D Battery, 4th Battalion, 41st Field Artillery

 von 1965 bis 1969 in der Nellingen Kaserne.







Page 1


   Randy Cotter


English Version on End of this Page.


Hier ist die sehr historische Geschichte einer US-Feld Artillerie Einheit in der Nellinger Kaserne von 1965 bis 1969.

Während meiner Tätigkeit bei der US-Army in Nellingen hatte ich immer wieder gehört das auch Artillerie in Nellingen stationiert war,

allerdings in den 50er Jahren. Später, als ich 2004 anfing, Info und Fotomaterial zum Thema Nellingen Kaserne ( Barracks ) zusammen zutragen, fand ich lange

Zeit keine tatsächlichen Fotos von solchen US-Einheiten. Durch Zufall stieß ich im Herbst 2008 auf eine Feld Artillerie Einheit die in den späten 60er Jahren auf

einem Feld innerhalb der Kaserne Nellingen ihr Lager hatte. Schauen Sie sich diese spannenden und äußerst seltenen Fotos an.


Diese Einheit hatte ihr Hauptquartier in der Bismarck - Kaserne in Schwäbisch Gmünd. Ihr Feldlager und Exerzier-Gelände war allerdings in Nellingen.

Die 41. Feld Artillerie der US-Army besaß die Pershing 1 Missiles Raketen welche Sie auf den Fotos sehen können. Soldat Randy Cotter war mit seiner Einheit hier stationiert und von ihm stammen diese seltenen Fotos. Er sagte mir das sie 30 Tage am Stück in Nellingen mit ihren Pershing Missiles exerzierten und danach für 60 bis 90 Tage in Schwäbisch Gmünd waren. Danach wieder in der Kaserne Nellingen. Randy sagte mir das im kalten Krieg die scharfen Gefechtsköpfe Richtung Sowjetunion ausgerichtet waren.


Randy Cotters Kameraden durften zu der Zeit nicht in den Mannschafts-Gebäuden innerhalb der Kaserne campieren sondern schliefen in mobilen Manöver Wagons.

Es wurde ihnen strengsten untersagt ihre Ausrüstung und ihr Lager zu verlassen. Randy selbst war von Januar 1967 bis Juli 1968 in Nellingen stationiert.

Randy Cotter ist Heute ( 2009 ) 62 Jahre alt und lebt in der Nähe von Chicago.


Randy. Danke für diese sehr tollen Fotos von deiner ehemaligen Einheit. Ich bin sicher das diese Geschichte einige Leute auf meiner Webseite interessieren wird.

Viel Glück für die Zukunft wünscht dir Billy ( 2009 ).




Pershing 1 Missile Nellingen Field Site



Bismarck Kaserne Schwäbisch Gmünd 1967


Randy Cotter Schwäbisch Gmünd Bismarck Kaserne



Pershing 1 Missile Schwäbisch Gmünd

Pershing 1 Missile

Men of the D 4/41st FA in Nellingen



Pershing 1 Missile

Pershing 1 Missile

Covered Pershing 1 Missile



Men of the D 4/41st FA in Nellingen

Pershing 1 Missile Nellingen Kaserne

Field Site Gate. In the back you can see the Buildings of the Housing Area within Nellingen Kaserne. 1967 Summer. Eingangstor zum Feldlager. Im Hintergrund sind die Gebäude der U.S. Wohnsiedlung Nellingen Kaserne



Pershing 1 Missile with Warhead. Pershing 1 Rakete mit scharfem Gefechtskopf. Nellingen Kaserne 1967

Ron Bertotti



Pershing 1 Missile

Pershing 1 Missile

Pershing 1 Missile



Randy Cotter on Guard Duty


Pershing 1 Missile. Im Hintergrund ist Ruit erkennbar



Ray Craig washing his field utensils in that hot water trash can that was heated with some kind of contraption.

Men of the 4/41st playing Guitar Nellingen Summer 1967

In the back you can see the Housing Area of Nellingen Kaserne



Pershing 1 Missile

Pershing 1 Missile

Being in Ammo I did not know anything about this stuff. 

