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9th Transportation Group (Highway Transport)
Communications Zone Europe

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.

Group History (1952-19..)

2nd Trans Bn

806th Trans Bn

Group History

Tractor-trailer rig of the 655th Trans Co, 9th TC Group in France
9th Trans Traffic Reg Group DI
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Jan 30, 1953)
The 9th Transportation Highway Transport Group (9th THTG) has initiated - on a trial basis - a long-haul transportation service in France, similar to the Red Ball Exress of WWII fame.

With ten 10-ton trailers and tractors, the group is hauling an average of 100 tons a day. This project, a limited edition of the famous wartime namesake, is meant to provide on-the-job training for Com Z highway transportation units in long-distance hauls. In the event of an emergency, the nucleus of trained men could be quickly expanded and the tonnages hauled increased accordingly.

CO of the 9th THTG is Lt Col Eugene M. Elliott, Jr.

(In an S&S article that appeared a week later, it was announced that all units stationed at Saran, France had been attached to the 9th THTG and placed under the command of Lt Col Elliott. This move was designed to eliminate duplication and conserve manpower and equipment.)

(Another S&S article from Feb 19, 1953 states that the first refrigerator truck company in the US Army - 1st Trans Trk Co (Refrigerator) - has been attached to the 9th THTG and is stationed at Saran.)

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, March 4 & July 20, 1954)
The 9th Transportation Group (Highway Transport) is located at Saran, France. CO of the Group is COL I. L. Brenneman.

The 9th Trans Gp is the highway transportation arm of the Communications Zone. Its mission is to provide military line-haul service on the line of communication in France. Known as the RED BALL EXPRESS, the highway movement operation utilizes a trailer transfer system that allows assigned drivers to pick up their cargo (12-ton semi-trailer loaded with supplies or equipment) with their 5-ton tractor-trucks and make a run from their home base to an intransit station (known as a transfer trailer point) along the LOC. At the TTP, the driver's tractor is disconnected from their original trailer which will then be picked up by a tractor from another unit for the next leg of the haul -- to the next TTP or final destination. The first driver picks up a new trailer headed in the opposite direction and returns to his original station.

  Under this system the drivers can get back to their home station every two to three days. The average round-trip for a RED BALL driver is 480 miles.

The RED BALL route is 600 miles long, stretching from the western terminus at Camp Bussac in France to the eastern terminus at Kaiserslautern in Germany. The transportation units that perform the line-haul mission along the route are the 1st (1), 78th, 651st and 655th Trans Companies (Med Trk). Transfer trailer points are located at Saran and Toul.

Hqs at Saran, France provides centralized control of the entire operation. A big schematic diagram showing the RED BALL operation hangs in the operations room at Saran. Small cut-outs of trucks representing convoys are tacked onto the diagram to show current location and number of trucks on each leg of the route.
The RED BALL EXPRESS (2) mission was initiated in November 1952.

The 9th Trans Gp has been in France since Feb 28, 1952.

(1) The 1st Trans Co is responsible for moving heavy engineer equipment in the Com Z.

(2) Official designation of the service: Intersectional Highway Transport Service.

9th THTG mission: (a) to provide an alternate supply route in case the Port of Bremerhaven is inaccessible; (b) to provide valuable training in long-haul transportation; (c) to establish the nucleus of a complete transportation network in case of an emergency.

2nd Transportation Battalion

Caserne Sidi Brahim, Étain, home of the 2nd Trans Bn until about 1958 (IGN website)
A brief history of Caserne Sidi Brahim in Étain, France found on Military.com (accessed March 29, 2014) states the following:
In 1950, control of the caserne previously used by a French Army supply unit, was transferred to the US Army's Communications Zone and initially occupied by an Engineer unit.

In 1953, the 2nd Trans Bn occupied the caserne (with several subordinate units?) (1).

The caserne remained a transportation center until November 1961 when the 97th Engineer Battalion (Const) moved in.

Based on information found in STATION LISTS from the late 1950s, it appears that Headquarters of the 2nd Transportation Battalion was relocated from Étain to Nancy in early 1958, Several of the battalion's transportation companies remained at Étain until late 1961 or early 1962. (The 97th Engr Bn (Const) is already listed as stationed in Etain in the Dec 1961 STATION LIST.)

(1) Some STARS & STRIPES articles from the early 1950s indicate that, before 2nd Trans Bn showed up at Étain, the 109th Trans Bn (a Minnesota ARNG outfit) was stationed at Étain.

(If you were assigned to the 2nd Trans Bn or any of its subordinate units, or were stationed at Étain during this period, I would like to hear from you! See email link at top of page.)

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