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Battle of Braunau
Part of World War II
Date February 7, 1945
Location Inn River, Braunau am Inn, Austria
Result US victory
Belligerents
Flag of USA United States Flag of Wehrmacht Germany
Commanders and leaders
George S. Patton Hermann Balck
Units involved
US Third Army German 6th Army
Strength
150,000 150,000
Casualties and losses
no reliable estimates no reliable estimates
The Battle of Braunau, also known as the Battle of Braunau-am-Inn or the Battle of Inn, was an engagement between the US Third Army and the German 6th Army that occurred on February 7, 1945, with the Americans liberating the birthplace of Adolf Hitler. It was the last battle of the US 80th Infantry Division, who halted there. During the battle, Pvt. Lucas Gibson won the Medal of Honor and a promotion to corporal for blowing up a V-2 rocket that was launched from the Wonder Weapons base that was near the town.

Background Edit

The Americans were able to cross the Rhine River and into Germany after the British 2nd Airborne Division secured a crossing at Wesel, and the US Third Army advanced into Czechoslovakia and Austria; George S. Patton was tasked with liberating all of the Third Reich's southern regions. The Americans did not know about the value of the town other than that Adolf Hitler was born there, and were suspicious of the last-ditch defenses put up by German infantry and tanks. The town of Braunau-am-Inn had a tunnel network where the German soldiers hid out during the bombardment, and this led to a V-2 launch facility, where the V-2 rockets could fire at Britain. The town was heavily-defended, with MG positions blocking major streets, but the Americans moved in with armor to prepare for a large-scale offensive.

Battle Edit

The Americans crossed a bridge that led over the Inn River, and at 7:00 AM, their tanks came under fierce Panzerschreck fire from German-occupied houses near the crossing. The American infantrymen were pinned down, but some of them fought their way to the damaged houses and cleared them of the Wehrmacht troops after room-to-room combat. Next, the American soldiers seized a manor house from the German troops, and the Germans were forced to retreat to their tunnels. At the same time, the German armor was being destroyed by US tanks outside the city, and the German tanker Otto Aissmann was killed in the fighting. The Americans discovered the networks underground after a bombing raid blew a crater above an entrance to the tunnels, and a squad of the US 80th Infantry Division cleared out the areas, losing one man killed out of four troops. The Americans were also in time for a V-2 launch, so Pvt. Lucas Gibson rushed to the rocket, covered by his squadmates, and planted a charge, before fleeing to cover. As the rocket lifted off, it blew up, and hit the ground, causing a massive explosion. By then the US soldiers had retreated, and Gibson was awarded the Medal of Honor and promotion to Corporal. After fierce fighting that occured for a few more hours, the Germans were forced into submission.

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