The Rescue of Mussolini - September 12, 1943

Unternehmen Eicke
Mediterranean Theater By: yangtze - Last update: 02/27/2012
Axis Player: Axis Player:
x6 x4 x2 x4
first You play first    
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Historical Background:
After Italy surrendered to the Allies, Mussolini was arrested and held by the Italians in the hotel Campo Imperatore on the Gran Sasso mountain. After intercepting a coded Italian radio message and reconnoitering the mountain by plane, Otto Skorzeny figured out where Mussolini was being held captive. Despite Luftwaffe warnings that such a feat was technically impossible due to the high altitude and bad landing conditions, the infamous Nazi Skorzeny decided that assaulting the peak by glider was his best option.

On 12 Septe14mber, 1943 after a rough landing, Skorzeny and his men rushed into the hotel. Within minutes, he had located Mussolini. "Duce, the Fuhrer has sent me to set you free," he said. Mussolini replied, "I knew my friend Adolf Hitler would not abandon me." The helicopter detailed to fly Mussolini off the mountain broke down and so at the last minute, with gunfire sounding in the valley below, a Fiesler Storch piloted by Walter Gerlach (General Student's personal pilot) was called in. The Storch landed on and took off from a very small patch of ground and, to the amazement of onlookers, Gerlach evacuated the fascist dictator from the mountain. Skorzeny had pulled off the impossible and Operation Oak (aka the Gran Sasso raid) brought him to the attention of the Allies. Winston Churchill himself described the mission as one of great daring.

The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.

Briefing:
Axis Player [Germany]
Take 6 Command cards.
You move first.

Allied Player [italy]
Take 2 Command cards (the Italians were surprised).
Draw two cards after each of turns 1 and 2. You will then have a hand of 4 Command cards for the rest of the battle.

Conditions of Victory:
Axis Sudden Death objective: Rescue Mussolini.

The Allies win if the rescue is prevented.

Special Rules:
All Axis Infantry units are elite units (Troops 2 - Specialized Units). Badges are not required.

Air rules are in effect: The Axis player receives both Air Sortie cards. They may be used to bring on Captain Walter Gerlach in a Storch from the Axis board edge. The Air Power card should be removed from the game, and no other aircraft may be used. If the Storch fails an Air Check at any time, the Axis player may no longer play Air Sortie cards.

Use Paradrop rules (Actions 20 - Paradrop) for the Axis player. Before his first turn, the Axis player drops 3 elite Infantry units over each hex marked with a Battle Star (6 units total). You must aim at these hexes, but you do not lose your units if they land outside of the hex. Place a Battle Star on one of the airdropped units: that unit is led by Otto Skorzeny (Actions 8 - Heroic Leader).

The medal on the hotel represents Mussolini in captivity; the token stays on the hex when the Allied Infantry unit moves. Mussolini may be freed in the usual way (Actions 7 - Freeing Prisoners). Mussolini can never be removed from play if the unit he is rescued by is destroyed, and he may not move or be rescued on his own. Once freed and attached to a friendly Infantry unit, Mussolini may be rescued when the Storch moves adjacent to his hex and lands (the Storch may land on any hex except a mountain hex). On any subsequent turn, if the Storch passes an Air Check roll on take-off, the rescue is complete.