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  5th Army Detach.  

On 14 January 1944 an American Air Force pilot was forced down on the Island of Pianosa and was taken prisoner. Two days later, on 16 January, an American reconnaissance plane was fired upon by machine gun while making a low altitude sweep over the island.

To conduct reconnaissance of the northern peninsula of the Island of Pianosa, seeking contact with the enemy in an effort to capture prisoners for the purpose of obtaining intelligence information on the extent of enemy/German presence on the island.

With motor boat transportation provided by the British Royal Navy, an OG party of 6 officers and 14 enlisted men departed their base at Bastia, Corsica at 1700 hours on 18 January, arriving offshore of a landing point which had been selected near the tip of the island’s northern peninsula, at approximately 2130 hours.

For operational deployment the group was split into two sections. Lt. Colonel Livermore and his party of 3 officers and 2 enlisted men would remain on board the boat to provide guidance and support to the landing party. The landing party, which was made up of Captain Peteri, one other officer and 12 enlisted men, deployed to shore in three rubber boats.

First sight of land revealed sheer cliffs at the intended point of landing. About 200 yards to the south of that point they found a rocky beach which enabled ready access to the island. Finding no immediate signs of life, the party proceeded inland where they found empty roads and houses. After cutting telephone wires to the main parts of the island, the team moved toward Pode del Marchese. Still finding no activity on the road or in the houses, the party radioed that they would continue reconnaissance as time permitted to their planned 0030 hours departure time. The Pode itself was impenetrable with walls 30 feet high, no keyholes and barred windows. But they were not able to rouse any signs of life.

When time was up, the men started back to the landing point. When passing through a gap in a stone wall, an explosion sent rock debris and black smoke into the air. Instinctively, the men took cover and no one was injured. Still with no other activity, it was Captain Piteri’s thought that they had tripped a booby trap that had been left.

After giving the pre-arranged flashlight signal to the boat party the team set off in the rubber boats making rendezvous with the boat party at 0115 hours. The party made return to Bastia at 0400 hours on 19 January.

In the team’s assessment of their reconnaissance they recalled a white light that was noted over the island just before landing, and at the time considered as possibly a shooting star or a Very Signal; thinking if the latter, that it would have been a clumsy alert since the telephone link with the town was still open. That the Pode del Marchese was a prison, and lack of activity could mean that it was vacant or that its inhabitants were asleep and locked up for the night. The booby trap explosion with no response from the rest of the island suggested further that if there were Germans on the island, they were neither numerous nor well equipped. It was thought probably that the hostile elements on the island were probably Italian Fascists.



(boat party)
Lt. Col. Russell Livermore
Capt. Pedro M. Souza
Lt. Albert Materazzi
Lt. JG. Peter Karlow
T/5 Carl Lodolce
Pvt. Frank Lerossa

(shore party)
Capt. James Piteri
Lt. Victor J. Giannino
T/Sgt. Livio Vieceli
S/Sgt. Joseph Marino
Cpl. Joseph A. Marciari
T/5 Arthur Bruno
T/5 ---------- Inglima
T/5 Charles Lotito
T/5 Chester Scerra
T/5 Joseph Zito
Pvt. Salvatore DiMattino
Pvt. Michael Messina





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