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.  

Jointly with French Battalion du Choc to attack German installations and impede the evacuation of the German 90th Panzer Division from Sardinia along the East coast of Corsica. Train the local patriots in use of demolitions and weapons.

After Italy entered the war, its army occupied Corsica with the tacit agreement of the Vichy government. The two French Brigades were dissolved. Their bases were primarily on the coastal areas. The German presence was only at several radar sites. The center of the island was in the hands of the patriots named “Maqui,” named after the high dense shrubbery covering the sides of the mountains. The patriots also had a strong presence in the area around Ajaccio. Small arms were being smuggled to them by the SOE. OSS agent “Tommy,” on friendly terms with the French Deuxieme Bureau, was able to organize a small group (code named Pearl Harbor) that was infiltrated late in December 1942 and transmitted important intelligence until the summer of 1943 when the chief operator was captured. Sometime later the French Army sent an expeditionary force to take over the island. General Donovan ordered Carlton Coon to accompany it together with a small group with both an SI and SO mission. With them they brought arms, including bazookas and demolitions. He assumed the rank of Major, most of their time spent in obtaining housing, transportation and getting organized. On September 23, 1943 an SOE mission headed by Major Andrew Croft headed for Ajaccio from Algiers, eventually establishing a base In Calvi on the north central coast. After the Italian surrender September 8, 1943 the Germans started to move their troops from Saridinia, including the crack 90th Panzer Division. To avoid Allied air attacks they were not moved by sea but overland across the straits of Bonifaccio into Corsica. The Maquis broadcast an urgent appeal for help. The French hastily prepared the elite Battalion du Choc to which AFHQ was asked to furnish a token force of from OSS to accompany them.

OG Corsican Operations:
1. General Donovan picked Italian Group 4 headed by Captain James Piteri. They arrived in Ajaccio September 28 and reported to “Major” Coon who had arranged for two Italian trucks to transport them to temporary quarters.

2. The OGs were split into several groups and assigned to teach the Goums in the use of bazookas only the batteries were run down and they had no replacements.

3. One section under Lt. Thomas Gordon was assigned to attack a German unit moving towards Barchetta, a strategic pass, to protect the flank of German troops moving up the east coast from attack. It was supposed to be coordinated with a Coom unit. Gordon’s group attacked a German armored car and trucks using satchel charges and hand grenades destroying the armored car and a truck. They held their position until forced away by intense mortar fire. One round landed near Gordon and two of his men, killing them. A French officer who saw the action called it the bravest thing he ever seen. Posthumously Gordon was awarded the DSC and the French Legion of honor with palm. The two enlisted men were T5 Rocco Grosso a TF Sam Maselli. they were awarded Bronze Stars.

4. Lt. Victor Gianinno’ section was split up by Coon assigning them to teach demolitions to the Goums. This may have resulted in a protest by Capt. Piteri, the section was reunited and attached to a Goum headed toward Calvi.

5. A section commanded by Lt. Vincent Russo was attached to the original French force headed north toward Corte and then heights overlooking Bastia. The French were constantly changed orders and came under intense mortar fire; Russo took the unit to St. Florent using a boat. There they met Coon. They entered Bastia, October 4, 1943 and found a ghost city, the Germans had already left the island, and the Allies had unnecessarily bombed it.

6. Circa October 7, Col. Livermore arrived in Ajaccio. When Coon saw the Colonel’s orders he and his group took the first plane back to Algiers but was ordered to write a report of the OSS operations in Corsica including those of the OGs. The OGs were moved to Ile Rousse, the rest of the company moved there Oct. 21; it became their base for the next nine months.



Capt. James Piteri
1st Lt. Victor Gianinno
1st.Lt. Thomas Gordon
1st.Lt. Vincent Russo
T.Sgt. Ralph Guidotti
S.Sgt. Joseph De Carlo
Sgt. Paul Amico
Cpl.Ponzy Salza
Cpl John Uccellini
Cpl. Salvatore Di Mattino
T5. Michael Chiappone
T5 Pasquale Groccia
T5 Hugo Colacicco
T5 John Lepore
T5.John Perna
T5.Armando Porretta
T5.Pietro Russo
T5 Chester Scerra
T5.Rino Stefani
T5.Frank Zabatta
T5.Samuel Masselli
T5.Chester Gallinari
T5.Salvatore De Sclafani
T5.John Leone
T5.Cosmo Mangogna.
T5.Michael Messina
T5.Emanuel Pietromartire
T5.Joseph Scala
T5.Rosario Squatrito
T5.John Tesitore
T5.Rocco Grasso.





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