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Thread: Commando Extraordinary: The Life Story of ϟϟ-Standartenführer Otto Skorzeny

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    Senior Member Mac Seafraidh's Avatar
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    Thumbs Up Commando Extraordinary: The Life Story of ϟϟ-Standartenführer Otto Skorzeny

    Commando Extraordinary: The Life Story of SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny

    By Charles Foley


    Commando Extraordinary is the Biography of Otto Skorzeny, the ϟϟ man most feared by the Allies. Heading an ϟϟ commando unit, elite of the elite, he carried out daring exploits, from the breathtaking aerial rescue of Mussolini from prison to the infiltration of saboteurs behind Allied lines in the Battle of the Bulge, and he remained faithful to the end.

    Otto Skorzeny (June 12, 1908 - July 5, 1975) was a colonel in the German Waffen-ϟϟ during World War II and is considered by many as the best commando in the history of modern warfare. Born into a middle-class Austrian family with a long history of military service, Skorzeny was a noted fencer as a student in Vienna in the 1920s. He engaged in fifteen personal duels, and on the tenth of these he received a wound that left a dramatic scar on his cheek.

    He joined the Austrian Nazi Party in 1931 and soon became a Nazi storm trooper. He showed aptitude as a leader of men from the very beginning, and even played a minor role in the German takeover of Austria on March 12, 1938, when he saved the Austrian President Wilhelm Miklas from being shot.

    When the war broke out a year later, Skorzeny, then working as a civil engineer, volunteered for service in the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) but was turned down because he was over the age of 30. Failing that, he turned to the Waffen-ϟϟ, the military branch of Germany's elite storm troopers. On February 21, 1940, Skorzeny went off to war with one of its most famous units, the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler and fought with distinction in the campaigns against the Soviet Union in 1941 and 1942 before being wounded and returning to Germany in December of 1942, a winner of the Iron Cross for bravery under fire.

    After Skorzeny had recovered from his wounds, a friend in the ϟϟ recommended him to the German military leadership as a possible leader of commando forces Hitler wanted to create. It was in this role, in July 1943, that he was asked personally by Hitler to rescue Benito Mussolini, the dictator of Italy and a friend of Hitler's, who had been removed from power and imprisoned by the Italian government.

    Almost two months of cat-and-mouse followed, as the Italians moved Mussolini from place to place in order to frustrate any would-be rescuers. Finally, on September 12, Skorzeny led a daring glider-based assault on the Gran Sasso Hotel, high in the Apennines mountains, and rescued Mussolini with very few shots being fired. The exploit earned Skorzeny worldwide fame, promotion to major and the Knight's Cross, another major German military honor.

    On July 20, 1944, Skorzeny was in Berlin when a plot against Hitler's life was hatched, with German officials attempting to seize control of the country's vital organs before the dictator recovered from his injuries. Skorzeny helped put the rebellion down in the capital, actually spending 36 hours in charge of the German army's central command center before being relieved.

    In October 1944, Hitler sent Skorzeny to Hungary when he received word that the country's Regent, Mikl??orthy was secretly negotiating his country's surrender to the Red Army. This surrender would have cut off a million German troops fighting in the Balkan Peninsula. Skorzeny, in another daring "snatch" operation, kidnapped Horthy's son Nicolas and forced his father to abdicate as Regent. A pro-German government was installed in Hungary and fought with Germany until that country was overrun by the Red Army.

    Two months later, Skorzeny led a panzer brigade of German soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge disguised as American soldiers in an operation known as Operation Greif. A handful were captured by the Americans and spread a rumor that Skorzeny was leading a raid on Paris to kill or capture General Eisenhower; this was untrue, but the Americans believed it and Eisenhower was confined to his headquarters for weeks.

    He spent the first two months of 1945 commanding regular troops in the defense of the German province of Pomerania as an acting major general. For this defense, Hitler awarded him Germany's highest military honor, the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross. Skorzeny surrendered to the Allies in May and was held as a prisoner of war for more than two years before being tried as a war criminal for his actions in the Battle of the Bulge.

    However, he was acquitted when a British colonel testified in his defense that Allied commando forces also fought in enemy uniform. Still, he continued to be held until he escaped from a prison camp on July 27, 1948.

    He settled in Fascist Spain with a passport granted by its dictator, Francisco Franco and resumed his prewar occupation as an engineer.

    In 1952, he was finally cleared by the German government of any wrongdoing in the war, which enabled him to travel abroad. Later on, he worked as a consultant to the Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser and the Argentine dictator Juan Peron, and is rumoured to have assisted several of his friends in the ϟϟ escape arrest in the years after the war.

    Skorzeny died a multi-millionaire in Madrid in 1975.

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    Senior Member Fraxinus Excelsior's Avatar
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    Post Re: Book review of a bio on: Otto Skorzeny

    Have you read his autobiography?

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    Senior Member Mac Seafraidh's Avatar
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    Post Re: Book review of a bio on: Otto Skorzeny

    No, I never read an indepth autobiography on him. I briefly read that review though and it seems he had a pretty good life as far as German leaders within the army go.

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    Post Re: Book review of a bio on: Otto Skorzeny

    He was very well liked in the Waffen-ϟϟ's inner-cicle.

    His autobiography (OTTO SKORZENY: MY COMMANDO OPERATIONS) covers his entire life, from his youth to the "current" events in the early/mid-seventies. He went into detail about Hitler's desire not to build atomic weapons; and, in detail, about his various commando ops.

    It's a great read devoid of the bolshevik/zionist distortion found in almost all other history books in the world today.

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    The best Skorzeny book I've found is For Germany: The Otto Skorzeny Memoirs, which is his own words plus some extra detials by the editors. It's also the newest one, I think. It's worth the high cost.


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