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SPECIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE, 1940-1946:
SUBVERSION AND SABOTAGE DURING WORLD WAR II
Series One: SOE Operations in Western Europe

Part 5: Italy, 1941-1948
(Public Record Office Class HS 6/775-908)

Most of the files concern planning and reports on activities supporting the 5th and 8th Armies in northern Italy. The full story of what SOE achieved in Italy is still waiting to be written and these files offer up many opportunities for new research. They provide good information on:

  • the nature and profile of Italian recruits.
  • the communist tendencies within patriot resistance groups.
  • relations with CLNAI.
  • the role and contribution of subversion and sabotage in the Italian campaign.
  • the vital role of SOE wireless links in communications leading up to the signing of the armistice with Italy and in contacts with officials in Rome after its evacuation by the Germans.
  • the exploits of 11 coup de main parties working in support of General Alexander's offensive.
  • SOE liaison with Italian patriot resistance groups, including guerilla bands in the Appennines and in the Ligurian Alps.
  • the strength and successes of groups in Piedmont, Lombardy and Liguria which forced the Germans to divert substantial forces to these areas.
  • interrogations and enemy double agents.
  • the para-military activities of the SOE force commanded by
    Major Malcolm Munthe which carried out 70 missions behind enemy lines in four months from September 1943.
  • the SOE detachment in Florence involved in heavy fighting in August 1944.
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