Hello folks, and the last part....
The Redoubt Center is Split in Two.
In the meantime, the French were fighting their way into the Redoubt along the Swiss border. The VI Corps had, amid snow storms in the high Alps, captured Landeck and Innsbruck, and had launched an attack south of Innsbruck, behind which strong arnor and a mobile Reconnaissance Troop had been posted.
These reserves raced completely through the Alps on 3 May and at 1051 were fourteen miles south of the Brenner Pass, in contact with the 88th United States Division in Italy, where the Germans had surrendered the day before. This move so surprised the German units bivouacked along the road through the Redoubt Center, that the flying columns were on them, among them, and through them, before they realized what was happening (see Map No. 5).
Army Group G Surrenders.
With Innsbruck, Landeck and Brenner Pass captured, any “Plan” the Germans may have had to hold out in the Redoubt Center was now impossible of execution. The Commander of German Army Group G, General Schulz, definitely had bad enough and, with instructions from Field Marshal Kesselring, late 3 May by radio, asked for information as to with whom he should deal for a surrender and how to reach him. He was instructed to contact the Commanding General, Sixth United States Army Group, General Devers, and how and where to reach him. He was also told that if unconditional surrender was unacceptable, not to appear for any discussions. On 4 May,Salzburg fell and on 5 May Bertesgaden (The Eagle’s Nest) fell (see Map No. 5) to XV Corps.
Complete confusion reigned in German Amy Group G. The remnants of the Twenty-fourth German Army had been absorbed in remnants of the Nineteenth Army and only its staff was intact. The Commander of the Nineteenth Army was surrendering everything in his zone unconditionally to the Commanding General, VI Corps, at Innsbruck, apparently without the knowledge of the Commanding General Twenty-fourth Army, Commanding General First Army or the Commanding General Army Group G. He did not know that the Commanding General of Army Group G had offered to surrender the entire Group. All Germans in the western zone of action were fleeing into the zone of the VI Corps to escape the fury of the Freneh. Troops of the First German Army were coming out of the hills and woods by the hundreds with their hands up.
Since 17 April, the Nineteenth German Army had yielded approximately 200,000 prisoners to the First French Army alone. The Seventh U. S. Army had collected approximately 400,000 from the German Nineteenth, First, and Seventh Armies, about 200,000 of them being yielded by First Army since 27 April. These 600,000 prisoners totaled much more than the initial, combined combat strengths of the First French and Seventh United States Armies. It did not seem possible that more than a mere handful of Germans had managed to reach the Redoubt Center. Hence, General Devers was prepared to accept the surrender, of a few higher headquarters and a few service elements in the Alps.
Such was the state of German Army Group G after eighteen days of American and French blitz. 0n 5 May, General Foerstch, commanding the First German Army, had representing General Schulz, appeared near Salzburg with his emissaries and requested audience with General Devers at Haar, Bavaria (Headquarters XV Corps) as quickly as possible. He was presented to Generals Devers, Patch (Seventh Army) and Haislip (XV Corps) at about 1330 after having read the unconditional terms handed to him. The terms were discussed, during which he disclosed the sorry state to which the magnificient German Army Group G had been reduced.
He gave his listeners an insight to the principal contributing factors, which may be summarized as: superior and violent allied air power which made daylight movement of the Germans practically impossible, violent allied artillery and armored action, lack of proper German signal communications and intelligence, speed and power of American and French maneuver, and dogged determination to maintain the weight and speed of pursuit to the vital objectives regardless of difficulties.
During the discussion the myth of a “provisioned” Redoubt was exploded. General Foertsch asked that arrangements be made to feed the Germans in the Alps, stating that he had “perhaps six days of food” in the Army Group dumps, and that no other food or supplies were available in the mythical, large underground storehouses of the National Socialists. When asked what number of men from Army Group G were cut off in the Alps, he indicated 250,000, possibly 350,000, in an assortment of remnants.
This number astounded his listeners. It did not seem possible. (The final count proved the higher estimate more nearly correct.) The fact that the greatly advertised “Redoubt Center,” now holding over 250,000 men, was surrendering so soon was almost unbelievable. General Devers, said to General Foertsch, bluntly: “. . . Understand, this is unconditional surrender! . . .” General Foertsch replied, with almost uncontrollable emotion : “I assure you, sir, I have no power to do anything against this.”
Shortly thereafter the instrument was signed which delivered into Allied hands, as of noon the next day, Europe’s strongest defensive position-the Austrian Alps. Whether the National Socialists really had hoped for a long and final stand in western Austria may still be debatable.
It is a rather strange coincidence that such leaders of Junker aristocracy, and in such numbers, as were captured in this area should be found there together. For example, Reich Marshal Goering, Field Marshals Von Rundstedt, Von Leeb and Wilhelm List, and Admiral Horthy of Hungary were all rounded up along with approximately 460 general officers of lesser importance.
The total bag of prisoners of war of Sixth Army Group since 17 April now was slightly over 900,000. It had, indeed, been a glorious eighteen days of battle, many of which were of the most violent sort, and of unsurpassed speed, considering the hostile resistance, demolitions, weather, rivers, mountains and other natural obstacles encontered. An American and French “Blitz” composed of air power, armor, artillery and mobile infantry had, in a breathtaking two and one-half weeks, overrun the National Redoubt and had sliced through its very heart. Any last hope of the National Socialists had vanished.
Two days later, the entire German war machine surrendered unconditionally to SHAEF at Rheims.
It's all my friends. Best regards. Tigre.
PD: Any idea about the fate of the 25 SS ID
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.