galia stick plus vickars machine gun

The 27th December 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the Galia mission when 33 SAS troops, led by captain Bob Walker Brown with his second in command Lieutenant James Riccomini parachuted into enemy held territory deep behind the lines in the Appenine Mountains of Northern Italy.  Fearing a repeat of Hitler's attack taking place in the Ardennes at the same time (now know as 'the Battle of the Bulge'). Galia was devised as a deception operation, to drop in broad daylight to deceive the enemy into thinking that a much larger force was landing. 

 Gallia op in snow

The dakotas carrying the SAS and their supplies took off in extreme weather conditions. The Rossano Freedon Trail  Blog below tells the story of the 2014 commemorative memorial laid to the memory of Galia and a supply plane that crashed killing all 7 crew. The men dropped into snow clad mountains to find their partisan allies, led by Major Gordon Lett, a ex-POW escapee and member of special operations executive. On landing, the SAS and Partisans set about their mission, taking the offensive. Enemy retaliation was swift and mercilless. Over 6,000 front line SS and other troops were diverted to hunt down and kill what they believed were 400 SAS parachutists hiding in their midst. 

 

Ably supplied throughout by the US Airforce and supported by the brave Italian mountain people and the partisans, the SAS were engaged in a brutal battle of survival. I will tweet extracts from Bob Walker Brown's debrief report over christmas and new year in tribute to the men of this remarkable wartime action, one of them was my late father, Stanley Hann. For the full story see SAS Operation GaliaBrindisi stick alans photo