Stories of the Highway Patrol
THE COLONEL AND THE AUTOBAHN BANDITS
by Elden L. Allen
I was stationed with the 532nd MP Co. at the time,
and working out of Wetzlar Military Post.
When the Highway Patrol was formed, there were approximately 15
of us who made up the Kassel Detachment.
I can't say this for sure but I think this was one of the reasons
for the Highway Patrol being formed.
At the time there was a group known as the Autobahn Bandits.
They would set up a roadblock on the autobahn, and hi-jack
trucks, and rob others who might stop.
The bandits would dress up in GI uniforms with MP Brassards and
The trucks in most cases were the old coke burners.
On a long up hill grade, the rate of climb was at best slow.
On some occasions they would even have to stop and build a new
fire, they ran on coal gas from the fire.
The bandits would jump onto the truck and throw the cargo off,
the truck it's self was never taken.
Our investigation of the robberies had little success.
There was too little evidence; some times, we would find a
button, or a small piece of cloth.
On this one occasion, the Wetzlar Military Post
Commander [a full Colonel] was stopped by the bandits.
Not realizing just who they were, he started in on one of the
guys for being out of uniform. The
bandit then stuck his big gun under the nose of the Colonel and said
here is my uniform. They
left him on the autobahn standing naked as a jaybird, they even took his
chickens. Upon his return
to the Post, we were directed to catch the bandits, and given 24 hours
in which to do this.
I was sent along with approximately six others to
Kirsheim on the autobahn. We
were to wait and block off the autobahn.
There were other MP's stationed at various points around the
Kassel area that would also block off the streets when a robbery
occurred. Our jeeps only
had 25 watt radios and not enough range to cover the entire area.
A large transmitter was installed at the gas station; this gave
us greater coverage in radio communications.
The bandits were smart, and had avoided capture for
some time. I am not sure if
there was a yank in Europe who could have caught them.
Had it not been for a German Policeman in one of the small
villages, who knows just how long it would have taken to apprehend them?
The German Policeman was walking his beat; it was on a Wednesday
and about noontime. He
smelled what he thought to be pork chops frying in the pan.
Thinking to himself, this is the middle of the week, it is 1948,
and things are not so good in Germany.
How can these people afford pork chops in mid-week.
He made a report at the Police Station, and the house was soon
raided by the CID and German Police.
A search of the house revealed a coat and pair of pants from
whence the button and piece of cloth came.
Also found in the search was a large amount of goods which had
been taken in the robberies and hi-jackings.
There was also an arms cache.
It was not long after this that they started the
Highway Patrol. At the
time, the autobahn had a speed limit of 55 MPH, and we policed both
Germans and GI's.