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World War II’s Strangest Battle: When Americans and Germans Fought Toget
May 13, 2013 10:47 PM   Subscribe

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.
posted by cthuljew (26 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
This was obviously brought to Hollywood's attention at the wrong time--after Lee Marvin.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:54 PM on May 13, 2013 [17 favorites]


Interesting article but not unique.
posted by bardic at 11:02 PM on May 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


The article is a bit breathless, but the story is certainly interesting. Into the shopping list it goes!
posted by Harald74 at 11:06 PM on May 13, 2013


Nothing is more fearsome than the Toget cavalry in full charge!
posted by newdaddy at 11:17 PM on May 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


Interesting, but the constant reassurances that it is all 100% historically accurate!!! makes me think it is probably not 100% historically accurate.
posted by LarryC at 11:28 PM on May 13, 2013 [12 favorites]


I thought this would be a link to a Silver Age blog about Weird War stories or the Haunted Tank or that RPG where everyone fights the supernatural.

Kinda glad that truth is stranger than fiction. Sorta.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:40 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wish people would stop hating the Toget. The don't deserve it.
posted by joelf at 11:47 PM on May 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's frustrating that this article leaves so many unanswered questions. For example, is this description even historically accurate? Are the events described interesting enough to be made into a movie? Are the women involved strong and loyal? Are the men complex yet heroic? Were people of different nationalities able to overcome their differences? I guess I'll have to buy the book.

Kidding aside, this was interesting.
posted by medusa at 12:19 AM on May 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I presume the SS will all be cast with British actors while the good Germans are American.
posted by Segundus at 12:52 AM on May 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


I had already seen this, and ordered the book... I may actually write a book report for the first time since grade school, cause this looks epic.
posted by gryftir at 1:01 AM on May 14, 2013


I presume the SS will all be cast with British actors while the good Germans are American.

English actors with American accents will be the good guys.
posted by Redfield at 1:09 AM on May 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Interesting article but not unique.
posted by bardic at 8:02 AM on May 14

A similar story.
posted by RobHoi at 1:11 AM on May 14, 2013


Here's a slightly more level-headed account, and a contemporary one (scroll down for 12th Men Free French Big-Wigs). The FFP article forgot to mention that De Gaulle's sister, Marie-Agnès Caillau (shaking hands with a US soldier in front of the castle), was a prize prisoner there too. She told the story in her memories, claiming that Reynaud, Gamelin et Borotra were manning a machine gun... Here's a pic of a happy Edouard Daladier leaving the Itter castle (and a relieved Jean Borotra).
posted by elgilito at 1:28 AM on May 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's true! It's meticulous, factual, A Number 1 Grade Truth (with a capital 'T')!!
posted by tarpin at 2:29 AM on May 14, 2013


When Americans and Germans Fought Together

Brings to mind a (possibly apocryphal) story of Churchill during WWII. He reputedly received a report referring to "a fight with the Germans". It was returned with a correction stating that "For clarity, we do not fight with the Germans. We fight either for or against the Germans".
posted by Jakey at 2:30 AM on May 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Interesting article but not unique.

Well... Your two examples, of the French fascists fighting with the nazis and the poor, befuddled Russian HiWi army who thought nazism was preferable over communism (and who could blame them after Stalin's reign of terror) are not quite the same as anti-fascist Germans fighting together with US troops against the SS.

The Soviets of course did have their own German troops, both dedicated communists and antifascists who had fled Berlin for Moscow, as well as their version of POW camp recruited collaborators later on.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:09 AM on May 14, 2013


Oh Daily Beast:

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posted by item at 4:13 AM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, of course Germans and Allies teamed up. It was the German's fault the nickel crosses were removed and the Americans had to step in to save the day. Otherwise, Radu Molasar would have escaped the Keep and left a trail of bodies and destruction in its wake.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:29 AM on May 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


Another case of strange bedfellows happened in Southern Vietnam in late 1945-early 1946 The Japanese had surrendered on August 15 but there were still 40,000 Japanese troops in Saigon. The British, who were supposed to take charge, arrived one month later and found a place of total chaos. So instead of repatriating the Japanese, the Brits recruited them: for the next 7 months, a bizarre alliance of Japanese soldiers under British command, Gurkhas and French troops battled Viet Minh nationalists, forcing them out of the cities, a forgotten prelude of the First Indochina war.
posted by elgilito at 4:48 AM on May 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yet another example: there was a Star Wars book where the rebels and the Empire had to fight side-by-side to defeat some witches, or something, if memory serves. It was awesome. See guys, I know history too!
posted by Think_Long at 6:17 AM on May 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I thought this would be a link to a Silver Age blog about Weird War stories or the Haunted Tank or that RPG where everyone fights the supernatural.

Buying Sgt. Rock or GI Combat on the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver was the highlight of the trip. I was never allowed to buy Weird War, so I had to borrow them from Donald Fraser or Troy Lee down the street.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:21 AM on May 14, 2013


Sounds a little bit like Sydney Pollack's 1969 antiwar WWII movie Castle Keep. One of my favorite war films ever.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:27 AM on May 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cool!

"...as well as some of the extremely feisty wives and girlfriends of the (needless-to-say hitherto bickering) French VIPs."

(When we make the film, I'll leave the needless sexism and anti-French sneering out of the script.)
posted by mimi at 7:28 AM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Vladimir Peniakoff told a tale about how, when operating behind German lines in Italy, his unit captured a 19-year-old German soldier. They had no way of handing him over to the main army for a couple of days, so they had to keep him with them while they fought. At the end of his time with Peniakoff the German begged to be allowed to join the unit and fight with them because he thought it was exciting and an adventure. He was regretfully refused.

I don't wholly trust Peniakoff, but it's a neat little story.
posted by Jehan at 8:31 AM on May 14, 2013


Great
posted by zorroangel at 12:00 PM on May 14, 2013


It's like when Brock Sampson and the Venture family worked with arch nemesis the Monarch against Phantom Limb, chronicled in Showdown at Cremation Creek.
posted by juiceCake at 4:49 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


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