Italy - Kingdom of: A fine Second World War Action in the Tyrrhenian Sea Gallantry under Air Attack 21st July 1943 Naval Officer’s Al Valore Militare in Bronze, awarded to Mario Laganà, Regia Marina, for his gallantry aboard the torpedo boat Calliope when she was under air attack by British torpedo bombers who machine gunned her decks after having attacked the motor ship Oriani, which vessel she had been escorting from La Maddalena to Portoferraio. Calliope suffered 7 killed and 28 wounded, and her commanding officer, Commander Giudici, defined the behaviour of the crew as exceptional. The ship’s medical officer, Sottotenente Medico Giovanni Raicevich, was killed in this attack. He was the son of the Italian Greco-Roman wrestling champion of the same name.
Italy - Kingdom of: Al Valore Militare in Bronze, reverse officially engraved: ‘MARIO LAGANA’ / TIRRENO 21-VII 43’
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Awarded to Mario Laganà, an officer of the Regia Marina, who was awarded the Al Valore Militare in Bronze for his gallantry aboard the torpedo boat Calliope when she was under air attack by British torpedo bombers in the Tyrrhenian Sea (Tirreno) on 21st July 1943 when sailing between the Island of Capraia and the Island of Elba.
On 21st July 1943 the torpedo boat (Regia Torpediniera) Calliope was attacked from the air when machine-gunned by torpedo bombers which had attacked the vessel that she had been escorting. Lieutenant Commander Marcello Giudici, had set sail with the Calliope from La Maddalena escorting the motor ship Oriani wnose destination was Portoferraio. The clash took place off the island of Capraia, first the motor ship Oriani was torpedoed, and Calliope went to the rescue of the survivors, only to find herself attacked by eight enemy aircraft. Some 28 crew members were wounded and seven killed. Mario Laganà is confirmed as one of had nine officers aboard her on this occasion.
One of Mario Laganà’s fellow officer, the medical officer, Sottotenenti Medico Giovanni Raicevich, was killed in this attack. He was the son of the Italian Greco-Roman wrestling champion of the same name.
In the report, Commander Giudici defined the behaviour of the crew as exceptional: the seven sailors died as heroes at their posts in combat. Their gesture went down in naval history.