The narration of the Partisan Armando
On 18 June 1944, the partisans led by Armando (Mario Ricci) occupied the Castle and created the Montefiorino Liberated Zone, one of the most important episodes of this kind during the Italian partisan struggle. For the first time after a twenty-year dictatorship, the people of the seven municipalities (Frassinoro, Montefiorino, Palagano, Polinago and Prignano in the province of Modena and Ligonchi...
Rendezvous on Monte Penna
Between 2 and 3 August 1944, after retreating from Montefiorino and crossing the Abetone highway (12), Armando's about 800 partisans met up on Monte Penna to regroup. They stayed there for 3 days, then moved to the Sassoguidano area, below Pavullo. Here they heard that the Germans had learnt their location from spies and were preparing to attack. The partisans had no choice but to move into the zo...
Battle of Rocchetta
On 11 August 1944, the German units, assisted by the National Guard, found out about the partisans' movements, crossed the River Scoltenna and attacked them: this was the start of the "Belvedere" search and round-up operation. During this operation no fewer than 11 partisans were killed, 8 of them in the ambush at the Leo Mill, while they were crossing the river. In addition, 3 partisans, includin...
Pause at Montespecchio
After the battle at Sassoguidano (Pavullo) on 21 September 1944, Armando's partisans crossed the river and fought off two attempts by the Germans to cut off their route to Montespecchio, the first in the bed of the River Panaro and the second from Montese. Two partisans died in the fighting at Sassoguidano and the Germans killed no fewer than eight civilians there.
Long pause at Ca’ Bonucci before passing the Front
On 22 September, Armando's partisans settled at Ca’ Bonucci, near Serrazzone (Fanano). An American historian describes the move as "another retreat into the inhospitable mountains around Lake Pratignano, where the partisans survived for a week on boiled chestnuts and mule meat and faced the first signs of the onset of winter protected only by their summer clothing and broken shoes." One partisan...
Liberation of Lizzano in Belvedere and Belvedere Liberated Zone
On 2 October 1944 Armando's partisans set off from Castelluccio to take Lizzano in Belvedere. The Germans were withdrawing towards Vidiciatico and two skirmishes took place nearby, at Bargi and Villaggio Europa. Armando set up his headquarters in the town. On the next day (3 October), the local National Liberation Committee elected Giorgio Biagi as Mayor. After the initial negotiations with the Am...
Partisans at the conquest of Monte Belvedere
The arrival of the American troops of Task Force 45 marked the start of operations for the partisans, who set to work to show what they could do. They made no fewer than three attacks, in association with the Americans, on the German defences on Monte Belvedere: on 29 October, 24-25 November and 12 December. The commander of the Matteotti brigade, Toni Giuriolo, was killed in the December assault.
The last Partisan offensive: the Monte Lancio ridge
In the American plans, the final phase of operation “Encore”, called “Jump off” was scheduled for mid April 1945. The plan of operations also involved the use of Armando's partisans, who were to start from the Dardagno Valley and take the Monte Lancio ridge, above Fanano. The operation began on 16 April, in association with the partisans from the Costrigano brigade, who were in the mountai...
Armando takes charge of the German prisoners at the Castle
On 21 April 1945 the partisans entered Sestola and reached the Castle, where in the meantime other partisans had taken the last German soldiers prisoner: they were young lads, under the command of an elderly sergeant. After arranging the silencing of an American airforce gun that was continually firing on the partisan advance, Armando prepared to march down to Modena. He entered Pavullo and Serram...