When the Wehrmacht and U.S. Army Fought the Waffen-SS Together: Battle for Castle Itter

the last days of the second world war were incredibly chaotic to nearly every german soldier it became clear the war had been lost both in the wehrmacht and even among some ideological diarrhea of nss europe was filled with large groups of refugees displaced persons and bands of soldiers that either were looking for another front to fight at or tried to reach the western allied powers before the soviets called them a very curious event happened during this chaotic time in tyrol austria a centuries-old castle housed prominent french political prisoners when a fanatical ss division attempted to take the castle a german wehrmacht unit ended up fighting side by side with the united states army unit to defend these prisoners it was the only time during the entire war that the germans and americans fought side by side and it is often described as the strangest battle of the entire war [Music] this castle schlossiter was used as a prison for french people of interest such as former french presidents ministers and former commanders of the french army these people had been seized from france following germany's rapid conquest of the country nearly five years earlier and were locked up as political prisoners as a sort of bargaining chip if you will among these imprisoned were former prime ministers eduardo ladier and paul renaud now the iter castle wasn't a regular prison the guest rooms of the castle had been converted to prison cells but the prisoners were free to move around furthermore they had a full staff consisting of dachau prisoners and there was ample food and water available as this totemko for banned the soldiers guarded them in early may these men too realized the war was lost ether was a subunit of the dachau concentration camp and the fact the commandant of dachau edward writer pled to eater as the camp was liberated and then proceeded to take his own life well it was quite the big giveaway the war wasn't going too well for the germans following this event it turns prisoner commander fled together with the guards leaving the prisoners behind following their abandonment the prisoners armed themselves they were aware of hostile ss divisions in the vicinity and they weren't too wrong about that close by the 17th waffen-ss panzer grenadier division was preparing itself to recapture the castle knowing the allies were close by the prisoners had already sent an arrested yugoslavian communist resistance fighter that worked at the castle as a handyman to try and get the americans to come to rescue them when he didn't return the group sent their cook to try and find the allies to rescue them as well meanwhile the handyman hadn't disappeared or anything no he managed to reach innsbruck where u.s troops were stationed inspect was over 14 hours of walking away but roaming assassi units occupied all nearby towns although the castle wasn't in their military jurisdiction the us commander major john t kramers assembled a small rescue troop to go with the handyman as for the cook he reached virgo a small austrian town the austrian resistance ruled over it and the cook was brought to its leader wiermak's commander major seb gunmen donald was a highly decorated weirmoth officer that had refused official orders to retreat into germany together with his unit they were somewhat renegades that now occupied the austrian town and led its until nazi resistance they realized defeat was imminent and tried to protect the town's population against ss war crimes gungho commanded 20 odd men not enough to protect the castle against a larger ss division now realizing this he decided to call in the help of the allied powers rapidly eventing in the area he took a white flag and managed to contact and surrender to a nearby u.s tank commander jack c lee jr and explain the situation lee agreed to assemble a rescue party but not before scouting around the castle together with gango it was one of the most curious alliances that were forged during the entire war a united states tank commander taking a weirmax commander on a reconnaissance mission now upon return commander lee assembled his own rescue party the next morning together with 14 soldiers gano a tank and truck with 10 former weirmag soldiers they approached the castle but obviously while all this was going on the situation at the castle wasn't dormant as a matter of fact and this is just one of the many twists in this weird story the prisoners requested an ss help stormfielder that befriended court siegfried to take charge of its defense so when gango and lee arrived with their troops the situation must have been rather odd so he had french politicians that were prisoners under command of an ss officer greeting u.s soldiers and a former wehrmacht officer coming to their aid nevertheless the defense force was small they were vastly outnumbered even with the prisoners taking up arms there would be no match for the black brigades of the elite ss division preparing the recapture the u.s tank was placed at the castle's entrance and the men took up defensive positions on the morning of the 5th of may the ss assault was launched around 150 ruffian ss soldiers chipped away at the castle's defenses gangnam was shot by a sniper trying to get borino to safety this tank was destroyed although everyone survived the blast that destroyed it and the castle walls were heavily damaged the battle went on for hours and as the ammunition of the defending force was about to run out at 4 pm that day the