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Francesco De Martini

Francesco De Martini was an Italian captain of the Military Information Service (Servizio Informazioni Militari, or SIM) in Eritrea, when the Allies invaded the Italian East Africa during World War II.

Contents

  • Historical background 1
  • De Martini guerrilla actions 2
  • Notes 3
  • See also 4
  • Bibliography 5

Historical background

Many Italians fought a guerrilla war in Italian East Africa after the surrender at Gondar of the last regular Italian forces in November 1941.

They fought in the hope of an Italian victory with the help of Rommel in Egypt and in the Mediterranean (called in 1942 by Mussolini "the Italian Mare Nostrum"), that would originate a possible return of the Axis in Eastern Africa.

De Martini guerrilla actions

In the first months of 1941 he fought the invasion of the British forces in Assab and Dankalia (southern Eritrea), but did not surrender after the British victory. He decided to hide in the mountains in order to continue the war as a "resistance fighter".

He actively participated in the Italian guerrilla war in Ethiopia and Eritrea during 1941 and 1942.

In January 1942 Captain De Martini blew up an important ammunition deposit in sambuco) in order to report British naval movements in the Red Sea to Rome by radio.

In August 1942 Captain De Martini returned in a sambuco to the coast of Eritrea, where he engaged in guerrilla sabotage operations with his Eritrean sailors until he was captured.

After the end of World War II, Captain Francesco De Martini received the Gold Medal of Military Valor.[1]

Notes

  1. ^ Explanation (in Italian) of the reasons why was given to Captain De Martini the italian golden medal of honor. Ragioni del conferimento della Medaglia d'Oro al Capitano Francesco De Martini: "Già affermatosi in gesta magnifiche per essenza di valore e temerario ardimento. Braccato dai nemico occupante, venuto a conoscenza dell’esistenza di un deposito di materiali, del valore di miliardi, di grande interesse ai fini operativi dell’avversario, nonostante la stretta vigilanza riusciva ad incendiarlo, per sua iniziativa e da solo, con gravissimo rischio ed estrema abilità, determinandone la totale distruzione. Subito dopo prendeva il mare su mezzo di scarsa efficienza e, lottando contro l’infido equipaggio e la furia degli elementi, raggiungeva la costa araba, da dove riusciva a ristabilire contatti, come da ordine ricevuto, con la Patria lontana. Incaricato di nuova missione, benché fisicamente debilitato e privo di qualsiasi aiuto, animato da ferma volontà e fede inesausta, si avventurava ancora una volta in mare aperto su fragile imbarcazione di fortuna per rientrare in Eritrea. Catturato da unità navali nemiche, che lo ricercavano, destava l’ammirazione dello stesso avversario per il suo eccezionale coraggio e la generosa noncuranza del pericolo. Fulgido esempio, luminosa affermazione e simbolo della eroica resistenza italiana in terra d’Africa. Massaua - Daga, i - 7/8/1941, Mar Rosso 16/7/ - 1/8/1942".

See also

Bibliography

  • Cernuschi, Enrico. La resistenza sconosciuta in Africa Orientale Rivista Storica, dicembre 1994.(Rivista Italiana Difesa)
  • Rosselli, Alberto. Storie Segrete. Operazioni sconosciute o dimenticate della seconda guerra mondiale Iuculano Editore. Pavia, 2007
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