S.A.S. in Tuscany, 1943-1945, Brian Lett

S.A.S. in Tuscany, 1943-1945, Brian Lett

This book looks at three S.A.S. operations that took place behind enemy lines in Tuscany between 1943 and 1945, each hoping to disrupt German activities in a key area behind the front line.

The three missions had very different results. Operation Speedwell 2 ended in tragedy when most of the S.A.S. men were captured and illegally executed by the Germans, obeying Hitler's secret 'Commando Order'. Operation Galia was a great success, while Operation Blimey failed to achieve anything of real significance. The three sections thus have very different tones - Part 1 is somewhat gloomy, and in places the evidence for the activity of the SAS men is patchy. Part 2 is more upbeat, and is also much better documented. Part 3 is by far the shortest, and perhaps accurately gives the impression that everyone involved knew the end of the war was rapidly approaching.

The author's father, Major Gordon Lett DSO, played a major part in the success of Operation Galia, running an SOE operation that controlled the Rossano valley. Perhaps unsurprisingly a large part of the section on Operation Galia focuses on Major Lett and his successes in maintaining some form of control in the area.

This is a well written and well researched account of three very different S.A.S. operations, combined with an examination of the even more difficult SOE operation led by Major Lett, and is a useful contribution to the literature on the war in Italy and on the S.A.S.

Part 1 - Operation Speedwell 2
1 - Preparations
2 - Into Action
3 - Foster and Shortall Are Captured
4 - Hitler's Commando Order
5 - The Executions at Ponzano Magra
6 - Pietro Massimo Petricciolo
7 - Challenor's Escape
8 - Dudgeon and Brunt
9 - La Cisa
10 - Aftermath and Investigation
11 - The War Crimes Trial

Part 2 - Operation Galia
12 - Escape!
13 - Rossano and the Partisans
14 - Planning and Preparation
15 - The Arrival of Operation Galia
16 - Attacks and Disasters: The First Week
17 - Stirring up the Hornets' Nest
18 - Rastrellamento!
19 - 'Normal Service Resumed'
20 - Exfiltration
21 -Handover

Part 3 - Operation Blimey
22 - Third and Last

Author: Brian Lett
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2011

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