Invasion of Sicily

Invasion of Sicily


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After defeating Italy and Germany in the North African Campaign (November 8, 1942-May 13, 1943) of World War II (1939-45), the United States and Great Britain, the leading Allied powers, looked ahead to the invasion of occupied Europe and the final defeat of Nazi Germany. The Allies decided to move next against Italy, hoping an Allied invasion would remove that fascist regime from the war, secure the central Mediterranean and divert German divisions from the northwest coast of France where the Allies planned to attack in the near future. The Allies’ Italian Campaign began with the invasion of Sicily in July 1943. After 38 days of fighting, the U.S. and Great Britain successfully drove German and Italian troops from Sicily and prepared to assault the Italian mainland.

The Allies Target Italy

When the Allies won the North African Campaign on May 13, 1943, a quarter-million German and Italian troops surrendered at Tunisia, on the north coast of Africa. With the huge Allied army and navy in the southern Mediterranean now freed for further action, British and American strategists faced two options: Transfer these forces north for the impending invasion of Europe from the English Channel, or remain in theater to strike at southern Italy, which British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) called “the soft underbelly of Europe.” At this crossroads, the Allies, after some dissension, decided to press north into Italy. The stepping stone to its mainland would be the island of Sicily, in part because the Allies could depend on fighter cover from air bases on British Malta, 60 miles south of Sicily and recently freed from a siege by Axis forces.

The invasion was assisted by some subterfuge. In April 1943, a month before the Allied victory in North Africa, German agents recovered the body of a British Royal Marine pilot from the waters off a Spanish beach. Documents in an attaché case handcuffed to the officer’s wrist provided a goldmine of intelligence about the Allies’ secret plans, and German agents quickly sent the documents up the chain of command where they soon reached German leader Adolf Hitler (1889-1945). Hitler studied the captured plans carefully, and, taking full advantage of their top-secret details, directed his troops and ships to reinforce the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, west of Italy, against an impending Allied invasion. There was only one problem: The recovered body–which was not a Royal Marine but actually a homeless man from Wales who had committed suicide–and its documents, were an elaborate British diversion called Operation Mincemeat. By the time Hitler redirected his troops in the summer of 1943, a massive Allied invasion force was sailing to Sicily.

The Allies Land at Sicily

The invasion of Sicily, code-named Operation Husky, began before dawn on July 10, 1943, with combined air and sea landings involving 150,000 troops, 3,000 ships and 4,000 aircraft, all directed at the southern shores of the island. This massive assault was nearly cancelled the previous day when a summer storm arose and caused serious difficulties for paratroopers dropping behind enemy lines that night. However, the storm also worked to the Allies’ advantage when Axis defenders along the Sicilian coast judged that no commander would attempt amphibious landings in such wind and rain. By the afternoon of July 10, supported by shattering naval and aerial bombardments of enemy positions, 150,000 Allied troops reached the Sicilian shores, bringing along 600 tanks.

The landings progressed with Lieutenant General George S. Patton (1885-1945) commanding American ground forces and General Bernard L. Montgomery (1887-1976) leading British ground forces. Allied troops encountered light resistance to their combined operations. Hitler had been so deceived by “Mincemeat” that he had left only two German divisions in Sicily to battle Allied soldiers. Even several days into the attack he was convinced that it was a diversionary maneuver and continued to warn his officers to expect the main landings at Sardinia or Corsica. The Axis defense of Sicily was also weakened by losses the German and Italian armies had suffered in North Africa, in casualties as well as the several hundred thousand troops captured at the end of the campaign.

The Allies Advance

For the next five weeks, Patton’s army moved toward the northwestern shore of Sicily, then east toward Messina, protecting the flank of Montgomery’s veteran forces as they moved up the east coast of the island. Meanwhile, jarred by the Allied invasion, the Italian fascist regime fell rapidly into disrepute, as the Allies had hoped. On July 24, 1943, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) was deposed and arrested. A new provisional government was set up under Marshal Pietro Badoglio (1871-1956), who had opposed Italy’s alliance with Nazi Germany and who immediately began secret discussions with the Allies about an armistice.

On July 25, the day after Mussolini’s arrest, the first Italian troops began withdrawing from Sicily. Hitler instructed his forces to make contingency plans for withdrawal but to continue to fight fiercely against the Allied advance. As July turned to August, Patton and Montgomery and their armies battled against determined German troops dug into the mountainous Sicilian terrain. The U.S. and British soldiers pushed back the Axis forces farther and farther until most were trapped in a northeast corner of the island.

