach, Austria. This detachment, in turn, requisitioned its requirements from the Furth Medical Depot in the U.S. Occupied Zone of Germany.5

Medical Supply Division, Theater Chief Surgeon’s Office

Although the medical depot system in the U.S. Occupied Zone of Germany and Austria was under major subordinate commanders, it was technically supervised by the Supply Division, Theater Chief Surgeon’s Office, TSFET (Theater Service Forces, European Theater). From the cessation of hostilities through 31 December 1945, there was a progressive transfer of responsibilities from the TSFET (REAR) office located in Versailles, France, to the TSFET (MAIN) office in Frankfurt, Germany. As of 1 October 1945, Col. Robert L. Black, MSC, was chief of the Supply Division with station in Versailles, and Lt. Col. Louis F. Hubener, MC, Deputy Chief, Supply Division, was acting chief of the Supply Division in Frankfurt. The move of the Supply Division from TSFET (REAR) in Versailles to TSFET (MAIN) in Frankfurt was completed by 7 November 1945.

During the last 3 months of 1945, the Supply Division efforts were directed toward the buildup of (1) a minimum 60-day maintenance level in all medical depots in Germany and (2) a reserve stockpile in Germany sufficient to maintain the occupation forces until 30 June 1949. To accomplish this objective, a comprehensive study was made first of issues in Germany, and then, replacement factors were revised upward on all items on which issues in Germany were higher per 1,000 men per month than the overall theater issues. Likewise, downward revisions were made where indicated. Based upon the revised replacement factors, 60-day maintenance levels and 30 June 1949 levels were computed by using the factors in combination with estimated troop strength for the periods involved.

To maintain a minimum 60-day supply of each item stocked in the theater, monthly maintenance requisitions were placed on the Zone of Interior. Requisitions were based on a 180-day reorder point to allow for a 120-day shipping time. Incoming shipments on such requisitions were received through the port of Bremerhaven by the Bremen Medical Depot, and from this depot, supplies were transferred as needed to other filler depots in Germany.

Each medical depot in Germany was authorized a proportionate part of the 60-day maintenance level, computed on the percentage of total troops served. Based upon information contained in the theater’s consolidated stock status report, transfers among the various depots were effected to insure a minimum 60-day stock of each item, except key depot items, in each filler depot. Key depot items were books and blank forms, stocked only by the Furth Medical Depot, and teeth, stocked only by the Weinheim Medical Depot.

The buildup of the 30 June 1949 level from stocks already in the theater was stressed during the last 3 months of 1945. Approximately 10,000 long tons of medical supplies from depots in liberated countries and the United Kingdom were moved into Germany. Arrangements were made also to bring to Germany the so-called luxury items for installation in the larger, permanent medical installations in Germany. Many of these items—for example, large fixed X-ray machines—had been brought to the Continent only in small numbers during combat operations because of the special handling required. The hospitals established on a semi-Zone-of-Interior standard to support occupation forces in Germany brought about a heavy demand for these items.

During the latter part of 1945, the International Business Machines Section of the Stock Control Branch was moved from Paris to Frankfurt. As a result of the damage incurred to the equipment in transit and the difficulties encountered in installing it at the new location, the first consolidated stock status report was not prepared until the middle of December 1945. Among the problems encountered was the understandable unwillingness of French personnel to move to occupied Germany. It was, therefore, necessary to recruit German nationals with electrical accounting machine experience to staff the new section in Frankfurt.6

Medical Maintenance and Repair

With the reduction of medical maintenance and rebuild requirements in liberated areas, transfer was made of necessary equipment and repair parts to the Furth and Weinheim Medical Depots in the. occupied zone. The large maintenance shop, located at Medical Depot M-407 in Paris, discontinued operations at the end of November and moved to Germany. At both Weinheim and Furth, the maintenance shops were staffed not only with U.S. military and civilian personnel, but also with German civilians and prisoners of war.7

Optical Program

The Base Optical Shop in Paris, with small portable units operated at various medical depots, continued in operation during the entire period. Bifocal corrections were accomplished by French contract and proved very satisfactory. To accomplish optical requirements in the occupied zone, small units were established at the Furth and Weinheim Medical Depots as well as a portable unit in Berlin to care for emergency cases.8


In addition to the task of establishing a medical supply system to support the U.S. forces in occupied Germany, the Theater Chief Surgeon was faced with an equally difficult task of providing essential medical supplies to displaced persons camps, prisoner-of-war enclosures, and the German civilian economy. A Civil Affairs Section in the Supply Division had the mission of coordinating and supervising the execution of this mission.

