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  5th Army Detach.  

Preface: Refer to CHOCTAW mission report for full coverage of this mission. After three plus months assessment of the partisan units and their capabilities in the area to which CAYUGA was assigned, CAYUGA's commanding officer recommended another OG unit be assigned to the area to extend its mission. CHOCTAW was given that assignment. While there was close coordination between the two missions and some of CHOCTAW reporting was processed via CAYUGA, their operational work was such as to merit separate reports.

The original mission for CAYUGA was assigned to the Italian OG Headquarters on 2 December 1944 by directive of the Allied Fifteenth Army Group. OG directive to CAYUGA was to:
a. Establish liaison with the COMMANDO UNICO (CU) of Parma and several bands of patriots in that area; to coordinate their operations, advise, train and assist with partisan operations and transmit to them operational missions as ordered.
b. Target enemy communications, installations and troops in the area, particularly along the Bedonia-Borgo Taro-Berceto Road and La Spezia-Parma Highway (No.62).
c. Transmit to OG Headquarters all enemy intelligence information from all sources.
d. Prevent friction within and between partisan bands.
e. Attempt integration into a single command of the 1st and 2nd Julia Brigades, 31st and 32nd Garibaldi Brigades and the Beretta Band of the Parma CU; and consider adding to that command other independent bands west of Highway 62 that are not affiliated with the Picenza CU or the 1st Ligurian Division.
f. Arrange through OG Headquarters for all air supply drops for all partisan bands in this general area.
g. Cooperate with other Allied military missions which may be encountered.

18 December 1944 Section was briefed for a scheduled 19 December departure which was forced to turn back due to bad weather. On 27 December they parachuted into ALBERTO drop zone (DZ) in three separate sticks led by Capt. Formichelli, T/Sgt. Alessi and S/Sgt. DiSilvestro - with Capt. Formichelli and T/Sgt Alessi receiving minor injuries because of hard snow and scattered trees where they landed.

Section was met by 1st Beretta Brigade which later gave ready access to the CU Headquarters and provided introduction to all of the CU units. After Capt Formicelli made individual assignments of Section members to the brigades, the OGs first made reconnaissance of their areas to identify ambush and other targets. And as air drops were received, they oversaw the distribution of those supplies and gave the partisans instructions on the use and care of the weapons and the tactics of guerilla and sabotage operations. To maintain communications between Section Headquarters and the various partisan units the OGs used messengers, sometimes telephone and later "300 sets".

Between 27 December 1944 when CAYUGA was deployed, and 10 May 1945 when they returned to base, the Section with help of the CHOCTAW Mission which joined them 2 April 1945 ( see separate CHOCTAW summary), received and distributed 76 air drops of supplies and served as cadre to the following partisan units:

1st Beretta Brigade
2nd Beretta Brigade **
3rd Beretta Brigade **

1st Julia Brigade
2nd Julia Brigade
Gruppo Val Tora
Siligato Brigade
Barbagatto Brigade

31st Copelli Brigade **
31st Forni Brigade
32nd Mt Penna Brigade
78 S. A. P. Brigade

** Assigned to CHOCTAW Mission

Partisan actions in which CAYUGA OGs participated directly against the enemy:

31 December Sgt Savio and T/5 Scala, with the 1st Beretta Brigade, ambushed a column of Alpine troops near Gento Groce which resulted in 31 enemy dead.

8 January Capt. Formicelli, T/Sgt Allessi, S/Sgt DiSilvestro, Sgt Procacinni and T/4 Stefani ambushed a German patrol near Bore. Enemy casualties unknown.

During the night of 7/8 April T/Sgt Alessi and Sgt Procacinni directed partisan brigade in attack to liberate the town of Ostia, which was accomplished after 12 hours of hard fighting. 48 Germans were captured, 20 wounded, 7 KIA.
Also during the night of 7/8 April, S/Sgt DiSilvestro, Sgt Savio and T/5 Scalia directed the action of the first Julia Brigade which liberated Boro Val di Taro after 25 hours of fighting. 130 prisoners were taken and 30 kia.

The section's anti scorch activities began shortly after arrival in the field, with Captain Formichelli serving as liaison between the Allied Mission and the Council of National Liberation (CNL); to organize a Military Police Force for the province of Parma that would be recognized by the Allies, the CNL and the Rome Government. By April 1945 a uniformed force of over 350 Military Police (MP) was ready for duty. With identity papers certified valid by the Government and the Allies, with arms and ammunition provided by CAYUGA from enemy ammunition dumps, the MPs began actions to secure industrial plants, power stations, aquaducts and public utilities. By making contact and working with the local workmen of selected installations, the MPs with assistance from local partisan units were credited with saving those critical installations from demolition. And a part of that success was in their convincing a number of the German guards to surrender or retreat. After the Allied troops secured the area the Section transferred control of the MPs to Allied Military Government (AMG) control. The MPs then aided turnover to the AMG of enemy prisoners held by the partisans, assisted in the turnover of captured enemy arms and in maintaining public order.

The recorded results of partisan activities of both CAYUGA and CHOCTAW missions against the enemy were:

KIA - 612
Wounded - 750
Prisoners - 1,520 (not including those taken during final stages with Allied forces)
Trucks destroyed - 41
Trucks captured - 57
Trucks (with ammunition and food) -22
Wagons destroyed - 8
Wagons loaded with ammunition - 10
Trains loaded with arms and ammunition - 2
Trains (empty) - 1
Locomotives - 3
Machine gun ammunition - 26 cases
Hand grenades - 500
Mortars - 31
Land mines - 3,200
22mm Cannon - 1
Machine guns - 3
Heavy automatic weapons - 18
Individual arms - 538
Telephone switch board - 1
Horses - 500
Motorcycles - 2

After the 9 May victory parade the Section made arrangements for partisan weapons to be turned over to the 5th Army. With mission complete, CAYUGA returned to Base on 10 May 1945.

Summary compiled by Art Frizzell from End of Mission reports from the National Archives submitted by Capt Michael Formichelli at the conclusion of the mission.



Capt Michael Formichelli
T/Sgt Frank J. Alessi
S/Sgt Oscar F. DiSilvestro
Sgt Frank A. Savio
Sgt Mario J. Procacinni
T/4 Reno J. De Stefani (Radio Operator)
T/5 Joseph Scalia





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