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Military Police Company (Railway Guard)
4th Transportation 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.
of Service, 570th Military Police Company; submitted by James C. Turcotte,
a former member of the 540th MP Bn and 570th MP Company)
12 February 1944 in the Army of the United States as the 70th
Military Police Company
Ativated 25 February 1944 in North Africa
Inactivated 25 November 1945 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana
Redesignated 6 February 1952 as the 570th Military Police Company
and allotted to the Regular Army
Redesignated 2 May 1952 as the 570th Military Police Service
Activated 31 May 1952 at Fort Knox, Kentucky
Inactivated 1 June 1954 at Fort Knox, Kentucky
Redesignated 2 March 1956 as the 570th Military Police Company
Activated 15 March 1956 in Germany
Reorganized and redesignated 1 April 1966 as the 570th Military
Reorganized and redesignated 17 March 1990 as the 570th Military
Inactivated 15 August 1995 in Germany
1. 570th MP Pltn, special car on train (KB)
2. 570th MP Pltn checking ID and travel papers (KB)
Operating Procedure, 15 November 1956
Operating Procedure (SOP), 570th Military Police Company, 15 November
1956; submitted by James C. Turcotte, a former member of the 540th
MP Bn and 570th MP Company)
I - GENERAL
5. Mission and Organization
a. The mission of the 570th Military Police Company (Railway
is to safeguard rail shipments of US mail and official consignments,
investigate pilferage of official consignments incurred during
transit, and maintain law and order on designated military and
civilian passenger trains (quoted from USAREUR Circular 190-45,
9 May 1956).
b. The several elements of this Company are located as
Headquarters, #6 Post Strasse, Frankfurt, Germany, APO
Kaserne, Frankfurt, Germany, APO 757
Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, APO 227
Staging Area, Bremerhaven, Germany, APO 69
Barracks, West Berlin, East German, APO 742
O. Darby Kaserne, Nurnberg (Furth), Germany, APO 696
Kaserne, Munich, Germany, APO 407
a. The Provost Marshal, USAREUR, exercises administrative
and operational control over this Company.
b. This Company is responsible for providing MP Train Patrols
and Guards on designated Passenger Trains, US Military Trains, Troop
Trains, Dependent Trains, Classified Freight Trains, Special Freight
Trains, US Mail Trains, VIP Trains, and Special Shipments.
c. This Company will guard the shipment to Bremerhaven Port
of Embarkation of privately owned vehicles of deceased personnel.
d. This Company will investigae pilferage of official consignments
incurred in transit.
a. The authority of all Military Police personnel who are
in the proper execution of their duties is derived through the chain
of command from the President of the United States who is Commander-in-Chief
of all US Armed Forces.
b. Field Manual 19-5 entitled "Military Police"
and the Manual for Courts Martial also provide authority for Military
c. The authority of Military Police of this Company derives
more specifically from USAREUR Circular 190-45, 9 May 1956, which
is entitled "Railway Security in Germany" and which pertains
to the purpose, mission, responsibilities, and coordination of the
5709th Military Police Company (Railway Guard).
d. USAREUR Circular 633-20, 6 July 1955, provides authority
for apprehensions, searches, and seizures.
11. German Railway Police:
Effective liaison will be established with the German Railway Police.
In the interest of efficient law enforcement, the cooperation of
German Railway Police in furnishing information will be encouraged.
Train Patrols and Guards will be especially alert to cooperate with
German Railway Police and to establish good relations with them
at all times.
