Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of the first paratrooper mission in Albania that was sent by the CIA in cooperation with the “Independent National Bloc” in March 1949, where on board the small plane that took off from the secret training base that was located on the outskirts of Rome, there were: Alush Lleshanaku, Ndue Pjetër Gjonmarkaj, Haziz Blloshmi and Ndue Mëlyshi, who were selected by their superiors, as the most prepared from those training courses. Rare testimonies of Captain Nikoll Mëlyshi, one of the main leaders of the anti-communist resistance in the district of Mirdita in the years 1944-1949, written in his book “Historical Events”, to help, to see and to live ‘. (5571 GRANDY, DETROIT, MICH. 428211 USA 1976), which gives the story of the first paratrooper mission in communist Albania, where as a result of the “mistake” of the Italian pilot, Ndue Mëlyshi and Ndue Pjetër Gjonmarkaj were not thrown in the place called ‘ Vjerth Field ‘, where it was predetermined in Rome, but 25 km. further away, in the place called ‘Bjeshka e Kunoraës’, in Mirditë, while Alush Lleshanaku and Haziz Blloshmi, even further away, throwing them in the mountains of Macukulli in the district of Mat, where they did not know the place at all and could not to knock on any house for help! The whole sad story of the first paratrooper mission in Albania, with the many vicissitudes of its four members, who, although connected and coordinated with the anti-communist resistance groups operating at that time in the mountains of Mirdita and other provinces in the North of Albania, fell several times in the struggle with the Pursuit Forces suffering heavy losses, and in August 1949, the group consisting of 53 people, crossed the state border and left for Yugoslavia.
According to the testimony of Nikoll Mëlyshi, one of the leaders of the anti-communist resistance in the years 1944-1949 in the mountains of Mirdita (former captain of the Zog Monarchy and also during the occupation of the country, member of the headquarters of the VII Partisan Army Brigade National Liberation Army of Enver Hoxha, which at that time was commanded by Gjin Marka Toma), sometime in early March 1949, some senior CIA officials for Europe met with some of the top leaders of the “Bloc” Independent National ”(a political party formed by Albanian emigration to the West) in a secret base in Rome and agreed to send the first paratrooper mission to Albania, as part of the reorganization of the anti-communist resistance in the small Balkan country across the Adriatic.
The leaders of the “Independent National Bloc”, after getting acquainted with the results of the preparation that had taken place in the camps set up by the Anglo-American Intelligence on the outskirts of Rome, selected and decided to send to this mission, four members of the group of Albanians high level in the acquisition of lessons in the courses and exercises that had taken place in those secret training centers on the outskirts of Rome.
The four Albanians who were trained by the CIA in Rome!
- Alush Lleshanaku (former professor at the Elbasan Normal), who after 1944, went to the mountains and was put in charge of an anti-communist gang, operating in the suburbs of Elbasan, Peqin, and the forests of Martanesh.
- Xhevdet Blloshmi, (former captain of the Zog Monarchy), from the well-known family of the Blloshms of Bërzeshta of Librazhd, who also in December 1944, had fled to the mountains, at the head of an anti-communist resistance group, acting in the areas of Librazhd and Elbasan, until he escaped from Albania.
- Ndue Pjetër Gjonmarkaj from Mirdita, (from the well-known family of Captain of Orosh), a well-known anti-communist who had gone to the mountains in November 1944 and after the murder of brothers Mark and Llesh Gjonmarkaj, he was put in charge and headed the committee Provincial of Mirdita, in the “National League of Mountains”. The fourth person was Ndue Mëlyshi, the son of the mayor of Kthella, Gjon Mëlyshi, one of the most famous families of that area, where some of the sons of that family tree, had served as soldiers of the Zog Monarchy.
Thus, after the necessary formalities and instruction, in the late hours of the night of March 15, 1949, a small aircraft took off from the American Intelligence Center military airport on the outskirts of Rome and crossed the Adriatic. In addition to the parachutes of the four members of the group that were selected for landing, there were four other parachutes on that small plane: two with broadcast radios and two with other auxiliary materials, such as; medical medications, food for 30 days, etc. While in personal parachutes, the members of the group were tied by a small automatic weapon with two combs with bullets.
According to the detailed curriculum a few days ago at the American Intelligence Center on the outskirts of Rome, for the first paratrooper mission, there would be two landing sites, where its members would be divided two by two. The first place of landing would be the place called “Sheshnaltja” of the Mirdita Mountains and the second place “Fusha e Vjerthit”, also in the mountains of Mirdita. The latter was chosen as the most suitable place for the paratroopers, as it was very well known by the three members of the group who were from that province. Ndue Pjetri and Ndue Mëlyshi, were the first group that would jump on the “Square” of the Mirdita Mountain and the plane, after making a turn, (after throwing the first two), would throw again in the same place, also Alush Lleshanaku and Blloshmin.