Axis Troops Leave Sicily

As Patton and Montgomery closed in on the northeastern port of Messina, the German and Italian armies managed (over several nights) to evacuate 100,000 men, along with vehicles, supplies and ammunition, across the Strait of Messina to the Italian mainland. When his American soldiers moved into Messina on August 17, 1943, Patton, expecting to fight one final battle, was surprised to learn that the enemy forces had disappeared. The battle for Sicily was complete, but German losses had not been severe, and the Allies’ failure to capture the fleeing Axis armies undermined their victory. The advance against the Italian mainland in September would take more time and cost the Allies more troops than they anticipated.


Operation Husky, the Invasion of Sicily - WW2 Timeline (July 9th - August 17th, 1943)

With Northern Africa free of fascist tyranny, the Allies now focused their attention on the Italian mainland in an effort to knock out the weaker Italian forces from under the Axis banner. But before the Italian coast could be hit, the Allies would need a staging point - this staging point became the German-held island of Sicily.

A massive invasion forces rolled over heavy seas on the morning of July 9th, 1943. Within the fleet were two distinct invasion forces made up of Americans, Canadians and the British. The American 7th Army was led by none other than General George S. Patton while the British 8th Army was headed up by legendary General Bernard Law Montgomery. Patton's forces would make an invasion landing on the west coast of the island while Montgomery's forces would be charged with making headway in the east. Before them stood approximately 300,000 enemy soldiers, with the bulk of these made up by Italian Army personnel.

British airborne elements took off in gliders towed behind their transport planes but rough skies jostled the group about. An American paratrooper force took off a few hours later only to be greeted by the same skies. The rough air forced down some of the transports, hands and all, while others made it to their locations in Sicily. Still others were forced completely back to home base. As can be expected, many of the airborne forces that survived the trip to Sicily landed in locations other than those that were expected.

British forces soon landed via the sea and quickly overtook the surprised Italian defenders along the coast, their batteries captured in full. Some alert Italian artillery units further inland opened fire on the British invaders but these installations were quickly annihilated by offshore shelling from the Royal Navy. With the beachhead in place, British and Canadian forces began making their way to shore en mass.

To the west, the American 7th Army faced an alert Italian coastal defense. Offshore artillery shelling of the positions ultimately cleared the path for Patton and his forces to come ashore. Despite a response from German and Italian aircraft, both invasion forces began making headway inland. The invasion of Sicily was now in full swing.

With chaos and confusion being brewed by the misplaced Allied paratrooper elements inland, the invasion forces operated at speed. Ponte Grande was in British hands for the moment but an Italian offensive beat the outnumbered British invaders. A handful of British soldiers remained and controlled the bridge point for a time while another detachment made their way into contact with the invasion force, bringing back with them some mechanized firepower. The returning forces quickly took the bridge back and further advances towards Syracuse itself were made in the process. Syracuse was in British hands by the end of the first day of the invasion.

The American 7th Army has conquered some 40 miles of beachfront property and equally benefited from the paratrooper's antics inland. Within two weeks, Patton's forces had made it to the northern coast and had also captured the Sicilian capital of Palermo. Canadian forces made their way inland and could lay claim to taking Enna in the center of the island.

With Italian dictator Mussolini overthrown back in Italy and Italian soldiers less-than-eager to continue the fight, Hitler was forced to evacuate the remaining Axis soldiers and equipment from the northern coast. In the two-day operation, some 100,000 soldiers were saved from capture. Operation Husky proved an overwhelming Allied victory when the US 3rd Division in Messina at the northeastern tip of the island signaled victory.

The first steps toward invading the European mainland had now been taken.


There are a total of (21) Operation Husky, the Invasion of Sicily - WW2 Timeline (July 9th - August 17th, 1943) events in the Second World War timeline database. Entries are listed below by date-of-occurrence ascending (first-to-last). Other leading and trailing events may also be included for perspective.

The Allied invasion fleets sail out to Sicily.

Operation Husky begins. Target - German-held Sicily. Some 2,590 naval vessels take part in the invasion which encompasses two army groups of American and British forces invading at two different coasts of the island.

15th Army Group begins their initial assault to the south.

The British 5th Division takes Cassibile.

