Tra Achse e Avalanche: nemici di tutti. L’8 settembre 1943 nelle memorie dei militari italiani in servizio presso l’aeroporto di Pontecagnano


  • Edoardo Grassia Archivio dell’Ufficio Storico dell’Aeronautica Militare


Parole chiave:

Pontecagnano airport, Achse, Avalanche, 8 September, Italian Royal Air Force


The events of 8 September 1943 have, among the main discriminating factors, geographical location. The Italian soldiers on duty at Pontecagnano airport 372, after the unexpected proclamation of unconditional surrender and being in an area affected by the Anglo-American landing in the Gulf of Salerno, first suffered immediate action from the men of the Wehrmacht and, a few hours later, that of the Allies. They found themselves, therefore, between Achse and Avalanche. The memoirs written by the soldiers of the Italian Air Force working at the airport, compiledì a few days after the events narrated, constitute a point of view from below and account for the fact that, in addition to being in the midst of the fighting, they were disarmed, arrested, looted, wounded and on one occasion beaten by the Germans, who also attempted to deport them, and were equally disarmed, arrested, deprived
of the possibility of transmitting messages and of the means of transport, including an ambulance, by the Anglo-Americans. They were, essentially, enemies of everyone. Responsibilities for such circumstances fall within the overall management of the armistice; however, the episode also clearly indicates a missed opportunity for Italians to take sides and fight alongside the allied forces and create the conditions for a change in the general political situation.






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