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During World War II, Operation Tombola was a major Special Air Service raid on German rear areas in Italy.

Fifty men parachuted in near Bologna on 23 March 1945, under command of Major Roy Farran. A number of air drops provided weapons for the rag-tag force which armed local resistance fighters and linked up with seventy escaped Russians.

They were able to attack German LI Corps headquarters, based at two villas in the Tuscan Apennines; cut roads and shell a number of installations. Just as important as the 600 or so Germans killed and 400 captured was the number of defenders taken from other duties to secure the rear area. A number of allied airmen, who were being hidden by civilians in the area were also returned to friendly lines.








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