The German army was retreating towards the ‘Gothic Line’ in that period and the Germans thought there were both about 200-300 partisans both some fuggitive of every kind included some German deserters in the Padule area. As a matter of fact, two days after tha massacre, they still estimated in 200 soldiers the partisan troop, with many Russian soldiers and also many German traitors.
Really, the only formation being operating in the surroundings was the ‘Silvano Fedi’ from Ponte Buggianese, commanded by Aristide Benedetti, which had about 30 – 40 soldiers among partisans and patriots. The report on the squad’s activity stated that on that day a “heavily armed German company” surrounded the Padule area, started with “a strong mortar shooting” against them, who took refuge in the middle of the area itself and caused the massacre in the surroundings without sparing anyone. It is nevertheless necessary to deeply understand – because of the estreme complexity – all the various and possible reasons which brought to that carnage, just taking into consideration a small number of partisans in the area of Ponte Buggianese. The Germans knew the probable positioning of the squad that very day, but they avoided coming in touch with it and so they killed unarmed civilians, among which women, elderly people and children. Other bigger squads were positioned on the Montalbano and in the areas at the feet of the hills more in the north, around the city of Pistoia; therefore, their presence there could have represented a serious danger for the retreating army.
Prevention against antifascist struggle was entrusted to Waffen SS and Wehrmacht investigative squads. The massacre had been planned in co-operation with the ‘guardia repubblichina’ [ndt: The ‘National Republican Guard’ was created by Benito Mussolini’s Law No. 913 of Dec. 8th, 1943] and was carried out by some troops of the Nazi army, by using war and heavy artillery methods.
The Germans wanted to protect the escape ways from the partisans and issued a precise scorched earth policy order in the whole area by killing each single human being, included civilians, accused to help partisans: every person should be ‘cancelled’ frome the Padule so that they couldn’t represent a danger for the retreat anymore.
The action ended without the chance for the Germans to see their goal reached; only three partisans were killed: Enrico Magnani (partisa, area XI “Pippo”, Lucca), Enrico Bianchini (partisan, formation ‘Silvano Fedi’ from Ponte Buggianese, born in Castel d’Azzano, Verona), Giuseppe incerpi (partisan, formation ‘Biagini Gino’ from Pistoia)*.
* Giuseppe Incerpi is only mentioned in the Risaliti’s lists and in the report on the partisan activity written by the formation ‘Silvano Fedi’ in Ponte Buggianese. [Renato Risaliti, Antifascismo e Resistenza nel Pistoiese (Antifascism and the Resistance in the Pistoia Area), Tellini, Pistoia, 1976, pages 199-204 and page 232].
Enrico Bianchini ed Enrico Magnani have been recognized as partisans, a sit is visible in the Risaliti’s partisan lists and in the lists made by the Historical Institute for the Resistance in Tuscany (http://www.istoresistenzatoscana.it/partigiani e Renato Risaliti, Antifascismo e Resistenza nel Pistoiese, Tellini, Pistoia, 1976, pp. 230-231; as for Bianchini it is present in a booklet (indicated by Giulia Simone) in the general Archives at Padova’s University, Archivio del Novecento, «Lauree ad honorem. Studenti caduti nella prima e seconda guerra mondiale»,(Ad honorem degrees. Studens fallen in the first and second World War) «Lauree ad honorem. Studenti caduti per la Liberazione 1943-1945» (Ad honorem degrees. Students fallen for the Liberation, 1943-1945, b. 19 pamphlet 311 ENRICO BIANCHINI).
We must also mention Nello Pierattini, cited as a patriot only by Paoletti Paolo, La strage del 23 agosto 1944. Un’analisi comparata delle fonti angloamericane e tedesche sull’eccidio del Padule di Fucecchio, FM edizioni, Firenze, 1994, p. 124. (The massacre of August 23rd, 1944. A comparative analysis of the English-American and German and sources about the Padule di Fucecchio’s massacre, FM Editions, Florence, 1994, page 124).