Monday, October 14, 2013

The Bakar Mockery

In the darkest hour of the World War I, after the defeat at Caporetto, Italy badly needed some good news to boost the morale of the troops and of the whole country. An attack on the Austrian ships in the harbour of Buccari (now Bakar, in Croatia) was considered almost impossible, because the port itself was deep inside an area controlled by enemy forces.
MAS 96, Vittoriale, Gardone Riviera, Brescia
[The MAS 96 commanded by Luigi Rizzo, photo from Wikipedia]
A raid was devised with the use of three MAS, light and fast motor boats armed with torpedoes, and the mission commander was the Livornese Frigate captain Costanzo Ciano. The leading boat was commanded by Lieutenant Luigi Rizzo, who had already sunk the Austrian battleship “Wien” in Trieste and who later managed to sink the “Szent István” off Premuda. The poet Gabriele D'Annunzio was part of the same crew as a simple “seaman”.
Bakar Mockery stele, Giudecca island, Venice
The MAS boats were towed to the entrance of the bay by torpedo boats to save precious fuel and were able to evade all the defensive measures of the Austrian Navy. They managed to fire all their torpedoes but five were caught unexploded in the protective nets around the battleships and the last went off without much damage. During the successful escape D'Annunzio left in a buoy some wine and a derisive message for the enemy. As a poet and journalist he was then instrumental in inflating the importance of this daring but harmless raid, which became known as the “Beffa di Buccari” (Bakar mockery).
Church of the Most Holy Redemeer, Giudecca island, Venice
The above memorial stone was placed in front of the church of the “Santissimo Redentore” (Most Holy Redeemer) in the Giudecca island, in Venice, from where the boats sailed for their mission. The Livornese share of the raid was increased by the Frigate captain Arturo Ciano, who commanded one of the support groups, and by the fact that the three MAS boats involved were all built at the Orlando shipyard in Livorno.

External links: Bakar mockery - Luigi Rizzo - Costanzo Ciano - Gabriele D'Annunzio (Wikipedia)


Michelle said...

An interesting piece of history, VP!

Randy said...

Beautiful church.

Taken For Granted said...

A great story, and amazing that the boat survives. Didn't think the MAS boats were common until WW II.

cieldequimper said...

It is really good to start the week with history, and some cool shots to illustrate it!

Cezar and Léia said...

Very interesting and your pictures are wonderful!

Luis Gomez said...

Great post VP. Thank you.

Dina said...

What a story, and complete with illustrations!

Stefan Jansson said...

Thanks for the history lesson.

JM said...

Great informative post and photos!