The Mussolini rescue was no great achievment

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Ezboard

The Mussolini rescue was no great achievment

Post by Ezboard » 29 Sep 2002 13:22

Khouri
Unregistered User
(8/18/00 5:21:47 am)
Reply The Mussolini rescue was no great achievment
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The rescue of Mussolini undertaken by the German commandoes isn't what it is cracked up to be. When they say that the germans got him with out firing a shot is true, but historians disregard the fact why this is. This was because the German Commandoes brought an Italian Carabinieri Commander with them and he convinced the Italians not to shhot and kill the germans. This is why no shot was fired. If that Italian commander wasn't brought along to convince the Italian Carabinieri guards all the german commandoes what have been cut down and killed. It woulds have turend out to be a magor german disaster.

Marcus Wendel
ezOP
(8/18/00 9:22:07 am)
Reply Re: The Mussolini rescue was no great achievment
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Elias,

What kind of info do you have to prove this statment:
"all the german commandoes what have been cut down and killed"?

/Marcus

Elias Khouri
Unregistered User
(8/18/00 9:26:58 pm)
Reply The facts are here
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Look in the book titled "The Italian campaign", its part of the "Time life books" series. Look up the german commando raid and look at it. It gives the truthful information about what acually happened and does not seek to glorify it.

Marcus Wendel
ezOP
(8/19/00 12:21:12 pm)
Reply Re: The facts are here
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Elias,

Could you please be kind enough to post that info here?
Thanks.

/Marcus

Elias
Unregistered User
(8/19/00 9:27:07 pm)
Reply Post the Info?
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You seem to disbelieve my words. Have a look at the book, it is a very popular book series and should be easily accesable. I will be kind enough to post the exact words later on, but for now check out that book for you seem to have doubts of what I say, maybe the book will erase them for you.

Marcus Wendel
ezOP
(8/19/00 9:36:28 pm)
Reply Re: Post the Info?
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Elias,

I am no expert on the rescue of Mussolini and since your statement seems to contradict the established opinion I will remain skeptical until you provide proof that "all the german commandoes what have been cut down and killed" if it had not been for the Italian commander.

Actually I checked for the book on my local library but their copy was not available so I could not check your info.

/Marcus

Elias
Unregistered User
(8/20/00 3:33:05 am)
Reply Established opinion?
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I will get the exact words for you when I am able to go to the library next which is monday since it is closed tommorrow. Then your doubts will be cleared up. also I ask, what exactly is this "established opinion"?

Richard Murphy
Unregistered User
(8/20/00 8:13:58 am)
Reply Iatalian General at the Albergo Rifugio
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Marcus,
According to his memoirs, Skorzeny was assigned an Italian officer, whom he only describes as a "General", in order to "bluff the guards for a short time and restrain them from immediately reacting to our arrival by violence against the Duce", but doesn't mention him at all during the operation.

Personally, I find it difficult to believe that the paratroops and SS men would have been cut to pieces, surprise is a very powerful weapon.

Source; Skorzeny's Special Missions, by Otto Skorzeny, Greenhill Books, 1997

Hope that helped,

Rich

Marcus Wendel
ezOP
(8/20/00 9:51:58 am)
Reply Re: Established opinion?
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Elias,

As I said, I'm no expert on the subject, but the general opinion seems to be what Richard wrote, ie that the Italian officer (general?) was useful initially but that the German soldiers handled the rest of the operation.

/Marcus

Elias
Unregistered User
(8/25/00 2:54:15 am)
Reply Text
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Here is why the Italian Carabinieri guards did not slaughter Skorzeny and his men. These words are taken from a book called "Italy at war" another book in the time life series. Here is the text from page 164 that ascribes why the Italian Carabinieri guards did not cut down Skorzeny and his men. "The Carabinieri guarding Mussolini refraimed from fighting because the Germans had come accompanied by a Carabinieri General". Now when you think about it put yourself in the Italian guards position,your goal is to prevent his rescue at all costs, when you see the enemy of course you will kill them. Now the only reason the Italian guards didn't cut the German SS commandoes and their leader Skorzeny to pieces is because they were ordered not to by the Italian Carabinieri general the Germans brought with them. I very much doubt also that the Italian guards were "surprised" by Skorzeny's men. They would all first of all been alerted to the enemies presence by eithier the crash landing of 8 gliders(Which would make a huge amount of noise) or would have spotted the 8 gliders comign towards them. For the guards guarding Mussolini would have been at full readiness and always alert all the time. The book and many other books that I have seen on this subject Leave out lots opf Vital information. Such as what the weather was like during the time of the attack, Why the Italian Carabinieri didn't fight back and how many Italian guards there was compared to the Germans. This whole story of skornzey and his mediocore rescue has been glorified ad nauseum. His rescue was not daring, not brilliant and certainly not what it is craked up to be. The story itself is a severly twisted version of the truth which leavers out vital information and is nothing but a reflection of Anglo-Germanic Propaganda. This is the whole truth, and nothing buit the truth.