I thinks it's commo equipment




Unit Crest / Battalions Abzeichen

Bismarck Kaserne Schwäbisch Gmünd 1967




Covered Missiles




Volleyball Game


Men of the 4/41st D-Battalion. That’s Jeff Mercer holding up the  “I,m short” sign. On his Way home.

Others are Larry Canale, Giampetro and Joiner








You can see the outline of the trailer on fire

Delta 69 in all its' glory



5 Ton Truck from Delta Battery July 10, 1968.

While convoying the gas trailer turned over

You can see the gasoline traveling down the street

As the sun sets so does Delta 69.  Gone










Original Comment of Randy Cotter:





Mail 1


Hello Billy


My name is Randy Cotter and I was in the US Army stationed in Schwaebisch Gmuend from January

1967 - July 1968. Our field site was at Nellingen Kaserne and we were there for about 30 days every 3

months. I think we were on the west side of the kaserne near what is now Kreuzbrunnenstraße (it has

been 40 years and much has changed). Near our area was a junk yard (trödelyard?). I have a few

pictures that I can send you in a day or two and a document that I wrote about my time at Nellingen

Kaserne. If you can access the Pershing Missile Group on Yahoo, you will be able to see some of my

pictures here:



Randy Cotter




Randy Cotter 2004

Mail 2


Hello Billy


D-4/41 is D battery, 4th Battalion, 41st Field Artillery. Our headquarters was in Schwaebisch Gmuend.

We wore the 7th Army patch. I am sending you pictures of the patch and our unit crest.

There is a large field next to Nellingen barracks where we set up our missiles. We only stayed in the

barracks one time. After that we stayed in trailers near the missiles. You will see this in the photos I will

send you soon. I do not know the town of Nellingen because we were not allowed to leave the area

where the missiles were. After 30 days at Nellingen barracks, we went back to Schwaebisch Gmuend for

60-90 days, then back to Nellingen for another 30 days. D battery and A battery of the 41st used

Nellingen for our missiles from 1965 until 1969 - then moved to another location.

I enjoy your web site. I never knew what else was at Nellingen barracks because we never went far from

the missiles. I am 61 years and live near Chicago. I will send more photos soon.









D Battery, 4th  Bn, 41st Artillery Field Site from 1/67-7/68

By Randy Cotter (D-4/41, Jan. 1967-Jul. 1968)


My first trip to the field was in late January 1967. Prior to this, I was told, we stayed in tents on the site. This time, we stayed in barracks on the Army base at Nellingen and rode to the site in trucks to work and during black jacks. There were cots in the barracks and we slept in our sleeping bags.


The latrine on the site was a wooden, moveable two-holer on skids. When the pit got full, a new pit was dug and the latrine was dragged over the new hole. Digging the new pit was difficult because when we got more than three feet deep, it started to fill with water. In the fall of ’67, a shiny new latrine was built with four holes, windows, ventilation, and a cement floor. Every week the honey wagon came to pump it out. No more digging holes!


One of my first jobs in the field (when I wasn’t fixing generators) was to help build the mess hall. First Sergeant Meese gave the orders and worked just as hard (if not harder) as the enlisted men. I built the roof, two of the back walls, and fixed the floor.


During this time, the Air Force closed a base in France. There were several house trailers, which got shipped to our field site. During my second trip to the field, my Missile Maintenance team worked with the Commo section to wire the camp so every trailer had electricity for lights. The 45K generator on the pad provided power (220 volts, 400 cps) for the trailers, perimeter lights around the pad, and the heating blankets on the G&Cs. In the spring of 1968, a new 100K generator was delivered and we powered (120 volts, 60 cps) the trailers and perimeter lights, the 45K powered the G&C heat and was backup for the perimeter lights.


