|Organisational History of Skorzeny’s Commandos|
The organisational history of these combination of units is closely tied to the controversial German Special Forces leader Otto Skorzeny. In January 1943, while fighting with the SS-Division (mot) Reich in the Soviet Union, Skorzeny is hit in the back of the head by shrapnel. His stay in Germany to recover gives him time to develop his unconventional commando warfare ideas. He suggests creating special units, trained in partisan-like fighting and covert tactics, such as fighting in enemy uniform and sabotage attacks. He took a staff role in Berlin while recovering and later applied for a transfer to become the regimental Engineer of the SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Totenkopf during the Waffen SS conversion to armoured divisions in the fall of 1942.
SS-Obersturmbannführer Walter Schellenberg, who is in charge of the SS foreign intelligence service department of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA), meets with Skorzeny after Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the new head of the RSHA, recommends him in April1943. Schellenberg wants Skorzeny to lead the Sonderlehrgang z.b.V. Oranienburg, a school that trains operatives in sabotage, espionage, and paramilitary techniques. But even before he starts his new task a new assignment comes his way. He starts his new job on April 18th, 1943, but is soon ordered to create a new Special Forces unit from the Sonderlehrgang z.b.V. Oranienburg.
|Sonderlehrgang z.b.V. Oranienburg|
Understanding the purpose of Sonderlehrgang z.b.V. Oranienburg requires knowledge of the special unit’s objective. The battalion is specifically created for the implementation of Unternehmen Zeppelin, which aims to gather information on the Soviet Union’s population and economy, to sabotage critical infrastructure, to carry out assassinations, and to incite revolts against the Soviets. This operation is overseen by Amt VI des Reichssicherheitshauptamtes.
The Reichssicherheitshauptamt VI-F (Reich Security Office/Foreign Intelligence/Foreign Intelligence Technical Assistance Department) creates therefor the “SS Sonder Lehrgang Oranienburg,” comprising 70 Non-Commissioned Officers and 30 enlisted men under the command of SS-Hauptsturmscharführer Vessem.
At the beginning of Unternehmen Zeppelin, the SS Sturmbannführer in charge, Dr. Heinz Gräfe, expresses doubts about the operation’s potential effectiveness due to the unreliability of agents found in prisoner of war camps. However, Himmler sees an opportunity to use the situation to increase the importance of the SS and his own influence, given the lack of Wehrmacht capabilities to conduct the operation. By early 1943, the results of the operation are unsatisfactory, and a new approach is needed.
The need for men with radio operation and guerrilla warfare skills leads to the creation of the Sonderverband z.b.V. Friedenthal, with SS Sturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny appointed as its commanding officer. Skorzeny’s technical studies before the war, his position as an engineering officer, and his membership in the SS are the reasons for his appointment, not his military prowess. Otto Skorzeny was an exemplary Nazi soldier who still believed in Germany’s ability to win the war and adhered to National Socialistic ideology. He became a member of the NSDAP in the early 1930’s in the Ostmark, which referred to Austria and Vienna specifically, as much as Munich was the birthplace of national socialism.
While Skorzeny claims to be solely commanded by the Reichsführung SS and RSHA, the personnel synthesis created by the z.b.V. Friedenthal headquarters reveals that members of the unit come from various organisations, including the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, the Waffen-SS, the Wehrmacht, and the SD-controlled Hilfswillige volunteers. The unit’s purpose is to conduct special intelligence operations in parallel with regular military operations, utilising specialised equipment such as long-range radios and special weapons for their agency work.
This organisation initiates various covert operations, including “Einsatz or Unternehmen Franz,” an attempt to incite an insurgency in Iran.
|SS-Sonderverbünde z.b.V. Friedenthal|
Up until 1943, the German Fallschirmjäger are well-known for carrying out special missions, even before Otto Skorzeny becomes a media sensation. Since 1937, they have been trained as a unit in their special skills and have been utilised in various successful operations, including the assault on Eben Emael, the Battle of Rotterdam, the occupation of Narvik, the assault on the Corinth Canal, and the costly airborne invasion of Crete. These Fallschirmjäger units have great cohesion and have trained extensively for years to achieve their successes.
