The Gran Sasso raid: The Liberation of Mussolini

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Tom Peters
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Re: The Mussolini rescue was no great achievment

Post by Tom Peters » 09 Apr 2012 03:49

It was D-318 and I noticed it (I was copying D-319) because of the size of the folder and that it had a number of maps in it. Something worth getting if someone was interested in the rescue.

Mad Dog

Ropey
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Re: The Mussolini rescue was no great achievment

Post by Ropey » 10 Apr 2012 22:07

After the Battle magazine number 22 adds the following info.

The gliders+tows took off from Pratica di Mare airfield on the coast south of Rome. Estimated Italian defenders numbered 150, with 108 in the attacking force (if all had arrived). "In weapons the two opponents could be regarded as approximate equals, as our Fallschirmjaeger Gewehr automatic rifles gave us an advantage, compensating to some extent for the enemy's superiority in numbers..." (Skorzeny's account. Other accounts give similar stories overall, differing only in detail.)

Complete surprise was achieved, with Skorzeny's glider landing within metres of the door. The sound of 8 gliders crash-landing is not an issue as they came in over a period of several minutes, even tens of minutes, by which time the assault was a done deal. Apparently there was some gunfire between Italian men outside the hotel and later arrivals, but with SS/paras inside already and Italian leadership in the bag, this was soon stopped.

If any achievements had been aggrandised it appears to have been Skorzeny's role. It would appear that Major Mors and Student had more to do with the planning than he did, but Hitler had political reasons for giving the SS man all the credit. Be that as it may, it was a daringly planned and well-executed attack with the possibility of complete disaster outweighed by trust in their own training and capabilities.

Whether Elias will ever be moved from an apparently entrenched position is doubtful. "I have yet to find an unbiased book in english towards the Italian war effort." suggests that he has not been looking very hard.

WilliSaenger
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Re: The Mussolini rescue was no great achievment

Post by WilliSaenger » 03 May 2012 17:55

Ropey: I think, Elias has been looking very hard. But sometimes the truth hurts too badly to accept it.

BTW: The history of the fighting in the alps during WW I shows, that Italians are excellent soldiers. But in WW II, as was stated here already, their equipment and leadership was too bad. WWII for the Italian Army was a catastrophe from the very beginning.

Ypenburg
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Re: The Mussolini rescue was no great achievment

Post by Ypenburg » 03 May 2012 21:06

fredleander wrote: Sounds very interesting. Student (or his co-writer) seems a little pissed on Skorzeny since he and his SS-companions participating in the raid got much of the credit for it (plenty of Iron Crosses) while Student's sturm-jägers received very little. According to the original plan Skorzeny wasn't at all meant to land first, as he did. This occured due to to an unexplained change of approach route towards the landing area. The paras were meant to land first. As it were, Skorzeny seemingly did a good job of it.

Fred
The "unexplained change of approach route towards the landing area" happened because Skorzeny forced his pilot to do so. This caused another glider to almost crash, and severall FJ's were wounded. According to the FJ's not a single shot was fired on both sides since they were all over the places before the Italians realised what was happening. The Italian General also didn't come on his own free will but was "kidnapped" from his hous by Skorzeny and his SS, which disgusted the FJ once they find out. The best account of this event, with an account of the Storch-pilot Hptm. Heinrich Gerlach, can be found in "Das Fallschirmjäger-Lehr-Regiment" by Heinz Bliss and Bernd Bosshammer.

pitfighter
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Re: Skorzeny's team at Gran Sasso

Post by pitfighter » 19 Dec 2013 05:23

Bob,


Did you ever write your book?

I have been researching the raid for a personal project and attempting to find as much literature on the subject as is possible.

Please contact me - figaropictures (at) msn.com

Thank you,



Jesse Johnson - Pitfighter

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Skorzeny's team at Gran Sasso

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Dec 2013 06:50

Hi Bob,

Just to reinforce the last question, did you ever write up the result of your researches?

Some original publication along the lines of what you outlined is badly needed.

You mentioned Skorzeny being out of shape after two years of beer swilling in Berlin. The same phenomenon was observable when he was in Argentina after the war. He seems to have spent almost his entire time there schmoozing with Peron's social set and left no imprint on the Argentine army at all. Contrast him with Adolf Galland, who did real work and had an enduring impact on the Argentine air force.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Bob Forczyk
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Re: Skorzeny's team at Gran Sasso

Post by Bob Forczyk » 20 Dec 2013 14:00

Yes, it can be found under my name on Amazon.

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Marcus
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Re: Skorzeny's team at Gran Sasso

Post by Marcus » 21 Dec 2013 10:43

Bob Forczyk wrote:Yes, it can be found under my name on Amazon.
Is that "Rescuing Mussolini - Gran Sasso 1943" by Robert Forczyk?
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/ ... eichfactbo

/Marcus

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Bob Forczyk
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Re: Skorzeny's team at Gran Sasso

Post by Bob Forczyk » 21 Dec 2013 17:02

Yes

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AlifRafikKhan
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Re: Skorzeny's team at Gran Sasso

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 28 Dec 2014 18:12

Friedenthal 1943. The inner circle in front of the so-called "barn". FLTR: SS-Hauptsturmführer der Reserve Dipl.Ing. Otto Skorzeny (Kommandeur Sonderverband z.b.V. Friedenthal), SS-Untersturmführer Robert Warger, SS-Unterscharführer Bernhard Cieslewitz (back), SS-Obersturmführer Ulrich Menzel, SS-Untersturmführer Otto Schwerdt, SS-Oberscharführer Adam Gföller (blocked by Radl), and SS- Obersturmführer Karl Radl...

Source: Book "My Commando Operations: The Memoirs of Hitler's Most Daring Commando" by Otto Skorzeny
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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Skorzeny's team at Gran Sasso

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Dec 2014 20:33

Friedenthal was, I seem to recall, about 20 kilometers north of Berlin.

It puts Skorzeny's own operations into some perspective when it is realized that it took his fully motorized unit so long to cover this distance that they were too late to play an active role in suppressing the Bomb Plot of 20 July 1944. They could have marched there on foot with time to spare if they had reacted immediately.

In short, for all his experience in mounting surprise coups, Skorzeny and his cohorts could be as vulnerable and slow reacting to surprise as anyone else.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Marcus
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Re: Skorzeny's team at Gran Sasso

Post by Marcus » 03 Jan 2015 18:51

A post dealing with his time Argentina was split off into a new thread at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 0&t=212464

/Marcus

sandeepmukherjee196
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Re: Skorzeny's team at Gran Sasso

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 03 Jan 2015 18:55

Are we then saying that the version of events given in the following book is not authentic ?

Greg Annussek, "Hitler's Raid To Save Mussolini" (Da Capo Press, 2005).

Ciao
Sandeep

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Marcus
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Re: The Gran Sasso raid: The Liberation of Mussolini

Post by Marcus » 03 Jan 2015 19:07

A few threads on the same event were merged into one.

/Marcus

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Marcus
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Re: The Gran Sasso raid: The Liberation of Mussolini

Post by Marcus » 03 Jan 2015 19:08

A relevant quote:
Rob - wssob2 wrote:Completely contrary to postwar popular mythology, Skorzeny’s reputation does not hold up under close scrutiny. For example, Skorzeny wasn’t the “mastermind” behind the Mussolini rescue; Luftwaffe Major Harold Mors planned the Grand Sasso operation under the command of General Kurt Student. It was Himmler and Propaganda Minister Goebbels who repainted the event as an “SS mission” and Skorzeny’s lionization was a deliberate attempt to deflect credit from their rival Goring.
/Marcus

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