Operation Franz (ii)


'Franz' (ii) was a German operation against the British lines of communication in Iran using special forces by providing support and encouragement for anti-British Qashqai tribesmen in mountain areas (summer 1943).

In April 1943 SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny was appointed commander of the recently created Waffen Sonderverband zbV 'Friedenthal' (formed from the Sonderlehrgang zbV 'Oranienburg' in June 1943, renamed SS-Jagdverbände 502 or SS-Jägerbataillon 502 in April 1944, and finally SS-Kampfgruppe 'Mitte' in November 1944) and stationed near Berlin.

The first mission of the Waffen Sonderverband zbV 'Friedenthal' was 'Franz' (ii), in which Skorzeny sent a group by parachute into Iran to make contact with dissident mountain tribes in the hope of encouraging them to sabotage Allied supplies of material being transported to the southern USSR along the Trans-Iranian Railway. However, the commitment of the rebel tribes was poor and 'Franz' (ii) was therefore a failure.