Sonderverband z.b.V. Friedenthal

The Sonderverband z.b.V. Friedenthal (in some sources listed as Kommando Skorzeny) was formed from Sonderlehrgang z.b.V. Oranienburg June 1943 and used to form SS-Jäger-Bataillon 502 in April 1944.

In September 1943 some members of the unit, including Otto Skorzeny, take part in the rescue of the Italian leader Benito Mussolini in the Gran Sasso raid (Operation Eiche). It should be noted that despite later attempts to paint it as a Waffen-SS operation it was in fact planned by Oberleutnant Georg Freiherr von Berlepsch and led by Major Otto-Harald Mors, both Luftwaffe paratroopers.

Commanders

SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny (16 June 1943 - 17 Apr 1944)

Sonderverband z.b.V. Friedenthal in 1943
wss-sonderk-friedenthal
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Benito Mussolini and some of the soldiers taking part in the rescue
mussolini-rescue-soldiers
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Some of the Waffen-SS men who took part in the rescue of Mussolini during an event in Berlin 3 October 1943
wss-sonderk-friedenthal-mussolini
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny in 1943
skorzeny-otto-1943
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Sources used

Greg Annussek - Hitler's Raid to Save Mussolini: The Most Infamous Commando Operation of World War II
Antonio J. Munoz - Forgotten Legions: Obscure Combat Formations of the Waffen-SS

Reference material on this unit

Antonio J. Munoz - Forgotten Legions: Obscure Combat Formations of the Waffen-SS

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