column of tanks under the command of kramer contacted by the yugoslav handyman arrived some ss soldiers fled and approximately 100 were arrested and subsequently sent to prisoner of war camps the french prisoners were brought to safety and arrived in france four days later for his exploits lee was awarded the distinguished service cross gangnam was the only fatal casualty of the assault and was posthumously declared an austrian national hero and well two days after this strange battle germany signed its unconditional surrender officially bringing the second world war in europe to an end now although this was the only time americans fought side by side with the germans by the end of the war it wasn't too rare for weirmag's soldiers to counter the waffen ss actively one such example is the story of wickhardt von alvenslaben a wehrmacht officer when the commanders of various concentration camps realized the war was over during the final weeks of the war many set up transports of valuable prominent prisoners to the dhaka concentration camp in total 139 prisoners were put on transport including family members of klaus von stauffenberg who led the filled attempt on hitler's life in the 20th july plot dr yama shocked co-conspirator of the plot and sigismund payne best the british sis officer that was kidnapped during the fenlow incident preceding the invasion of the netherlands i've made a video about both events if you're interested at any rate the evacuation of prisoners was under the command of overstorm fury friedrich bader and edgar stiller because the communication lines with berlin had broken they only received orders to evacuate the prisoners unsure what to do with them next they did receive the order to execute all prisoners if they risked getting arrested by the allied troops though buffon ss and siegerheidstein's soldiers guarded the transport of prisoners in buses and trucks the prisoners were transported initially to labour camp reichenau in innsbruck austria but this camp couldn't house the prisoners so they were moved to hotel prager will say a municipality in south hyrule where they arrived on the 28th of april this entire area saw fierce nazi resistance against the rapidly advancing allied forces the hotel parker will say was to the surprise of the captures occupied by luftwaffe generals and their staff the only option was to move prisoners to the little town of niederhoff 12 kilometers north of the hotel in the town accommodation was prepared for the prisoners and the ss and sd men they went on a drinking binge later that night one of the prisoners discovered a note in the wallets of a drunkenly passed out sd officer calling for the execution of all prisoners in addition the drunk guards started to behave more aggressively towards the group of prisoners so the next day one of them colonel bogeshla von bonin who was imprisoned after allowing a retreat from warsaw following the soviet fistula odor offensive asked a local where maglia's in office to get in touch with an old friend he rang general hans littinger who had his headquarters close by in bolanzo he identified the high-profile prisoners and communicated the incredibly dangerous situation the prisoners were in and the fear they were going to be executed in response voting her superior general orbust heinrich from vettingoff decided to send a wermacht unit to niederhoff to ensure a safe supervision of the prisoners and make sure no laws were broken where marked captain wight von alvin's label was tasked with the protection of the prisoners and together with two men he was sent to niederhoff where he ran into friedrich bader von alvin slavin said he was a representative from general oberstein from vietnam and that bader's mission to transport the prisoners was completed as a vermont captain he had no authority to give orders to dss however and indeed batter refused to accept the order in a precarious position and heavily outnumbered von alvin slaven left the town and called for a vermont group to be dispatched to niederhoff 45 minutes later 15 vermont officers arrived which still was not enough in case chaos would break out as such a large army unit was requested and 150 extra virmat soldiers arrived two hours later the group then re-entered the town positioned themselves in the town square and won albenslaven once again negotiated with bader and stiller about the release of the prisoners a very tense situation developed where a firefight between the ss troops and vermont unit was a genuine possibility only after a near standoff and the realization among the captors they were heavily outgunned they did concede the prisoners were handed over to the vermont unit that was to protect them from now on and badr and stiller's men retreated they moved inland and the wehrmacht moved the prisoners back to the prager vilte hotel there they resided with the wehrmacht protecting them until the allied forces finally rescued them four days later the vermax soldiers including von albenslaven voluntarily surrendered and the soldiers were released from u.s custody later that year both the story of castle itter and the standoff between the ver martinez and niederhoff are curious tales from those final days of the second world war where the line between ally and foe were very blurred leading to very strange situations thank you for watching this video if there's a topic or event you'd like to know more about let me know 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battle for castle itter 1945

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