Numbers that build anniversaries. 2015 less 70 years is 1945, the last year of WWII. So 70 years ago, in those same days, 19-23 April, the Operation Herring was accomplished by Italian paratroopers of the Kingdom of Italy. Paratroopers formations after the 8th of September split in two parts, one for Allies and one for Axis. Moreover in the South of Italy they regrouped in “F” (Folgore) Recce Squadron under English Army and Gruppo Combattimento Folgore under Italian Army. This operation was an airborne combat drop behind German lines. If you want to know more start with Wikipedia article here.

As member of Italian Paratroopers Historical Group, I participated to the annual gathering of Italian paratroopers, this time located in Poggio Rusco, one of the places touched by Operation Herring. Around was still evident the earthquake damage of May 2012. 3 years ago, another anniversary. In the countryside some houses demolished by earthquake or by time. Unwittingly following an alternative route with Google Maps on the smartphone, we passed through green fields in the flat Po valley, along narrow river banks, among water birds, in a place divided in three administrative regions. Very evocative.

My duty was as military picket to Paratrooper Association labarum, dressed as a member of Nembo Parachute Regiment, section of Folgore Combat Group. Parade along town ways, then gathering at the local stadium. Discharged and local people, for welcome addresses, speeches and remembrances. Soldiers of Folgore in service were striking. At the end a paratrooper drop, obviously.

Our reenactment group in the stadium, together with a paratrooper veteran, but of opposed side to what represent our historical uniforms. After the war, the two parts of paratroopers reconciled. So it is not a problem. As says the unofficial newsletter of Folgore in this post: Ah, photos are from this website.

The day before there was an homage to war memorial. Same uniform but with the jumpsuit. Another temperature level and extreme wind. There was a twinning with a French city too. And convivial meals and time together with friends. On the next post a visit to a museum near this place.