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Cold War Photos.

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
Sounds dangerous.

Just to expand a little. You had to go to places you were not meant to be and the sentries carried live ammunition. Very much pushing the envelope and great fun, just so long as you didn't get shot.

I received only the one warning shot and decided to call it a day, so we went somewhere else.
 
A lot of pictures of that period in the below book written by a former MMFL member.

au-coeur-de-la-guerre-froide.jpg


And plenty of MMFL videos here

 
We usually had a team of up to 4 Stasi cars on our tail. Losing them was a very balanced game and could take several hours.

The car had a magic box which could turn off various lights and a kill switch which would turn all of them off. No brake lights, nothing. For example, one night at dark o'clock, the Stasi were chasing me down the autobahn. Hit the red button, drive on the other carriageway and disappear up a slip road the wrong way.
Not dissimilar to some of the CMVs that used to rotate through my fleet in NI. Support vehicles for COP operations were a bugger for kill switches.
 
IIRC Everyone in BAOR had to carry the SOXMIS card.

Anyone ever see them?

SOXMIS, not the card.
Saw one sitting on the side of road near the autobahn junction at Fallingbostel early 1970's.
A small brownie coloured vehicle.

We gave him a 'friendly' wave as we went past but by the time we turned around for another look he had disappeared, probably back towards the autobahn.

Phoned his plate number and sighting report through to the number on the card.
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
IIRC Everyone in BAOR had to carry the SOXMIS card.

Anyone ever see them?

SOXMIS, not the card.

Back in 1986 the Soviet External Relations Branch (SERB) sent us about 100 photos of Brixmis cars caught in Vopo speed traps. (They actually cammed up their speed traps - a useful source of Western Deutschmarks). We tended to ignore the East German police and once got over 100mph, which is funny amongst a carriageway filled with Trabants.

Amusingly one of the photos was of a SOXMIS car going from Buende in West Germany to HQ GSFG in Zossen-Wuensdorf near Berlin. So the Chief of Mission wrote to SERB and said he'd identified the Senior Lt in the speeding photo and asked what further action he needed to take.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Just to expand a little. You had to go to places you were not meant to be and the sentries carried live ammunition. Very much pushing the envelope and great fun, just so long as you didn't get shot.

I received only the one warning shot and decided to call it a day, so we went somewhere else.
Serious question(s) - how many BRIXMIS folks became casualties? What ROE did the other side really operate under, itchy trigger fingers notwithstanding? Didn't the US suffer a fatality or fatalities? The only other officer I know who served there spent the rest of his career complaining about being poisoned by contaminated ground or something.

I always had a sneaky feeling he was making it up for effect, but who knows.
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
Serious question(s) - how many BRIXMIS folks became casualties? What ROE did the other side really operate under, itchy trigger fingers notwithstanding? Didn't the US suffer a fatality or fatalities? The only other officer I know who served there spent the rest of his career complaining about being poisoned by contaminated ground or something.

I always had a sneaky feeling he was making it up for effect, but who knows.

Brixmis had no one killed but there were injuries. FMLM had Phillipe Mariotti killed in Feb '84. A deliberate ambush by the Stasi/NVA in Halle Neustadt using a large lorry and trailer. USMLM has Arthur Nicholson shot dead in Mar '85. I understand Nick is the only US serviceman in uniform to be killed by a Soviet serviceman in uniform.

They didn't have ROE. But after Nicholson's shooting the Sovs introduced a card similar to our SOXMIS cards.


One particular operation at dark o'clock round the back of the Sov military hospital at Beelitz was stopped when a tour officer picked up an amputated arm. The patients were Sov soldiers from Afghanistan (DDR had a good medical system and it was sensible to not send casualties to the USSR) and there was a worry about chemical weapons and contamination.
 
Serious question(s) - how many BRIXMIS folks became casualties? What ROE did the other side really operate under, itchy trigger fingers notwithstanding? Didn't the US suffer a fatality or fatalities? The only other officer I know who served there spent the rest of his career complaining about being poisoned by contaminated ground or something.

I always had a sneaky feeling he was making it up for effect, but who knows.

Not that dangerous, then.
 
Brixmis had no one killed but there were injuries. FMLM had Phillipe Mariotti killed in Feb '84. A deliberate ambush by the Stasi/NVA in Halle Neustadt using a large lorry and trailer. USMLM has Arthur Nicholson shot dead in Mar '85. I understand Nick is the only US serviceman in uniform to be killed by a Soviet serviceman in uniform.

They didn't have ROE. But after Nicholson's shooting the Sovs introduced a card similar to our SOXMIS cards.