12. Labor Service Railway Guard Company:
a. The 1952d Labor Service Railway Guard Company is assigned
to this Company for operational control and furnishes operational
support to this Company in performing its mission.
b. Labor Service Train Guards will be utilized to guard United
c. Labor Service Train Guards will be utilized only when
accompanied by one or more Military Police of this Company.
d. Labor Service Train Guards will be used in the proportion
of one to three Labor Service personnel for each MP depending upon
the size and duration of a rail shipment.
e. Labor Service personnel when guarding non-moving cars
(such as a car sidetracked due to a hotbox) may perform this duty
unaccompanied by US MPs, except for first class mail and except
for the provisions of this SOP as contained in para 59 on Duties
of Train Guards.
f. The CQ or duty driver will post both military and Labor
g. Labor Service personnel dispatched as Train Guards will
be issued travel orders in lieu of Railway Security Passas.
h. Officers of the 570th Military Police Company (Railway
Guard) are authorized to authenticate Duty Travel Orders for Labor
Service Guards. Travel orders will designate route of travel and
period of temporary duty. Passenger Transportation Warrants for
the return trip from duty destination will be obtained prior to
departure on train patrol.
i. Labor Service personnel are required to have railroad
tickets when guarding a mail car attached to a passenger train and
when riding to and from point of duty (deadheading). Railroad tickets
are not required when guarding mail or freight shipments attached
to freight trains. Labor Service personnel, when accompanied by
MPs, may travel without a railroad ticket (deadheading) on troop
trains on a space available basis.
j. Labor Service personnel will not be used on shipments
in the Berlin corridor or on shipments beyond the geographical boundaries
of the Federal Republic of Germany (Western Germany).
k. Combat type C-rations will be issued to Labor Service
personnel going on train guard duty by the Duty NCO or CQ of the
dispatching organization. Sufficient rations will be issued to cover
the trip and the possibility of set-out cars and layovers should
be taken into consideration. Unused rations will be returned to
the Duty NCO or CQ upon completion of trip.
l. Unit Commanders and NCOICs of the 570th Military Police
Company (Railway Guard) will supervise the technical training of
Labor Service personnel located in their respective areas.
m. During layover periods Labor Service personnel will be
quartered and messed at the nearest convenient Labor Service organization.
18. Transportation Corps Train Commanders:
a. Each US military/passenger train (including Duty Trains,
Troop Trains and Dependent Trains) is under the control of a Transportation
Corps Officer or Enlisted Man designated by the Transportation Officer,
USAREUR, as his representative. This person carries the title of
Train Commander and has the duties, responsibilities, and authority
of a railroad conductor. He maintains liaison with the Troop Commander,
kitchen crew, and railway operating crew and advises the Train Patrol
of any disorder. MPs will cooperate fully with the Train Commander,
regardless of his rank, regarding the maintenance of law and order
among US Forces personnel aboard the train, but will not consider
themselves under the command of the train commander. If MPs are
ordered to perform some non-military police duty they will advise
the train commander as courteously as possible that their orders
and instructions restrict them to performing only Military Police
duties. Any differences with Train Commanders should be reported
to the Troop Commander immediately, and reported on the Guard Trip
b. The Train Commander aboard the Berlin Duty Train is always
an officer while the train is between Helmstedt and Berlin. His
duties and responsibilities are greater than the usual Train Commander
since they include relations with Soviet and East German officials
in the Berlin Corridor. MPs on these trains are to assist the Train
Commander in seeing that no unauthorized persons ride the train.
This assistance may take the form of checking railroad tickets of
passengers while embarking or when aboard the train. The commands
and orders of the Berlin Duty Train Commanders will be obeyed. In
the event of any difference, the action wiill be performed and a
report made on the Guard Trip Report.
|If you have more
information on the history or organization of the 570th MP Company,
please contact me.
Military Police Journal, July 1958; submitted by James C. Turcotte,
The origin of railway security dates back to World War II. The need
for the security of supplies being shipped by rail arose soon after
the first invasion by Allied troops in the Mediterranean Theater.
As the supply lines of the Allied Forces were extended, more and more
personnel were assigned to railway security duties to guard the supplies
so essential to the men on the front lines. As the war progressed
through Italy, northern and southern France and continued into Germany,
the need for railway security grew steadily as the quantity of supplies
pilfered mounted in proportion to the increased needs of the fighting
A central railway security organization officially made its first
appearance in 1945. General Headquarters. Military Railway Service,
with station in Paris, France was the controlling body of two sub-headquarters
knows respectively as: First Military Railway Railway Service, Strasbourg;
and Second Military Railway Service, Brussels, Belgium, the latter
transferring to Frankfurt am Main, Germany at a later date. Each of
the sub-headquarters controlled in turn what was at the time known
as a Railway Security Section. Both sections were officially activated
on March 19, 1945. Plans for the inactivation of the Military Railway
Service at the close of 1945 caused the transfer and assignment of
responsibility for railway security to the direct control of the Office,
Theater Provost Marshal, United States Forces European Theater and
the subsequent activation of the 6869th Military Police Headquarters
Detachment on January 1, 1946, which served concurrently at the Railway
Security Division. This Division was charged with the guarding and
protection of all U.S. mail and supplies in transit within the European
The assigned objectives were the strategic placement of four Military
Police Service Battalions (383rd, 385th, 390th. and 397th) and four
Antiaircraft Artillery Battalions (115th, 379th, 537th, 547th) within
the European theater to conform to the logistical situation and to
control the most vulnerable points in regard to rail traffic; the
posting of guards on all mail and U. S. supply trains in sufficient
number to insure adequate protection and to prevent pilferage; and
lastly, the posting of guard personnel in railway yards to protect
supplies being marshalled or remarshalled for subsequent movement
to destination. In January 1946 alone the amount of supplies known
to be pilfered was $160,000.
Effective January 1, 1946 the Railway Security Division was charged
with the responsibility of organizing, training and equipping the
German Railway Police. The forming of this police force and the indoctrination
of the members was slow and laborious accomplishment. Recruitment
was slow entering the force, individual Military Government screening
had to be undertaken. At this time the mission of the German Railway
Police was to maintain law and order in passenger stations and to
protect all railroad property in railway yards.
The 379th, 537th and the 547th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalions were
inactivated in May and June of 1946 and replaced by the 381st and
388th Military Police Service Battalions. On June 1, 1946, the First
Military Police Service Group with Headquarters in Frankfurt/Main
was activated. The importance of a centrally controlled railway security
activity in the Occupational Zones of Germany was evident. The collective
evaluation of statistics and dissemination of information and general
instructions by a central headquarters succeeded in the creation of
a single and uniform operational procedure throughout the zone. Many
problems, which had a zone-wide aspect would have remained largely
unsolved if they had been handled by numerous separate commands.
Military Police were better able to cope with difficult situations,
as they were acquainted with the solutions attained in similar situations
in other areas. Local suggestions designed to improve over-all efficiency
and submitted to the central headquarters were promulgated to the
operational benefit of the entire group. At this time the organization
of railway security had an authorized strength of approximately 220
officers and 6,000 enlisted men, and subordinate organizations were
stationed throughout the European Theater.
The policy of reducing the number of military units and strength of
"occupation" personnel necessitated plans for an early increase in
the authorized strength of the German Railway Police with the ultimate
aim of turning over more and more responsibility to them, depending
upon the extent and standard of their capabilities and accomplishments
regarding the security of U.S. shipments. A strength of 2,100 members
for the German Railway Police was authorized in July, 1946.
The closing out of the French, Belgian and Netherlands ports and the
elimination of all other non-essential depot installations within
the liberated countries resulted in a major increase in the movement
of rail traffic and placed a heavy burden on railway security organizations
during the summer months of 1946. In September 1946, the responsibility
for railway security in France and Belgium was transferred to the
Provost Marshal, Western Base Section, Paris which change resulted
in the withdrawal of the 383rd and 390th Military Police Service Battalions
and of the 115th AAA Bn. In August 1947, the 397th Military Police
Service Battalion was inactivated.
