By Edward N. Bedessem, Center of Military History

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National Archives) after a shift in interarmy boundaries which placed Salzburg in the Seventh Army sector, that city surrendered to elements of the XV Corps. The XV Corps also captured Berchtesgaden, the town that would have been Hitler’s command post in the National Redoubt. With all passes to the Alps now sealed, however, there would be no final redoubt in Austria or anywhere else. In a few days the war in Europe would be over. While the Allied armies in the south marched to the Alps, Montgomery’s 21 Army Group drove north and northeast.

The British Second Army’s right wing reached the Elbe southeast of Hamburg on 19 April. Its left fought for a week to capture Bremen, which fell on 26 April. On 29 April the British made an assault crossing of the Elbe, supported on the following day by the recently reattached XVIII Airborne Corps. The bridgehead expanded rapidly, and by 2 May Luebeck and Wismar, 40 to 50 miles beyond the river, were in Allied hands, sealing off the Germans in the Jutland peninsula. On the 21 Army Group’s left, one corps of the First Canadian Army reached the North Sea near the Dutch-German border on 16 April, while another drove through the central Netherlands, trapping the German forces remaining in that country.

Army in World War II series. Other excellent accounts are found in John Toland, The Last 100 Days (1966), and Russel F. Weigley, Eisenhower’s Lieutenants (1981). Several of the top commanders involved in the campaign published memoirs after the war, and these provide the opportunity to examine the events from various viewpoints. Among the best are Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe (1948); Omar N. Bradley, A Soldiers Story (1951); and George S. Patton, War As I Knew It (1947). For the British view, see Field Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Normandy to the Baltic (1947).

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