On June 16th, 1943, Skorzeny is appointed as the commander of the newly created Waffen SS Sonderverband z.b.V. Friedenthal. This special unit is comprised of a platoon of men, who were all combat veterans with exceptional skills. In addition, Skorzeny receives a platoon of legal specialists from the Political Intelligence Section, whose role is to assist in gathering surplus equipment and personnel. On August 5th, 1943, the SS-Sonderverbünde z.b.V. Friedenthal is offically formed, although the recruitment efforts already started in June.
The Friedenthal Castle in Sachsenhausen is used to organise the battalion, which is placed under Amt VI of the RSHA, where Skorzeny serves as chief of sub-section VI-S. Friedenthal is a hunting lodge located in a tract of forest and meadowlands near Berlin. As part of his preparation for leading the unit, he requests after-action reports on British Commando attacks that had been carried out since 1940. Upon receiving a vast dossier, Skorzeny thoroughly studies and analyses it to learn from the apparent British mistakes.
One of the key insights that Skorzeny gains from his analysis is that all training should be conducted at night. He realises that small groups can beat larger formations by taking advantage of the cover of darkness. As a result, he trains his men to be proficient with every weapon and piece of equipment they might carry into battle, and to be comfortable with night operations.
Skorzeny also ensures that his men are familiarised with parachutes and trains in the operation and repair of all sizes of transportation vehicles. This comprehensive training program equips the men with the skills and knowledge they need to carry out unconventional commando warfare deep behind enemy lines.
Skorzeny’s unit, now known as SS-Sonderverbünde z.b.V. Friedenthal is designed to operate in small groups behind enemy lines in the Eastern theater of war, gather information, carry out reconnaissance, minor sabotage, and assassinations.
In September 1943, SS-Sonderverbände zbV Friedenthal is involved in the search for the captured Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini. Collaborating with other agencies, they successfully locate him. Otto Skorzeny, driven by his determination, inserts himself and a small team into the rescue operation, codenamed Unternehmen Eiche, which was initially planned and to be carried out by Fallschirmjäger. By chance, his glider lands closest to the hotel, enabling him to be the first to reach Mussolini’s hotel room. Skorzeny manages to secure a place on the evacuation aircraft for Mussolini and presents him to Adolf Hitler a few days later. Cementing his reputation as a skilled commando leader.
In October 1943, 1. Kompanie is sent on Anti partisan operations in Croatia.
In November 1943, Skorzeny is sent to Paris with one company. He is informed of a potential crisis in the Vichy government, fearing that Marshal Petain might collaborate with General de Gaulle and leave Vichy for North Africa, under Allied control. To prevent this, Skorzeny’s unit is ready to act upon the signal “The wolf howls” from Führerhauptquartiere.
They are reinforced with SS rifle and police battalions, strategically placed around Paris and tasked with traffic control, as a cover for their true mission. The plan is that once initiated, the police battalions will create a tight perimeter, preventing anyone from leaving. Three reserve infantry companies are stationed nearby, ready to close roads and possibly encircle government buildings. Skorzeny’s headquarters is in the town center for proximity and understanding.
However, alarms are repeatedly sounded and retracted, causing confusion. Differing opinions among German authorities added to the complexity. Disagreements among officials from the Foreign Office to the Security Service disrupted the operation. Eventually, an order from Führerhauptquartiere on December 2nd, 1944, calls off the preparations.
A few months later in February 1944, 3. Kompanie is established, comprising of Flemish and Dutch personnel. Meanwhile, 1. and 2. Kompanie are deployed to Kurmark for a six-week tour of duty on the Eastern Front.
On April 17th, 1944, the SS-Sonderverbande z.b.V. Friedenthal underwent a transformation and was reorganised into the SS-Jäger-Bataillon 502.
In May 1944 ihe unit is assigned to Unternehmen Rösselsprung, which later becomes known as the Raid on Drvar. This operation was a commando mission aimed at capturing Marshal Josip Broz Tito, the Yugoslav commander-in-chief. Tito had recently been acknowledged by the Allies as the Yugoslav prime minister and led the Yugoslav Partisan resistance army from his headquarters near the Bosnian town of Drvar. This area was strategically significant as it was at the heart of the Partisan-held territory. SS-Jäger-Bataillon 502 is involved in locating Tito but Skorzeny
In July 1944, a conspiracy of German Army officers attempted to assassinate Hitler, but the plot failed. This event left Hitler deeply shaken, causing him to lose faith and trust in the German Army. He subsequently took complete control of Germany’s strategic and tactical military decisions, leading to disastrous outcomes. Additionally, he ordered a relentless pursuit of conspirators by the Gestapo, resulting in the deaths of thousands.
