NATO base on Monte Grappa

Many connect Mount Grappa with the fierce fighting during the First World War, between the armies of the Kingdom of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire: on its summit, in fact, in the years after the war, the Shrine was built Military, which brings together both the Italians and the Austrians. But the mountain was a witness, and we can say without any denial, even other dramatic moments in Italian history: here, during the Second World War, seven partisans were killed, burned alive with the flamethrowers by German soldiers inside a cave . But even the cold war, that war not waged between East and West, between the United States and the Soviet Union, between the Atlantic Pact and the Warsaw Pact, has affected the whole area and its inhabitants very closely. Up here, in fact, at over 1700 meters above sea level, the Italian Air Force had installed a missile base, armed with a battery of Nike-Hercules missiles, belonging to the 64th Group of Interceptors Teleguidati, with the main task of protecting the space national plane.

The base on Mount Grappa was the control area: the logistic base was located in the town of Bassano del Grappa, while the launch area itself was deployed in Forcelletto, on the northern slope of Monte Grappa. Today, after the missile structures have been decommissioned, the area has passed under the ownership of ENAV: wandering among the old ruins, among the old rusty generators, brings the mind back in time, to years in which a small crisis between the two superpowers to alarm all the defense device. And then, even if almost erased from the signs of time, inside the main building there is a green writing with an arrow: “refuge”, and the image of soldiers running down the stairs, under the ground, for the ‘yet another exercise, or maybe because a real event has taken place slowly takes shape. And, often, during the cold war, moments of tension, where it seemed that the missiles on the ramps were ready to be launched against the opponent, there were.

But today, after the end and fall of the iron curtain, the entire area lies in a state of almost total neglect: the main building is unsafe and several times the area has been the unintentional protagonist of rave parties. Yet, it would be enough to create a site where to attract school children, scholars, simple fans of military history. It has already been done and the Tuono Base, where even three old Nike-Hercules have been positioned on the launch pads, is visited daily by many people. It would take very little for an important part of our recent history not to be lost forever, without being left to fall like an abandoned building marked by time.

Unfortunately, however, our visit will be the last one to this base. A few months later it was knocked down.


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