After crossing the Adriatic, the small plane took the direction from Milot and continued its route in the direction of Rubik, Rrëshen, Kthellë e Epërme, arrived above the “Fushë e Mullirit” in Selitë. Mëlyshi and Ndue Pjetri knew these places very well, as Mirdita was their place. “Field of Vjerth”, although not far from that of “Mill of Selita”, seemed to them not to be seen well by the pilot who piloted the plane. But at that moment, the pilot signaled you for the landing preparations and at the moment, Ndue Pjetri and Ndue Mëlyshi were ready and waiting for the command to jump. In one of his books published in Italy years later, in his memoirs about that paratrooper landing, among other things Ndue Mëlyshi would write: “The night was very clear and clear, although all the mountains were covered with snow… ”! While Mëlyshi and Gjonmarkaj were waiting for the command to land, the pilot turned the plane in the direction of Macukulli in the district of Mat….! Seeing this action, Ndue Mëlyshi said to the co-pilot: “The pilot made a mistake in the right direction; I know this place very well…”! From him, Mëlyshi received the answer: “You do your duty, because he knows his job very well”.
The “mistake” of the Italian pilot and the dissolution of the group!
After the small plane with four landings on board crossed Mount Merkurth, Mëlyshi and Gjonmarkaj, they could no longer distinguish anything from the view from there, even though the pilot was flying a little above the forest tops. After the pilot’s sign, although they had no certainty that they were in the designated place, they both jumped and after the parachutes opened in order, they fell into the mountains without seeing the “Square”, the designated place in Rome. The place where they fell was covered with tall pines and rocks, where the slope was very steep.
Despite the very steep place, Ndue Mëlyshi and Gjonmarkaj, during the fall to the ground, did not suffer any injuries. According to the landing program, the plane had to return to the place where the first two parachuted, to drop Alush Lleshanaku and Blloshmin, but he did not return to that place. Ndue Mëlyshi and Gjonmarkajn, joined each other, about thirty minutes after they had fallen to the ground, firing guns in the air, to see each other where they were. After meeting, they waited for the plane to return again, to make the second landing with Blloshim and Ndue Gjonmarkaj, but their wait was in vain, as the plane no longer appeared in that place.
After losing all hope that the plane could come in that direction anymore, they moved from there, as they were not orienting where they were. Moving around that place was very difficult, as even though it was mid-March, the snow there was over a meter and a half! In those conditions they continued on their way all night and since they could not continue due to fatigue and the bitter cold, they climbed to a high peak of the sector where they were, waiting for breakfast, but without any orientation of where were located. Only after the day dawned, they saw that they were in the area of the mountains of “Kunora e Selita”, in Kthella. The pilot error, intentionally or unintentionally, was about 25 km. in the air with the mountains of “Kunora” where they were located, with the field of “Vjerth”, the place where the landing was scheduled.
But the next biggest mistake of the pilot was the throwing of Hazis Blloshmi and Alush Llashanaku, in the village of Macukull i Matit, throwing them and 25 km. others, further away from “Kunora”. After that, Blloshmi and Lleshanaku, happened in much more difficult conditions than Mëlyshi and Gjonmarkaj, as they fell in an unknown place, not knowing how to get any sign of orientation and having no known people, who could knock. to ask for help. Having no orientation, they both continued to walk on completely unknown paths for several days and nights, until they saw the Mati River and following its course, without stopping.
So after a few days, they have seen from afar the arched bridge of Zog, over the river Mat, near Milot. Having orientated exactly where they were, they approached and followed in the distance the national road, walking parallel to it. Thus, describing Milot, Laç, Mamurras, Fushë-Krujë and Vora, they arrived without any problems in Tirana, stopping somewhere behind the barracks of “Ali Rizai”. After a break near those barracks, they continued to walk, taking the road to Kërraba, towards the mountains of Elbasan and then to Librazhd, and after a few days (without radio broadcasting), crossed the state border entering Greek territory. .
The vicissitudes of Mëlysh and Gjonmarkaj in the mountains of Mirdita!
Meanwhile, Ndue Mëlyshi and Ndue Pjetër Gjonmarkaj, have continued to stay in the Mirdita Mountains, asking for a few days, the other two parachutes that the pilot was ordered to drop with the broadcast radio and other equipment, along with dry food. After two days of searching, on April 17, they were able to track down the radio parachute, which had fallen into a ditch, about 300 meters down. After being able to get off to pick up the radio where the radio was located, they put it to work by making a provisional installation of it and tried several times to connect with the “Center” of the “Independent National Bloc” in Rome.
