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That time when Americans and Germans fought together during World War II

http://www.businessinsider.com/that-tim ... -ii-2015-9

Five days after Hitler killed himself in his bunker in Berlin and two days before Germany surrendered, American and German troops were fighting together side by side in what has been called World War II's strangest battle.

It was the last days of the war in Europe on May 5, 1945, when French prisoners, Austrian resistance fighters, German soldiers, and American tankers all fought in defense of Itter Castle in Austria.

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Itter Castle viewed from the east, along the pathway to the entrance, in 1979.

In 1943, the German military turned the small castle into a prison for "high value" prisoners, such as French prime ministers, generals, sports stars, and politicians.

By May 4, 1945, with Germany and its military quickly collapsing, the commander of the prison and his guards abandoned their post.

The prisoners were now running the asylum, but they couldn’t just walk out the front door and enjoy their freedom. The Waffen SS, the German paramilitary unit commanded by Heinrich Himmler, had plans to recapture the castle and execute all of the prisoners.

That's when the prisoners enlisted the help of nearby American troops led by Capt. John "Jack" Lee, local resistance fighters, and yes, even soldiers of the Wehrmacht to defend the castle through the night and early morning of May 5. The book "The Last Battle" by Stephen Harding tells the true tale of what happened next.

From The Daily Beast:

There are two primary heroes of this — as I must reiterate, entirely factual — story, both of them straight out of central casting.

Jack Lee was the quintessential warrior: smart, aggressive, innovative — and, of course, a cigar-chewing, hard-drinking man who watched out for his troops and was willing to think way, way outside the box when the tactical situation demanded it, as it certainly did once the Waffen-SS started to assault the castle.

The other was the much-decorated Wehrmacht officer Major Josef 'Sepp' Gangl, who died helping the Americans protect the VIPs. This is the first time that Gangl's story has been told in English, though he is rightly honored in present-day Austria and Germany as a hero of the anti-Nazi resistance.

As the New York Journal of Books notes in its review of Harding's work, Army Capt. Lee immediately assumed command of the fight for the castle over its leaders — Capt. Schrader and Maj. Gangl — and they fought against a force of 100 to 150 SS troops in a confusing battle, to say the least.

During the six-hour battle, the SS managed to destroy the sole American tank of the vastly outnumbered defenders, and Allied ammunition ran extremely low. But the Americans were able to call for reinforcements, and once they showed up the SS backed off, according to Donald Lateiner in his review.

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ww2 world war 2 wwii M-10 tank
Argunners Magazine

About 100 SS troops were taken prisoner, according to the BBC. The only friendly casualty of the battle was Maj. Gangl, who was shot by a sniper. The nearby town of Wörgl later named a street after him in his honor, while Capt. Lee received the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery in the battle.

As for the book, apparently it has been optioned to be made into a movie. With a crazy story like this, you'd think it would have already been made.

Read the original article on We Are The Mighty. Copyright 2015. Follow We Are The Mighty on Twitter.
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Battle for Castle Itter

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_for_Castle_Itter

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The Battle for Castle Itter in the Austrian North Tyrol village of Itter was fought on 5 May 1945 in the last days of the European Theater of World War II.

Troops of the 23rd Tank Battalion of the 12th Armored Division of the US XXI Corps led by Captain John C. "Jack" Lee, Jr., anti-Nazi German Army soldiers, and recently freed French VIPs defended Castle Itter against an attacking force from the 17th Waffen-SS Panzer Grenadier Division until relief from the American 142nd Infantry Regiment of the 36th Division of XXI Corps arrived.

The French prisoners included former prime ministers, generals and a tennis star. It may have been the only battle in the war in which Americans and Germans fought side-by-side. Popular accounts of the battle have called it the "strangest" battle of World War II

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... icide.html

Yep. Read about this a couple of times! :)
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