Considerable improvement in joint operations with the German Railway
Police was accomplished during the first months of 1948. The anticipation
of losing the operational control of the German Railway Police required
the release of additional responsibility to that organization in order
that experience could be gained prior to actual turnover to the German
Railways. These additional duties included the responsibility of checking
all freight shipments, keeping records and making out reports and
escorting shipments of longer duration in the company of U.S. Military
Police personnel. Through field experience it was found necessary
to increase the German Railway Police to 6,500 men. The actual transfer
of operational control of the German Railway Police took place on
April 1, 1948 and caused the German Railway Administration to be charged
with the responsibility for the safe transit of all U. S. supplies
moving by train within occupied Germany. All priority and highly classified
shipments were excluded from their responsibility and continued to
be guarded by U. S. Military Police.
In June 1948, the First Military Police Service Group was inactivated
and the mission formerly assigned to that organization was assumed
by the 7747th Military Police Railway Security Detachment,
which title was shortly redesignated to 7747th Military
Police Service Group. Then the 381st Military Police Service
Battalion was inactivated and its area of responsibility within Germany
was assumed jointly by the two remaining battalions, namely the 385th
and the 388th MP Service Battalions. These two battalions were reduced
to zero strength effective September 1, 1948 on which date the railway
security organization was again redesignated as the 7747th
Military Police Railway Security Group and reorganized
as a TD unit with a new authorized strength of 42 officers and 495
Group headquarters remained in the same location in Frankfurt/Main
with the group being divided into two sections known as Zones I and
II with their headquarters located in Nürnberg (U.S. Zone) and
Göttingen (British Zone) respectively. These two zonal operational
contact points were set up to coordinate all operational and investigative
activities. In turn the areas supervised by these zonal operational
contact points were divided into operational areas known as railway
security detachments lettering "A" through "G", which were further
divided into eighteen active railway security detachments. The areas
covered were identical to those previously controlled be the battalion
organization. At this time the organization was charged with the responsibility
of providin personnel for guarding U. S. mail, classified freight
shipments and shipments of U.S. and U.S.-sponsored supplies through
the Soviet Corridor from Western Germany to the divided city of Berlin.
The organization was further charged with the investigation of intransit
pilferages and the observation of the German Railway Police in the
railroad yards and their duty performance in the protection of all
other U. S. supplies. Due to the rapid progress of the German Federal
Republic toward political sovereignty and the anticipation of the
gradual phase-down of railway security and the consequential reduction
in personnel in accordance with the volume of work, the two zonal
operational contact points were discontinued and all operational and
investigative matters henceforth handled directly from group headquarters
Following the end of the Berlin Blockade on May 12, 1949, which lasted
almost a year and in which the Soviet authorities imposed a series
of restrictions and interferences on transportation between Berlin
and the Western Zone, a temporary increase in personnel strength of
the organization was necessary in order to handle rail traffic from
and to Berlin and the added responsibility of providing personnel
to escort Berlin passenger trains. With the final resumption of Berlin
traffic in June 1949, a newly acquired responsibility was put into
practice by the railway security organization; that of escorting trains
classified in a VIP category between Berlin and Western Zones. In
September 1949, the organization assumed still another responsibility
for patrolling military duty trains and passenger trains for "HICOG"
trains enroute to Bonn, the capital of the Federal Republic, for the
purpose of transporting personnel connected with the Allied High Commission
and the German Federal Government
MP railroaders even "went to the air'' in December 1949 for a three-month
period, when the unit was charged with the temporary duty of escorting
classified air shipments to Berlin from Western Germany via Rhein
Main Air Base.
During the year of 1950 a total of 15,550 trains were guarded by railway
security personnel and over 3.5 million miles were ridden by patrols
and guards in the performance of their duties. Among the many special
and classified freight shipments guarded by the organization were
such significant shipments as the guarding of the "Freedom Bell",
a symbol of freedom and democracy of the people of Berlin, and the
guarding of shipments with high monetary value, sometimes exceeding
one million dollars in value.