By August 1944, the unit was put on high alert south of Berlin due to the aftermath of the bomb plot and its implications.
After the successful operation of kidnapping Miklós Horthy Jr., the son of Hungary’s Regent, Admiral Miklós Horthy, Skorzeny becomes one of Hitler’s favorites. Hitler summons Skorzeny to meet him at his headquarters at Rastenburg in East Prussia on October 22nd, 1944, to discuss the upcoming Ardennes Offensive and Skorzeny’s role in it. Following his congratulations to Skorzeny, Hitler provides him with details of the upcoming Ardennes Offensive and the specific role he wants him to play in it. Hitler mentions that the Americans used captured German tanks with German markings during the Battle of Aachen and requests that Skorzeny establish a comparable unit.
Hitler asks Skorzeny to create a special brigade, with the goal of capturing one or more of the bridges over the Meuse River before they can be destroyed.
Skorzeny expresses his concern about the task assigned to him, stating that if he is to do this in the given time, he would have to give up all his other work. Hitler agrees to this and promises to send some of the best officers to assist Skorzeny. Hitler suggests that Skorzeny and his men wear U.S. uniforms, as he believes it would be a quicker and less costly way to achieve their objectives.
However, Skorzeny knows that under the Hague Convention of 1907, any of his men captured while wearing U.S. uniforms could be executed as spies, which caused concern and discussion with Generaloberst Jodl and Field Marshal von Rundstedt.
During the same period as Unternehmen Greif, in October 1944, the SS-Jagdverbanden are formed. Parts of the SS-Jäger-Bataillon 502 are incorporated into the new group. Recruitment efforts expand throughout the entire Wehrmacht, and Skorzeny is given permission to enlist up to 5,000 men.
On September 8th, 1944, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht orders the Division Brandenburg to be reorganised as the Panzergrenadier-Division Brandenburg.
They also order soldiers from the Division Brandenburg, who trained and experienced in special warfare to be transferred to the SS-Jagdverbände of the Waffen-SS. A total of about 900 officers, non-commissioned officers and lower ranks are to form the nucleus of these new special forces.
Skorzeny is promoted to commanding officer of the Waffen-SS Jagdverbände. A total of five SS-Jagdverbände are raised from several existing units.
From the moment of its formation, in November 1944, SS-Fallschirmjäger-Bataillon 600 is also incorporated into Otto Skorzeny’s SS-Jagdverbände commando organization. Despite its relatively independent operations within the framework of SS-Jagdverbände, the unit bore the official designation of “Die SS-Jagdverbände SS-Fallschirmjäger-Bataillon 600.” This integration allows the battalion to carry out specialised and unconventional tasks under the commando structure while maintaining its connection to the broader SS-Jagdverbände organisation.
By the end of October 1994 another unit is added to the SS-Jagdverbände. From the remnants of SS-Fallschirmjäger-Bataillon 500, a new SS Fallschirmjäger Bataillon is formed formally known as “Die SS-Jagdverbände SS-Fallschirmjäger-Batallion 600.”
On November 10th, 1944, SS-Jäger-Bataillon 502 is renamed as the SS-Jagdverband Mitte.
The SS-Jagdverband Nordwest is formed from the SS-Jäger-Bataillon Nordwest which is based on the Brandenburg unit Streifkorps Nordfrankreich.
The SS-Jagdverband Ost is formed from SS-Jäger-Bataillon Ost which is based on the Brandenburg unit Streifkorps Einsatzgruppe Baltikum.
The SS-Jagdverband Südost is formed from the Brandenburg unit Streifkorps Karpaten, Jagdkommando Donau, a subunit of SS-Jagdeinsatz Ungarn is made up of Waffen-SS and Kriegsmarine personnel, like the Kampfschwimmergruppe.
The last unit, SS-Jagdverband Südwest is formed from the Brandenburg unit Streifkorps Südfrankreich.
