Luciano was surprisingly patriotic, or perhaps just surprisingly eager to escape: His initial offer was to personally parachute behind enemy lines and act as a liaison for Allied troops, and totally for-realsies he promised to come back to prison when it was all over. Once Naval Intelligence officers finished sharing a healthy belly laugh, they realized that Luciano's involvement -- while perhaps not to the extreme that he'd suggested -- wasn't such a crazy idea after all. His extensive network of Mafia contacts, plus the weight his name carried, could very well help the American military establish covert operations on the island.
The intel provided by Luciano's contacts proved invaluable, as did the doors that opened up with the mere mention of his name (some agents referred to it as a "magic word"). In one daring heist on an Italian naval base, Mafiosos rolled up, peppered the German guards outside with their Tommy guns, blew open a safe containing a veritable paint-by-numbers schematic of the island's defenses, and handed that treasure straight over to the Americans. Gangsters vs. Nazis sounds like a far-fetched Call of Duty mod, but at one point, it was a wartime reality.
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