The trailers had little stoves to provide heat. The heaters were originally set up to use diesel fuel but someone decided that a 55-gallon can of fuel outside each trailer wasn't such a great idea so we had to convert them to coal. We used to heat cans of food (spaghetti, Vienna sausage, C-rats, etc.) on the stove. They heated faster if they weren't opened. Just drop the can on the stove and in 10 minutes you had hot food. Of course, whoever put the can on usually forgot it was there and spent the next two days cleaning junk off the ceiling. The coal was difficult to light so we usually poured a little diesel fuel on it to get it started. One cold morning the stove went out – we told the new guy (Rick Shifelbein) to get it lit. Rick came in with a soup can full of fuel and dumped the whole thing in the stove. There were still some hot coals in the bottom of the stove and clouds of white diesel vapor came billowing out of the chimney. When Rick dropped a match in, flames shot out of the chimney about 20 feet high. Rick staggered out of the door with no eyebrows and most of his hair singed. We were very lucky the whole trailer didn’t blow up.


In the fall of 1967, the D-Battery field site became a shared site with A-Battery and the C-Battery site was shared with B-Battery.


Whenever the site was un-occupied, the Engineers came in for road and pad improvements. Eventually, the perimeter was enlarged and a second pad was constructed. This allowed us to have four missiles on site and the capability of launching two at a time.


We slept on bunks in the trailers and used our sleeping bags. After a month in the field, things got very ripe in the trailers so on the next outing, we used sheets, which were changed weekly. Clean sheets improved the smell immensely! OK, so we had clean sheets – what about our raunchy bodies? We had to make daily runs to the barracks for showers. This was very inconvenient so most of the guys only went once or twice a week. In February of 1968, a shower tent was set up on site so we were able to take hot (warm?) showers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without leaving the comforts of our camp. Just step out of your trailer, slosh a few yards through the mud and into the shower. We were in heaven!!!


In early 1968, one of the trailers was converted to a sort of mini-PX, selling toiletries, soda and candy. I don’t remember the name of the guy who ran the PX, but he was sort of the cheerleader type (social director?). When someone decided that it would be a morale-booster if we named the field site, he promptly suggested “Itchy-Coo Park”. The entire battery took a vote and “Camp Black Jack” won 150 votes to 1. Our social director was very upset about this. I have noticed a CAS site called Camp Black Jack in various posts to this group but I don’t think it is the same one.


Two or three nights a week, movies were shown in the mess hall. Before the 100k generator arrived, I was in charge of connecting a 5k generator to the projector and keeping it running. I got free admission to all movies (everyone else had to pay). After the 100k generator was connected, I had to pay for a movie just like everyone else.



Page 2



   Ronald Bertotti                                                                                              


English Version on End of this Page.


Kürzlich lernte ich einen weiteren Ex-Soldaten kennen der auch mit der D-Batterie 4 / 41. Feld Artillerie im Feldlager Nellingen stationiert war.

Ronald  Bertotti ist am 1. Dezember 1946 geboren und kam als fast 20jähriger junger Mann im März 1967 nach Deutschland in die Bismarck Kaserne

von Schwäbisch Gmünd. Alle 60 Tage waren sie dann einen Monat lang in der Nellingen Kaserne Vorort anwesend. Insgesamt war er in der Zeit von März 1967 bis September 1968 in der Nellinger Kaserne stationiert. Ron wurde nach der High School in Ft. Jackson South Carolina gemustert und in Ft. Bliss trainiert und ausgebildet. Ronald war völlig ahnungslos als er in dieses Battalion eintrat, denn er wurde darauf spezialisiert die Scharfen Gefechtsköpfe zu entschärfen falls das Nellinger Feldlager angegriffen werden sollte.


Auch der Transport der Pershing Raketen zwischen den einzelnen Kasernen waren seine Tätigkeit beziehungsweise das bewachen und bestücken der Gefechtsköpfe. !968, am Höhepunkt des kalten Krieges, war im Battalion die Anspannung stark zu spüren. Die Befürchtung war groß das ausländische Spionage Agenten versuchen werden, an Informationen heran zu kommen was im Feldlager Nellingen vorhanden ist.