US 82nd Airborne Division and British 1st Airborne Division paratroopers land at strategic locations across Sicily prior to the invasion force's arrival.

The Hermann Goring Panzer Division engages the US 1st Infantry Division at Gela. US forces are assited by offshore bombardment from Royal Navy ships and repel the German attack.

Allied airborne elements parachute into Sicily and capture key bridges. However, a German counter-attack drives back any gains of the day.

By this date, some 478,000 Allied troops have landed on Sicily.

German Paratroopers repel Allied forces from the Primasole bridge.

British and American forces finally meet at Comiso and Ragusa.

The Allies control key airfields across the island, allowing air support more resources from which to work with.

The Primsole bridge is recaptured from the Germans.

US General George C. Patton and his fabled 7th Army move along the west of the island at speed, claiming the Sicilian capital of Palermo in the process.

With Mussolini deposed back in Rome, Hitler has few options but to plan a retreat for his overwhelmed forces in Sicily. As such, he orders an official withdrawel.

After some time, the British finally capture the port at Catania. Though a vital and strategic victory, their advance delays the operation some.

In an attempt to cut off the retreating Germans, the US 7th Army conducts a flanking amphibious attack.

Wednesday, August 11th, 1943

The US 7th Army undertakes another amphibious jump to head off the German retreat.

Wednesday, August 11th, 1943

The evacuation of Axis forces from Sicily begins.

Thursday, August 12th, 1943

Some 100,000 Axis soldiers are successfully rescued from Sicily. The rest are captured by advancing Allied forces.

One last amphibious assault by the 7th Army is conducted. The Germans now in full retreat to the northern tip of Sicily.

The US 3rd Division gives the official "all clear" from their position in Messina. Operation Husky is a success and Sicily is firmly in Allied hands.


Operation Husky - the Invasion of Sicily, 10 July- 17 August 1943

The invasion of Sicily (10 July-17 August 1943) was the first successful Allied invasion of one of the Axis partners, and helped secure Allied control of the Mediterranean as well as helping to trigger the fall of Mussolini.

The decision to invade Sicily was made at the Casablanca conference of January 1943. The campaign in Tunisia was still in progress, but it was clear that it would end some time in the spring of 1943. A decision thus had to be made on what to do next. The American military leaders wanted to focus entirely on Operation Overlord, the cross-channel invasion of France, and had no interest in getting involved in further major battles in the Mediterranean. Churchill in contrast wanted to continue to chip away at the flanks of the German empire, in order to weaken the German military and keep German troops pinned down away from France. He could also see the potential benefits of attacking Germany from the south, the unfortunately named &lsquosoft underbelly of Europe&rsquo, and advancing into the Balkans. He was unable to win over General Marshall or the US Chiefs of Staff, who feared that he was actually trying to undermine Overload. However even the Americans had to admit that the Allies wouldn&rsquot be ready to carry out Overlord during 1943, so some alternative course of action had to be found. The veteran troops now present in North Africa could hardly be left idle for the rest of the year. There was also a fear that Stalin might decide to come to terms with the Germans if the western Allies were no longer involved in any land campaign against the Germans.

The British and Americans eventually agreed to invade Sicily. This operation had three aims. First, it would help secure the Mediterranean sea lanes. Second, it might force the Germans to pull some troops away from the Eastern Front. Third, it might force Italy out of the war. The invasion actually achieved all three of these objectives. Hitler officially cancelled Operation Citadel, the battle of Kursk, on 12 July, two days after the seaborne landings on Sicily, on the grounds that he might need to rush reinforcements to Italy. The presence of Allied troops on Italian soil fatally undermined Mussolini&rsquos position, and he was overthrown by his own supporters on 25 July, while the fighting on Sicily was still underway. However there was no plan to follow up the invasion of Sicily with an attack on the Italian mainland. This decision was only made after the fall of Mussolini, and at this point the decision to invade Sicily instead of Sardinia limited Allied options, meaning that the invasion had to take place in the south, within fighter range of Sicily, eventually leading to the long, costly Italian campaign.

A command structure was put in place that reflected the multi-national nature of the invasion force. Eisenhower was made Supreme Commander. General Alexander was made overall commander of the land forces (15th Army Group), Air Chief Marshal Tedder commanded the air forces and Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham the naval forces. The invasion itself would be carried out by two armies - the British Eighth Army (Montgomery) and the American Seventh Army (Patton). This would be the only time that Patton and Montgomery would serve alongside each other at the same rank, and the campaign would contribute to the rivalry between the two men.

