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WW II - Nazi General Anton Dostler Execution

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Added by Bob in Battles 1901-Now


On March 22, 1944, fifteen men of the U.S. Army (including two officers) landed on the Italian coast about 100 kilometres north of La Spezia, 250 miles behind the then established front. Their mission was to demolish a railroad tunnel between La Spezia and Genoa. Two days later, the group was captured by a party of Italian Fascist soldiers and members of the German army. They were taken to La Spezia, where they were confined near the headquarters of the 135th Fortress Brigade, which was under the command of German Colonel Almers. The immediately superior headquarters was that of the 75th German Army Corps, commanded by Dostler.The captured U.S. soldiers were interrogated and one of the U.S. officers revealed the story of the mission. This information was then sent to Dostler at the 75th German Army Corps. The following day, March 25, Dostler sent a telegram to the 135th Fortress Brigade ordering that the captured soldiers be executed. Recognizing that the order was harsh, officers at the 135th Fortress Brigade contacted Dostler in an attempt to achieve a stay. Dostler then sent another telegram ordering Almers to carry out the execution. Two last attempts were made by the officers at the 135th, including some by telephone. These efforts were unsuccessful and the fifteen Americans were executed on the morning of March 26, 1944. Alexander zu Dohna-Schlobitten, who refused to sign the execution order, was dismissed from Wehrmacht service because of his insubordination. In the first Allied war trial, Dostler was accused of carrying out an illegal order, while Dostler maintained that he did not issue the order, but only passed along an order to Colonel Almers from supreme command. The trial found German General Anton Dostler guilty of war crimes. He was sentenced to death by firing squad and executed on December 1, 1945 in Aversa. The execution was photographed on black and white still and movie cameras.

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