The Bold and sharp: the most outstanding saboteurs WWII

In the history of the twentieth century there were many specialists in sabotage. This is a story about the most famous spies, by the most daring operations during the Second World War.

The Bold and sharp: the most outstanding saboteurs WWII

Otto Skorzeny

The Bold and sharp: the most outstanding saboteurs WWII

In the beginning of July 1975 in Spain has died Otto Skorzeny, thanks to his memoirs and popularity in the media turned into a "king subversives" during his lifetime. Although such a resounding title, given its poor track record does not look quite fair, charisma Skorzeny - almost two-meter stern man with a strong chin and a brutal scar on his cheek - to charm the press, which created the image of a daring saboteur.

Skorzeny life is constantly accompanied by legends and hoaxes, some of which he created for himself. Until the mid-30s, he was an ordinary and unremarkable engineer in Vienna, in 1934 he joined the SS, and then began to appear and myths. Several sources claimed that Skorzeny allegedly shot the Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss, but now it is believed that the murder of the Chancellor during the attempted putsch committed another representative of the SS. After the Anschluss of its Chancellor Schuschnigg he was arrested by the Germans, but there definitely confirm participation Skorzeny in his arrest impossible. Anyway Schuschnigg himself later said that he knew nothing about the participation of Skorzeny in his arrest and he does not remember.

After the Second World War proved Skorzeny sapper in the existing armies. Information about his frontline experience quite controversial and it is known only that in the fighting, he participated briefly: on the eastern front, he spent only a few months, and in December 1941 he was sent home for treatment of inflamed gallbladder. More Skorzeny in the fighting did not participate.

In 1943, as an officer with an engineering degree, he was sent to the camp "Oranienburg", where preparations were a small group of saboteurs. At its base was later formed Jaeger Battalion SS 502, which commanded and Skorzeny. It was Skorzeny was entrusted with the leadership of the operation, which has glorified it. He appointed him head of Hitler himself. However, the choice he was small: in the Wehrmacht was virtually no commando units as the officers, mostly brought up on the old Prussian tradition, with contempt for such "gangster" methods of warfare.

The essence of the operation is as follows: after the Allied landings in southern Italy and the defeat of Italian troops at Stalingrad, Mussolini was removed from power by the Italian king and kept under arrest in the mountain hotel. Hitler was interested in maintaining control of the industrialized north of Italy and Mussolini decided to steal, to appoint him head of the puppet republic.

Skorzeny demanded a company of paratroopers and decided to land at the hotel in heavy gliders take Mussolini and fly. As a result, the operation turned ambivalent: on the one hand, its goal has been achieved, and Mussolini was able to take away with the other hand, when it lands there have been several accidents and 40% of the personnel of the company died, despite the fact that the Italians offered no resistance.

Nevertheless, Hitler was pleased with this point fully trusted Skorzeny, although almost all his subsequent operations failed. Daring idea of ​​the destruction of the leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition of Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill at the talks in Tehran has failed. Soviet and British intelligence even on the distant approaches defused German agents.

It was not successful and the operation "Grief", during which disguised in the form of American German agents were to capture the Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces Eisenhower. For this purpose, all over Germany looking for soldiers who speak American English dialect. They were trained in a special camp where American prisoners told them about the characteristics and habits of the soldiers. However, due to the tight deadlines saboteurs failed to properly prepare, the commander of the first group on the first day of the operation was blown up by a mine, and the second group was taken prisoner with all the documents on the operation, after which Americans learned about it. The second successful operation - "Panzerfaust". The leader of the Hungarian Horthy on the background of failures in the war determined to sign a truce, so the Germans decided to kidnap his son, that he renounced the post and Hungary continued to war with the new government. Nothing specifically to sabotage the operation was not, Skorzeny lured Horthy's son to the meeting allegedly with Yugoslavia, where he was captured, rolled up in a carpet and uvezon. After that, Skorzeny simply came to the residence of Horthy with a detachment of soldiers and forced him to abdicate.

After the war he settled in Spain, gave interviews, wrote memoirs, he worked on the image of the "King of saboteurs." According to some reports, he has collaborated with the Mossad and advised President Peron of Argentina. He died in 1975 from cancer.

