From the Stars and Stripes archives

Allied Forces Day 1969 in Berlin

Tanks roll through the streets of West Berlin on Allied Forces Day, 1969.


By JAMES GUNTER | Stars and Stripes | Published: May 19, 1969

The 30,000 Berliners who lined Strasse des 17 Juni Saturday to watch the Allied Forces Day parade couldn't help noticing differences in the way Americans, British and French settle the problem of naming their armored vehicles.

U.S. personnel carriers bore the names of states — Montana, Kansas, Mississippi and others — and U.S. self-propelled artillery pieces were named for Berlin districts — Kreuzberg, Tempelhof, Zehlendorf and so on. The British disdained to parade favorite names in public at all, and the French showed names of districts like Beaujolais, Loire, and Alsace, and that of their favorite hero, Bonaparte, and some of the battles he won, Austerlitz and Moskawa.

The sun beamed from a blue sky decorated with cotton clouds as troops, bands and equipment marched and rolled between the Berlin Victory Monument and Ernst Reuter Platz for 1 hour and 10 minutes. The spectators were generally quiet, but they broke into applause for men of 1st Bn, The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders with their pipes and drums, their dark green kilts swinging in rhythm behind their mascot, a Shetland pony. The colorful Scots are new in Berlin and it was their first parade here.

It was the year for the French to be in charge of staging the big march, and they labeled chairs for dignitaries of all the nations involved with "Monsieur" and "Madame."

A French band took position opposite the reviewing stand and played the national anthems of France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Then troop commanders arrived — Brig. Gen. Samuel McC. Goodwin, CG of the Berlin Brigade; Brig. Ronald McAllister, commander of the British Berlin Infantry Brigade; and Col. Jean Nos, commander of French soldiers in Berlin. Berlin Lord Mayor Klaus Schuetz made his appearance and the three allied commanders followed close behind.

A bystander noticed that division Gen. B. Huchet de Quenetain, the French commandant, was riding in a French car; Maj. Gen. F. J. C. Bowes-Lyon, commandant of the British sector, was in an English car, and Maj. Gen. Robert George Fergusson, U.S. commander, Berlin, was brought in a German auto.

The U.S. self-propelled 105s fired a 13-gun salute in honor of the ranking officers, the major generals. The colors of the three nations were hoisted into jeeps and ridden over the parade route.

Then came the motorized elements with their named vehicles and with members of each crew sitting stiffly with lower arms folded in front of them like yogis in contemplation.

The flags of the 50 states headed the American foot troops. The 2nd Bn and 3rd Bn, 6th Inf Div, and the 7350th Support Group from Tempelhof Airport marched to the music of the 298th U.S. Army Band, the USAREUR Band and the USAFE Band.

The U.S. wheeled elements were the reconnaissance and heavy weapons platoons of the Berlin Brigade, part of the 42nd Engineer Co, armored personnel carriers of the Berlin Brigade, Battery C, 94th Arty, and Co F, 40th Armor.

A soldier sits stiffly with his arms folded as his vehicle passes te reviewing stand.

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