Italian OG page  

  Italian OG Missions:
  5th Army Detach.  
  Bathtub II  
  Fourth Group  
  OP 2  
  Polar 1  
  Polar 2  
  OP 1(aka Seneca)  
  Chicago I  
  Chicago II  
  Ginny I  
Balkis I
  Balkis II  
  Ginny II  
  Walla Walla  
  5th Army Detach.  

Balkis I was a joint operation with the French Commandos of Commandant Bouvet. An OG team of two officers and nine enlisted men was selected to join and serve as an integral part of the French unit of one hundred personnel. The French were to provide two diesel torpedo boats and six large rubber landing boats.This was supported by the OGs furnishing intelligence they had on the island, "D" rations, 100 pounds of plastic explosives with detonating equipment and radio equipment to provide communications with Bastia headquarters.

To conduct a raid on the island of Pianosa for the main purpose of capturing prisoners. If the conditions were found to be favorable, a team would remain on the island to round up remaining enemy, collect intelligence regarding neighboring enemy occupied islands, and to establish an observation post to service the Navy and Air Force.

The French operational plan had selected a landing place in a cove on the southern side of the island where the torpedo boats would be used to deploy a landing party to establish a beachhead. This to be followed by the landing of the troops aboard the rubber boats, with mission assignments to include the establishment of an on-shore command post with two main sections. One section to attack the German barracks with an attempt to capture the German Commanding Officer and destroy their communications to Elba and/or the mainland of Italy. The other section to protect the rear of the first section and to seize strong points on Punta Pulpito and Teretta San Marco.

In preparation for the mission joint landing exercises were held on two consecutive nights in the vicinity of St. Florent in Corsica. And at 2200 hours on February 28, 1944 landfall on Pianosa was made; only to be aborted about two hours later.

The OG team's end of mission report suggests the following among reasons for the failure of the mission:

(a) Insufficient awareness of adverse sea conditions.

(b) Delay of one and a half hours reaching the pinpoint area.

(c) Initial landing at wrong site.

(d) Sea-sickness of troops resulting from their being transported below deck.

(e) Errors in launching rubber boats, which because of distance paddling, caused fatique and additional sea-sickness.

Summary written from EOM reports in National Archives RG2226, Entry99



Capt. Nathan Wentworth
Lt. Elvia Seidner
T/Sgt.Livio Vieceli
S/Sgt.Chester Gallinari
Cpl. Wilson M. Berta
Cpl. John Tessitore
T/5 Anthony DeNino
T/5 Salvatore DiSclafani
T/5 Joseph A. Labardi
T/5 Pietro Russo
T/5 Rosario Squatrito

Also listed as in the boat party are:
Major George Stapleton, conducting officer
Lt. R.J. Benedetto, OG commanding the OP





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