One particular operation at dark o'clock round the back of the Sov military hospital at Beelitz was stopped when a tour officer picked up an amputated arm. The patients were Sov soldiers from Afghanistan (DDR had a good medical system and it was sensible to not send casualties to the USSR) and there was a worry about chemical weapons and contamination.
I gave that post an Excellent rating, rather than Informative. Tragic about the French and American servicemen being killed whilst carrying out their duties, but the sheer amount of background information in that post that requires more investigating is what merited an excellent.
Russian Military Hospitals in the DDR, the repatriation of severely wounded Soviet Troops out of Afghanistan, way before our involvement and of course, a severed arm, the covert Ops going on in and around the Military locations on both sides of the Border.
Fascinating stuff and thanks for posting.
 
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Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
It's worth adding that Brixmis was almost the same size as both the American and French Missions combined. We started in 1946 and the others in 1947, so the chill of the Cold War was setting in by 1947. This meant Brixmis crews were 3 men and Fr and US tours tended to be just two men. That extra pair of eyes was really useful for providing top cover.
 
They must've wanted to see how a river crossing was done so badly.

Private Bob walt... :)

We had two hours to build, two hours to traffic and two hours to strip. The timings were critical as we had to apply for ‘closure’ to river traffic. Bad things happened with those BFO German barges if you got the timings wrong. I suspect it was this ‘closure’ notice that alerted SOXMIS to the crossing.

Most times we just trained and didn’t traffic the bridge.

However, whenever the Regiment had ‘customers’ it seemed to be my troop that got the job. Our 100% record (up to that point) had some bearing on that.

Once the bridge was built the biggest risk was the customer.

We always guided traffic across the bridge.

That night, 3 (US) Corps were a ******* menace.

There was a white line painted down the middle of the bridge. Some of the septics thought it was a lane marker and insisted on driving up over the engine decks as a result, dangerously close to the pilot stand. One bloke turned right half way across the bridge and suspended the cab of his rig over the Weser. Luckily, because it was an artic he didn’t get wet.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Brixmis had no one killed but there were injuries. FMLM had Phillipe Mariotti killed in Feb '84. A deliberate ambush by the Stasi/NVA in Halle Neustadt using a large lorry and trailer. USMLM has Arthur Nicholson shot dead in Mar '85. I understand Nick is the only US serviceman in uniform to be killed by a Soviet serviceman in uniform.

They didn't have ROE. But after Nicholson's shooting the Sovs introduced a card similar to our SOXMIS cards.


One particular operation at dark o'clock round the back of the Sov military hospital at Beelitz was stopped when a tour officer picked up an amputated arm. The patients were Sov soldiers from Afghanistan (DDR had a good medical system and it was sensible to not send casualties to the USSR) and there was a worry about chemical weapons and contamination.
My blokes in NI used to wax lyrical about some of the driving they'd done in the East.

On contamination I think it was more around chemical weapons than body parts - I still think it was an excuse for being a lazy fecker.
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
My blokes in NI used to wax lyrical about some of the driving they'd done in the East.

On contamination I think it was more around chemical weapons than body parts - I still think it was an excuse for being a lazy fecker.

The drivers were the most important guys in the crew. They really knew how to throw those wagons around. Saved our skins on a number of occasions.

There was certainly a chemical weapon concern in about 1983 or '84, just before my time. Hence the cancellation of that particular rubbish heap searching.

ETA. You may recognise one or two of this mob:

1610962695238.png
 
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The drivers were the most important guys in the crew. They really knew how to throw those wagons around. Saved our skins on a number of occasions.

There was certainly a chemical weapon concern in about 1983 or '84, just before my time. Hence the cancellation of that particular rubbish heap searching.

For the MMFL, starting in 1975 the drivers were often provided by the 13°RDP and 1er RPIMa, units which then had a LRRP role IOT exploit their recognition skills.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
The drivers were the most important guys in the crew. They really knew how to throw those wagons around. Saved our skins on a number of occasions.

There was certainly a chemical weapon concern in about 1983 or '84, just before my time. Hence the cancellation of that particular rubbish heap searching.
Have you ever felt the urge to revisit any of the places you snuck about for a sort of 'then and now'? Just looked up Beelitz - very interesting, a hospital that treated Hitler is now an aerial walkway theme park, a sort of urbex lite.

Nice Soviet statue:

1610962518558.png
 
Brixmis had no one killed but there were injuries. FMLM had Phillipe Mariotti killed in Feb '84. A deliberate ambush by the Stasi/NVA in Halle Neustadt using a large lorry and trailer. USMLM has Arthur Nicholson shot dead in Mar '85. I understand Nick is the only US serviceman in uniform to be killed by a Soviet serviceman in uniform.

They didn't have ROE. But after Nicholson's shooting the Sovs introduced a card similar to our SOXMIS cards.


One particular operation at dark o'clock round the back of the Sov military hospital at Beelitz was stopped when a tour officer picked up an amputated arm. The patients were Sov soldiers from Afghanistan (DDR had a good medical system and it was sensible to not send casualties to the USSR) and there was a worry about chemical weapons and contamination.
What did he want that for?
 

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