The SAS made their name in the North African desert, but less well known is after that they continued to fight in the mediterranean theatre. They carried out raiding missions in advance of the invasion of Sicily, Operation Husky, and then operating behind enemy lines during the Italian Campaign.
This is the story of Britain’s elite special force in Italy during the Second World War. In the summer of 1943 the SAS came out of Africa to carry the fight to the Germans and Fascists in Sicily and the mainland. On the Italian Armistice and Surrender in September 1943 the originator of the SAS, Sco of the SAS, Scots Guards lieutenant David Stirling, was a prisoner at the high-security prisoner of war camp five at Gavi in Piedmont, north-western Italy, after being captured in January in Tunisia. He eventually ended up as a prisoner at Colditz Castle in Germany, but his work continued. The idea of small groups of parachute-trained soldiers operating behind enemy lines to gain intelligence, destroy enemy aircraft, and attack their supply and reinforcement routes, was realised in the many daring missions carried out in Italy by the men of 2nd SAS Regiment and the Special Raiding Squadron. The famous SAS motto of ‘Who dares wins,’ was swiftly translated into the Italian ‘Chi osa vince.’ This book reveals how words were turned into deeds.
For this episode I’m joined by Malcolm Tudor. Malcolm’s father actually fought in Italy during WWII, his Italian mother’s family worked with the partisans and aided escaped allied POW’s. Malcolm is also the author of SAS In Italy, 1943-1945