Few people have lived or will ever live a life as interesting as Lieutenant Colonel Otto Skorzeny.
To simply call him an outstanding military man would be a disservice to his valor – he was much more than that.
Otto made his name in the military because of his special commando and guerrilla warfare style raids, especially during the First World War.
Most of the operations that he led or was a part of had different degrees of success. These cases involved the assassination, kidnapping, defense, and rescue of a variety of Europe’s wartime leaders.
It is safe to say that Otto Skorzeny was more than familiar with life and death situations than the average man. Because of his unique yet calm approach for every mission and his excellent results, he soon got noticed by Hitler and eventually became his favorite commando.
European Allies even dubbed Otto Skorzeny as Europe’s most dangerous man. Skorzeny certainly appeared like he was made for a life of fight and war.
If his 6’4 height and tank like build was not intimidating enough, he had a deep scar present on his cheek which he got during a deadly fencing duel.
Born in a middle class family in Austria in 1908, Skorzeny always had the fight in him since he was young. This was evident by the fact that he joined the Austrian branch and became a Nazi in 1931.
Surprisingly, Skorzeny’s military career did not start out as you would imagine – when the Second World War came about, he sent an application for joining the Luftwaffe and it got rejected.
The reason behind the rejection was that he was too old and too tall despite being just 31 years of age.
Otto did not let that rejection dishearten him, which is why he decided to join the SS as an officer cadet which was in Liebstandarte.
This was a special designation as Liebstandarte was the bodyguard regiment for Hitler. Between 1940 and 1942, Otto fought on various battlefields which included the Eastern Front, France, and Holland.
Things to a turn for the worse in December 1942 as Skorzeny was hit with shrapnel on the head while fighting.
He continued battling despite his deep wounds until the wounds became even deeper and incapacitated him.
This act of immense courage almost cost Otto his life, but he was found on time and hospitalized immediately and nursed back to good health after some time.
His death defying bravery earned him his first ever Iron Cross.