The USAREUR Provost Marshal Division Courier System operated by the
organization provided an expeditious means of transmitting important
communications, reports and other materials between provost marshals
throughout Germany and some cities in France. Railway security personnel
played a major role in the August 24, 1951 train wreck at Remilly,
France which claimed the lives of 22 persons and injured 40 others.
Two MP mail guards on duty on that train, miraculously unhurt, performed
commendable services in securing the scattered mail, warning other
traffic, organizing rescue parties, summoning medical and police aid,
and rendering first aid and assistance to injured passengers.
The 7747th Military Police Railway Security Group was discontinued
effective September 1951. Personnel and equipment were transferred
to the 540th Militarv Police Service Company, which was reorganized
the same date and redesignated as the 540th Military
Police Railway Guard Battalion. The functions and responsibilities
of the 7747th Military Police Railway Security Group were assumed
by the redesignated organization. It consisted of a headquarters and
headquarters detachment and three companies with an authorized strength
of 22 officers and 296 enlisted men.
In May 1952, a German Labor Service Company was organized to assist
the 540th Military Police Railway Guard Battalion in guarding special
shipmenta of U.S. supplies in transit within Western Germany. Organizing
and training of the German auxiliary work force became another duty
of the railway security unit.
The responsibility of patrolling certain designated German civilian
passenger trains throughout Western Germany was assigned the railway
guard battalion in July 1951, as the majority of U.S. Military trains,
which heretofore operated for the exclusive use of Allied personnel
were discontinued and replaced by German passenger trains. In November
1952, the organization was assigned the task of guarding military
troop and dependent trains originating in the Bremerhaven Port of
Embarkation with destinations in the Western Zones of Germany and
Berlin. Throughout the years the organization was commended repeatedly
by armed forces and civilian authorities for the courteous and proficient
performance of duty by military police on passenger, troop and dependant
Classified freight shipments were extended to destinations in France
and Italy. Although no changes were made in the functions and responsibilities
of the organization during 1953 and 1954, officers and men of the
unit were in no way unoccupied. Regular and special commitments kept
MP Railroaders busy around the clock. Constantly on the alert to fight
pilferers, maintain law and order on trains and assure the safe traffic
of personnel and supplies through the Soviet Corridor to Berlin, the
organization added another six million guarded and patrolled miles
to its outstanding record during these two years.
Constant readjustments in the operational commitments, rescheduling
of assigned mail, passenger and duty trains, stations and train surveys
were made in an effort to continue to improve the operating efficiency
of the organization. When the U.S. European Command, as part of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, shifted its headquarters from
Frankfurt, Germany to Camp des Loges, France in May 1954, MP Railroaders
were called upon to assist in the transfer of personnel and supplies.
In 1955, with the beginning of "Operation Gyroscope", the organization
was again ready to fulfill its added responsibility, marked by the
sharp increase of troop, dependent trains, and classified freight
shipments. On March 15, 1956, the railway security organization was
again reorganized and redesignated as the 570th
Military Police Company (Railway Guard). The mission and
function of the organization remained unchanged. A headquarters and
six lettered detachments and the German Labor Service, which was also
reduced in size, continued to guard and patrol the rails throughout
Germany and the NATO countries out of strategically placed locations.
During the years of 1955 and 1956, a total of 24,900 trains and shipments
were patrolled and guarded and distances covered amounted to over
4.5 million miles.
The organization was reorganized to its present structure as the 570th
Military Police Company (Railway Guard) on June 5, 1957 as a TOE unit
with a further reduction in personnel from 12 officers and 180 enlisted
to six officers and 100 enlisted men. Personnel of the outlying detachments
had to be withdrawn and were consolidated in the Frankfurt area. The
organization now has a headquarters and a reinforced detachment at
Frankfurt and two liaison detachments, in Kaiserslautern and in Bremerhaven.
The unit's Berlin detachment remained and is charged mainly with the
security of Allied rail traffic in the Berlin Corridor.
