James Jay Carafano
World War II was truly a global conflict. Enemies fought everywhere from the frozen Arctic to darkest jungles in Papua New Guinea. They fought on land, air, on, over, and below the sea, and even into the stratosphere. There were battles bloody big and small—and weird. Here is our vote for the title of the weirdest fight of the war.
Where is Castle Itter? The village of Itter in northern Tyrol, high in the Austrian Alps is overlooked by a small castle, Schloss Itter. The foundations of the schloss date back to a medieval 13th century castle (though there was likely fortifications on the site dating back to the 10th century). In the 1800s, the castle was rebuilt as a country home.
Why was there a battle there? In 1943, the Nazis occupied the castle and incorporated the facilities as a prison in the Dachau concentration camp system for high-profile inmates including influential French politicians and generals. In May 1945, with the war drawing to a close and the Allies advancing across Austria, the last commandant of the prison committed suicide and the guards abandoned their post.