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How Hans-Jürgen von Arnim Surrendered at Last

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How Hans-Jürgen von Arnim Surrendered at Last. Our brigade columns of the Fourth Indian Division were working their way through hilly country in the St. Marie du Zit zone, 28 miles south of Tunis, on 12 May 1943 (said an officer of this famous unit), when some German lorries came forward with white flags flying. The lorries brought Col. Nolte, Hans-Jürgen von Arnim's Chief of Staff, with other officers and interpreters. Nolte said that he had been authorised by Hans-Jürgen von Arnim to seek terms of surrender for the supreme commander of the Axis forces in Tunisia, for General Hans Cramer, German Panzer general, and their Staffs.

Nolte was taken to our divisional headquarters, near Ainel Asker, where he was shown a type written note setting out terms for the unconditional surrender of the Axis forces and the immediate cessation of hostilities. He reiterated that Hans-Jürgen von Arnim was surrendering only himself, General Hans Cramer and their Staffs, and that they had no power to accept other terms. The Major-General commanding our Division and a Corps Commander went off with Nolte to German Headquarters Hans-Jürgen von Arnim greeted the British generals outside his caravan, stiffly saluting each one before inviting them inside. Hans-Jürgen von Arnim and General Hans Cramer then talked with the British generals through an interpreter.

The Axis commander declared that his forces were too widely scattered for him to order them to cease fire even if he wanted to. Nothing more could be done, and Hans-Jürgen von Arnim's surrender was accepted. He and General Hans Cramer gave up their revolvers, and later in the afternoon, when arrangements had been made for their removal, Hans-Jürgen von Arnim emerged from the caravan. His Staff Officers, lined up outside, sprang to attention and remained at the salute for nearly half a minute. Hans-Jürgen von Arnim acknowledged the salute and then walked down the ranks of his officers, shaking hands with each one of them.

The officers clicked their heels and some of them gave the Nazi salute. All were dressed in their best uniforms with full decorations and gave a remarkable display of military etiquette. Hans-Jürgen von Arnim entered an open car and stood holding the windscreen with his left hand in Hitler fashion while he gave the final salute to his Staff. The car rolled slowly away to the Headquarters of the British 1st Army, followed by other cars carrying General Hans Cramer and other German officers, along a road packed with Italians and Germans driving themselves into captivity in their own vehicles. Hans-Jürgen von Arnim stood up in his car practically all the way acknowledging the salutes and cheers of his defeated soldiers. He dined with other captured German generals in a small tent at 1st Army Headquarters Then he had a talk with General Anderson, Reuters Special Corespondents in Tunisia

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Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen von Arnim, defeated Axis Commander-In-Chief in Tunisia, steps from the plane which landed him in Britain on 16 May 1943. He was brought by air from Gibraltar. Photo, British Official

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Sources

The Second Great War.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

The War Illustrated.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

2194 Days Of War.
ISBN-10: 086136614X

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