Adrian von Felkerzam

The Bold and sharp: the most outstanding saboteurs WWII

German saboteur number 2, remaining in the shadows Skorzeny largely due to the fact that did not survive the war and did not get the same PR. Company commander, 800 th Regiment Brandenburg special - unique Sabotage Special Forces. Although the division operated in close connection with the Wehrmacht, the German officers (especially trained in the old Prussian tradition) with contempt for the specifics of the regiment activity that violates all conceivable canons of war (dressing up in someone else's form, waiver of any moral restraint in the conduct of war ), so he was assigned to the Abwehr.

Soldiers of the regiment passed special training, making it an elite unit: martial arts, camouflage techniques, Explosives, the tactics of sabotage, foreign language learning, improvement of fight in small groups, and so on..

Felkerzam hit the Russian group as a German. He was born in St. Petersburg and was a descendant of the famous family: his grandfather was a general during the reign of Nicholas I, the grandfather - Rear Admiral, who died on the ship right in the way to the Battle of Tsushima, his father - a prominent art historian and keeper of the Hermitage gallery of jewelry. After the Bolsheviks came to power Felkerzama family had to flee the country, and he grew up in Riga, where as the Ostsee (Baltic) Germans emigrated to Germany in 1940, when Latvia was annexed by the Soviet Union. Felkerzam Baltic commanded a company of Brandenburg-800, which were collected by Baltic Germans, well spoken in Russian, making them valuable for sabotage operations on the territory of the USSR.

With the direct participation Felkerzama number of successful operations were carried out. As a rule, these were seizures bridges and strategically important points in the city. Saboteurs, dressed in Soviet uniform, quietly passing on bridges or out of town into the city and captured key points, Soviet soldiers, or were unable to resist and were taken prisoner or killed in the crossfire. Similarly, they were seized bridges over the Dvina and Berezina, as well as station and power plant in Lviv. The most famous was a diversion Maikop in 1942. Felkerzama soldiers, disguised in the form of the NKVD, arrived in the city, found out the location of all the points of defense, seized staff communication and completely disorganized the entire defense, sending the city orders the immediate withdrawal of the garrison in connection with the imminent surroundings. By the time the Soviets figured out what was going on, the city has already tightened the main forces of the Wehrmacht and they took him with virtually no resistance.

Successful sabotage Felkerzama attracted attention Skorzeny, who took him in and made a little right hand. Felkerzam participated in some of its operations, in particular, the displacement of the Horthy and try to capture Eisenhower. As for Brandenburg, in 1943, the regiment was expanded to division and due to the increasing number of actually lost elite status and was used as a conventional fighting force.

Did not live up to the end of the war, he was killed in January 1945 in Poland.

Yunio Valerio Borghese (Black Prince)

The Bold and sharp: the most outstanding saboteurs WWII

Coming from a famous Italian aristocratic family, in which there were popes, cardinals, and famous manufacturers, and one of his ancestors was a relative of Napoleon after his marriage to his sister. Yunio Borghese himself was married to a Russian countess Olsuf'ev, is a distant relative of the Emperor Alexander I.

Captain of the 2nd rank of the Italian Navy. In his personal insistence of a special commando unit of "people-torpedo" was organized to obey his 10th Flotilla. In addition to them in the flotilla were special midget submarines to deliver these torpedo boats and stuffed with explosives.

Chelovekoupravlyaemye torpedoes, called "Mayale" were developed by the Italians in the late 30s. Each torpedo was equipped with an electric motor, respiratory devices for the team, the warhead of 200 to 300 kilograms and operates two of the crew members, who were sitting on top of it.

Torpedo delivered to the site of a special sabotage submarine then immersed under water, moving to the vehicle-sacrifice. The warhead was equipped with a ticking time up to five hours, which allowed swimmers to leave the scene of the explosion.

However, due to imperfections in the torpedo technique often fails, also broke breathing apparatus that made early sailors to stop the job. Nevertheless, after the first failure of the Italians succeeded. The most famous operation was the raid in Alexandria in December 1941, housed the British Navy base. Despite the British precautions Italian saboteurs managed to trigger the torpedoes, leaving the powerful British battleships "Valiant" and "Queen Elizabeth" received severe injuries and were sent to repair. In fact, by flooding them saved only by the fact that they were in the parking lot at a shallow depth. I was also badly damaged one destroyer sunk and a tanker truck. It was a very serious blow, after which the Italian navy for a while gained the advantage on the Mediterranean theater of operations through quantitative transferable battleships. The British were in a quandary, lost supremacy at sea, and it allowed the Italians and Germans actively supply the troops in North Africa, where they have been successful. During the raid on Alexandria frogmen and Prince Borghese had been awarded the highest Italian award - a gold medal "For Valor".

