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At the beginning of World War II, Prince Junio Valerio Borghese, dashing Italian nobleman, assembled the famous Decima MAS naval unit-the first modern naval commando squad. Borghese's "frogmen" were trained to fight undercover and underwater with small submarines and assault boats armed with a variety of destructive torpedoes. The covert tactics he and the Decima MAS developed, including the use of midget submarines, secret nighttime operations, and small teams armed with explosives, have become a standard for special forces around the world to this very day.After the Italian capitulation in 1943, Borghese determinedly fought on as a Fascist commando leader. After the war, he became a man of mystery, variously said to be involved with several right-wing conspiracies, abortive coups, and clandestine activity. The Prince's death in 1974 was every bit as mysterious as his life.Greene and Massignani have drawn upon official archives as well as information from Allied and Axis veterans in an unprecedented attempt to separate fact from fantasy in this detailed examination of Borghese, the Decima MAS, and the Italian naval special forces.
The Black Prince and the Sea Devils: The Story of Prince Valerio Borghese and the Elite Commandos of the Decimaby Jack Greene Alessandro Massignani
Greene and Massignani's workmanlike account of the military career of Prince Valerio Borghese shows how the covert tactics adopted by Borghese's Decima MAS naval unit of World War II are the blueprint for special forces around the world to this day. The Italian nobleman assembled the first modern naval commando squad, whose frogmen were trained to fight undercover and underwater with small submarines and assault boats armed with torpedoes. After Italy's capitulation in 1943, Borghese continued to fight as a fascist commando leader; he died in 1974 as a man of mystery, rumored to be involved in a number of right-wing conspiracies, abortive coups, and other clandestine activity. With eight glossy pages of b&w photos. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
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