By the end of 1944, SS-Jagdverband Mitte reaches its full strength, with the other Waffen-SS Jagdverbände reaching about 70% of their capacity. The only thing lacking is an adequate number of weapons and equipment.
|Panzer-Brigade 150, 150. SS-Panzer-Brigade|
While the Waffen-SS Jagdverbände are forming, Skorzeny is ordered to visit Hitler at his Headquarters at Rastenburg. On October 22nd, 1944, he attends a meeting where Hitler congratulates him with his actions in Hungary and promotes him to SS-Obersturmbannführer. After these formalities Hitler informs Skorzeny about the new operations he wants Skorzeny to be a part of. He was to organise and lead a Panzer brigade that had to capture the three bridges over the river Meuse before they could be destroyed. Hitler suggested to use German soldiers in Allied uniforms and vehicles to reach the objective. Three days later Skorzeny sends his plan for Panzer-Brigade 150 to General Jodl, the Chief of Staffs of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. His plan is immediately approved and that very same day an order is issued for suitable men to almost every headquarters on the Western front. Skorzeny had asked for a three-battalion brigade with English speaking men and Allied equipment.
Equipment and English-speaking men turn out to be a big problem so by the end of November Skorzeny decides to downsize his brigade.
Confronted with the realities of the situation, Skorzeny is forced to scale down his plans for Panzer-Brigade 150. Instead of three battalions, he decides to form a commando unit called “Einheit Stielau” comprising the best 150 English-speaking volunteers. However, despite their ability to speak English, none of them has prior experience in undercover operations or sabotage. Skorzeny acknowledges the limited time available to train them adequately for their tasks. Nevertheless, they are well aware of the dangers involved, as being captured while fighting in enemy uniform can result in execution as a spy. Their unwavering patriotism motivates them to undertake these perilous missions.
The volunteers undergo courses in demolition and radio techniques. They study the structure of the US Army, familiarise themselves with American rank insignia and drills, and some are even sent to prisoner-of-war camps to interact with American prisoners and refresh their English skills.
Equipped with American uniforms, weapons, and jeeps, the commandos are assigned to three distinct missions. Pionierkommando teams, composed of five to six individuals, are tasked with destroying bridges, ammunition depots, and fuel stores. Funkkommando teams, consisting of three to four members, conduct deep reconnaissance on both sides of the Meuse River. They report their observations via radio and also disseminate counterfeit orders to any encountered units. These patrols engage in activities such as altering road signs, removing minefield warnings, and marking non-existent mines with white tape. The Aufklärungskommando teams, comprising three to four individuals, work closely with the attacking divisions. Their primary objective is to disrupt the American chain of command by cutting telephone wires, disabling radio stations, and issuing false orders.
Skorzeny enlists the assistance of his own specialist units, including a company from SS-Jagdverbande Mitte and two companies from SS-FallschirmJäger-Batallion 600. Recognising the impossibility of quickly assembling an efficient force solely composed of volunteers from different branches of the Wehrmacht, he requests and is granted regular units to reinforce the brigade. These units are temporarily attached to the SS-Jagdverbande for the duration of the mission. The brigade receives two Luftwaffe parachute battalions previously affiliated with Kampfgeschwader 200 (known as Sonderverbande Jungwirth at that time) and 7. Panzergrenadier-Kompanie. Tank crews are provided by 4. Kompanie of Panzer-Regiment 11 (6. Panzer-Division), Panzerjäger crews from 1. Kompanie of schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 655, and reconnaissance armoured car crews from 1. Kompanie of Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 110 (90. Panzergrenadier-Division) and 1. Kompanie of Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 12 (2. Panzer-Division). Gunners are sourced from Artillerie-Abteilung 1/40, and their weapons are provided by the artillery units of the Führer-Grenadier-Brigade.
The brigade staff is composed of members from Panzerbrigade 108, while the battalion staff consists of experienced individuals from Panzer-Brigade 10 and Panzer-Brigade 113. In total, approximately 2,400 men are assembled at Grafenwöhr, which is around eight hundred fewer than anticipated. Of this number, roughly five hundred are from the Waffen-SS, around eight hundred from the Luftwaffe, and the remainder from the Heer.
Unfortunately, the amount of equipment received at Grafenwöhr falls short of expectations. Skorzeny later explains that they only had four American scout cars, about 30 Jeeps, and approximately fifteen genuine American trucks. To compensate for the shortfall, they decide to rely on German vehicles, all of which are painted green to resemble American military vehicles. The situation with weapons is even more dire, as there are only enough American weapons to equip the commando company.
