I Was There! - How 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 May 12 (said an officer of this famous unit), when some German lorries came forward with white flags flying. The lorries brought Col. Nolte, Arnim's Chief of Staff, with other officers and interpreters. Nolte said that he had been authorized by Arnim to seek terms of surrender for the supreme commander of the Axis forces in Tunisia, for Gen. Krause, German Panzer general, and their Staffs.
Nolte was taken to our divisional headquarters, near Ainel Asker, where he was shown a typewritten note setting out terms for the unconditional surrender of the Axis forces and the immediate cessation of hostilities. He reiterated that Arnim was surrendering only himself, Krause 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 H.Q. Arnim greeted the British generals outside his caravan, stiffly saluting each one before inviting them inside. Arnim and Krause 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 Arnim's surrender was accepted. He and Krause gave up their revolvers, and later in the afternoon, when arrangements had been made for their removal, Armin emerged from the caravan. His Staff Officers, lined up outside, sprang to attention and remained at the salute for nearly half a minute. 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. 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 H.Q. of the British 1st Army, followed by other cars carrying Krause and other German officers, along a road packed with Italians and Germans driving themselves into captivity in their own vehicles.
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 H.Q. Then he had a talk with General Anderson. – Reuters Special Correspondents in Tunisia.
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