The partisan battle
On 16 May 1944 Armando’s partisans occupied Fanano, set fire to the Fascist headquarters, destroyed the conscription lists at the town registry office, and took wheat and cheese from the official stores and distributed some of it to the townspeople. They also emptied the coffers of the bank and the post office before taking eight hostages, including a woman and the town’s Fascist ruling council, intending to swap them for partisans taken prisoner by the Germans. During the night, completely unexpectedly, the Allies dropped supplies down by the river, but the partisans did not realise this until early the next morning, when, shortly afterwards, the Germans broke through the partisan defences just outside the town centre, along the road from Sestola: four people died, including one civilian. The partisans managed to recover only some of the materials from the drop, before withdrawing to Ospitale with their hostages. The negotiations, conducted by the parish priest of Rocchetta Sandri, assisted by those of Ospitale and Fanano, began. However, the negotiations failed and the partisans captured by the Germans at Montefiorino were dispatched to Germany. The next day, 21 May, a group of Germans and Fascists left Cutigliano early in the morning, crossed the Croce Arcana pass and staged a surprise attack on Capanna Tassoni. The building contained not the partisans’ hostages but the formation led by Nello, which put up fierce resistance. The fire-fight attracted the attention of the other partisans in the area, who in turn surrounded the attackers, forcing them to withdraw: three dead, a German private and two members of Mussolini’s National Guard. Before leaving the area for the Asta Valley (Villa Minozzo, Reggio Emilia) by way of Marina (Montecreto), Armando’s partisans established a court which condemned five prisoners to death; they were duly executed. The other hostages were released, except for the woman, who was exchanged for the wife of a partisan commander a few days later.
A plaque next to the doorway of the Capanna Tassoni refuge recalls the battle.