Rescuing Mussolini - Gran Sasso 1943
64 page book.
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Howard Gerrard Donato Spedaliere Alan Gilliland
About this book
The successful rescue of imprisoned Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from atop the Gran Sasso plateau was one of the most dramatic special forces operations in military history. Arrested by his own officers in July 1943, Mussolini had been whisked away to an isolated and heavily guarded mountaintop resort, the Hotel Campo Imperatore which could only be reached by a heavily guarded cable car station. The Germans, led by SS Haupsturmfuhrer Otto Skorzeny, launched a daring Glider-borne assault, which surprised the Italian guards and secured Mussolini without a shot being fired. However, when the original escape plan had to be scrapped, the Germans organize a desperate, last minute airborne extraction to escape before the Italians could launch a counter attack.
- Introduction: This section will set the strategic context by addressing the downfall and arrest of Mussolini on 25 July 1943, Germany's tenuous relationship with its erstwhile Italian allies and the political ramifications of the initial Allied landings in mainland Italy
- Origins: A discussion of Italian efforts to remove Mussolini from Rome and conceal him and German efforts to identify his location. I will also address the German rationale why it was important for their war effort to restore Mussolini
- Initial Strategy: This section will go into greater depth on the German intelligence effort to locate Mussolini and the development of the initial plans for his rescue on Sardinia. It will also address the assembling of Skorzeny's assault group and its support units from the Luftwaffe
- Plan: A discussion in detail of the tactical plan for Operation Oak, the glider-borne assault on Gran Sasso, as well as the supporting operations. Skorzeny's forces will be broken down by assault teams, with exact missions for each team specified. Details of all known information on terrain, weather and enemy forces at the objective that was available to the assault force will also be discussed
- Raid: A description of each team's actions in minute-by-minute detail, since the actual duration of the raid was quite short. Actions of subordinates - often over-shadowed in Skorzeny's post-war memoirs - will be detailed as well
- Further Reading
Paperback; April 2010; 64 pages; ISBN: 9781846034626