On July 31, 2005 a ceremony dedicating a monument was held at Pian Novello honoring Partisans of the
Eleventh Zone Partisans Brigades (whose commander was the late Manfredo Duccceschi aka
Pippo) and Fifth Army Soldiers who made the “ultimate sacrifice” in the war to liberate Italy from the cruel Nazi/Fascists. Sponsoring it
were veterans of the Brigades led by OSSer Tiziano Palandri, wartime vice commander of the Brigades, and
the commune of Cutigliano near where it was erected. This event is unique; nowhere in Italy has the USA OSS assis-
tance been so recognized. The principle orator was historian Prof. Carlo O. Gori of the University of Pistoia. His speech was written with the
assistance of Tiziano. He paid tribute to the help and courage of the Americans, and noted the
numerous documents from NARA we furnished that enrich the town’s historical archives.
After Rome was liberated, seven of its best divisions were transferred to the Seventh Army for the invasion of
southern France. As the result, the Fifth Army was unable to breach the German Gothic line. The war in Italy became
the “forgotten war” during one of the worst winters in Italy’s history in what turned out to be a stalemate. The Allied troops were spread thin. The inexperienced and poorly trained 92nd
division anchored the western edge of the Allied line.
During the advance the army came into contact with the Pippo Brigades in the Serchio valley that
parallels the coast. It was based in Barga, located in the no-man’s land of the opposing armies. It was obvious that the partisans
could be a great asset. The OSS Fifth Army Detachment was responsible for furnishing tactical intelligence and nur-
turing the partisan effort. Lacking sufficient personnel, five officers and twenty enlisted men from the Italian OGs were
placed on detached service to assist them. The area was in the II Corps sector, for which the late Maj. Stephen Rossetti
was the OSS liaison officer. He placed OG. Capt. Gerald Sabatino with the Pippo Brigades who noted his courage
and ability. Using mules, supplies were sent to them over the mountains. On Christmas Day 1944, the Fascist Monte Rosa Division, reconstituted and including German officers and specialists, attacked the
92nd Division positions in the Serchio Valley. The inexperienced soldiers panicked and retreated, placing the port of Leghorn in jeopardy. The next
day the Pippo brigade struck the flanks of the invaders at Sommocolonnia. Fearing a trap the Monte Rosa retreated.
The Pippo Brigades continued fighting alongside the allies until they reached Milan.