After the release of Italy from the war Borghese has supported pro-German puppet Republic of Salò, but he almost did not take part in hostilities, as the fleet was in the hands of Italy.

After the war: Borghese was convicted of collaboration with the Germans (for activities in the Republic of Salo, where Italy has already emerged from the war) and sentenced to 12 years in prison, but given his exploits in the war years, the term was reduced to three years. After the release of the ultra-right politicians sympathetic, she wrote a memoir. In 1970 he was forced to leave Italy because of the suspicion of involvement in the coup attempt. He died in Spain in 1974.

Paul Sudoplatov

The Bold and sharp: the most outstanding saboteurs WWII

The main Soviet spy. Specialized not only in diversions, but also in operations to eliminate unwanted Stalin politicians (eg, Trotsky). Immediately after the outbreak of war in the Soviet Union was to create a special group of the NKVD, who oversaw the guerrilla movement and guide them. He headed the 4th department of the NKVD, specialized directly on sabotage in the rear of the Germans and the occupied territories. Sudoplatov directly himself in those years have not participated in the operations, limiting the overall supervision and development.

Sabotage units were thrown in the German rear, where, if there was an opportunity, combined into larger guerrilla units. Since the work was extremely dangerous, much attention was paid to the preparation of subversive: as a rule, in such groups recruited people who had good athletic training. For example, in one of the sabotage and reconnaissance groups served as a champion of the USSR on boxing Nikolay Korolev. Unlike conventional guerrillas these DRG (subversive reconnaissance groups) guided human NKVD officers. The most famous of these was the DRG group "winners" under the leadership of the NKVD officer Dmitry Medvedev, who in turn responded Sudoplatov.

Several groups of well-trained saboteurs (many of whom were caught in a prison in the late 30's or dismissed in the same period, the KGB, amnestied with the beginning of the war) on parachutes were dropped in the German rear, combined in one unit, which was engaged in the killings of senior German officers as well as acts of sabotage: the undermining of railways and trains, destruction of telephone cables, etc. In this detachment conducted a few months the famous Soviet agent Nikolai Kuznetsov...

After the war continued to lead the commando branch (now specialized in foreign sabotage). After the fall of Beria, Lieutenant General Sudoplatov was arrested as his close ally. Trying to simulate madness, but was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of Stalin's opponents, as well as deprived of all honors and titles. He served his sentence in Vladimir Central. After his release, he wrote his memoirs and books about the Soviet intelligence, he tried to get his rehabilitation. It was rehabilitated after the Soviet collapse in 1992. He died in 1996.

Elijah Starinov

The Bold and sharp: the most outstanding saboteurs WWII

The most famous Soviet spy who worked "in the field". If Sudoplatov only led sabotage, then Starinov directly carried out sabotage, specializing in the explosive case. Even before the war Starinov was preparing saboteurs and he "trained" abroad, through a series of sabotage operations during the Spanish Civil War, where he was preparing saboteurs among Republicans. Designed specifically protivopoezdnuyu mine who are actively applied in the USSR during the war. When the war was preparing Starinov Soviet partisans, teaching them the explosives. He was one of the leaders of Staff of sabotage in the Central Headquarters of the partisan movement. Directly carried out an operation to destroy General von Braun Kharkov commandant. During the retreat of the Soviet troops was buried near explosives better city mansion, and to ward off suspicions of German sappers, next to the building in a prominent location lies snag, which the Germans successfully cleared. After a few days of explosives was powered remotely using the radio. It was one of the few in those years of successful applications of radio-controlled mines, as the technology has not yet been sufficiently robust and mature.

After the war was engaged in mine railways. Upon his retirement, he taught tactics of sabotage in the KGB schools before the end of the 80s. After that, he retired and died in 2000.