Marcus Wendel
ezOP
(8/25/00 10:13:20 am)
Reply Re: Text
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Elias,

Thanks for posting the info.
I agree that the Italian Carabinieri general was of great use, but I don't agree with your conclusions:

"Now the only reason the Italian guards didn't cut the German SS commandoes and their leader Skorzeny to pieces is because they were ordered not to by the Italian Carabinieri general the Germans brought with them."
How do you know that the Germans (who were mainly paratroopers btw) would have been cut to pieces in a fight?

"I very much doubt also that the Italian guards were "surprised" by Skorzeny's men."
If they were not surprised (I know I would have been) how come they did not attack the Germans immediately before they even noticed the Italian general?

Why did they obey this Italian general at all? Assuming that they were loyal to the king and new government and this general was obviously a traitor (from their point of view).

"This whole story of skornzey and his mediocore rescue has been glorified ad nauseum. His rescue was not daring, not brilliant and certainly not what it is craked up to be."
Even if we assume that you are completly correct, in what way was the rescue "mediocre" and "not daring"? It was not "mediocre" as it was successful! It was daring since any such mission into enemy held terrirtory is (highly) dangerous even if you have one of "their" generals for company.

/Marcus

George Huelse
Unregistered User
(8/25/00 5:20:33 pm)
Reply Agreed w/ Marcus...
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I have to agree w/ Marcus. General or no General it was an amazing feat of daring and military organization. The plane ride out alone was daring!

Granted the tails of Skorzeny have had nearly 60 years to get bigger and better, but nontheless this was a very successful commando operation.

Good day.

Elias
Unregistered User
(8/25/00 8:48:48 pm)
Reply RE RE: Text
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To answer your first question "How do you know the german paratroopers would have been cut to pieces in a fight?": Well quite obviously they would be in the open for one. Secondly I think the Italian guards would heavly out number them(I am pretty sure when I say this, for I have been looking for information on the numbers of Italian compared to that of the germans yet I can't seem to find any info on them, maybe you could help me on this?) A reason that points me to belive that they out numbered the germans is that Mussulini would have been heavly guarded by well equipped and well trained guards(For they knew the germans were looking for him, so they would have been well prepared). Thirdly, I pressume the Italian guards would be heavly equppied with good weaponry such as the 9mm Beretta M1938A sub-machine gun or the usual exellent Caracano Rifles, due to the Vital importence of their mission. Also I question you, why do you think the Italian soldiers wouldn't have won the fight?

Moving on as to your second question as to why you do not believe they were surprised?: If you think about 8 gliders! crash landing would make a lot of noise. I am sure the guards would have been easily alerted to this noise. The reason they did not attack right away is most likely because Skornzey sent the Italian General first to you yell and to tell them not to. If you don't believe this I ask you in what you belive to be why the Italians didn't attack immediatly? For my belief makes more sense then any I have heard so far.

As to your next question as to why the the Italians obeyed this gerneral at all? What I have to say is I do not exactly know? For it is the only likely explanation as to why the Italian guards did not kill the Germans. If you could give me a better explanation as to why the Italians did not attack right away or attack the Germans at all, I would very much like to hear it?

As to your final group of questions I say to you this: My word may have come off a bit harsh but that is how I feel, It was a mission completed through "Sneekeness" and has been far to glorified and enlarged over the years into somthing of a myth.