Ron erinnert sich auch an sehr kalte Nächte die er im Lager mit seinen Kameraden verbrachte. Auch an das Manöver-Dosenessen denkt er heute noch bzw. an die heißen Sommertage 1968.

Ronald Bertotti ist heute ( 2009 ) 62 Jahre alt, verheiratet, hat eine Tochter und lebt mit seiner Familie in Montgomeryville Pennsylvania U.S.A.

Danke Ron für die tolle Geschichte und die historischen Aufnahmen. Viel Glück für die Zukunft wünscht
Billy. Nellingen. Deutschland ( 2009 )




Delta 69

covered missiles, you can see the 45 k generators

Pad B



Field Site Nellingen Kaserne

Ron Bertotti

This a picture of the original guard house. Note the gate is wood and could not stop anything from getting through.






Cold Winter Area Nellingen

Ron Bertotti





pershing missile 1 warhead





covered missiles, you can see the 45 k generators




Covered Missiles Winter 1967 / 1968

field site trailors july 19th 1967

June 1967



Nellingen Field Site ( Housing Area in the Back )

Christmas Tree




march 1968

Ron Bertotti




Nellingen Field Site taken from the Roof of the Exclusionary Gate Trailer

Ron Bertotti doing Guard at Nellingen Kaserne / Wache schieben

Pershing 1 Missile



Pershing 1 Missile / Pershing 1 Missile Raketen stationiert in der Nellingen Kaserne

Nellingen Field Site laying Communication Wire. Observer is Nick Pascucci

Pershing 1 Missile



Men of the 4/41st D-Battalion. That’s Jeff Mercer holding up the

“I,m short” sign. On his Way home. Others are Larry Canale, Giampetro and Joiner.


Ron Bertotti sitting on the e1 at Nellingen Field Site

Volleyball at Nellingen.



Pershing 1 Missile. Im Hintergrund ist Ruit erkennbar

Exclusionary Gate. Eingangstor zum Feldlager des 41. Feld Artillerie Battalions in Nellingen

Trailers at Nellingen. I never got to see the pouring of the Concrete in the Walk.



View shows the Area toward Ruit

Pershing 1 Missile

Field Site Gate. In the back you can see the Buildings of the Housing Area within Nellingen Kaserne. 1967 Summer. Eingangstor zum Feldlager. Im Hintergrund sind die Gebäude der U.S. Wohnsiedlung Nellingen Kaserne



Exclusionary Gate Summer 1968

Feldlager des 41. Feld Artillerie Battalions 1968





Nellingen Field Site




Warrant Officer Heins

Field Site Gate. In the back you can see the Buildings of the Housing Area within Nellingen Kaserne. 1967 Summer. Eingangstor zum Feldlager. Im Hintergrund sind die Gebäude der U.S. Wohnsiedlung Nellingen Kaserne

Bismarck Kaserne Schwäbisch Gmünd. Headquarter of the

D- 4/41st  Field Artillery Battalion. Hauptquartier der 41. in Schwäbisch Gmünd 1967



Pershing 1 Missile







Original Comment of Ron Bertotti:


Mail 1


Hello Billy,


I was at Nellingen between the time of March 1967 and September 1968

I was drafted after high school and was trained in Ft Jackson South Carolina and Ft. Bliss Texas.  I spent many nights in that field and in March 1967 there was not much there.  I remember a lot of mud and not being able to shower for a while and yes, I was there with Randy Cotter.  I was 19 years old at that time.  I was born Dec 1, 1946 and grew up in Philadelphia. I currently live in Montgomeryville PA.  


I knew nothing about Pershing Missiles when I arrived but my job was to guard the warheads and to also transport the warheads from site to site but Nellingen was the main place where we stayed for a many months.

I was also trained to destroy the warheads in case of an attach from anyone.  This was the height of the cold war and we were always told that there was spies who wanted to secure information on what we had at that site. 


