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Post Putin's Campaign in Ukraine: Does Propaganda Conflict with the Facts?
Created by John Eipper on 07/02/22 4:15 AM

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Putin's Campaign in Ukraine: Does Propaganda Conflict with the Facts? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 07/02/22 4:15 am)

Commenting on my post of June 30th, our esteemed moderator wrote: "I will never share Eugenio Battaglia's enthusiasm for Putin."

Please allow me to say that I have no enthusiasm for the Russian leader.  My goal, following the teachings of professor Alessandro Orsini, is rather to comprehend the facts.

Understanding the facts does not mean enthusiasm. However, a nationalist may remember that US troops have been in Italy since 1943, while the Russians passed by only at the time of Napoleon.  As I have stated before, foreign troops, even if benevolent, after a while "stink."

Furthermore, stating that Putin is mentally unbalanced may seem to be silly propaganda, when even the Vatican stated that NATO barked at the borders of Russia. If I may reply to the very good post of Consoly Leon Arias, after Madrid NATO has changed from a guard dog into an attack dog.

In Italy, the propaganda is completely against Russia and so is the government.  Citing Professor Orsini again, our PM Draghi is to Biden the equivalent of Lukashenko to Putin.

But nothing is new.  During WWII facts were presented according to the propaganda.  I remember our radio news when people were informed that our troops made a withdrawal to better defensible positions as planned (sic). However, the most blatant example of distorting facts may go back to the evening of 30 January 1944, when the US Rangers of Colonel Darby at Cisterna, in order to break the German front held by the German Division Hermann Goring at the bridge-head of Nettuno, attacked to move towards Rome. See the book Lo Sbarco di Nettunia e la Battaglia per Roma by the historian Pietro Cappellari, detailing the fight of German and RSI forces against the Allies.

After a severe pounding by the Allied batteries from land, sea, and air, the Allies moved in but the attack failed, of the 767 Rangers only 7 would return.  For a long time, people were made to believe that the Rangers had fought to the last man, even if it was not possible to find any list of the deceased. It was, however, reported that the Rangers of the 1st and 3rd Battalions plus a platoon of the 3rd Reconnaissance Troop inflicted the following losses on the Germans: 400 dead, 17 panzers or equivalent destroyed while the Germans on the night and day of the 30th, for the whole area and not just at Cisterna, took losses of 94 deaths, 250 wounded and no loss of panzers or equivalent.

On the night of 30 January, the German command officially stated that in the small locality of Cisterna, 786 US soldiers, including 49 officers, had been captured and 3 tanks destroyed. It seems that the attacking Rangers moved in but were surprised by the swift German reaction and surrendered almost immediately in spite of the attempt by some officers to push the soldiers to fight.

The Allied censorship immediately entered action while the Axis media claimed the great (local) victory and on 3 February the Rangers were among the 2000 Allied prisoners paraded in front of the Coliseum.

The remaining Rangers on 27 March left Nettunia for the US. Colonel Darby returned too but was back in Italy in the spring of 1945 commanding the 10th Mountain Division.  Unfortunately, he lost his life in probably the last battle in Italy, near Trento, on 30 April 1945.

JE comments:  Western coverage of the Ukraine war is based on two pillars:  First, that Russia has already suffered a strategic defeat, and second, that Putin's regime is irreversibly weakened.  Yet Putin's war machine seems to creep slowly forward, however ineptly.  And for months now, we read that the Russian home front is collapsing socially and economically, with a meltdown just around the corner.  Real soon--but not yet.

Does Ukraine--and just as importantly, Western support--have the stamina for this war of attrition?  Putin is betting we don't.

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