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Author Topic: Najčudnija bitka Drugog svetskog rata  (Read 10475 times)
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Vladimir Ivanović
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Da sam nomalan, poludio bih.

« on: May 14, 2013, 10:01:57 pm »

Samo nekoliko dana nakon samoubistva Adolfa Hitlera, pred sam kraj Drugog svetskog rata, odigrala se bitka kao stvorena da bude pretočena u film. Novinar Stiven Harding sakupio je podatke o neverovatnom savezništvu američkih vojnika, francuskih ratnih zatvorenika i nemačkih vojnika u odbrani austrijskog dvorca Iter od napada esesovaca. To je jedini zabeleženi slučaj zajedničke borbe Nemaca i saveznika u tom ratu.
Harding je priču o ovoj nezamislivom događaju pretočio u knjigu "Poslednja bitka", bazirajući je na memoarima učesnika, intervjuima koje je sam radio, kao i zvaničnim američkim, nemačkim i francuskim istorijskim podacima.

Petog maja 1945 - pet dana posle Hitlerovog samoubistva - tri američka tenka "šerman" iz 23. trećeg tenkovskog bataljona pod komandom kapetana Džona Lija oslobodila su Iter, tirolski zamak iz 13. veka.

Nacistima je on služio kao specijalni zatvor u kojem su bili francuski zatvorenici, poput bivšeg predsednika Albera Lebrena, bivših premijera Pola Rejnoa i Eduara Daladjea, bivših francuskih vojnih zapovednika i čuvenog tenisera Žana Borotre.

Esesovci iz 17. pancir divizije ubrzo su pristigli kako bi povratili zamak i pobili zatvorenike, ali su se brojčano slabijim snagama pod komandom kapetana Lija pridružili anti-nacistički nastrojeni nemački vojnici Vermahta, kao i prilično ratoborne supruge i devojke francuskih zatvorenika. Svi oni zajedno odbili su deo pripadnika elitne jedinice Trećeg rajha.

Četrnaest američkih vojnika sa samo dva tenka i ograničenom količinom municije, udružili su se sa dvadesetak pripadnika nemačkog Vermahta da bi odbranili dvorac od SS-ovaca. Ovaj neobični savez, predvođen 27-godišnjim kapetanom Džekom Lijem, odolevao je njihovim napadima sve dok nije stiglo pojačanje.

Među ženama su se posebno istakle Ogasta Bruhlen, ljubavnica laburističkog vođe Leona Žuoa, i madam Vejgan, žena generala Maksima Vejgana, koje su rešile da ostanu u zamku, kao i Kristijan Mabir, ljubavnica Pola Rejnoa.

* zamak Iter u Tirolu.jpg (42.76 KB. 470x331 - viewed 191 times.)

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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 10:05:41 pm »

17. pancer divizija je iz sastava Vermahta, nema veze sa SS.
Vladimir Ivanović
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Da sam nomalan, poludio bih.

« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 10:32:09 pm »

Ovo je otprilike original

World War II’s Strangest Battle:

When Americans and Germans Fought Together

Days after Hitler’s suicide a group of American soldiers, French prisoners, and, yes, German soldiers defended an Austrian castle against an SS division—the 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 this truly incredible tale of World War II are that it hasn’t been told before in English, and that it hasn’t already been made into a blockbuster Hollywood movie. Here are the basic facts: on 5 May 1945—five days after Hitler’s suicide—three 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, Lee’s 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?

The battle for the fairytale, 13th century Castle Itter was the only time in WWII that American and German troops joined forces in combat, and it was also the only time in American history that U.S. troops defended a medieval castle against sustained attack by enemy forces. To make it even more film worthy, two of the women imprisoned at Schloss Itter—Augusta Bruchlen, who was the mistress of the labour leader Leon Jouhaux, and Madame Weygand, the wife General Maxime Weygand—were there because they chose to stand by their men. They, along with Paul Reynaud’s mistress Christiane Mabire, were incredibly strong, capable, and determined women made for portrayal on the silver screen.

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.

The book’s author, Stephen Harding, is a respected military affairs expert who has written seven books and long specialized in World War II, and his writing style carries immediacy as well as authority. “Just after 4am Jack Lee was jolted awake by the sudden banging of M1 Garands,” he writes of the SS’s initial assault on the castle, “the sharper crack of Kar-98s, and the mechanical chatter of a .30-caliber spitting out rounds in short, controlled bursts. Knowing instinctively that the rising crescendo of outgoing fire was coming from the gatehouse, Lee rolled off the bed, grabbed his helmet and M3, and ran from the room. As he reached the arched schlosshof gate leading from the terrace to the first courtyard, an MG-42 machine gun opened up from somewhere along the parallel ridgeway east of the castle, the weapon’s characteristic ripping sound clearly audible above the outgoing fire and its tracers looking like an unbroken red stream as they arced across the ravine and ricocheted off the castle’s lower walls.” Everything that Harding reports in this exciting but also historically accurate narrative is backed up with meticulous scholarship. This book proves that history can be new and nail-bitingly exciting all at once.

