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.  

POLAR I and II were two-man marine reconnaissance missions into the Pisa/Leghorn coastal area of Italy with the objective of “alerting the Germans in that area and causing them to think that the Allies were reconnoitering the zone as a possible invasion landing place”. Since these two missions were similar they are combined in this single report.

1800 hours 1 November 1943 First Lt. Albert R. Materazzi and First Lt. Emileo T. Caruso departed the OG base at Bastia aboard MT Boat 60 commanded by Lt. Roger Keyes and his navigator, Sub Lt. Platts.

About forty-five minutes after departure anti-aircraft fire was seen over Bastia, causing Lt. Keyes to reduce speed and travel on silent engines until they could no longer hear aircraft overhead. At about 2000 hours they rounded the island of Capraia when they noticed flares over the mainland in an area they judged to be Leghorn, approximately 40 miles away. That raid lasted about a half hour. The boat party continued matching map points to points sighted on shore. At approximately 2200 hours they sighted the southeastern coast of Gorgona. Skirting the southeastern shore of the island they headed directly for the mainland when they noticed two beacons which appeared near the mouth of the Arno River; one blinking the letters A/S. They continued to be lighted until 2300 hours when the vertical beacon went out and at 2400 hours the blinker went out.

With very poor visibility it was judged that they were approximately one mile off-shore, and a mile south of the Arno River. At one time during a slight lifting of the mist, two members of the boat crew confirmed their position when they sighted the promontory at the mouth of the Arno.

They remained off shore in that area until 0040 hours. Since there had been no indications they had been noticed, they decided to make their presence known. At 0050 hours, using the ship’s radio on frequencies common to “walkie-talkie” radio sets, they faked radio contact between two units – to suggest they were trying to make contact with a landed beach reconnaissance party. At 0115 hours, having seen no response to those actions, they burned a vertical light. After blinking signals with the ship’s Aldis lamp and taking some other actions for several minutes to attract attention they fired a burst of tracer fire vertically and sped away.

On the return trip to home base they patrolled Italian shore for a distance of several miles before heading for Bastia, but saw no action.

Compiled by Art Frizzell from two reports obtained from the National Archives, authors unnamed







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