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Post St Mark's Day: April 25th
Created by John Eipper on 04/28/23 5:42 AM

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St Mark's Day: April 25th (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 04/28/23 5:42 am)

April 25th is St. Mark's Day and also the anniversary of the birth of the Catholic pacifist Guglielmo Marconi (25 April 1874-20 July 1937). He is said to have invented a death ray that could stop any motor from a distance, a real deadly weapon. Mussolini was advised and following successful tests stopping cars and unmanned airplanes, he believed he had a powerful weapon.

But the Pope convinced Marconi not to deliver his mortal project to the Italian Armed Forces. In spite of this, Mussolini tried to convince Marconi to deliver the project. Unfortunately, Marconi died pretty soon after and his secret was buried with him.

Each year on April 25th I go to Altare, a small town a few kilometers north of Savona, to the cemetery of the White Crosses to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the St. Mark Division of the Repubblica Sociale Italiana. In this cemetery, there are also a few partisans and until their relocation to the US, there were also a few American pilots buried there with full military honors by the St. Marks.

April 25th in Italy is also officially "the Day of the Liberation and of the End of War." I do not know what liberation this refers to, considering that a foreign army is still occupying Italy (even if officially allied with us), while the war ended on 2 May 1945 as per the surrender signed at Caserta (29 April 1945, but the negotiations by the Germans were ongoing for some time) by the Werhmacht, RSI, and Allied plenipotentiaries.  On 24 April the Axis forces started leaving the towns and one day later the victors could enter. In September 1943 Italy betrayed Germany, and in April 1945 Germany betrayed the RSI.

 I append photos of the coffee-thirsty Germans (RSI allies) in Savona.

Further, I send also photos of one of the original German sidecars from 1941, priced at 50,000 euros owned by another participant in the commemoration.  When I saw it at first I thought that some Germans had arrived, maybe from the past.

JE comments:  What an impressive machine, a BMW.  Note that it could accommodate three riders, although not very comfortably.  I believe the Soviet Ural sidecar rig was a reverse-engineered copy.

Eugenio, what is the provenance of the first two photos?  Are they from the family archives?

And finally, we should look at the Marconi Death Ray.  Urban legend or something more?  See below:


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  • The Sad End of a German Fiance (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 04/29/23 4:15 AM)
    Many thanks for publishing my post!

    The photos of the German soldiers strolling in Savona are from a friend of mine who has a large archive of photos, uniforms, and other artifacts from WWII.

    About German soldiers, one of them in a village near Savona was engaged to an Italian girl. In the final month of the war the couple saw that the front would collapse very soon. They planned for the young man to desert, remain at the girl's home and then marrying. But the heroic partisans in order to hasten the victory of "Good against Evil" killed him while he, unarmed, was coming out of the girl's house one evening.

    JE comments:  For those who missed yesterday's photos, here is the link.  The fate of this German beau was probably repeated many times over.  Sad.  I have images in my head of the young French women who were publicly humiliated for having relations with Germans.  The lesson is clear:  if you're going to fall in love in wartime, make sure you pick the winning team.


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