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
c. Transmit to OG Headquarters all enemy intelligence information from
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:
CISA DIVISION -1060 men
1st Beretta Brigade
2nd Beretta Brigade **
3rd Beretta Brigade **
VAL TARO DIVISION - 1260 men
1st Julia Brigade
2nd Julia Brigade
Gruppo Val Tora
VAL CENO DIVISION - 1852 men
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
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
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
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.