Nazi raiders rescue Benito Mussolini 70 years ago this hour (1943)
Video: 'The World At War: Tough Old Gut Italy 2/5' (Sep. 12, 1943, at 0:14)
(Thursday, September 9, 1943, shortly after 2:00 p.m. local time/8:00 a.m. EWT; during the Allied invasion of Italy, part of the Italian Campaign of World War II) – German SS Sturmbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny today led a rescue of Benito Mussolini, the recently-deposed Italian dictator, who had been imprisoned at the Campo Imperiale Hotel, located in the Abruzzi Mountains.
Eight gliders landed silently at the resort during the Gran Sasso raid, bringing a team of German commandos. They were followed by 70 paratroopers, who secured the grounds while Skorzeny’s team overpowered the Italian Army prison guards, who surrendered without a fight.
Twenty minutes after the attack began, a German Fiesler Storch plane departed Gran Sasso with Mussolini and Skorzeny on board.
Video: 'Operation Eiche / Oak The rescue of Benito Mussolini by German force 1943'
Video: 'Blitzkrieg to the Bomb' (Mussolini rescued at 45:53)