Sea-Borne Raids by San Marco Marines in Algeria, Tunisia and Sicily

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PT Dockyard
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Sea-Borne Raids by San Marco Marines in Algeria, Tunisia and Sicily

Post by PT Dockyard » 05 Sep 2019 22:29

I was reading the article on MAS boat development in Warship International 2009 and was surprised to see reference to a number of instances where MAS boats were used to insert small teams of the San Marco Regiment for raids behind Allied lines in 1943. In one instance a team of three entered an air base and destroyed two B-17s before they were captured.

Can anyone point me to an English language source on the San Marco activities or provide some better details on these raids?

Thanks!

Dave G
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Re: Sea-Borne Raids by San Marco Marines in Algeria, Tunisia and Sicily

Post by DrG » 06 Sep 2019 00:23

This is the only English-language source about the Republican National Navy's MAS operations that I know:
Vincent P. O'Hara, Enrico Cernuschi, Black Phoenix: History and Operations of the Marina Repubblicana 1943-1945.

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Re: Sea-Borne Raids by San Marco Marines in Algeria, Tunisia and Sicily

Post by PT Dockyard » 06 Sep 2019 02:16

Thanks. I have that one and know the authors.

These raids took place before the surrender.

12 and 16 December 1942 Capture of the Cani Rocks and Galita Is.

15 February 1943 San Marco team landed at Cap Serrat, Tunisia.

3 September 1943 MAS 505 and 510 sail from Sardinia to Tunisia and land three teams from San Marco. One of these is the one that destroyed the B-17s.

Thanks,
Dave

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Re: Sea-Borne Raids by San Marco Marines in Algeria, Tunisia and Sicily

Post by Felix C » 09 Sep 2019 22:24

I presume those captured were treated as POWs?

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Re: Sea-Borne Raids by San Marco Marines in Algeria, Tunisia and Sicily

Post by gttf » 27 Sep 2019 20:54

Hello,
some details about the topic.
Seaborne raids were carried out by both special units of San Marco Regiment (Regia Marina) and of X Reggimento Arditi (Regio Esercito). AFAIK few raids were carried out in Northe African theatre:
• Sept., 3rd, 1942 Egypt, 70 km E of El Alamein, landing of a 13-strong party of Reparto G of San Marco, from MTB MS11 and MS15. Railway and aqueduct sabotaged, all POW
• Febr., 7th, 1943 Algeria, El-Kjeur bridge, team of 102^ Compagnia Nuotatori (Combat swimmers)/I Btg/X Arditi , from submarine Malachite. No results, all POW
• Aug., 4th, 1943 Benghazi airports, two teams (19 commandos) of Reparto G of San Marco, from submarine Menotti. No results, all POW
• Sept. 3rd, 1943 Bizerte, two teams of Reparto N of San Marco (targets: landing craft in Bizerte Harbour and airplanes in Sidi Ahmed airport) from MAS 505 and 510. 1 B17 and 1 B25 destroyed. Most commandos captured
Other raids were carried out in Sicily, during “Husky” but here I don’t have so much data.
It has to be recalled that from January to June, 1943, at least 8 teams of X Arditi and other 8 teams of ADRA Btl (a special unit of Regia Aeronautica) were airdropped with various targets (railways, bridges, airplanes, etc.).
Hope this could interest.
Fabrizio

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Re: Sea-Borne Raids by San Marco Marines in Algeria, Tunisia and Sicily

Post by LColombo » 29 Sep 2019 10:43

Not in English, but today I came across this paper about Italian commando raids in North Africa:

https://www.academia.edu/38083658/Dietr ... ed_sources_

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Re: Sea-Borne Raids by San Marco Marines in Algeria, Tunisia and Sicily

Post by gttf » 29 Sep 2019 19:11

AFAIK, a book in English language where you can find out some detail about organization and history of San Marco (including the special units N-combat swimmers, P-parachutists and G-combat sappers) is "Italian Navy & Air Force Elite Units & Special Forces 1940–45", by Piero Crociani & Pier Paolo Battistelli, Osprey Publishing, 2013.
Moreover, you can find interesting also "Italian Army Elite Units & Special Forces 1940–43", by Pier Paolo Battistelli, Osprey Publishing, 2011.
Hope this helps

Fabrizio

PS I'm the culprit for that paper in academia.edu...

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Re: Sea-Borne Raids by San Marco Marines in Algeria, Tunisia and Sicily

Post by PT Dockyard » 20 Oct 2019 15:19

Thanks all. This has been very helpful!

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