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True Story – American troops, Wehrmacht, SS and French Prisoners defending a medieval castle against SS Troops.

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The Battle for Castle Itter, a really strange battle, occurred at the end of World War Two.  Wehrmacht soldiers fought alongside U.S. troops against the Waffen SS.  They were protecting high ranking French prisoners who had been held at the castle.

The Nazis were holding high ranking French prisoners in a castle in Austria, Castle Itter. The Wehrmacht were generally regular German soldiers. The Waffen SS, however, were die hard Nazis known for their ruthlessness. There was a certain amount of chaos as the war was coming to an end. The Waffen SS was determined to fight to the last man. Hitler had committed suicide a couple of days earlier.

The SS soldiers at the castle left. A Wehrmacht officer, Gangl offered to help the Americans who were going to defend the castle. There were a handful of Americans and Wehrmacht officers and one Sherman M-4 tank named “Besotted Jenny”. Another SS unit received orders to murder the prisoners at the castle. They attacked with about 150 troops. The handful of defenders managed to hold off the attack until relief arrived.  Gangl took a fatal sniper bullet while saving a former French prime minister.

For complete details of this amazing battle See the Wiki article “Battle for Castle Itter” or read The Last Battle by Stephen Harding.

There is a movie scheduled for release in 2018. The Swedish heavy metal band Sabaton has a song in tribute to this battle. “Jenny” refers to the M-4 Sherman tank that was defending the castle.  Keep an eye open for the release of the movie.

 

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