After much effort, they saw that it was impossible because the radio was not working, probably from some collision she had suffered while falling through the rocks in that deep abyss. After trying hard on the radio to get in touch with the “Center” and being convinced of that impossibility, they both decided to continue the search, to find the next parachute, which the pilot had to drop immediately after the first, where there were several spare radio-broadcasting equipment and dry food, which were calculated for thirty days.
Mëlyshi and Gjonmarkaj, as well as with their souls in their teeth, exhausted from fatigue, hunger and cold, continued the search for several days, but in vain. As it was later learned, the second parachute was thrown by the pilot immediately after the Lleshanak Blloshmi, falling in the mountains of Mat near Macukulli, where neither of them knew about it. After seeing that it was useless to search for the parachute and that he could not stay on that mountain on the evening of April 21, Mëlyshi and Gjonmarkaj took the direction of the trip to the village of Selitë. Mlyshi carried the radio on her back with all her equipment (weighing close to 35 kg) while Gjonmarkaj made his way through the snow.
After walking a lot through the mountains and steep forests, they arrived in Selita, which they had not known as a village before and continued their way without stopping, until around three o’clock in the middle of the night, they arrived in the village. Merurth, who was known to them, but even there they did not stop, to avoid and eliminate as much as possible the dangers. Around eight o’clock in the morning of April 22, they arrived at the top of the Orosh Mountains of Mirdita. Fatigue and boredom from the great defeat they had suffered, losing equipment and connections with the other two members of the group, have forced them to open the equipment once again trying to mount the radio once again, to enter in connection with the “Center in Rome.
Although they put the radio into operation, they never managed to get in touch with the “Center”. After the minutes of that day that they had in the program to enter about the “Center”, they have seen the situation almost hopeless! They had no food with them, and their armament consisted only of a small automatic weapon, with two combs of bullets. In this situation, they have decided to leave the radio in a completely safe place in the “Orosh Mountains” and walk among those villages, in order to get acquainted with the situation in which they were and did not have any kind of information. Their purpose was to get in touch with other anti-communist resistance groups operating in those areas, to make it possible to find equipment for radio installation and entry in connection with the “Center”.
So they left the “Mountain” of Orosh and with much effort, arrived in the village Ndershen of Orosh and knocked on a family of one of the first houses they saw, where not only found hospitality and generosity, but also received the necessary information on internal situation. In that house, Mëlyshi and Gjonmarkaj, were able to learn about the great losses suffered by anti-communist resistance groups in the mountains of Mirdita, where in fighting with the Pursuit Forces, were killed: Frrok Mëlyshi, Mark Ndue Bajraktari, Pjetër Llesh Gjoni, Lodovik Saraçi, Mark Cara, Bardhok Mark Gjoni, Pjetër Paloka, Nikoll Gjet Ndoi etc.
The assassins, most of whom were leaders of anti-communist factions, had somewhat diminished confidence in the anti-communist resistance forces, for their unification in a general uprising, for the overthrow of Enver Hoxha’s communist government. In addition to those killed, a major loss to the anti-communist resistance was the departure to Yugoslavia of three small groups, commanded by Bilal and Halit Kola in Mat and Ndrec Lufi and Marka Bib Vokri in Mirdita. Likewise, a great loss was the terror, imprisonment and internment that the communist government of Tirana exercised against the families of those arrested and those who housed them.
Seeing the very difficult situation where they were, because from the first step they took when they fell on Albanian soil, they could not take a day off, Mëlyshi and Gjonmarkaj decided to continue the journey, although the generous friend of the village Ndërshen, invited them to rest two-three days under his safety. After being supplied with food for two days by their friend, they took the road towards Kthella.
Meeting with anti-communist resistance groups!
On September 20, 1949, Mëlyshi and Gjonmarkaj entered the village of Kthellë, where they were well received by a generous friend of theirs, who gave them other information. In that house they waited for three days and their friend introduced them to Preng Dod Gjini, Bibë Marka Bibën, Preng Zef Tarazhin and Ndue Nikoll Prengën. These four persons were related to other groups located in the regions of Lezha, where they had left a meeting on March 15, in a place called “Apple Neck Forest”, in Mirdita. In that meeting, they joined several other members of the anti-communist resistance who had long been on the run, such as: Ded Kolziu, Llesh Marka Doda, Llesh Marka Tuçi and Gjon Marka Çupi.
