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Of the hundreds of epic escape stories that occurred during World War II, it is the banalest like The Great Escape that is turned into movies. It appears that only two positives about German escapes, As Far as my Feet will Carry me and The One That Got Away (there were many) were made into movies.
Incidentally, both great escape stories can be read without the Hollywood makeover in Mike Walsh’s popular book, Heroes of the Reich which features 33 great World War II stories free of victors’ spin.
Another great World War Two incident was that of the amazing rescue of Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) by German Commandos that took place on September 12 1944.
Benito Mussolini, who had led Italy for 21 years from 1922 to 1943, fell victim to an allied coup. Italy’s popular head of state was placed under house arrest in various secret Italian locations.
The German Chancellor’s fear was that the allied-backed stooge, Italian Marshall Pietro Badoglio, would make peace with the allies. His doing so would likely result in his permitting the Allied armies permission to invade Germany’s back door via Italy.
The vengeful Winston Churchill was now gloating over Germany’s impending misfortune. The unelected American citizen warlord prime minister had certainly changed his tune.
On 11 November 1938 Winston Churchill bellowed: ‘Of Italian Fascism, Italy has shown that there is a way of fighting the subversive forces which can rally the masses of the people, properly led, to value and wish to defend the honour and stability of civilized society. Hereafter no great nation will be unprovided with an ultimate means of protection against the cancerous growth of Bolshevism.’
In 1933 the Financial Times published a special eight-page supplement under the caption: ‘The Renaissance of Italy: Fascism’s Gift of Order and Progress.’
In the summer of 1944, the Italian leader was held captive in an impregnable mountaintop hideaway. To turn the tables on the allies the German Leader chose the battle-hardened SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny (1908-1975) to carry out one of the most daring escapes in wartime history. German intelligence tracked down the Italian leader’s location to his latest place of incarceration; a ski resort on the high peak of Gran Sasso in the Apennine Mountains. Mussolini’s gaolers had chosen it wisely as the location was virtually unassailable. The only access to his place of incarceration was via a cable car.
The high-ranking German officer carefully planned his intended raid. Aerial reconnaissance by then had identified a small grassy meadow set a few metres away from the mountaintop hotel. This might conceivably offer landing opportunities for the most expertly piloted gliders.
The carefully selected elite assault force was made up of a mix of carefully selected Waffen-SS commandos and Fallschirmjager (paratroopers). As the rescue attempt got underway the springing of Mussolini was led by a dozen light assault gliders soaring high above the Apennine Mountains snowy peaks. The rest of the paratroopers’ battalion went by road to capture the Aquila airfield in the valley far below the soaring mountain redoubt.
As the escape attempt unfolded eight of the rescuing gliders slithered to a stop on the small mountaintop plateau. Before the land-borne paratroopers arrived, the startled troops guarding the Italian leader were bloodlessly overpowered.
Within minutes of their arrival, the Italian leader was spirited away. The Fiesler Storch reconnaissance aircraft was piloted by SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny. Prime Minister Benito Mussolini was restored to his legitimate position as head of state. SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny was personally awarded the Knights Cross by the German Chancellor. Such was the valour shown that the epic then and now earned international respect and acclaim. STORY SOURCE: Heroes of the Reich, Mike Walsh.
Mike Walsh, author of Witness of History, All Lies Invasion I (Paperback / Ebook), All Lies Invasion II (Paperback / Ebook), Reich and Wrong, Heroes Hang When Traitors Triumph, Heroes of the Reich, Megacaust, Odyssey Adolf Hitler, Trotsky’s White Negroes, Sculptures of the Third Reich: Arno Breker and Reich Sculptors Volume I, Sculptures of the Third Reich: Josef Thorak and Reich Sculptors Volume II, Sculptures of the Third Reich: Porcelain and Reich Sculptors Volume III, Art of Adolf Hitler, The Red Brigands, Ransacking the Reich, The Holy Book of Adolf Hitler, Rise of the Sun Wheel, and many other books. CLICK the book titles that interest you to gain access.
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