Battle of Itter Castle, 1945

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Category: Humanities

Book Format: Hardback

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 9781399007078

RRP: $59.99


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The Battle of Itter Castle was undoubtedly one of the strangest events of the Second World War, being one of only two occasions during the war in which Americans and Germans fought side by side. The castle was seized by the Nazis on 7 February 1943, on the direct orders of Heinrich Himmler, and in just ten weeks was changed into a five-star prison for a number of high-ranking French dignitaries, both civilian and military. In the final days of the war, in May 1945, with the castle’s German guards having deserted their posts and an attack by SS units imminent, those inside the castle realised they needed help. Having sent out two men to try to make contact with American forces, it was then a case of sit and wait, not knowing if they had been successful in their task or had been captured and killed by the SS. Help eventually arrived in the shape of United States Army Captain John C. “Jack” Lee, his tank and a handful of men, along with German Wehrmacht officer Major Josef “Sepp” Gangl, and some of his men. Although happy that their ‘prayers’ had been answered and help had arrived, the French dignitaries could not hide their disappointment at such a small force of rescuers. The subsequent battle started early on the morning of Saturday, 5 May, and continued until mid-afternoon when a larger American force arrived and defeated the remaining SS forces. The victory came at a price for Major Gangl, who was the only one of the defenders to lose his life in the fighting. AUTHOR: Stephen Wynn was born in Leeds, England in 1958. His father was English and his mother was Irish. For thirty years he served as a Police Constable with Essex Police (1983 – 2013) and in 2010 he penned his first book, ‘Two Sons In a War Zone: Afghanistan: The true story of a fathers conflict.’ This was his account of when his two sons undertook their first deployments to Afghanistan in 2009, when one of them was injured and the other was shot. He then co-wrote three crime novels, followed by a novella based in the Second World War. To date (December 2021) he has had a total of 57 book’s published. As yet he has no plans to stop writing and currently has several other books in the ‘pipeline.’ 32 b/w illustrations

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