Good day Mr. Wendel


von stauffenberg
Registered User
(8/25/00 8:53:08 pm)
Reply Re: The mussolini rescue was no great achievment
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I hardly think that the whole italian army could have "cut down" one pissed off kraut with a luger.

Sorry, just kidding.

Marcus Wendel
ezOP
(8/25/00 9:00:06 pm)
Reply Re: RE RE: Text
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Elias,

I don't have any details on the strength on either side unfortunately.

I'm not saying the Italians would not have won the fight but I'm not saying that they would win either as I have far to little detailed info to speculate on that.

Considering that the Italians were quick to obey a "traitor" general (assuming that they agreed to lay down their arms soley because of him), I find it unlikely that all of them would be that eager to fight the Germans.

Your theory as to why they did not attack does not answer the question as to wether they did not attack the Germans immediately, ie before anyone was able to leave the gliders. Why wait to see who is going to leave the gliders if you are determind to fight them?

/Marcus

Elias
Unregistered User
(8/26/00 6:30:48 am)
Reply Why?
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I already answered your question. Maybe you missed my reply to it, but read the article again.

Richard Murphy
Unregistered User
(8/26/00 11:57:37 pm)
Reply the saga continues..
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Elias,
I'm not sure where you get your infomation from (Surely something more reliable than Time-Life?), but the noise of the crashed gliders would have been covered by the fact that they crashed several miles away as most were lost soon after take off (The exact airfield is not specified, but it would appear that they flew from Rome.). The landing was timed for 6 AM, not the best time for a standing guard to be alert, and quiet often (Though I have no evidence of this during this particular operation.) the time when the guard is being changed, though you would have thought that would have made the opposition stronger, not nessercarily weaker.
Which ever way you look at it, Skorzeny's operation (Of which only 19 of 108, including Skorzeny, were SS.) was a brilliantly executed operation.

Regards

Rich

Gary Komar
Registered User
(8/27/00 2:40:56 am)
Reply Re: the saga continues..
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Charles Foley's sources are not shown, but in his 1954 book, "Commando Extraordinary: The Remarkable Exploits of Otto Skorzeny", he outlines the "facts" as these (I'm paraphrasing from the book):
- the rescue was set for dawn (7 am) September 12, 1943 but the gliders were held up on their journey; they actually got away after noon and expected to reach the Gran Sasso area about 2 pm.
- Skorzeny believed no one would expect a glider operation at high noon which added to the surprise;
- they brought an "otherwise unimportant Italian" general with them from Rome - General Soletti, "who had shown much favor to the Germans".
- the expedition started with 12 gliders and their towing planes; ten men in the first two gliders would cover the landing of a third and fourth glider.
- their airfield was bombed and two machines ran into bomb holes and never left the ground.
- Skorzeny's glider crash landed. He burst out of the wrecked glider and headed for the hotel, where an Italian carabinier "was standing there, rooted to the spot...stupefied..." Skorzeny smashed the transmitter in a room located by the wall of the hotel. His men followed, hoisted him up to a ten foot terrace where he spotted Mussolini at an upper window.
- the main entrance was "flanked by two sentry posts. The guards were amazed and before they could react, Skorzeny's men "had booted their machine guns off the supports and scambled through the door" while Soletti followed shouting in Italian and added to the confusion.
- Skorzeny "butted" his way through a group of soldiers in the lobby (no shots were fired)and took a flight of stairs to Mussolini's room.
- Mussolini was with two Italian officers. Skorzeny's men overpowered the Italian officers and took them from the room.
- in the meantime three more gliders crash landed and men poured out. A fourth was smashed and no one moved from the wreckage.
- Skorzeny called for the commander. An Italian colonel appeared and Skorzeny asked in French for his surrender.
- the Italian colonel produced a goblet of red win and was to have said "To a gallant victor."
- the Italian garrison was disarmed and a General Cueli was captured, the person allegedly responsible for keeping Mussolini imprisoned.
- General Student's Storch spotter plane landed beside the hotel and took Skorzeny and Mussolini off the Gran Sasso.

Robert Goralski's World War II Almanac 1931-1945 (Perigee Books, 1981) notes at page 281 that on Sept. 12, 90 German glider-born troops under Skorzeny rescued Mussolini at the Hotel Camp Imperatore in Abruzzi. The 250 man Italian force guarding Mussolini surrendered within minutes.

