Strangest Story of World War II

There are a lot of strange stories from World War II.  My favorite is the Dam Busters ( — the attempt to flood the Ruhr Valley by breeching upstream dams with bouncing bombs.  (Hey, it was a partial success!)

Now a friend has told me of an even stranger story  —  The only time the US. Army and German Wehrmacht troops fought on the same side!  To take the easy way and quote The Daily Beast

“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.” (

This entry is based on the book The Last Battle by Stephen Harding  (  And if you think this would make a good movie, it will…



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