 The French VIPs finally put aside their political differences and picked up weapons to join in the fight against the attacking SS troops.

Despite their personal enmities and long-held political grudges, when it came to a fight the French VIPs finally put aside their political differences and picked up weapons to join in the fight against the attacking SS troops. We get to know Reynaud, Daladier, and the rest as real people, not merely the political legends that they’ve morphed into over the intervening decades. Furthermore, Jean Borotra (a former tennis pro) and Francois de La Rocque, who were both members of Marshal Philippe Petain’s Vichy government and long regarded by many historians as simply pro-fascist German puppets, are presented in the book as they really were: complex men who supported the Allied cause in their own ways. In de La Rocque’s case, by running an effective pro-Allied resistance movement at the same time that he worked for Vichy. If they were merely pro-Fascist puppets, after all, they would not have wound up as Ehrenhäflinge—honor prisoners—of the Fuhrer.

‘The Last Battle’ tells fascinating story of U.S. and German soldiers teaming up to protect French VIPs from SS attack

 At the heart of “The Last Battle” is a largely unknown story that (a) seems implausible, (b) would make a great movie, and (c) reminds us that almost 70 years after the end of World War II there are countless tales still to be told.

Author Stephen Harding’s new book examines a strange alliance of American and German troops in the final days of the war in early May of 1945 — between the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the Reich’s surrender — to fight off elements of Germany’s Waffen-SS.

The unlikely allies fought side by side to save a group of mostly French VIPs who had been held prisoner at Schloss Itter, a castle in Austria’s Tyrol state near the border with Germany. The prisoners, who had been left unguarded when the castle’s garrison fled, most likely would have been executed by the advancing SS troops.

The story of the bizarre alliance of rescuers takes on an added twist in that the French prisoners were an aggregation of political rivals, many of whom had a deep hatred for one another before, during and long after their rescue.

“The Last Battle: When U.S. and German Soldiers Joined Forces in the Waning Hours of World War II in Europe” expands on Harding’s 2008 article for World War II magazine titled “The Battle for Castle Itter.” Harding, a historian and senior editor of Military History magazine, reportedly spent more than 20 years researching the incident and its principals.

Harding’s skills as a researcher and dedicated historian are apparent. He explains in detail every character and military unit involved, the evolution of the 13th-century castle, German military terms, prewar French politics and weapons of the era, along with more than 30 pages of detailed notes and sources.

Unfortunately, that strength also is a weakness. Though the book isn’t long, some readers may have trouble wading through much of the first half as Harding meticulously lays the foundation for the battle at Schloss Itter by giving us far more than what we need to understand the impending drama.

But for those readers who stick with it — or skim through the dense portions of Chapters 2, 3 and 4 — their effort will be rewarded when Harding begins telling what at times feels like a moment-by-moment real-time report of the events from the viewpoints of the Americans and prisoners, in particular. The book changes from plodding to page-turning.

Though there are many personalities involved in the incident, the key figures in Harding’s story are Capt. Jack Lee, a 27-year-old American tanker from New York, and Josef “Sepp” Gangl, a 34-year-old decorated German major.

With the war in Europe just days from officially coming to an end, Lee — in command of a task force of the U.S. 12th Armored Division in Kufstein, Austria — expected that his time in combat was over.

Gangl, however, knew of the prisoners at the castle and the threat from the nearby die-hard SS units, and he decided his best chance for defending them — and ingratiating himself to the Americans — was to surrender his command to U.S. forces and alert them to the situation. When Gangl drove into Kufstein and surrendered to Lee, it set off a joint American-German rescue operation led by Lee but including Gangl and some of his soldiers.

Eventually the Lee-Gangl group reached the castle, set up a defense and fought off the Waffen-SS units until further American forces could arrive.

The French VIPs — including two former French premiers, assorted politicians and former generals — returned to France, with several playing key roles in postwar politics.

In his 2008 magazine article, Harding said the story of the rescue at Schloss Itter was first reported in the Saturday Evening Post in 1945.

Now, however, Harding has brought the implausible story to life again, and it may soon get more attention: A production company has bought the rights to the story for use as a film or miniseries.

As Harding notes at the end of his book, even Lee, years later, had trouble describing how a joint U.S.-German operation came to be.

“Well, it was just the damnedest thing,” Lee said.

Doug Williams is a San Diego freelance writer.
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