In 2194 Days of War, Cesare Salmaggi and Alfredo Pallavisini write that about 1 pm on Sep. 12, 12 German aircraft took off from the airfield at Practica di Mare, a hamlet near Pomezia in Rome Province. Everyone at the hotel is taken by surprise. "To confuse the carabinieri on guard at the hotel still more, Skorzeny has brought with him Seleti, General of the carabinieri. Mussolini's innocent jailers are completely at a loss and Skorzeny exhorts the colonel in command not to resist, to avoid useless bloodshed."

There may be other more detailed versions around, but the accounts seem to be consistent.

Elias
Unregistered User
(8/27/00 4:56:18 am)
Reply RE: the saga continues
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I must disagree with you. I must say I will look into this book, but for the moment I have a question for you: Have you ever heard of the massive allied propaganda campaign which started during the war and continued in even greater proportions after the war? It has affected all known anglo-germanic literature on the subject. I have yet to find an unbiased book in english towards the Italian war effort. Your whole statement must be disregareded for the book has no sources. The part which led to the success of the whole mission was the part played by the Italian Carabinieri General, it is he who is owed the succes for the mission. Also one last question for you: Do you know how many Italians fought for the Germans after the armistice of sept. 8th?

Paul Timms
Unregistered User
(8/27/00 6:39:16 am)
Reply Gran Sasso
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One thing that Elias does not mention is why the Italians waited until they knew there was an Italian General with the Germans. In his own words they would have been alertred by the sight or soungd of the gliders. Any guard (especially at a mountain top and not expecting visitors) would open fire long before someone got close enough to say "hi, i'm one of your Generals surrender guys". I know this is slightly tongue in cheek but a serious point . You see a glider coming in you open fire. Any explanations ???

Paul

Richard Murphy
Unregistered User
(8/27/00 10:28:55 am)
Reply The Italian Armed Forces in WW II
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Elias,
The conduct and capabilities of the Italian Armed Forces is not subject to any form of propaganda "spin doctoring" (To use a slightly more modern phrase.), but comes down to the fact that no matter how brave and resourceful the individual soldiers were (Earning high praise from Rommel in particular.), their equipment was woefully inadequate (Partilly due to Mussolini's interest in quantity over quality.) and the vast majority of their senior commanders (With the possible exception of Messe.) were either against the war from the outset or hopelessly incompetent. Remeber this is the same nation as allowed the bulk of their capital ships to be sunk or badly damaged during an air raid by obsolete Swordfish torpedo bombers at Taranto on December 11th 1940 (An event that inspired Yamamoto to attempt the same thing, with even greater success, against the totally unprepared US fleet at Pearl Harbour a year later.), just days after a small British force had routed the Italian forces in Libya.
As I have said, the individual soldier cannot really be faulted, but his equipment and leadership is not subject to a campaign of "blackening", but, sadly, down to established fact. I very much doubt that the "Carabinieri" guarding Mussolini were any more interested in getting killed defending him after his fall than they were whilst he was in power!

Rich

Regards

Ezboard

Post by Ezboard » 29 Sep 2002 13:22

Gary Komar
Registered User
(8/27/00 9:00:26 pm)
Reply Re: RE: the saga continues
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Elias, I think you are just going to have to satisfy yourself on this one.

By the way, 2194 Days of War by Cesare Salmaggi and Alfredo Pallavisini was originally printed in Italian (1977 - Arnoldo Mondadori Editore S.p.A., Milan). No sources quoted. The English translation didn't come out until 1979.

Similar accounts of the rescue are contained in other books which you might wish to check:
"Duce: The rise and fall of Mussolini" by Richard Collier (Fontana Books, 1972) - no sources quoted.
"Kommando: German Special Forces of World War Two" by James Lucas (Grafton Books, 1986) ISBN 0-586-06853-8 - no sources
and
"Student" by A.H. Farrar-Hockley (Ballantines Illustrated History of the Violent Centure, War Leader Book No. 15 (Ballantine Books, 1973). This author has a Bibliography which includes reference to the book "Commando Supremo" by U. Cavallero (Carpelli 1948).

The book on "Student" has photos, and a map showing Mussolini's movements from the time of his July 25 arrest until his rescue on September 12.

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