NEW YORK TIMES, 24 November 1958; submitted by James C. Turcotte,
U.S. Train in Germany for 15 Hours
By Sydney Gruson
Special to New York Times
Bonn, Germany, Nov 23 - Soviet military authorities detained the United
States Army's West Berlin-Frankfurt train for almost fifteen hours
today on the border between West and East Germany. The train and the
eighty Americans aboard were allowed to proceed only after a 20-year-old
East German was taken from the train and turned over to Soviet officials.
The German youth had apparently gotten aboard the train during the
night. The train, with eleven children among the Americans on board,
was one of four that the Army runs daily between West Berlin and Frankfurt
and Bremen. It pulled into the Soviet railway checkpoint at Marienborn,
six miles from Helmstedt on the West German side of the border, at
10:45 o'clock last night. The Soviet officials at the checkpoint told
the American train commander, who was one of a crew of six among the
eighty Americans aboard, that they had information that an East German
had broken into the train.
Although the Army announcement of the incident did not say so, the
Russians were reported to have demanded the right to search the train.
The train commander, one announcement said, "acting on standing instructions,
refused to let anyone board or leave the train at Marienborn."
Col Ernst Von Pawel of Kansas City, Mo., chief of the United States
Army's liaison mission to the Soviet forces in East Germany, was ordered
to Marienborn from Potsdam to investigate.
The Army announced that Colonel Von Pawel "found that a 20-year-old
East German male was aboard."
"This unauthorized passenger had broken into the train at Gerwisch,"
the Army said, "and his presence was revealed to the Soviets after
their extensive interrogation at Marienborn of an East German conductor
on the duty train." The train had stopped at Gerwisch, a small siding
in East Germany about seventy miles from West Berlin presumably to
make way for East German rail traffic. The train was released at 1:10
P.M. (?) today, the Army said, "after Colonel Von Pawel turned the
unauthorized passenger over to the Soviets."
When the train pulled into Helmstedt, the military policemen were
guarding the doors of all six cars. The window on one of the doors,
which are locked from the inside, was broken.
There was food aboard the train, but no dining car.
The passengers, Army and Air Force personnel and dependents and civilian
employees of the United States Government in West Berlin and West
Germany, were given hot drinks and refreshments at Helmstedt.
Plant by Reds Suspected
On the 118-mile journey through Communist East Germany between West
Berlin and West Germany, the military trains were pulled by East German
locomotives with East German crews.
The locomotive was detached at one point during the delay at Marienborn,
leaving the train without heat. It was returned later, presumably
after complaints were made to the Soviet officials at the checkpoint.
The army offered no explanation for the East German's presence on
the train except that he "broke in."
One American official, who had access to the reports of the incident,
said it looked like "a plant" to him.
Such a plant, the official added, could serve to create trouble for
Western Allies and remind them how much they are at the mercy of the
Communists on the land routes between West Berlin and West Germany.
But Army officers would say only that a "plant" was a "possibility."
[News agency reports from Berlin said East German authorities there
identified the train stowaway as Siegfried Pump, wanted on a burglary
charge. The Associated Press said United States Army officials in
Berlin were checking on a possible Communist plan.]
A fictional movie was actually made based on this incident. The movie,
released in 1964, was titled "Verspätung in Marienborn"
(English title: "Stop Train 349"). The incident is
also mentioned in Henrik Bering's "Outpost Berlin,"
a book on the history of the American military forces in Berlin, 1945-1994.
The MPs involved in the incident were from the Berlin detachment of
the 570th MP Co.
MP Bn/570th MP Co Reunion Group:
C. Turcotte would like to hear from anyone who served
in Germany with the 540th Military Police
Battalion or the 570th Military
Police Company. Jim has a roster of 84 so far and
a map of the US where each of the vets lives. The group has
held two mini-reunions so far. Former members of Transportation
Corps (railway service) and Labor Service (guard) who served
side-by-side with the Railway Guards are also welcome!