Medical supplies for the U.S. Military Government mission in Germany came from two sources: (1) Civil Affairs stocks brought from the Zone of Interior and the United Kingdom, and (2) captured enemy medical materiel. In the beginning, all civil affairs stock was stored in Medical Depot M-412 at Reims. This stock included approximately 175 basic medical items, including British obstetric kits, British CAD (Civil Affairs Drug) units, and antityphus supplies. Military government authorities decided that 50 of the basic medical items should be transferred to the occupied zone and stocked in occupation depots for military government use in that area. These supplies were issued only upon approved request of military government authorities.

Over 30,000 tons of captured medical supplies and equipment were consolidated in the U.S. Occupied Zone of Germany into nine major supply dumps with locations at Heilbronn, Gauting, Ihringshausen, Neuhof, Straubing, Furth, Heidingsfeld, Treuen, and Bad Mergentheim. This number was reduced to the first six named locations to provide three dumps in each of the two military districts. A minimum of U.S. military personnel operated each dump, and former German civilian supply personnel were utilized as the main source of labor (fig. 98).

Col. Earle D. Quinnell, MC, Director, Medical Department Equipment Laboratory, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., made a special trip to France in early 1945 to inspect captured German field equipment and to arrange to have it sent back to the Zone of Interior for further study.

(Source: Author's private collection)

FMD, 1946

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Storage huts being constrycted (KB)

Depot railroad siding (KB)

Motor pool (KB)

Lumber yard (KB)


FMD, 1948

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Grainy photo, interesting picture: Main gate, 1951
(Source: EUCOM Medical Bulletin, Sept 1951)
Constituted in the Army of the United States, 1 Sept, 1943. Activated at Camp Carson, Colorado, 5 Oct. 1943. Participated in the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe campaigns of World War II. Awarded a silver band for each campaign. Presented a meritorious unit streamer, embroidered with "European Theater," by the Headquarters of the Third U.S. Army on 20 Sept, 1945. Allotted to the Regular Army, 6 Dec. 1950.

That's the history in brief, not of some infantry, tank, or paratroop unit, but of the 33d Army Medical Depot, a Medical Service installation.

Since the cessation of hostilities, the 33d Army Medical Depot has operated the Furth Medical Depot on the outskirts of Nurnberg, Germany. There, its stated mission is (a) to receive medical supplies from the continental United States and other countries designated by the EUCOM Chief Surgeon, (b) to furnish complete medical supply service to all medical installations in the European Command and to other agencies designated by the EUCOM Chief Surgeon, (c) to receive unserviceable equipment that could be repaired and excess standard U.S. Army medical equipment, (d) to operate an optical shop and a depot medical maintenance and repair shop, and (e) to operate a surplus property section for medical supplies declared surplus by the EUCOM Chief Surgeon.

If we're not well-acquainted with depot activities, this mission may seem a bit humdrum and certainly of no great magnitude. If we vision a medical supply depot as just an expanded corner drugstore with a bit of tinkering thrown in, we're due for a surprise. Facts and figures show that to accomplish just one part of its mission the Furth Medical Depot in 1950 received from the United States and European countries over 3,000 tons of medical supplies. It shipped exactly 3,781 tans of supplies to U.S, military medical installations in Germany, Austria, and France. In the first six months of this year, the tonnage turnover was 17,9 percent more than in the last half of 1948.

The increase in work load is more clearly seen by studying the monthly average of line items received by the depot for processing. (A line item is one item on a requisition, whether for a package of dental burro weighing less than an ounce, or for a 40-cubic-foot mobile disinfector.) A total of 19,623 line items were received for processing during the average month in 1949, 25,423 in 1950, 28,498 in 1951, and 39,296 line items were received in June, 1951, the last month of available statistics, In short, the line item work load for the first half of 1951 was 45.2 percent more than in the last half of 1949.

Although operating in an expanding economy, the depot emphasized better service at lower cost. Employees' suggestions were actively encouraged. Better ways of receiving, storing, and shipping supplies were sought. The cost of avoidable accidents was lowered through improved safety techniques.

In the past few months, a time-consuming process in the filling of shipping documents for shipment has been eliminated. A new method of unloading lumber from flat cars, not only improved safety conditions, but also will save an estimated 400 man-hours of labor a year. To speed up inner-depot operations, supplies were consolidated, This reduced the depot space by 211,742 square feet, of which 130,742 square feet have been released to the city of Fuerth and the balance to the Post Engineers.

The American taxpayer's dollar is also guarded by the medical maintenance and repair shop. During the past year, the shop repaired Medical Service equipment valued at nearly $3,000,000. Shop expenses amounted to $114,542. The actual savings, then, was $2,713,685 or 2,369 percent!

Operating on the premise that "a stitch in time saves nine," the depot's maintenance van has visited all major medical installations and most of the subordinate units in the European Command. Travelling over 5,000 miles the past year, this rolling shop repaired equipment valued at $598,267.

