Winding Down - The Last Months in the PGC PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 September 2013 22:32

By the early part of 1945 it became safe for Allied shipping to use the Bosporus and the  Dardanelles to send war material to Russia, eliminating the need for the overland route through Iran.   In May 1945, the Iranian government requested the occupying countries withdraw their troops - the  U.S. agreed.

The third year of American operation opened with rather large tonnages; but February and the  succeeding three months saw the reduction of Russian-aid cargoes decrease to minor proportions.   After March 1945 petroleum products furnished the principal freight.  Shop operations decreased  proportionately with freight curtailment, though car and engine repair continued until American  operations ceased.  Effective 10 April 1945, the monthly aid-to-Russia target for the MRS was  reduced to 60,000 long tons of dry cargo and 40,000 long tons of POL.  In addition, internal cargo was  lowered to 50,000 long tons.

On 25 May 1945, the commanding general of the PGC was authorized by the War Department to  announce that, as of 1 June 1945, the mission of his command would be accomplished.  American  operations at Cheybassi and Bandar Shahpur had ceased and the Military Railway Service had begun  to disassemble excess rail equipment and was preparing to evacuate one of the railway shop  battalions.  Troop strength in the command had been cut from a peak of 30,000 to approximately  16,0000.  With the exception of operations at Khorramshahr which were retained to handle the  evacuation of supplies, equipment, and troops, remaining U.S. army transportation activities were  then speedily concluded.  In mid-September, Persian Gulf Command headquarters moved to  Khorramshahr, where it assumed direct responsibility for port operations  Final evacuation was  hastened when uprisings in Azerbaijan caused the President, in November, to order the return by 1  January 1946 of all U.S. Army troops with the exceptions of military attaches and those assigned to  two small military missions.

Iran had remained open for the transport of western aid to the Soviet Union throughout the war,  and an amazing five million + tons of war supplies were shipped to the Soviet Union through the  Persian Gulf, a testimony to the ingenuity and tenacity of the American railroader.

After Germany surrendered, the Transportation Corps supply organization had the task of  redeploying transportation assets to the United States and the Pacific, and at the same time of setting  up new depots in Germany to support the U.S. occupation forces.  Originally four such depots were  planned, but only three were found necessary.   A depot at Bremerhaven, primarily for marine engine  parts, sufficed for the Bremen Port Command.  At the request of the U.S. Seventh Army, the Supply  Division accepted a site in Karlsruhe for a general depot to support transportation activity in the  American occupation zone.  An experienced base depot company functioned at each of these  installations.  A third depot, at Munich, was designated exclusively for diesel locomotive spare parts.   It operated under the supervision of the 762d Railway Shop Battalion.