AVAILABLE AUGUST 2022
After the Allies invaded in 1943, there were two Italian governments, one backing the Allies, the other a puppet supporting the Germans. This led to a secret war that was vital to supporting the Allies’ conventional forces. Partisans, the SAS, SOE, the US OSS (precursor to the CIA) all played important roles in these bloody covert operations
On the night of 20/21 April 1945 the last operational parachute jump of World War II took place, Operation Herring. The action was undertaken by No 1 Italian SAS, trained by British SOE (Special Operations Executive) forces who were dropped by the USAAF, in support of the 8th Army attack into the Po Valley. Operation Herring lasted over 72 hours instead of the 36 initially foreseen, but it turned out to be a success.
With assistance from the local partisans, sources claim 481 German soldiers were killed, 1,083 surrendered and many vehicles, tanks, armoured cars and guns were destroyed or captured. This action did presage the end of the war in Italy, but until now little has been written about this and the other secret operations which characterised the campaign. This is a fascinating account of these actions and the heroism of the men involved which deserves to reach a new audience.