Due to the great winter that year, the area of ”Bjeshka e Oroshit” had become impassable and the supply of food had been very difficult, even as a result of the great bread crisis that inherited the province of Mirdita. Also, by the great winter, the anti-communist resistance groups of the Puka district led by Pal and Ndoc Mirakaj, had lost contact with those of Mirdita. After this meeting, they were divided into two groups: in one were Preng Dod Gjini, Ded Kolziu, Gjon Marka Çupi, Ndue Nikoll Prenga and Ndue Mëlyshi with Gjonmarkaj.
While in the other group, were: Llesh Marka Tuçi, Llesh Marka Doda, Bib Marka Biba and Zef Tarazhi. The first group was assigned to go and get the radio in the “Bjeshka” of Orosh, where he was hiding from Mëlyshi and Gjonmarkaj. The second group was also assigned for the supply of food, a place that would be assigned to the forest of Qafë-Molla, acting in cooperation with other groups, which would be connected. The group that was assigned to find the radio, after many vicissitudes and sufferings from the heavy snow, managed to get the radio and left for the designated center, to join the large group.
This became impossible, because on the way back, the two tributaries of the Fan River had been blown away by the heavy rains, and its passage was impossible. Although the group that had the radio definitely needed to go to the appointed place. After waiting for two days, they decided to cross the river in the Karma area, which was very dangerous, because it was close to the Shënpal area, where was the center of the location of the Communists and the Pursuit Forces, which were on alert. Having no other way to cross, the group decided to cross the bridge, in the village of Karme. At 9 o’clock in the morning, some shepherds with sheep passed by them and in those moments, the members of that group were found very close and unprepared, not knowing how to act! If they caught the shepherds, there would be an alarm and the Prosecution Forces would be very close and would carry out the siege.
If they did not catch the shepherds, they could go to the Pursuit Forces and again the danger was too great. However, the hope that perhaps the shepherds had not seen the group and would not go to report, made them walk without creating conflict with them. But this hope was in vain, as one of the shepherds who had close ties with Bardhok Biba, served him, after seeing well the movements of the group, went to Shënpal to the communist center of Mirdita and immediately announced everything. After that, at 12 o’clock that day, the whole group was surrounded by about 500 members of the Pursuit Forces.
Armed Struggle with the Pursuit Forces!
It was March 23, 1949 and the temperature was close to 0 degrees, where the positions of the anti-communist resistance group were very unfavorable and withdrawal, almost impossible. This is due to the fact that the place there was very steep and with high rocks, which fell sharply on the Fan River. On the other side of the river, the Pursuit Forces had placed machine guns and fired incessantly in the direction of the positions where the members of that group had been able to hide. Thus, the six of them stayed for more than eight hours, in a position without moving, to escape the fire of the Pursuit Forces, which undertook several attacks, but to no avail.
Four soldiers of the Pursuit Forces were killed in those attacks: an aspirant, a sergeant and a lieutenant, who was the head of the State Security for Saint Paul, named Qemal Hoxha. Towards evening, the group began to run out of ammunition, and having no other way out, they attacked uphill in the direction of Malthus Peak. In those moments, the war was raging very fiercely and no one had any hope of salvation. The group is divided in two different directions: Preng Dod Gjini and Ndue Mëlyshi, went together, while Ndue Gjonmarkaj and Gjon Marka Çupi and Ndue Nikolli, went in the other direction. A few minutes after they separated, Ndue Nikolli and Mëlyshi were injured, along with Gjon Çupi, who had a radio, dismissed him and took the injured Ndue, coming out of the siege, without any further damage.
Meanwhile on March 24, the Pursuit Forces conducted a thorough search throughout the place where the attempt took place the day before and were able to find the radio. The pursuit forces did not touch the radio at all, but surrounded the place, thinking that the members of the group who had had it would return to pick it up again. And so it happened, on March 28, a small group consisting of Ndue Mëlyshi, Ndue Pjetër Gjonmarkaj, Llesh Marka Dodës, Gjon Marka Çupit and Nikol Frrok Zefi, at six o’clock in the afternoon, entered the place where the war took place, with Pursuit forces, in order to take the radio.
According to the plan made earlier, the Pursuit Forces let them advance and then closed the siege, opening fire everywhere. After an effort that lasted several hours, the anti-communist resistance group was able to break the siege, without suffering any damage, and left in the depths of the mountains, weaving for several months, until August 9, of the same year, the group already consisting of 53 people, crossed the state border and left for Yugoslavia. The first paratrooper landing mission in the mountains of Mirdita, sent by the CIA and the “Independent National Bloc”, had thus failed, in order for them to raise the hopes of other anti-communist resistance groups located in the mountains of Kruja, Mirdita, Mat, Pukës etc., to be organized in a general uprising, which would make possible the overthrow of the communist government of Enver Hoxha! Memorie.al