World War II US amphibious jeep that led assault on Benito Mussolini found

Dec 12 2012, 14:17 IST
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SummaryJeep sank along with 24 US Army men and the discovery has been made after 67 years.

Wreckage of an American amphibious jeep that sunk along with 24 US Army men in World War II during assault on Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's lakeside home has been discovered after 67 years.

Video footage released by the Voluntary Association of Lake Garda shows what appears to be the wreck of the amphibious DUKW US truck which sunk 600-feet to the bottom of the picturesque lake on April 30, 1945 during the operation.

Located using state of the art sonar systems to search the lake bed along with a unmanned submersible, the finding could lead to the recovery of the mens' bodies and their possible repatriation to the US, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

The servicemen were lost traversing the famed lake as they crossed to Gargnano, where Mussolini had operated as the "puppet" ruler of Italy under German control during 1945 before he fled to his eventual capture and death at the hands of Communist partisans at the Swiss border.

They were members of the US Army's 10th Mountain Division and in particular the 85th Infantry Regiment who fought in some of the roughest terrain in Northern Italy as they wrestled the occupying German troops for control.

It was during the course of these operations on the night of April 29 and 30 that the K Company and a MG platoon of the 10th Mountain Division crossed the lake to reach Mussolini's Vila Feltrinelli.

This was where the fallen despot had operated his 600 day long Fascist Italian Social Republic, a dictatorship only made possible by Adolf Hitler and the German troops occupying Italy from 1943-45, the report said.

The villa was occupied without a fight but that night a violent storm hit one of the crossing amphibious DUKW which contained 25 servicemen and sank, with the loss of all but one person.

The servicemen who were aboard are still listed as missing in action.

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