Colin Gubbins

The Bold and sharp: the most outstanding saboteurs WWII

Before the war Gubbins studied the tactics of guerrilla warfare and sabotage. Later he headed the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), which was probably the most global factory of terror, sabotage and subversion in human history. Organization sowed chaos and sabotaging almost all the occupied territories of the Germans. The organization trains personnel for the Resistance fighters in all European countries: Polish, Greek, Yugoslav, Italian, French, Albanian guerrillas received weapons, medicine, food and prepared by SOE agents.

The most famous SOE sabotage became a huge explosion of the bridge over the river Gorgopotamos in Greece, which for several months was interrupted communication between Athens and Thessaloniki, which contributed to the deterioration of the supply of the Afrika Korps of Rommel in North Africa, and the destruction of the heavy water plant in Norway. The first attempts to destroy the heavy water plant, potentially suitable for use in nuclear power, have not been successful. Only in 1943, prepared by the SOE saboteurs managed to destroy the factory, and thereby practically rip the German nuclear program. Another famous SOE operation was the elimination of Reinhard Heydrich - Reichsprotektor Bohemia and Moravia and the head of Reich Security Main Office (make it clearer: it is as if the Germans killed Lavrenty Beria). Two British-trained agents - a Czech and a Slovak - parachuted in the Czech Republic and threw a bomb, fatally ranivshuyu odious Heydrich.

The peak of activity of the organization was to be the "Operation Foxley" - an attempt on Hitler. The operation has been carefully designed, trained agents and a sniper who had to jump in German uniform on parachutes and get to the residence Berghof Hitler. However, it was eventually decided to abandon the operation - not so much because of its impracticability, but because of the fact that Hitler's death could turn him into a martyr and give further impetus to the Germans. In addition, Hitler place could get more talented and capable leader, which would complicate the management is now coming to the end of the war.

After the war, he resigned and headed a textile factory. It was in the Bilderberg, which some conspiracy authors considered something of a secret world government.

Max Manus

The Bold and sharp: the most outstanding saboteurs WWII

The most famous Norwegian saboteur, sank several German ships. After the capitulation of Norway and its occupation by Germany went underground. I attempted to assassinate Himmler and Goebbels during their visit to Oslo, but was unable to carry it out. Was arrested by the Gestapo, but managed to escape with the help of the underground and transit through several countries moved to Britain, where went commando trained in SOE.

After that, it was abandoned in Norway, where he worked on the destruction of German ships in ports using min-sticky. After successful sabotage Manus to move to neighboring neutral Sweden, and that helped him to avoid capture. During the war, he sank several German transport ships and became the most famous fighter of the Norwegian Resistance. It Manus be trusted bodyguard of the Norwegian king on parade in Oslo Victory. After the war wrote several books about his activities. He founded the company on sales of office equipment, existing up to now. In postwar interviews he complained that he suffered from severe nightmares and memories of the war, which he has poured alcohol. In order to overcome nightmares, change of scenery and moved with his family to the Canary Islands. Died in 1986, it is now considered a national hero in Norway.

Nancy Wake

The Bold and sharp: the most outstanding saboteurs WWII

Before the war, he was a journalist. The outbreak of war met in France, where she married a millionaire and received money and opportunities for their activities. From the very beginning of the occupation of France participated in the organization of shoots Jews from the country. After some time, I was in the Gestapo lists and not to fall into their hands, fled to Britain, where he spent the commando training course in the SOE.

It was parachuted into France on a mission to unite the scattered forces of the French and the rebels control them. The British provided a lot of support to the French resistance movement, dropping them weapons and trained officers to coordinate. In France, the British most often used in women as agents, because the Germans were less inclined to suspect them.

Wake led guerrilla troops, engaged in the distribution of weapons, ammunition and money dropped by the British. On the French partisans was assigned an important task: with the beginning of the Allied landings in Normandy, they were all means to interfere with the Germans in the deportation of reinforcements to the coast, which blew up the train and attacked the German troops, restricting their fight.

Nancy Wake produced a great impression on his players, who, as a rule, were laymen. Once she shook them, easily killing a German sentry with their bare hands: she crept up behind him and broke the throat edge of his hand.

After the war has received numerous awards from various governments. Several times unsuccessfully participated in the elections. Wrote memoirs, several TV series and films have been made about her life. She died in 2011.