Mussolini assassination plot involving 617 squadron
A Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 assassination plot involving Royal Air Force 617 Squadron
No. 617 Squadron RAF
No. 617 Squadron is a Royal Air Force aircraft squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. It currently operates the Tornado GR4 in the ground attack and reconnaissance role...

has been revealed by documents released from the UK national archives in 2010.


Hitler and Mussolini from '34 to '44 met seventeen times. That of July 19, 1943 will go down in history as "The meeting of Feltre", although Villa Soccio or Pagani-Gaggia, the summer home of Senator of the kingdom Achille Gaggia, is in reality an isolated area outside San Fermo Belluno about twenty kilometers from Feltre. The error, then approved by the official historiography, is probably due to a simple type of Mussolini himself, who recalls in his memoirs just as the "meeting of Feltre. The conference begins at 11. Hitler took the floor in front of an apathetic Mussolini, Secretary Bastianini, ambassadors and Von Mackenzen and Alfieri, the chief of staff, General Ambrosio, Field Marshal Keitel, General Rintelen, General Warlimont, Colonel Montezemolo, Schmidt and other attendants. After half an hour the Duce read the message of the bombing of Rome. Operation Crosspoint involving 362 B17 and B24 heavy bombers and 300 medium bombers (146 and 154 B26 B25), escorted by 268 fighters Lighting hit the capital at 11 o'clock in the morning and six in successive waves cause 3 000 victims. At 3 pm, ending a stalemate with the "Conversations of Feltre. The next morning, July 20, Mussolini announced the general Ambrosio from the capital of its intention to send a message to Hitler that Italy was no longer in a position to continue the war. But it was too late. The general notes that this decision was taken to Villa Gaggia. A few days later, on July 25 of '43, the Grand Council shall overthrow Mussolini. Followed 90 days of Badoglio, the armistice of 8 September. And the staggering escape of King Vittorio Emanuele III on the dock of Ortona a Mare (Pescara), where top officials huddled 250 ready to run away.


The documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, detail plans made in early July 1943 for a major mission for 617 squadron that would have taken place in July or August, just months after the Dam-buster raids. The plan was for the squadron to fly an extremely low level operation, this time over Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 to assassinate Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 by bombing his headquarters
Headquarters denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the United States, the corporate headquarters represents the entity at the center or the top of a corporation taking full responsibility managing all business activities...

 and his residence.

The plan was derived by Air Marshal Harris
Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet GCB OBE AFC , commonly known as "Bomber" Harris by the press, and often within the RAF as "Butcher" Harris, was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command during the latter half of World War...

 and had the backing of Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

, the foreign secretary
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

. In a memorandum
A memorandum is from the Latin verbal phrase memorandum est, the gerundive form of the verb memoro, "to mention, call to mind, recount, relate", which means "It must be remembered ..."...

 to the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, dated 13 July 1943, Eden wrote:
Harris has asked permission to try to bomb Mussolini in his office in Rome and to bomb his residence simultaneously in case the Duce is late that morning. Eden reported that Mussolini's headquarters, the magnificent Palazzo Venezia
Palazzo Venezia
The Palazzo di Venezia is a palazzo in central Rome, Italy, just north of the Capitoline Hill. The original structure of this great architectural complex consisted of a modest medieval house intended as the residence of the cardinals appointed to the Church of San Marco...

 in central Rome, and his private residence, Villa Torlonia
Villa Torlonia (Rome)
Villa Torlonia is a villa and surrounding gardens in Rome, Italy, formerly belonging to the Torlonia family. It is entered from via Nomentana....

, were both "unmistakeable" and could easily be identified by British bomber
A bomber is a military aircraft designed to attack ground and sea targets, by dropping bombs on them, or – in recent years – by launching cruise missiles at them.-Classifications of bombers:...


Importantly, neither was within 1,500 yards of the Vatican
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

, which the Allies had promised not to damage.

The memorandum continues:
I suggest that if Mussolini were killed or even badly shaken, at the present time this might greatly increase our chance of knocking Italy out (of the war) at an early date. And I therefore ask your permission to lay the operation on.


Within two weeks of the requested operation Mussolini was ousted by the Grand Council of Fascism
Grand Council of Fascism
The Grand Council of Fascism was the main body of Mussolini's Fascist government in Italy. A body which held and applied great power to control the institutions of government, it was created as a party body in 1923 and became a state body on 9 December 1928....

 and replaced by a caretaker government
Caretaker government
Caretaker government is a type of government that rules temporarily. A caretaker government is often set up following a war until stable democratic rule can be restored, or installed, in which case it is often referred to as a provisional government...

 led by King Vittorio Emmanuele III
Victor Emmanuel III of Italy
Victor Emmanuel III was a member of the House of Savoy and King of Italy . In addition, he claimed the crowns of Ethiopia and Albania and claimed the titles Emperor of Ethiopia and King of Albania , which were unrecognised by the Great Powers...

, who negotiated a surrender
Surrender (military)
Surrender is when soldiers, nations or other combatants stop fighting and eventually become prisoners of war, either as individuals or when ordered to by their officers. A white flag is a common symbol of surrender, as is the gesture of raising one's hands empty and open above one's head.When the...

to the Allies, and the operation never went ahead.
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