World Battlefronts: Disaster at Bari

The front lay 150 miles to the north, and Bari on the Adriatic felt at peace. It gossiped, haggled, argued. The rich profiteered, the poor scrounged miserably for black-market food. The young strolled down the streets singing, as they had done for centuries before Fascismo's advent.

On the evening of Dec. 2, some 30 German planes came low over the town, dropped their first bombs short among the white stucco buildings. Wide-eyed, white-faced men and women clawed at the ruins, and in the town's few shelters fearful crowds wailed: "Madonna, Madonna mia."

But Bari itself was an incidental target. The bombers which had...

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