Skip to comments.WWII’s Strangest Battle: When Americans and Germans Fought Together
Posted on 01/19/2014 5:43:24 PM PST by Jacob Kell
Days after Hitlers suicide a group of American soldiers, French prisoners, and, yes, German soldiers defended an Austrian castle against an SS divisionthe only time Germans and Allies fought together in World War II. Andrew Roberts on a story so wild that it has to be made into a movie. The most extraordinary things about Stephen Hardings The Last Battle, a truly incredible tale of World War II, are that it hasnt been told before in English, and that it hasnt already been made into a blockbuster Hollywood movie. Here are the basic facts: on 5 May 1945five days after Hitlers suicidethree Sherman tanks from the 23rd Tank Battalion of the U.S. 12th Armored Division under the command of Capt. John C. Jack Lee Jr., liberated an Austrian castle called Schloss Itter in the Tyrol, a special prison that housed various French VIPs, including the ex-prime ministers Paul Reynaud and Eduard Daladier and former commanders-in-chief Generals Maxime Weygand and Paul Gamelin, amongst several others. Yet when the units of the veteran 17th Waffen-SS Panzer Grenadier Division arrived to recapture the castle and execute the prisoners, Lees beleaguered and outnumbered men were joined by anti-Nazi German soldiers of the Wehrmacht, as well as some of the extremely feisty wives and girlfriends of the (needless-to-say hitherto bickering) French VIPs, and together they fought off some of the best crack troops of the Third Reich. Steven Spielberg, how did you miss this story?
(Excerpt) Read more at warhistoryonline.com ...
Gee, can't imagine why.
Forget Spielberg, this one is right up Mark Wahlberg’s alley. He would do it justice.
Nope, never heard this b4.
Should have teamed up and fought the Soviets.
Tarantino, if he realizes by now that he doesn’t need to pad his cool credentials anymore, would do well with this. Inglorious Bastards was actually a pretty good movie.
he couldn’t even get Tony Stark right in the screen tests..
Never seen this one before either..
They do like to make black girls drive those Hitler jeeps from VW at holyweird in many of their movies.
never seen one? we had 2 per tank in my unit in germany in 1975
It's a whole new "Cowboy" action event (1911 & M3).
There were no blacks to speak of. ONCE IN A WHILE, there would be some African blood that snuck in but it was very rare. If I saw two black Saudis in FIVE long years that would be a lot. I can only remember one. And we could see the skin on their hands so color was obvious.
The Saudis are brown to white-white, lots of mixtures of middle eastern browns to white-white. No black.
Hollywood is fantasy. I learned JUST how fantasy there were when I saw WITH MY OWN EYES, what lies I learned from good ole Hollywood.
I kept waiting for Lawrence of Arabia and Omar Shariff to come by on camels....no such luck. They all drove Fords, especially pick-ups. We saw them load their sheep and goats on the back and drive away.
By the way, their sheep have these HUGE triangle shaped tails. WEIRDEST thing I ever saw.
Also, all the camels they use are females. The male camels are too unpredictable, noisy, mean and nasty.
Hubby and I went down to the Red Sea port of Yanbu and also saw the camel races. But, that's another story!
A friend had one in his tank recovery vehicle in the Gulf War.
He could resurrect Hugo Stiglitz.
That’s the “grease gun”, no?
I know they were still authorized for M88 Recovery Vehicle crews into the 1990s. Not sure if/when they were phased out completely.
Germans in the armed forces tried to kill Hitler.
Wilhelm Franz Canaris (1 January 1887 9 April 1945) a German admiral, and chief of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, from 1935 to 1944. During the Second World War, he was among the military officers involved in the clandestine opposition to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. He was executed in the Flossenbürg concentration camp for the act of high treason.
Admiral Canaris, using multiple disguises, traveled to Italy and Spain to keep Pope Pius XII and Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, with up to day information about Hitlers plans.
PIUS XII AND THE RESISTANCE
Pius XII, a man of great personal courage dared to be involved in a high risk venture that could even endanger the very existence of The Church-the support of the internal resistance to the Nazis inside the German Armed Forces. The French and the British governments were deaf to the pleas of the Vatican to assist the German internal resistance to the Nazi government. From the very beginning Pius XII tried to persuade the Allies to support the inside German opposition, but they did not heed the Pope.
A number of anti-Nazi plotters inside the Abwehr, the intelligence branch of the armed forces, made repeated, and ultimately futile attempts through the Holy See to reach and persuade the British to back, or even to talk with the German resistance. They were all killed in the July 20, 1944; plot to assassinate Hitler, the last in a long line of foiled attempts to get rid of the dictator. The leader, a Roman Catholic officer, Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg was shot on the spot. Other conspirators, mostly Protestants, were not so lucky; they were hung by using piano strings from butchers hooks and filmed on Hitlers orders so that he could watch it himself later.
According to historian OCarroll, in 1983 the Italian magazine Gente, published the testimony of General Wolff, the commander of the German forces in Italy during WWII. He revealed that in 1943 Pius XII had invited him to the Vatican and tried to persuade him to end the war in Italy on his own initiative. General Wolff was impressed and gave the matter thought; he finally decided against the Popes plea. But he recorded the immense personal impression that Pius XII made on him. We already mentioned how the whole leadership of the Italian resistance found refugee in the Churchs facilities in Rome.
Pius XII also served as a conduit for an offer made by a group of anti-Nazi German generals to topple Hitler from power. They wanted to know if the British would make peace with Germany if they succeeded in arresting Hitler and removing him from power. The proposal was made by Colonel-General Ludwig Beck (four star general), who latter was made chief of the German General Staff, but who resigned in 1938 convinced that Hitler was a criminal. Pius XII had known Beck when he was Nuncio in Berlin and highly esteemed his honesty and integrity.
