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Every Allied unit in the area, whether French or American, desperately wanted to capture Berchtesgaden.The unit that did so would win for itself historical immortality as the conquerors of the crown jewel of Hitler’s evil empire. The 7th Infantry Regiment, the ‘Cottonbalers,’ had fought its way from North Africa to Germany.They faced a German army with very little fight left. The German soldiers still resisting did so primarily against the Russians and most of the others fled westward in hopes of surrendering to the British or the Americans.Accordingly, Berchtesgaden changed from a strategic to a prestige objective.

This was the place where Hitler had planned his conquest of Europe, the place where he had hosted heads of state, the place where the German dictator had relaxed and held forth on various topics to an intimate retinue of party cronies.

It was the second seat of government outside of Berlin.


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