The 104th Area Support Group (ASG) and the 414th Base Support Battalion (BSB) are located in Hanau. The peacetime mission of the 104th ASG and the 414th BSB is to provide quality of life support to the units within the ASG footprint. While many US facilities continue to close in Germany, Hanau and its outlying communities (Buedingen, Gelnhausen, and Fliegerhorst) remain strong.
On 16 October 1991, the US military community in Hanau was redesignated as the 414th BSB in accordance with the United States Army Europe Community Command Plan. The 414th Base Support Battalion is primarily composed of the Hanau, Erlensee and Büdingen military communities with sub-communities in Grossauheim and Gelnhausen.
Unlike most army posts in CONUS, the Hanau military community is comprised of a number of smaller installations or "Kasernes". Each kaserne has an interesting history of its own. Located in Hanau are Pioneer Kaserne, home to the 130th Combat Engineer Brigade, as well as the Yorkhof, Hutier, and Francois Kasernes. Fliegerhorst Kaserne, home to the 4th Aviation Brigade, is located in nearby Erlensee. The 1-1st Armored Calvary is based in Büdingen and is home to both the M-1 A-1 Abrams and Kiowa Warrior armed aerial reconnaissance helicopters. Additionally, numerous 414th BSB family members reside in government housing in Gelnhausen.
The history of Hanau is both important and interesting. In the early hours of 19 March 1945, Hanau was violently awakened by a massive allied air strike. Close to 85 percent of Hanau was destroyed, and it seemed the city, just 11 miles east of Frankfurt am Main, had suffered a mortal blow. Despite the world wars, Hanau continued to thrive. Its gold and silver industries attracted gem and other precious metal factories. Today, the products of Heraeus, Quarzlampen Company, Dunlop Rubber, Degussa and many others are vital to the city's economic welfare.
Today, Hanau is a small, bustling city of approximately 90,000 people. This figure includes the populations of the smaller communities of Wolfgang, Grossauheim, Steinheim, Klein Auheim, Hohe Tanne, and Mitlebuchen as a result of a merger in 1974. Some 13,000 workers commute daily to Hanau, causing the main traffic arteries leading out of town to swell each afternoon.
Although Hanau received status as a city from Albrecht I in 1093, it was not until religious refugees poured into the city in 1597 that it began to flourish. Given religious freedom by the ruling Count, these refugees, mostly Dutch and Belgian Wallons, constructed a new city and started new trades, including gold and silver-smithing. The refugees also built the Netherlands Wallon Double Church which stands today on Franzoezische Allee as a monument. Hanau's Academy of Art was established in 1772 for the training of young people to work in the city's gold and silver trade. It is the oldest existing school of its kind in Germany. The history of the city touched that of America during our Revolutionary War. A treaty was signed in Hanau in February 1776 to hire mercenaries. This treaty provided England's King George III with the first contingent of Hessian soldiers for use against the American Colonies. During the early years of the 19th century, Hanau was occupied by Napoleon's troops and its fortifications were destroyed. In 1886, Hanau fell into Prussian hands. At the beginning of the 20th century, Hanau's Main River Port was built. This paved the way for trade of all kinds.
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