|Fliegerhorst-Sandhofen: A WWII
Luftwaffe Base Near Mannheim
As often happened in the immediate
postwar months, US forces took over the
"Fliegerhorst-Sandhofen" and moved in.
The remnants of the airfield existed as
Coleman Barracks in Mannheim, only an
hour from the KMC. Unfortunately the
base was closed in 2006 and current
access is unknown.
Thanks to a Stars & Stripes feature in
2006, the WWII history of
Fliegerhorst-Sandhofen was revealed to
local readers. Dirk Schmidt's website is no
longer available, but his meticulously
photographed and researched book may
be found at a used book dealer.
1925 poster advertising the
opening of Sandhofen for public
HISTORY OF COLEMAN BARRACKS
Source: Welcome Pamphlet, HQ 7th Sig Bde, early 1980s
Coleman Barracks, formerly Fliegerhorst (flyer's nest) Kaserne, was built
during 1938 as an airfield for both fighters and bombers. At the beginning of
the war, the (Luftwaffe) fighter squadron "Pike-As," commanded by Hans
Moelder, was stationed here. Moelder was one of Germany's top air aces,
having shot down over 300 planes, mostly Russian.
The naming of Coleman Barracks is exceptional in that it is the only Barracks
in the Heidelberg area other than Patton to be named after an officer. Its name
commemorates Lieutenant Colonel Wilson D. Coleman, who was
posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for single-handedly
halting an enemy column.
The US Army requisitioned Coleman Barracks in the fall of 1945. Until
mid-1949 the area was used as a quartermaster collecting point for the
unserviceable automobile material and for surplus storage. In the fall of 1949,
the 7849th Ordnance Automotive Center was activated at Coleman Barracks.
This organization was redesignated as the Ordnance Procurement Center with
liaison offices in all the principal cities of Europe. In 1951, a Replacement
Depot was established at Coleman Barracks and served as the staging area for
all troops arriving in Germany. From 1951 to 1962, Coleman Barracks has
housed such notable organizations as elements of the 2d Armored Division,
13th Infantry Regiment and 1st Battle Group, 18th Infantry. During the Berlin
crisis of 1961, the latter unit, commanded by Colonel Glover S. Johns, was
the first unit moved to reinforce the Berlin Garrison.
Coleman Barracks was the largest Barracks in the Heidelberg area, housing
such major combat and combat support units as the Headquarters of the 3d
Brigade, 8th Infantry Division; 7th Signal Brigade; and the USAREUR
Confinement Facility. The Coleman Army Airfield had more take-offs and
landings than any other Army airfield in Germany. The airfield was turned
over to German control as a result of base realignment in 2006. More
information is available at this site.