The maintenance shop built recently a self-sustaining X-ray van. It is now used throughout the U.S. zone of Germany and can turn out as many as 500 X-rays a day. The closed van-type trailer contains a 200-milliampere X-ray unit with a photo-roentgen unit, a complete darkroom for processing film, and drying bins and storage facilities. A 250-gallon tank furnishes water required in the developing process. Special air intakes heat the interior and dry the film.

The installation of this highly-specialized and delicate equipment was difficult. The most efficient utilization of space had to be discovered, and the equipment had to be "shock-mounted" to withstand rough roads. As voltages as high as 115,000 volts might be generated, special precautions had to be observed during the wiring. To protect X-ray technicians from secondary radiation, the van was lined with lead and shields were installed.

The maintenance shop was especially active in carrying out on-the-job training for its personnel. Soldiers and airmen from other stations were placed on temporary duty with the depot to study all phases of maintenance of medical equipment, from the simple procedures of every-day care to highly-specialized and complicated repairs. The students were rotated from one section to another so that their training might include all types, makes and models of technical equipment,

In addition to on-the-job training is specific occupational specialties, personnel studied such subjects as the basic duties of a soldier, military justice, character guidance, safety procedures. They took physical training and participated in field training.

During "Exercise Rainbow," the depot operated a supply point in support of U.S. Constabulary forces. Replacement supplies for field hospital medical chests were stocked for emergencies, In addition to actual requisitions, simulated requisitions were received and processed to add to the completeness of the training. Such tests in the field have found the depot personnel well-trained and capable of carrying out their assigned duties with a minimum of supervision. The depot has received several commendatory letters on their performance in the field from general officers.

Field training and soldier's glasses are not necessarily compatible: the more rigorous the training, the higher the breakage as personnel in the optical shop know well. Lest year they manufactured 15,240 spectacles, mostly the sturdy steel-rimmed kind. Plastic frames, however, were supplied to soldiers with certain skin conditions. The 818 pairs of bifocals manufactured last year required special care in grinding and polishing the rough and semi-finished Krptock blanks. Most prescriptions, however, could be filled by lens already stocked in various corrections. This cut down on the time-consuming tasks of grinding and polishing and allowed the optical shop to better its service.

The constant aim of supplying the best service at the lowest cost was recognized last year when the depot was awarded the "Best Unit" plaque in the EUCOM supply economy competition. All medical units under the direct command of the EUCOM Chief Surgeon competed for the plaque.

For every dollar spent in operating the depot last year, 64 cents went to technical services and 36 cents to indirect costs. Indirect costs were subdivided as follows: 12¢ for administration, 2¢ for personnel, 7¢ for repairs and utilities, 10½¢ for transportation, 4½¢ for orientation and training, including leaves. Of the technical service costs, 25¢ was spent on storage, 8¢ on stock control, 17¢ by the maintenance shop, 4½¢ by the optical shop, and 9½¢ on orientation and training, including leaves,

Supply men say that one of the most important aspects of good supply procedure is careful computation, and perhaps that is why one of the depot men has applied an adding machine to the building of a softball diamond. He figured that depot personnel hauled in 700 yards of dirt, tamped down 37 tons of red brick dust, and planted 180 pounds of grass seed to complete a diamond for tournament play. Incidentally, the depot was last year's softball champions in the Furth area and garnered second place in the Nurnberg Post finals.

Next to softball, hunting and fishing is probably the most popular recreation among depot personnel. A range was built recently in the main depot building for year-round rifle practice. Salvage material was used. Inch-thick boiler plate serves as a backdrop. The bullet's impact is absorbed by sand. Fluorescent lights make the target plainly visible. At the push of a button an ingenious electric motor and gear system transports the target rack back to the firing line for target inspection.

One of the most constant users of the range is Lt. Col. Charles I Winegard, MSC, who is the commanding officer of the depot. He succeeded Lt. Col. Stanley Darling, MSC, former commanding officer, on 13 March 1949. Other commanding officers of the depot include Lt. Col. Ralph E. Graham, Major Hodge, and Lt. Col. H. C. McCullouth, who activated the unit back in the Fort Carson days.

-- Histrocal Data Card (WD AGO Form 016) of the 33d Army Medical Depot.
-- Annual Report of Medical Department Activities of the 33d Army Medical Depot for 1949.
-- Annual Report of Medical Department Activities of the 33d Army Medical Depot for 1950.

If you have more information on the history or organization of the Fürth Medical Depot, please contact me.

33rd Medical Company
19.. - 19..
(Source: Nurnberg Military Post Telephone Directory, 15 April 1951)
The US Army Medical Depot in Fürth was located at #99 Waldstrasse in ther southern part of Fürth. Once the medical depot was moved to the west of the Rhine River, the old depot facility was converted to a shopping center for the Nürnberg-Fürth post.

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