|Colonel John J. Albright, Commanding Officer of 143rd, with
Battalion Commanders, receives surrender of enemy XIII Corps.
Inevitably the day-to-day headlines
in late April and early May foretold what was coming: Berlin Falls; Munich Taken;
Mussolini Executed; Himmler Makes Capitulation Move; Adolph Hitler Dies; Germans in Italy
Surrender. The 36th was driving deeper into the narrow Alpine valleys of Austria and
Southern Germany. Soon the battered, straggling groups of Germans falling back before them
would have no place to go but the snowy crags of lofty mountain ranges.
|On May 5 at 1830 hours came the message from
Seventh Army Headquarters that signaled the end of hostilities, "German Army Group
'G' has surrendered, effective 1200B 06 May 1945. All units halt in place. Do not fire
unless fired upon." Excited doughboys, unable to control repressed enthusiasm and
relief, fired M-1's into the air. That night German emissaries contacted both the 141st
and 142nd Infantry commanders. Arrangements for the carrying out of the surrender terms,
prolonged over another two days, were complicated by the dispersion of German troops and
lack of communications resulting from their hasty retreat. Many stray fanatical SS groups
roved the hills out of touch with any command.
|In carrying out surrender, Germans stacked arms at points
designated by local allied commanders.
The Germans assembled at selected
places as directed, stacked their arms, ammunition and motor transport. On May 8, in a
day-long convoy, T-Patchmen streamed in to accept and control the surrender and to occupy
St. Johann, Kitzbuhel; and Mittersill, in the heartland of a tourist's paradise. The same
day simultaneous announcements from Washington and London proclaimed the final surrender
of all German forces. There in the Austrian Tyrol the 36th realized the victory it had
fought so long to achieve.
|Last Play. Colonel Lynch,
142nd Commanding Officer, and General Dahlquist check situation during last day's
fighting in the Inn River valley.
|Last shot. Even as news of
surrender came, German 88 fire disabled this tank. Division was told to stop.
|Last Span: Engineers opened
the road to Kufstein with speedy timber-trestle construction after Germans had blown
|Last Roundup: Thousands of
prisoners were guarded by the 141st in Division pen at Rottach.