1988 Free Lion + Wehrdienstbilder – Galerie Knowles

Hi Friends, here are my Memories and Pics about my time in Service.
Regards William (Kurt) Knowles


FreeLion88:    (Sept 1988)

Notes: This was our first trip out after 3-66 Armored Regiment arrived in Germany and received our brand new M1A1 Abrams tanks. They were a big upgrade from the early M1’s were had in Texas. Many of the M1’s we had in Texas had serial numbers below 100… If my memory is correct, my M1’s identification plate still said XM1.
FL-1a.jpg = Delta Company staging after offloading our tanks from the train (I don’t remember the town).
FL- 2a.jpg = D-14, my Abrams parked in a wooded park somewhere near Hannover.
FL- 3.jpg = We usually slept on top of the tank (although we were not supposed to). My platoon Sargeant actually setup his small tent for this occasion… this was the only time in 3.5 years I saw anything sleep on the ground.
FL- 4.jpg and FL-5.jpg = D Co. 3-66AR Abrams moving across a field during Free Lion
FL- 6.jpg = Dutch Gepard following along behind us in a column
FL- 7.jpg = Dutch Leo 2 moving past our column.
FL- 8a.jpg – Fl-11.jpg = Various pictures of the Dutch Gepard that was attached to our unit for several days.
FL-13.jpg – FL-16.jpg = Delta Company gathered at the close of Free Lion 88 in Hessisch-Oldendorf (Großenwieden)
FL-17. Road March Braunschweig

Abrams Gunnery:   (1988-1990)

Notes:  None of these are pictures of tanks firing actual gunnery tables.  They are all pics of preparation a day or two before firing scored excersizes.   A few days before firing tables, you boresight and test your weapons to be sure everything is working correctly.  I think these are pictures from two separate ranges…  I don’t remember where I took them.
gun-1a.jpg   =   M1A1’s of  Delta Company, 3-66 Armored Regiment parked on line at a firing range somewhere in Germany.
gun-2.jpg  =  Boresighting the 120mm main gun of the M1A1
gun-3.jpg  =  Proving shots to confirm good boresight..usually the day before actual gunnery tables are fired.
gun-4.jpg  =  Foreground tank show red flag meaning weapons are loaded, tank behind it show green flag.
gun-5.jpg and gun6.jpg  =  M1A1 Abrams moving up to a firing position, most likely to boresight.
gun-7.jpg and gun-8.jpg   =   My wingman’s tank, D-13, moving up to fire test rounds after boresighting.

DDR Border Visit:    (Mid-1988)

Notes:  I took these sometime in mid-1988.  I was with the advanced party for 3-66 Armored Regiment’s move to Germany from Ft. Hood Texas in 1988.   We had a fair amount of free time before the rest of the battalion arrived, so someone organized a trip to the border for a small group of soldiers at LDCK in Garlstedt.   I didn’t take any notes as to where we went, but this was as close and I got to the border.
DDR-1a.jpg  =   Border markers between  FRG and DDR
DDR-2a.jpg  =  DDR soldiers taking photos of us tanking photos of them.  We were in civilian clothes for the trip.
DDR-3.jpg, DDR-4.jpg, DDR-5.jpg  =  Different shots of the border, towers, fences and control devices at the border.

Nato Vehicles:    (various pictures taken 1988-1990)

nato-1.jpg  =    Leo 1 on display at LDCK
nato-2.jpg –  nato-3a.jpg  =  German Leo 2’s
nato-4a.jpg  =  German Marders on a train
nato-5a.jpg  =  Another German Leo 2 parked in a motorpool at one of the training areas
nato-6.jpg  =  German recovery vehicle
nato-7a.jpg  =  A column of Leo 1’s arriving at one of the firing ranges
nato-8a.jpg  =  French AMZX 30’s in a motorpool at one of the training areas

Random Germany 88-90:

Notes:  These are a collection of random pictures I took while stationed in Germany from June 1988 – Feb 1990
FRG-1a.jpg and FRG-2.jpg  =  A couple of different picture of 1st Platoon, Delta Company, 3-66AR
FRG-3a.jpg – FRG-5.jpg =  Several photos of our tanks loaded on trains as we were transported closer to training areas
FRG-6.jpg  =   Our Abrams rolling down a highway among civilian traffic
FRG-8.jpg – FRG-12.jpg  =  Various pictures of 1st Platoon vehicles at Hohenfels training area…  cold and wet
FRG-13.jpg  =  The Abrams turbine engine is very thirsty… we took on fuel at least once a day, sometimes twice
FRG-14a.jpg – FRG-15.jpg  =  Night vision in the 80’s was not always perfect…  one 3rd Platoon tank found a tank ditch the hard way
FRG-16.jpg  =  Our Company Commander killing some time waiting for our next orders
FRG-17.jpg  =  Doctrine in the 1980’s was primarily defensive, and this is the enemy view of a prepared fighting position.




Über den Autor

William Knowles

8 Kommentare

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  1. 4
    Patrick Wiegmann

    Hello William.

    Humans are great pictures of you. Especially the exercise ” FREE LION 1988 ” are really awesome pictures. You must have experianced a lot back in the eighties. Especially at thr German German zone there must been a lot of mixed feelings. One observes andis observed at the same time. Thank you for the great picture selection.
    Greetings Patrick

  2. 3
    Guenther H.

    Pictures that take you back to better Times in maneuvering technique…and also show the live of a tanker its facets!
    There’s only one thing left to write: THANK YOU for showing!
    regards Günther

    1. 3.1
      William Knowles

      Gunther… You are very welcome. Those days are some of my favorite memories and I am glad I could share them with you and all the readers on Military-database.de

  3. 2
    Lars de Vries

    Hi William,

    thanks for your support with this unique pics. I think this was the first and the last time that M1 Abrams were in my District…..one of the best post on our side. Thanks my friend and greetings from Lower Saxony.


    1. 2.1
      William Knowles

      Lars… You are also very welcome. I have enjoyed looking over many of the posts on Military-database.de, and am glad that I could contribute my own collection from my time in Germany. Keep up the good work!

  4. 1
    Joerg Waldhelm

    Hey William,

    great pictures are shown. Especially the photos of the border? Was there a place to corss over the border? do you remember?

    Do you know the movies of the exercise FREE LION 1988 which are embedded on this homepage? I think you will find your tank!



    1. 1.1
      William Knowles

      Joerg… I’m glad you like the pictures… as I said above, they are some of my favorite memories. Yes, I did know about the Free Lion 1988 movies, and the first time I watched them, I recognized our vehicles right away! Then I jumped up from my computer and ran to find my children (son is 11 and my daughter is 17) to show them proof of my adventures from 30 years ago. I think I have watched the videos 100 times… and all my friends are tired of me showing it to them at every opportunity…LOL

      I only visited the border one time.. and it was right after arriving in Germany (I think it was June of 1988). I don’t even remember where we were exactly, but it was sobering to visit and see then soldiers of the army we were training to fight. I know there were places to cross the border and go to our side of Berlin, but I never traveled there…. Our Calvary Regiments actually manned the border further south, but those of us at Garlstedt only visited while “sightseeing” and were in civilian clothes at the time.

      1. 1.1.1
        Lars de Vries

        ……jumped up from my Computer and ran to find my Children….that´s just wonderful.

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