The Pope also allowed the Vatican diplomatic corps, which was protected by diplomatic immunity, to carry messages between the Allied powers. There was a close collaboration between the Vatican and the Allies intelligence services. In fact, the Vatican forewarned Holland and Belgium of the upcoming German invasion.
Rome under German occupation
At the beginning of 1944 Rome had already been under German control for four months. More than six months were yet to pass before the German troops would retreat to the North. The churches, seminaries, and convents, even those solemnly bound to the cloister were opened to all categories of refugees, regardless of political leanings, religion or race (the dispensation was granted by the Pope). More than 180 Churchs facilities were used in the rescue effort.
They harbored Jews, military officers and members of the resistance. Of the refugees hidden at Castel Gandolfo more than 3,000 were Jews. In the convent of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion there was a group of 200 Jewish men and women for several months. In the Roman Seminary of St. John Lateran nearly the entire National Committee of Liberation was hidden-only a few paces from the headquarters of the Gestapo police. In a raid into the extra-territorial Basilica of St. Pauls Out-side the Walls; the neo-Fascist police found that the monastery was a shelter for the very people they were seeking.
During the German occupation of Rome, more than half of the Jewish population found refuge in The Churchs facilities, including the Vatican itself.
The Vatican City was in imminent risk of being occupied by the German troops. Spain and Brazil offered refuge to the Pope, but the Pope adamantly refused any possibility of abandoning Rome. As Cardinal Tisserant said: Everyone knew that the Pope was ready to go to a concentration camp. Speaking to the College of Cardinals on February 9, 1944, when the fate of Rome was in question, Pius XII surely manifested his courage:
There is no need to declare that we, whatever may happen, will never leave the Apostolic See or our beloved Rome. We shall yield only to violence. We do not have anxiety for our lot, but we do for yours, Venerable Brothers. Therefore we dispense you from your obligation to share our fate. Each of you is free to do as he thinks most efficient for his own safety. (18)
German troops advance towards St. Peter Square
As German troops advanced towards St Peter Square, the Pope ordered the Papal Swiss Guards to move to the white demarcation line with their arms ready while machine guns posts were placed on high alert in the surrounding Vatican buildings. The German troops retreated.
That's what I read. Seems like it needs wider distribution.
Yes, indeed they did. THANKS for the mini-history lesson. I was a history minor in college and I still love it.
The Pope has the power of STATUS.
There were 44 attempts on Hitler's life by his own SS and troops. We Americans don't get to hear of that often...too much hatred/dislike of Germany...though 40% of Americans have some German ancestry.
Interesting how we have been brainwashed into disliking/hating an entire nation by Hollywood and some of the media.
AMEN to that, brother!!
I've been to Europe a zillion times over the last 45 years and went to Germany, since it is SOAKED in history. I love all of Europe, Germany included. It's a new world over there.
And I am delighted that they FINALLY have one currency to learn. "Euro" has a dozen different pronunciations over there...but I always "get it."
And yet, I don't have one. Even $200 sounds good.
The most extraordinary thing about this battle is that French soldiers participated.
It was called the Grease Gun. Stamped receiver and other parts.
The Thompson was like a squirt gun, very controllable, high cyclic rate.
The M3 had a gawd-awful heavy bolt that slammed back and forth, jerking the gun all over the place. Rate of fire was quite low on the one I fired, which may have been due to a tired recoil spring.
Having fired both, would take the Thompson in a heartbeat.
Tarantino? You can’t be serious. That clown should
NEVER be allowed anywhere near real history. Like
I posted the last time someone opened a thread on
this topic, a better little known story to turn into
a feature film would be The Los Banos Raid. Paratroopers
from the US 11th rescued 2147 mostly American civilian
prisoners from thirty miles behind the Japanese lines
south of Manila, PI. And, NO, it was NOT the same oper-
ation as the Cabanatuan rescue by Army Rangers as de-
picted in the movie The Great Raid. That was a good
operation but nothing near the scope of the Los Banos
Do you eat CloudBerries?
The one I played with just had a big divot in the bolt to hook a finger into and pull it back. Never researched different versions I disliked it so much.
So, where is mine?
Can I get my rep and Senators to round one up?
WW-II history ping.
some of the M3A1's were made by Ithaca Gun
this is the M3 with the crank
From my extremely brief readings, the bolt was made heavy to slow the rate of fire. Should a bunch'a these be made public, a bolt replacement could "straighten" things out.
Lol. Not unless I go to northern Europe. I like them...mit viel schlag — bitte.
The Grease Gun. Lots of fun to shoot, wasted a lot of .45 ammo to take out a target, but scared the H*** out of anyone on the business end. Tankers used to have them as an issue item in the field.
Yes, The Thompson has the edge in accuracy with a longer sight radius, more weight for control, and sights which could be set for various distances.
My brother produced a YouTube vid about the differences between the Colt 1921 model Thompson and the much more common 1928a1 model.
“By the way, their sheep have these HUGE triangle shaped tails. WEIRDEST thing I ever saw.”
Fat tail sheep, I think. They use that to keep the kebab thing from drying out by placing it at the top so the mutton suet is continually melting over the spiced meat. I have heard.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat-tailed_sheep though the pictures don’t look like other pictures I’ve seen, which matched what you’ve described.
Patton thought so.
Not exactly the “last battle” of WWII. The Battle of Okinawa went into June. My father was wounded on Okinawa 10 days after this incident in Europe.
My husband and I snuck in early to see the goat grab layout. Just peeking at the food.
We BOTH noticed a big fat cockroach crawl into the goat food...and decided NOT to join the "Kapsa," goat grab that night. We ate at home.
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