|At a glance, this sprawling hospital just east of Pirmasens looks exactly like Landstuhl, situated
only 40 km north. But today it is gone. Vanished, a 1993 casualty of base realignment. Now
only a few Army-style buildings reveal this was once a bustling hospital that could expand to
1100 beds. Muenchweiler is a glimpse of a bygone era of American presence in Germany.
Special thanks to Thomas Schwinzer for sharing his knowledge.
|A once bustling base only forty kilometers from
Landstuhl? R.I.P. Muenchweiler Army Hospital
|Here's where the Red Cross train
brought patients to the hospital.
|The old Officers Club is now a private
club for dog owners.
A 1963 hospital newsletter reveals the hospital was built in 1955 on a "500 bed chassis", with
75 authorized beds with the capability to expand to 1100. Dental services, surgery, obstetrics,
outpatient clinics - they did it all. Red Cross trains brought patients to the facility and soldiers
on the Pirmasens complex were treated here. Local guide Thomas Schwinzer says the older
adjacent residential houses were mostly occupied by American military people, who had
access to a PX and Commissary. The local cemetery has at least one American grave, tended
by its neighbor. Today the open area is full of new houses but between them, the grassy
foundations of the US Army Hospital Muenchweiler are still visible.
|Building 4324 was the base Fire
|The former Enlisted Club was in
Building 4344. The omnipresent tan
paint and numbers are still there.
The details of the 1958 American grave are unknown. A walk
through the cemetery, though, shows the dire effect of the war on
Muenchweiler. Multiple graves say "killed in an air attack",
including one for a local doctor, and many record deaths on the
front where there was no body to send home. Muenchweiler is
situated along the main route through the Palatinate Forest, and as
the west front collapsed in winter/spring 1945 German troops
poured east through the valley. Convoys were often chased by
"Jabos", or US fighter planes, and there was actual ground combat
in Muenchweiler itself. Thomas Schwinzer says he can sometimes
track the path of a plane by the empty shell casings in the forest.
The forested areas on both sides of the highway often
contain live ordnance, says Thomas. He has found an
assortment of coins, shells, buttons, and personal effects
in these hills.
Several of the coins from the war
years are poor quality metal and
have chunks out of them! (right)
They feel more like wood than
And a bunker, too....a BIG bunker....
A post-war American bunker is easy to see from the highway, 1.4 km past the Muenchweiler
exit/gas station on the south side. This was a storage facility for the Army but its exact use is
unknown. A retired Army friend remembers being inside it decades ago and said it was
"big...REAL big." The photo on the left shows how the facility extends into the hill at least
100 meters. A similar bunker, even larger, is near Hauenstein. The "Staendehof" restaurant
next to the gas station at the Muenchweiler exit was used by the SS to hold prisoners in the
Related links to the Pirmasens complex, and google satellite locations: