Operation Italo Balbo

(Italian air commander)

'Italo Balbo' was a US 'black propaganda' undertaking in the Mediterranean theatre (August/October 1944).

Initial success in the Mediterranean theatre with radio propaganda prompted the Office of Strategic Services' Planning Group to order the development of another radio transmitting station, codenamed 'Boston', to broadcast from a location near Izmir in neutral Turkey. Once Turkish permission for the undertaking had been obtained in August 1944, 'Boston' was on the air within 10 days. The 100-watt voice transmitter broadcast to German garrisons and collaborators in the Balkans, claiming to be a group of deserters and contrite traitors who stressed the hopelessness of the German military situation, and encouraged resistance. Its six 10-minute daily broadcasts ran from 22.00 to 21.30, seven days per week, and took the form of commentaries by former traitors and German soldiers, news broadcasts, highlights of the day in Germany, and underground reports, closing with the late news from 21.15.

The broadcasts were frequently jammed, and the OSS Morale Operations branch reported that the station was the target of repeated enemy sabotage attacks before it closed in October 1944.