PreamblePerhaps not everyone knows(1) that the plot of one of the most famous war film "The Guns of Navarone", was inspired by a real event of June 1944.
Just the guns were not in Greece and the attackers were not English(2), but they were in Italy, Island of Elba, and the attackers were French (Continental, Courses, Senegalese, Moroccans), the military forces of Free France.
The war action war took the name of operation "Brassard" and cost the French 400 dead and 600 wounded (the Germans had 500 dead and 1800 prisoners).
This is the story of the destruction of the guns of the Enfola peninsula, which allowed the French troops to land on the Island of Elba and conquer it(3).
dinghies, abandoned at the foot of the cliff, perhaps have been identified.
Now, in the dazzling light of the flares, the commandos have become targets. The alarm siren howls ominously.
Léveque and his men run in the direction of the guns. Saunier and the coverage group engage in combat.
At the beginning of a submachine gun jams, the Sten and hand grenades try to replace it.
The uniforms are torn in contact with the rocky terrain that cuts the skin.
The attackers are insensitive to pain, they are completely absorbed by the fighting, death runs with them, they are the "death".
The section Libersa joins the pandemonium, the fighters Course had to make a long circular tour through the German defenses farther away.
The gestures learned during training and repeated thousand of times run automatically.
In front of everyone Léveque + Lipka no longer think .... "The Guns", there is nothing else in their thoughts.
Breathless reach the first cannon, Lipka attacks the charge of plastic explosive, in the form of a crown around the tube of the cannon and launches into an incendiary grenade.
In this way is welded the breech.
After a few seconds the explosion.
Around him going crazy fights but he does not care.
Lipka starts again to charge, revolver in hand. The combat is a swirl of screams, explosions and detonations, in which you shake the demons that run in all directions.
Behind a location, protected by sandbags, a heavy machine gun fires a long burst.
The Chasseur Lavina try to neutralize it, a gammon grenade in his hand, he throws out the weapon.
The machine gun tip him, Lavia is killed instantly!
The belly ripped open, he dies before they hit the ground. A grenade thrown into the darkness of night falls at that time among the Germans, the machine gun is silent, but his silence goes unnoticed in the infernal din of battle.
Corporal Trapp runs towards his goal, the second cannon. He proceeds by small rapid leaps, like a mountain goat, to dodge the Germans who rushed to their battle stations, to avoid even the shrapnel and tracer bullets.
Voila, his cannon is finally in front of him, dumb and monstrous, placed on its cement pad, the black throat pointing towards the sea.
Vresky cursing his fellow soldier lies down next to him: "I have lost the explosive charge."
The Chasseur Laruelle to the nearby cannon, while the corporal Mattéi fights nearby. Laruelle suffers an explosion threw him to the ground and he has some terrible pains in the abdomen, crying with rage mind he thinks that it is not able to fix its explosive charge.
Trapp takes possession of explosives and he launches into the position, nearby you hear a gigantic explosion and a scream: "Vive la Légion", he realizes that one of the groups succeeded in the mission.
He triggers his charge and launches out of the bunker, at the same time falls on the revolver making a rattle. On reflection he comes back to retrieve it, the military regulation is clear: "in any case you have to lose your weapon."
Abruptly he realizes that above his head, between two or three seconds, ten pounds of plastic explosive explode. He is thrown out like a cat while the explosion follows him like a shadow.
Two cannons destroyed, the mission is half completed.
A German gets up in front of the command that runs Maupu with hands full of the explosive charge, a burst of machine gun came from his shoulders takes the full German abdomen that folds back on itself and falls to the ground.
Maupu does not know who shot him, he completely ignores what is going on around him.
Finally he reaches his cannon, his hands trembling with excitement, he is drenched in sweat, he charging system, turn on the ignition and runs away.
A terrible explosion confirms that he did a good job.
Lieutenant Jacobsen is surprised to laugh of satisfaction, uncontrollable laughter that makes it distracting and makes him miss a German giant that runs to meet him pointing a Mauser rifle. Under the helmet eyes of the enemy seem huge, his face pale white.
Inside the gun emplacements the scrum is confusing is atrocious.
The corporal Mattei hits a German officer, a lieutenant or a captain, he can be the master of the position.
Man, gun in hand, shouting orders, his gaze met that of the French.
Mattei has now unloading the revolver in his other hand holding his dagger English, a terrible weapon.
The steel shines in the night before to penetrate between the ribs of German, The ufficale moans falling to the ground as the knife penetrates back into the heart.
Saunier throws a grenade into the command post and two phosphorous grenades into the breech of two 88 mm cannons anti air raid.
A burst of Sten destroys an artillery rangefinder.
The crew of a machine gun raise their hands in surrender, a burst kills them on the spot!
Among the French scarce ammunition, the mission is successful, you have to save your skin now!
ConclusionAfter the action of the French commandos "Bataillon du Choc", they tried to disengage from the enemy, and to distance themselves.
Unfortunately they could not and they were taken prisoner by the Germans and transferred to Portoferraio.
They were later released by the French troops a few days after the landing; French Army infact reached Portoferraio and conquered the whole island.
He was a sergeant in the army, one of the many soldiers of the French landing force on 17 June 1944 landed at Marina di Campo and took off the ' "Operation Brassard" to free the Elbe occupied by the Germans.
Fernand Laroca had just turned 28 years old. Are his remains (though still need an official confirmation ) found near Colle Reciso , the military paths that connected San Martino to the town of Portoferraio. Of course Fernand Laroca , born in 1916 , is a name that appears in the long list of French soldiers missing in World War II , written by the French Ministry of Defence .
One of the young people who participated in the Allied landing on Elba . It is therefore necessary official confirmation (but on the remains was found in Colle Reciso the plate with the name ) and that is why they are now actively working on the police in the company of Portoferraio that have affected the embassy and the French consulate . A meticulous work that should result in a few days also linked to the search of any family .
Is given , however, to assume that Laroca was followed by Colonel Cariou who had been given the task of march , with the fourth regiment Senegalese shooters , from San Martino in Portoferraio , passing from Colle Reciso and perhaps fell into an ambush enemy right next to the military road in the area of San Martino del Colle where the cows were ritrovari his remains . In particular, the skull , dug in all probability by a wild boar looking for food, it was rolled for several meters from the place where he was buried on the military road of San Martino and had triggered further checks after a received message to the police.
In the area surrounding the police thanks to the use of a metal detector they later found the skeleton intact to 70% , a clock and a brass buckle , likely a haversack accessories in leather and then the identification plate , which provided the near certainty to the police that it was the remains of a soldier of the second World War. The police have now removed the remains and then begin the investigation groped for the complete identification of the military , indicated by the plate just as Fernand Laroca , with the numbers of the department, 438/36 .
Now, after 67 years , Laroca will have a proper burial .
(1)In fact I also do not know anything about it, until I read the fine book by Raymond Muelle. It is a detailed account of the facts than 300 pages.
it's like seeing a good movie.
(2)To be precise the British also participated in the landing. In fact, a group of Commandos was given the task of conquering the port of Marina di Campo (South of the island). Assignment that was aimed at perfection albeit with heavy losses.
(3)The legionaries had reached the shores of the Island aboard Torpedo Boat (from Corsica), and at four in the morning they had reached the coast aboard inflatable boats rowing.
All this in total silence.