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However this plan was never carried out. In 1943 Student ordered Major Harald Mors to plan Operation Oak (Unternehmen Eiche) the successful raid conducted by a special Fallschirmjäger unit to free Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Acting as the temporary commander of the island immediately after the surrender of Crete on 31 May 1941 on Göring's order Student issued an order for a launching of a wave of brutal reprisals against the local population with the Massacre of Kondomari and Razing of Kandanos being typical cases.
He is also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves were awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Kurt Student (12 May 1890 – 1 July 1978) was a German Luftwaffe general who fought as a fighter pilot during the First World War and as the commander of German Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers) during the Second World War.