Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

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Smithy
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Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by Smithy » 31 Oct 2022 17:36

Hi all,

Just trying to ascertain whether it was actually the 17th Waffen-SS that was involved in the Battle of Schloss Itter in Austria on 5 May 1945. There seem to be lots of internet/Wiki type pages saying that it was the 17th and its commander, Georg Bochmann involved in this, but looking through several books this isn't supported. Afiero's book on the 17th makes no mention of it and a quick flick through Harding's book specifically dedicated to the battle itself, "The Last Battle" also appears to make no mention of Bochmann, let alone the 17th.

So was the 17th actually in this battle or if not, who was?

Many thanks in advance,

Tim

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Prosper Vandenbroucke
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Re: Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 31 Oct 2022 22:34

Hello Tim
In the first place, the Waffen-SS force which opened fire on the castle in the early morning of that day was quite small, only 100-150 men, led by a Georg Bochmann, who in the last weeks of the war had been appointed commander of the 17th SS Panzergrenadierdivision Goetz von Berlichingen.
Have a look over here: Second page, post number 16:
viewtopic.php?f=54&t=199071&p=2414363&h ... r#p2414363
There is or was an other thread on this same forum but I di't found it.
Kindly regards from Belgium
Prosper :wink:

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Re: Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by Smithy » 01 Nov 2022 10:12

Thanks Prosper.

The only problem is that all of this talk of the involvement of the 17th and Bochmann doesn't seem to be supported by primary sources or a reference to them. The two Wiki pages at the bottom of that link you posted don't have any concrete references or supporting evidence either. There's several footnotes referencing Harding's book but his book doesn't appear to mention the 17th or Bochmann at all. Afiero's book on the 17th has absolutely no reference to this incident either, even though the book talks specifically about what the various Kampfgruppen of the 17th were tasked and engagements they were engaged in.

It's odd that if dig past these internet accounts of the battle with the 17th and Bochmann, there don't seem to be any supporting primary or even secondary sources which confirm this.

Best,

Tim

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Prosper Vandenbroucke
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Re: Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 01 Nov 2022 12:07

Hi Tim,
Sorry but I didn't not more about Itter.
I have Harding's book in french language but I did'nt found anything more.
Kindly Regards
Prosper :wink: :wink:

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Re: Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by mihaiS » 01 Nov 2022 19:57

Smithy wrote:
01 Nov 2022 10:12
there don't seem to be any supporting primary or even secondary sources which confirm this.
This post from forum-der-wehrmacht.de supposedly cites the division’s Kriegstagebuch. Some remnants of the unit might well have been there, but I find it hard to believe that the encounter’s portrayal in Wikipedia articles and the like is even remotely accurate.
Gemäß des KTB der "GvB" wurde am 06.05.1945 durch SS-Oberführer Bochmann als Kdr. der "GvB" die Niederlegung der Waffen sowie das Einsammeln der Waffen in Kreuth befohlen. Auch vorher war die Division lediglich nur nordwestlich von Itter eingesetzt, u.a. bei Bäcker, Kreuth, Hohenburg, Bad Tölz, etc..

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Re: Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by Smithy » 01 Nov 2022 21:08

mihaiS wrote:
01 Nov 2022 19:57
Smithy wrote:
01 Nov 2022 10:12
there don't seem to be any supporting primary or even secondary sources which confirm this.
This post from forum-der-wehrmacht.de supposedly cites the division’s Kriegstagebuch. Some remnants of the unit might well have been there, but I find it hard to believe that the encounter’s portrayal in Wikipedia articles and the like is even remotely accurate.
Gemäß des KTB der "GvB" wurde am 06.05.1945 durch SS-Oberführer Bochmann als Kdr. der "GvB" die Niederlegung der Waffen sowie das Einsammeln der Waffen in Kreuth befohlen. Auch vorher war die Division lediglich nur nordwestlich von Itter eingesetzt, u.a. bei Bäcker, Kreuth, Hohenburg, Bad Tölz, etc..
Hi Mihai and many thanks for posting that quote as it completely aligns with what I have read and especially about the location of the 17th in the final days of the war.

The more I look into this, the more I think that the idea that the 17th and specifically Bochmann was involved is highly likely to be utterly wrong. Aside from the fact that the various elements of the 17th weren't in very close proximity to Itter, it's also things such as Bochmann's last order to the division on the day before (the 4th) which stated that the division had from that time ceased to exist, means the idea that he was involved even more unlikely.

Best,

Tim

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Prosper Vandenbroucke
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Re: Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 01 Nov 2022 21:32

Hello Tim,
I read this text and according to this website there were some elements of the division in Itter and attacked the castle:
https://www.axishistory.com/books/119-g ... rlichingen

Small elements from the division are believed to have been involved in the so called "Battle for Castle Itter" on 5 May 1945, a grand name for a small operation to recapture the Austrian Itter Castle in North Tyrol that had been captured by the US forces the day before. Its claim to fame is that part of the 41 men strong force defending the castle were 7 US soldiers from the 23rd Tank Battalion of the US 12th Armored Division, 14 French VIPs who had been held at the castle and 20 Germans.

Kindly regards
Prosper :wink: :wink:

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Re: Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by Smithy » 01 Nov 2022 21:45

Prosper Vandenbroucke wrote:
01 Nov 2022 21:32
Hello Tim,
I read this text and according to this website there were some elements of the division in Itter and attacked the castle:
https://www.axishistory.com/books/119-g ... rlichingen

Small elements from the division are believed to have been involved in the so called "Battle for Castle Itter" on 5 May 1945, a grand name for a small operation to recapture the Austrian Itter Castle in North Tyrol that had been captured by the US forces the day before. Its claim to fame is that part of the 41 men strong force defending the castle were 7 US soldiers from the 23rd Tank Battalion of the US 12th Armored Division, 14 French VIPs who had been held at the castle and 20 Germans.

