Otto Skorzeny

The Devil’s Disciple

Otto Skorzeny cover

Otto Skorzeny

The Devil’s Disciple

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This first book to reassess the myth and the realities of Otto Skorzeny, Hitler's favourite commando.

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.

Table of Contents


1. The Knowledge of Pain
2. Accidental Soldier
3. Thugs in Field Grey
4. The Liberator of Mussolini
5. Special Ops and High-Value Targets
6. Miracle Weapons
7. The Stauffenberg Plot – July 1944
8. The Scherhorn Affair
9. The SS Changes Tack
10. Operation Panzerfaust: Budapest, October 1944
11. Everything on One Card: Operation Greif
12. Operation Greif: Mission and Aftermath
13. Implosion: The Schwedt Bridgehead
14. Skorzeny's Last Stand
15. Trial and Errors
16. Escape from Darmstadt
17. Apocalypse Soon: Preparing for World War III
18. Neo-Nazis and Colonel Nasser: Skorzeny's Wilderness Years
19. The Years of Plenty
20. Ghosts of the Past: Skorzeny's Last Years
Epilogue: Man and Myth

Note on the Waffen-SS

Product details

Published 20 Sep 2018
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 384
ISBN 9781472829450
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Dimensions 234 x 153 mm
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith is a business journalist. He was a Ma…


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