As a result, Skorzeny once again adjusts his plans, and the brigade transforms into a three-Kampfgruppe unit. Each Kampfgruppe is led by a frontline commander temporarily assigned to Unternehmen Greif. Kampfgruppe X is under the command of SS-Obersturmbannführer Willi Hardieck, Kampfgruppe Y is led by Hauptmann Scherff, and Kampfgruppe Z is under the command of Oberstleutnant Wolf. Each Kampfgruppe has a similar basic organisation, including a small staff, three infantry companies, two Panzergrenadier and two anti-tank platoons, two heavy mortar platoons, an engineer platoon, a signals platoon, and a vehicle repair unit. Additionally, Kampfgruppe X and Y each have a Panzer company. Kampfgruppe X is equipped with five Panthers manned by crews provided by the Panzer-Regiment 11, while Kampfgruppe Y has five Sturmgeschütz III crewed by men from schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 655.
To resemble the appearance of American tank destroyers, the turrets and hulls of the Panthers are adjusted and camouflaged. To make them look like M-10 tank destroyers and the Sturmgeschütz resemble their Allied counterparts, Skorzeny’s men add thin sheet metal, including a distinctive rear turret overhang, and remove the cupolas. They also apply the American five-pointed stars to every vehicle under Skorzeny’s command.
Despite the huge amount of effort put in raising and equipping Panzer-Brigade 150 the unit is not able to reach their objectives. The alternative objective of occupying Malmedy also fails. Einheit Stielau does book some successes but suffers heavy losses with seventeen men being executed after being captured in American uniforms.
After their withdrawal from the Ardennes Region on December 28th, 1944, Panzer-Brigade 150 and Einheit Stielau relocate to Schlierbach, situated east of Saint-Vith. From there, they embark on a train journey to Grafenwöhr, where the disbandment of the brigade takes place as scheduled. From here most troops return to their respective units as per the plan. According to Oberkommando West, this process is finalised by January 23rd, 1945.
On December 31st, 1944, Skorzeny presents himself to Hitler to provide a report. Hitler instructs Skorzeny to have his head injuries immediately examined by Dr. Stumpfecker, his personal physician. Dr. Stumpfecker is taken aback by the severity of the injury but manages to replicate the makeshift treatment that had been administered in the field, ultimately saving Skorzeny’s eye. Skorzeny then returns to Hitler and is astonished to find that Hitler dismissed the setback of the Ardennes Offensive and is already discussing a new offensive in the southeast, with the possibility of resuming the Ardennes Offensive.
Skorzeny can’t help but notices Hitler’s confused speech and suspects that Hitler’s behavior is influenced by certain medications.
However, in July 1944, when the German Army Group Centre suffers a devastating blow, a substantial number of German soldiers find themselves trapped behind Soviet lines, confined in what become known as roving pockets.
In an attempt to establish communication with these desperate men, radio contact was established with several of these groups. Consequently, SS-Jagdverband Ost receives orders to mobilise detachments and conduct parachute operations deep within Soviet territory. The mission of the operation known as Unternehmen Brauner Bär is an attempt to establish operational links between the many small groups of German forces which had been isolated in the area to the north-west of Minsk behind the Soviet front line on the one hand and the leadership, under Stepan Andreivich Bandera, of Ukrainian anti-Soviet guerrilla forces in the area on the other hand with a view to locating and attacking the lines of communication supporting Soviet front-line formations. Kampfgeschwader 200, a specialised Luftwaffe unit, undertakes the perilous task of flying behind enemy lines, dropping the SS teams to carry out these dangerous assignments.
Regrettably, almost all of the dispatched groups, with the exception of one, are swiftly surrounded by the advancing Soviet Army and annihilated. However, the surviving group manages to join forces with a larger pocket and devises an air bridge to transport essential supplies. Although they evade capture for several months, they eventually meet the same fate as their comrades, succumbing to the overwhelming Soviet forces arrayed against them.
The rest of the SS-Jagdverband Ost later fights the Soviet Army at Hohensalza, Poland where it is almost completely destroyed.
