The men of Easy Company at Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest”, 1945


At the end of World War II, American troops of the Easy Company were assigned to occupation duty in Germany, particularly to Berchtesgaden, home of Adolf Hitler's famous Eagles Nest. In particular, the responsibility for the capture of the Kehlsteinhaus was given to the 101st Paratroopers Unit.

Berchtesgaden changed from a strategic to a prestige one. It was the place where Hitler planned his conquest of Europe, the place where he hosted the heads of state, the place where the German dictator rested and held talks with people close to the party on various topics.

It was the second seat of government outside Berlin. Every Allied unit in the area, whether French or American, wanted to capture Berchtesgaden. A unit that did so would achieve historical immortality for itself as the winner of the crown jewel of Hitler's empire.

Kehlsteinhaus was a target point for the bombing of Obersalzburg on 25 April 1945. It was a Royal Air Force bombing carried out by No. 1, No. 5, and No. 8 Group and No. 617 Squadron.

The small house proved an elusive target for a force of 359 Avro Lancasters and 16 de Havilland Mosquitoes, which bombed and instead severely damaged the Berghof area.

It is uncertain whether the Allied military unit was the first to reach the Kehlsteinhaus. The matter led to popular confusion about it and on May 4, the U.S. Army Group of Sixth Army. The complex from the city of Berchtesgaden, taken by forwarding elements of the 7th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division of the XV Corps of the Seventh Army.

Reputably, members of 7th went up the elevator to the Kehlsteinhaus, with at least one person claiming that he and a partner remained at the top.

In a congressional interview and recent interviews, Hermann Louis Finnell of the 3rd Infantry Division stated that his regiment entered the Berghof, not the Kehlsteinhaus.

However, the 101st Airborne maintains that it had previously been to both Berchtesgaden and Kehlsteinhaus. In addition, elements of the French 2nd Armored Division, Laurent Touras, Georges Buis and Paul Répiton-Preneuf, were present on the night of 4 to 5 May and took several photographs before leaving on 10 May at the request of US command.

Undamaged in the April 25 bombing raid, the Kehlsteinhaus was later used by the Allies as a military command post until 1960, when it was handed back to the Kingdom of Bavaria.

Valenti, one of the soldiers of the 7th Infantry Regiment, recalled his visit to Hitler's residence: “We could not believe what we saw. The walls were covered with shelves and the shelves were stocked with all kinds of wines, champagnes and liquors. The lunch box contained two gallon cans containing a variety of canned ham, cheese and pickles.

Valenti and his friends sat in Hitler's great room, where they once entertained heads of state, and drank their wine. Before the war, Valenti, the son of Italian immigrants, was a coal miner.

He never dreamed that he would get to see something like this. He persuaded a friend to take a picture of him while he was resting on the hill next to Hitler's house.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.