Kindly regards
Prosper :wink: :wink:
Hi Prosper,

Once again this is unsupported by either primary or secondary sources. This is sadly another internet page seemingly cobbled together from other internet pages. I'm amazed how much this "fact" that the 17th was involved has spread around the internet without any corroborating evidence whatsoever. Apart from geographical discrepancies, Bochmann's divisional orders, the tasking of Kampfgruppen which make no mention of this, it just doesn't make any sense.

I haven't made any attempt at establishing who could have made the attack as my interest in this is only the 17th, but my initial feeling is that this was a ragtag collection of troops, possibly comprising a number of those who had been guarding the camp earlier, reinforced by security troops from the surrounding area.

The ever more outlandish assertions that Bochmann was somehow tasked with taking Itter and executing all there is frankly nonsense.

Best,

Tim

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Re: Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by Tom Peters » 01 Nov 2022 23:33

The KTB and anlagen of the 17th SS are available for inspection. I never looked this far late into the war but the info should be there.

Mad Dog

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Re: Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by Smithy » 06 Nov 2022 02:44

Tom Peters wrote:
01 Nov 2022 23:33
The KTB and anlagen of the 17th SS are available for inspection. I never looked this far late into the war but the info should be there.

Mad Dog
Sorry Tom, late to reply here but I've been frantic with work.

The thing is that Afiero for his book on the 17th used those primary sources and it doesn't mention anything regarding Itter or even divisional Kampfgruppe in the area.

So once again the question arises where this idea that the 17th (and even personally under Bockmann's command) attacked Schloss Itter?

A bit of a rhetorical question because as I posted above I think this incident has absolutely nothing to do with the 17th and has been erroneously attributed to them due to poor research.

Kind regards,

Tim

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Re: Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by Dikampi » 13 Feb 2023 17:12

Hei there everyone, a "late" guest on your interesting board with some different proposals on the topic:

I think there is a source which opens a door to the fact that parts of the 17th "Götz von Berlichingen" could have been involved at Itter Castle. The source is Bochmanns "order for capitulation" of 6th of May 45 regarding the follwing day. There Bochmann tells his different units how capitulation will be organized and especially where exactly the different parts of his division have to gather on May 7th to move to Kreuth, where the 17th should surrender.

Under topic 2 e) you can read: "SS-Pz.Abt., SS Flak Abtlg. u A.A.17 gather at 11.00 (of 7th), area south of Achensee".

a) So if you now look at the map you see that this point is situaed straight over Inn Valley. You can spit down on Wiesing at the banks of river Inn. And the Inn Valley ist the only and main concetion to Innsbruck in the west and Kufstein eastwards. In between Rattenberg, Wörgl and Itter. The distance on street from Wiesing to Itter: 32km.

b) If you now look at what main weapon was used to attack Itter Castle and Lees Sherman you will find it was a 88 mm. A Flak, as harding describes.

c) as Harding mentions, Major John T. Kramers sent his "cavalry" to support Lee on 4th May from Innsbruck to Itter. Kramers tanks passed Wiesing but had to turn back at Rattenberg, which was "occupied by at least 100 fighters of Waffen-SS". That means: if Bochmann had sent troops to Itter around the 4th of May they came down to Wiesing from Achensee - where the 17th "Götz von Berlichingen" of Bochmann mainly operated as you can conclude from his orders for capitulation. At the Inn valley they turned left, reached at Rattenberg just before Kramers tanks did, moved on(or around) Wörgl and attacked Itter in the early hours of the 5th.

d) the man who identified some "Götz von Berlichingen" trucks around Itter - and at least responsible for lifting them into the story - was Kurt Schrader, the SS Officer fighting on Gangls and Lees side. Harding uses his reminiscenses which Schrader had written down but never publisehd. So this could be another source, even though not published.

For me it would fit in its main parts. Mainly the point of gathering for capitulation in the area south of Achensee on the 7th is a hint, because there you land on your way back from Itter to Kreuth, where the story of the 17th finally ended.

Please find Bochmanns document here (at he end of the text. Its in german).

https://www.merkur.de/lokales/region-te ... 64315.html

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Re: Battle of Schloss Itter and the 17th Waffen-SS?

Post by Dikampi » 14 Feb 2023 11:40

So one more day of research and things become more precise. In another german forum

https://www.geschichtsforum.de/thema/we ... -ss.50308/

author "silesia" refers to the "Kriegstagebuch" of the 17th and concludes (attached a page of 17th Kriegstagebuch of the 3rd of May):

"The 17th operating between Tegernsee und Achensee feared to be locked in from the south (Inn Valley). So with order of 3rd May a Flak and SS-Reconnaissance unit should move threw Inn Valley direction Wörgl / Kufstein to fight US troops approaching from the east.

"silesia" now concludes that these troops (which I suppose to be those at Rattenberg at the 4th of May) have been pushed by US Forces at Wörgl into the Brixen-Valley which leads to Itter. silesia also suspects that these parts of the 17th mixed up with different other fragments of the Wehrmacht. Ergo: a participation of parts of the 17th at Itter becomes more and more propable, combined with other fragments of Wehrmacht.

But: for me this does not answer the one and last question: if this is correct, it does not explain why this mesh of troops concentrated so intensively on attacking itter castel. To kill the French? No proof for this. But still possible. Or: they wanted the French inmates of Itter as hostages for negotiating with the US. A more or less spontanous decision to improve their position in a hopless situation?

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