SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny became a legend in his own time. 'Hitler's favourite commando' acquired a reputation as a man of daring, renowned for his audacious 1943 mission to extricate Mussolini from a mountain-top prison. Skorzeny's influence on special operations doctrine was far-reaching and long-lasting – in 2011, when US Navy SEALs infiltrated Pakistan to eliminate Osama Bin Laden, the operational planning was influenced by Skorzeny's legacy. Yet he was also an egoist who stole other men's credit (including for the seminal rescue of Mussolini), brave and resourceful but also an unrepentant Nazi and a self-aggrandizing hogger of the limelight.
Stuart Smith draws on years of in-depth research to uncover the truth about Skorzeny's career and complex personality. From his background as a student radical in Vienna, to his bloody service with the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front, his surprise rebirth as a commando, and his intriguing post-war career and mysterious fortune, this book tells Otto Skorzeny's story in full – warts and all – for the first time.