It reforms and fights at Neustrelitz and at Sachsenhausen in Germany. One company is attached to Heeresgruppe Mitte and fights in Silesia and Czechoslovakia before being wiped out in May 1945.
In early January 1945, as Skorzeny returns to Friedenthal, after Unternehmen Greif and contemplates his next assignment. He is aware that the era of special operations and small-scale missions is over, as Germany stands on the verge of being overrun by the Allies in the west and the Soviets in the east. His SS-Jagdverbände are used to fill in the gaps in the continuously changing frontlines.
By the end of January 1945, Skorzeny himself is ordered by Heinrich Himmler to organise the Schwedt bridgehead. He takes with him SS-Jagdverband Nordwest, SS-Jagdverbande Mitte and the SS-Fallschirmjäger-Batallion 600. With the help of other units, they organise a defensive line to stop the Soviet advance. Despite their efforts they are forced to retreat from the bridgehead in the beginning of March.
On the last day of February 1945, Skorzeny receives a message that he must transfer command within 48 hours as he had a different assignment awaiting him. Skorzeny calls General Jodl in an attempt to remain with his troops, but he is told his expertise is needed somewhere else. Skorzeny tries to bring his Special Forces with him, but he is denied doing so.
In March 1945 SS-Jagdverband Nordwest is withdrawn from the from the front for some rest and refitting. However, with the start of the Soviet offensive in April 1945 they continue the fight and are most likely completely destroyed.
In early April 1945, the remains of Jagdverbände Mitte and Nordwest are redeployed to Austria to participate in the Alpine Redoubt campaign and ultimately ends the war in Linz. In early April 45 Mitte survivors are send to Austria (some 250 men).
The other two SS-Jagdverbände are temporarily out of reach of Skorzeny.
SS-Jagdverband Südwest moves towards the French-Italian border. Here it fights the Italian Partisans until January 1945. After which it launches long-range patrols behind the lines of the U.S. 7th Army. It withdraws towards Austria and plans to join the other Jagdverbände in Linz. It is unknown if it succeeds in reaching the area.
Of SS-Jagdverband Südost, SS-Jagdeinsatz Donau is used in a failed attempt to float several barges of supplies through soviet held territory to the encircled German troops in Budapest, Hungary. The 70-man strong Einsatzgruppe Rumänien of the unit is parachuted into Romania. When the Soviets attack the German forces in Romania in August 1944, the men from SS-Jagdverband Südost are caught enroute and destroyed. Seven Kampfschwimmer from SS-Jagdeinsatz Donau try to destroy the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen on March 17th, 1945. They fail to do so.
An additional 175 men of SS-Jagdverband Südost are stationed in Stockerau and Hollabrunn, Austria. This group fights in Zagreb, Yogoslavia area and perform a fighting withdrawal through Austria. At the end of the war the remains of the unit are transferred to Linz, Austria where they join the remains of the SS-Jagdverbände. Here they surrender to the American Army in May 1945.
After learning that Vienna, his birthplace and where he owns a business, is likely to fall into Russian hands soon, he hastens in that direction. Along the way, he witnesses only wounded and demoralised German troops retreating westward, which further enrages him. Skorzeny seeks his mother’s house, but she has left two days earlier, along with his brother. His old business is still operating, but it is only a matter of time before Vienna will be completely lost. The former leader of the Hitler Youth, Baldur von Schirach, has taken charge of defending Vienna and does not believe Skorzeny’s report of the inevitable fall of Vienna. Von Schirach swears to Skorzeny that he will die if necessary, in the defence of Vienna. However, von Schirach does not hold his promise and survives the Battle of Vienna.
On April 11th, 1945, Skorzeny left Vienna, with shells landing behind him in the Austrian capital.
In the final months of the war, Skorzeny is frequently approached by Nazi officials and other high-ranking Germans to secure their assets in a safe place, providing them with a “starting capital” after the war.
He also has the task of establishing the so-called “Alpine Fortress” around Berchtesgaden, which involved underground resistance after Germany’s surrender.
While Skorzeny was busy organizing the defense of the “Alpine Fortress,” his old comrade Karl Radl and 250 Friedenthal men suddenly arrived to join him, and together they headed towards the so-called “Alpine Fortress.”
However, on May 16, 1945, it all came to an end for Skorzeny when he surrendered to the Americans.