Since I did not know there actually was a town called Nellingen I looked on a Google map but can't tell where our missile site was located in relation to the town.  I do know there was nothing but corn fields that surrounded us and lots of wire so no one can get in or out.


Soon I will spend some time to send you the whatever I can find that relates to Nellingen.  Your country was instrumental in keeping peace in that part of the world I only wish that I spent the time to understand your country and enjoy the country and learn the history.  It was years later that I realized the history associated with Germany and I know that the Kasern we stayed in Schwabish Gmuend was a Nazi training camp.  I am not sure of all the history of Bismarck Kasrne but I know it was major training camp in the 20's-30's and 40's.


Are you doing a study of the Nellingen area?  Every morning before I go to work I go to the Schwabish Gumund web cam and see the weather and people in the main plaza.


I will send the information soon.


Ron Bertotti



Pershing 1 Missile. Im Hintergrund ist Ruit erkennbar


Ron and his Wife

Mail 2


Hi Billy,

There was only one gate to enter the missile site. The road was not paved.

As we turned into the site there were buildings, you can see them in some of the pictures, in the background and would be to the right of our

turn into the missile site. Those building were at least 3-4K away.

My recollection of those days, and I think of them very often still, was that it was very cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

My job was to protect, guard the missile warheads 24 hours a day. My job also was to transport the warheads and matted the warhead to the missiles. After a while I became a Sergeant and worked in the entrance gate to the missile site and was incharge of the guards and all transportation of the warheads. I was also responsible to destroy all warheads if necessary and had special explosive training in a town called Murnau.


We had various teams that worked 12 hour shifts. My shift was 12:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Midnight to Noon) 7 days a week and for the length of time we were there. Sometimes we were there for months at a time. At first I was

a guard in a little open air tower. There were four guards around the perimeter of the missile site. The missiles were always reading to be fired and it was my understanding that all four missiles were targeted towards Red

Square Moscow for most of the time.

I recall that there was mud everywhere and in the summer dust. I never knew that there actually was a town named Nellingen. I thought it was just the name of the missiles site. I never left that site and never went anyplace while we were there. I really did not know there was anything near that missile site. Sometimes when

a friend would travel back to Schwabish Gmuend I always asked him to bring back a bottle of cognac. Cognac was forbidden or verboten on the missile site but we had it sometimes. We had everything we needed at this missile sit. Once a week laundry was dropped off by helicopter. Food by

truck and helicopter. We built a move theater and a shower but in the cold the water would freeze sometimes. The German people were not happy with us being there that was my experience, but when Czechoslovakia was

invaded by Russia the German people were very pleased to have us there. Do you know anything about that? I know you were a little boy at that time but I wonder if you remember this or did you ever speak to anyone who

is older and does remember this incident. The date was August 21, 1968.


Thanks Billy




Dad and me Central Park



Pershing 1A launch, date and place unknown (ca. 1964). Hier ist eine Pershing 1 Missile Rakete beim Start fotografiert worden. USA ca. 1964

An dieser Stelle …..

möchte ich mich bei allen beteiligten Menschen herzlich bedanken. Ihr habt mich mit Informationen und Fotomaterial versorgt bzw. Eure Lebens-Erinnerungen und Geschichten zugeschickt. Es war eine tolle Zusammenarbeit um die Historie des Pershing Raketen Battalions D 4/41st Field Artillery Nellingen Kaserne zu erhalten und präsentieren.

Ein besonderer Dank geht an meine Frau die diese Seiten fantastisch gestaltet und entworfen hat.


At this point ... 

I would like to thank all the People involved in this Webpage Project.

You have supported me with Information’s and Photo Material of your Life Memories and Stories. It was a great Collaboration to preserve the History of the Pershing Missile Battalion D Battery 4/41st Field Artillery in Nellingen Kaserne

1965 to 1969.


Thanks to:

Randy Cotter
Ronald Bertotti
Walter Elkins http://www.usarmygermany.com
Rodger  Dana  http://azmives.tripod.com/pershing.html


....Start Fotogalerie