LW066 Mussolini’s Rescue Set
This great-looking four-man set portrays a forlorn-looking Mussolini just a few minutes after his rescue, walking with his hands dug deep into the pockets of his long, black overcoat. On his head a black ‘Fedora’ hat pulled well down a far cry from the proud and strutting, uniformed leader of just a few years before. By the dictator’s side is the tall, confident figure of Hauptsturmfuhrer Otto Skorzeny, Himmler’s chosen man to accompany the Luftwaffe Fallschirmjagers on this dangerous mission. Skorzeny, although a Waffen SS officer, is wearing the tropical uniform of a Paratroop Officer. The reason for this is that it was felt that German Luftwaffe airmen would be more ‘acceptable’ to Mussolini’s captors than SS men!
Flanking both men are TWO actual Fallschirmjagers, one officer and one enlisted man. It’s interesting to note that while the officer carries the well-known Schmeisser MP40 machine pistol, his junior carries the revolutionary FG-42 Assault Rifle. This weapon, built in small numbers, was very advanced for its time but too costly and utilized too many precious metals to be manufactured in great quantities.
Both of the Fallschirmjagers are wearing the ‘Tropical’ versions of their camouflage smocks and the light Khaki, loose-fitting trousers.
This set also comes in its own Labeled box.
The successful and daring rescue of deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from the top of the Gran Sasso plateau must go down as one of the most dramatic special forces operations in military history. Arrested by his own senior officers in July 1943, the former ‘Il Duce’ had been imprisoned in an isolated and well-guarded mountain-top resort in the heart of Italy called Hotel Campo Imperator. Access to this Hotel could only be by a heavily-guarded cable-car station, or so the Italian captors thought.
An infuriated Adolf Hitler demanded that his old friend and ally be rescued and gave the task to his Paratroop Commander, General der Fallschirmjager Kurt Student to organize. This, Student did immediately and brilliantly selecting some of his best paratroopers and officers. For political reasons, an SS detachment, under the command of Haupsturmfuhrer Otto Skorzeny had to be involved, much to the dismay of both Student and his men. On 12 September 1943, Student’s Fallschirmjagers plus Skorzeny and his small group of Waffen SS mounted their daring glider-borne assault on the Hotel and its most famous imprisoned occupant.