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The Wagnerian Assignment – Otto Skorzeny Bio

Good Afternoon, I have decided to firstly go with one of the main Characters from the book, Otto Skozeny.

I hope you enjoy.

Born on the 12th June 1908 in Vienna Austria, SS Standartenfuhrer Otto Skorzeny stands six foot four inches in height with broad shoulders and a handsome Germanic demeanour. A large duelling schmiss, received during his Burschenschaft University days in Vienna runs across the left side of his face, from his chin, tipping the left corner of his mouth, across his cheek, almost reaching his ear lobe, only missing it by a mere ten millimetres. His uniform bears a single oak leaf on both collars indicating the rank of Colonel, along with the Iron Cross first and second class and the Knights Cross of the iron cross on his chest. His swift rise to notoriety and the attention of the Allies had come when on the 26th July 1943 Adolf Hitler had given him the task of rescuing his friend and the Italian dictator, Il Duce, the Leader, Benito Mussolini. Codenamed, Unternehmen Eiche, Operation Oak, Mussolini had been overthrown and imprisoned on the orders of the Italian King, Victor Emmanuel III, who had seen the wind of change and had approached the Allies to save himself. This mission was carried out with great finesse on the 12th September 1943 by Skorzeny, the men of Jagdverbande 502, and General Karl Student’s Fallschirmjager, who assaulted the Gran Sasso in Italy, rescuing the Italian dictator with minimal casualties, catapulting the once unknown soldier into worldwide infamy with the help of Josef Goebels’ propaganda machine, which at that time in the war needed a hero desperately. His military career was then catapulted to greater heights when, Unternehmen Panzerfaust, Operation Armoured Fist, was devised and he successfully kidnapped the wayward son of the Hungarian President, Admiral Miklos Horthy, on the 15th October 1944, after he was found to be negotiating the surrender of all Hungarian forces in the east to the Russians. The surrender of the Hungarians would have caused a catastrophic collapse on several of the Russian fronts and would have left the German army vulnerable to encirclement and annihilation. Due to his actions, Hungary carried on fighting to the end of the war, saving the lives of tens of thousands of German soldiers and Airmen. The Russian Premier, Joseph Stalin personally had a bounty placed on his head for his death. In late 1944, Unternehmen Griffin, Operation Grief, was devised as the ultimate task to disrupt the American lines of communications and their ability to fight during the Ardennes offensive.  Known to the Germans as, Unternehmen wacht am Rhein, Operation watch on the Rhine, and to the Allies as, the Ardennes counter offensive, or the battle of the bulge, his English speaking men were hastily trained to infiltrate American lines and cause as much disruption as possible, allowing the German army to push the Americans back, causing panic between the 16th December and 25th January 1945, but after a small set back it was thwarted by overwhelming American forces. Known as Germanys last gamble in the west, their plan although nonsensical, was to separate the British and American armies in order to recapture the Dutch port of Antwerp and disrupt the Allies military expansion into the western European theatre.

Discerning German Generals knew this wouldn’t win the war but had hoped it would bring the Allies to the negotiating table where they could negotiate the cessation of action in the west in order to defeat the Red Army in the east. Skorzeny’s men caused minimal disruption and most were executed after their capture in American uniforms, which is in contravention of the 1907 Hague convention. The biggest disruption caused to the Allies was when word was put about that Skorzeny’s mission was to assassinate high ranking Allied officers, including General Eisenhower, which kept them under maximum security and thus away from their command. The use of German soldiers in American uniforms and the accusation of assassinating the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, would come back to haunt him when the Allies added him to their most wanted list of war criminals.

Check back tomorrow for another Character Bio.

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