GROSSETO ITALY BOMBING
GROSSETO ITALY BOMBING
April 26, 1943, Easter Monday, Grosseto suffered its first air raid during World War II. He would have suffered another 18, but this will always be remembered for the tragic price of civilian lives that cost. 134 died fact Grosseto, including dozens of children killed while they were playing on the rides of an amusement park located just outside the Old Port. The attack, led by 48 American flying fortresses, caught completely by surprise the population and few managed to find shelter in air raid shelters.
The city were unloaded nearly 400 bombs of 300 pounds and about 2000 cluster bombs, the so-called cluster bombs (cluster was the name of cylindrical containers that opened on command and containing clips from the weight of 20 pounds). Before the April 26 why American heavy bombers had gone so “north” in their air strikes and action against Grosseto can in effect be considered the first US bombing of central Italy in the history of World War II. The objective of the Americans was put out of the military airport and in particular destroy a school for training pilots of torpedo bomber aircraft that the Germans had created in 1942 right inside the airport.
PHOTO ZOOM click photos (red circles visible bomb craters)
According to intelligence assessments ally this school was the most important logistics center on the Italian territory for the planning of attacks against US naval torpedo transport convoys. Much of the information on this training school, the Allies had given a German prisoner of war who had been captured in the autumn of 1942, and that for several months he had worked inside the airport Maremma. This was a planned attack, but during it 19 planes of 301 B.G. armed with cluster bombs devastated the city center causing a terrifying massacre of children who were busy playing on the rides to Piazza De Maria. How easy to understand, the rescuers showed a nightmarish scene, with mangled little bodies of children who were pitifully recovered and, when possible, recomposed.
The corpses were stacked in the old part of the hospital, while others were put under the arcades of the City. For many days after the April 26, 1943, the massacre of the rides filled the front pages of newspapers not only in Italy but worldwide. On 28 April, to visit the injured and see for themselves the effects of air attack, it was on an official visit in Grosseto even the king, Vittorio Emanuele III. In mid-May onwards, taking its cue from the case of Grosseto, the Vatican sent a formal protest letter to the US president Franklin Roosevelt for an end to air strikes against civilians. Roosevelt replied in mid-June with a personal letter to Pope Pius XII in which he wrote that the American pilots did everything to avoid civilian suffering, but often being forced to operate in restricted areas and in adverse weather conditions, it was inevitable that unfortunately could occurrence of errors.