The first plan was for two widely separated landings. The Americans were to land near Palermo, in the north-west of the island, the British near Catania, on the east coast. Montgomery was strongly opposed to this idea, and on 24 April criticized it for assuming that the island would only be lightly defended. Some key American figures assumed that the Germans would soon desert the Italians, who would be unable to offer much resistance on their own. This plan would also have forced the air and sea support to be split in two, and may well have seen one or both of the isolated Allied beachheads destroyed.

The second plan gave the main role in the attack to Montgomery&rsquos Eighth Army. This would land on the south-eastern corner of Sicily, and advance up the east coast, taking Syracuse and finally Messina. Patton&rsquos Seventh Army was to land on the British left, and advance north and north-west towards Palermo, protecting Montgomery&rsquos left and rear. The landings would create a single massive beachhead, covering 85 miles of the south and south-eastern coast of the island.

This plan inevitably angered Patton, who resented being given a secondary role. Montgomery&rsquos objections to the original plan were probably valid, and the plans were being formed in the aftermath of the battle of Kasserine Pass, where American troops had initially performed rather badly. The Americans learnt quickly, and by the end of the fighting in Tunisia had proved themselves to be more than capable of taking on the Germans, but Montgomery&rsquos caution in April 1943 is understandable, although by then the Americans had started to perform much better in North Africa.

The eventual operation was carried out on a massive scale. The airborne assault involved 4,600 men, 222 aircraft and 144 gliders. The initial assault was to be made by seven divisions. Within 48 hours of the initial landings around 80,000 troops, 600 tanks and 900 artillery guns had been landed on Sicily. In terms of the landing area and the number of troops landed on the first day, it was the largest amphibious assault of the Second World War (although the Normandy landings soon overtook it on the days after D-Day). This massive army was supported by a fleet of around 3,300 ships, including the battleships Nelson, Rodney, Warspite, Valiant, Howe and King George V. The first four were to provide direct support for the landings, the last two to guard against any sortie by the Italian fleet.

The Allied deception plan for Sicily, Operation Barclay, had a difficult task, as Sicily was the obvious next target for Allied troops. The approach taken was to try and convince the Germans that Operation Husky was the codename for an invasion of Greece, to be supported by diversionary attacks on the south of France, Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. The most famous part of the deception plan was Operation Mincemeat, which saw a dead body in Royal Marine uniform dropped off the coast of Spain, carrying documents to support the cover stories. The body was found by the Spanish and the documents passed onto the Germans, who appear to have taken them seriously. The garrison in Greece was reinforced, and the Germans continued to worry about an invasion of Greece even after the Allied invasion of Italy.

Although the Allied deception plans had been fairly successful, Sicily was still heavily defended, at least if the Italians chose to fight. The Italians had five coastal divisions and four mobile divisions on Sicily, a total of around 230,000 men. The Germans had 30,000 infantry, split between the Hermann Goring armoured division and the 15th Panzer Grenadier mechanised infantry division. The entire force was commanded by the Italian General Alfredo Guzzoni, commander of the Italian Sixth Army. Guzzoni had commanded the Italian invasion of Albania in 1939, and had come out of retirement to take command in Sicily in May 1943, so had only recently arrived on the island at the time of the invasion. The Germans also maintained their own chain of command, and their units were administered by General Hube&rsquos XIV Panzer Corps, which was based on the mainland.

The Germans also had a powerful air force in southern Italy, with 800 aircraft on Sicily, Sardinia and the Italian mainland. The Italian navy was also a possible factor, with four battleships, six cruisers and ten destroyers still seaworthy. Two of the battleships were modern, fast and well armed, and might have the potential to cause some damage before being sunk.

The Landings

On the afternoon of 9 July, as the Allied invasion fleet was approaching Sicily, a powerful storm developed. This was after what Cunningham had decided was the &lsquopoint of no return&rsquo - the time at which it would cause more damage to try and turn back the invasion that the storm could do. He was also aware that the storm would probably die away fairly quickly, and just before midnight the weather did indeed calm down. The storm did convince the Italians that no invasion was likely on 10 July, and their potentially troublesome flotillas of small ships were confined to harbour (a similar trick of the weather had the same result in Normandy almost a year later). The transport ships were guided to their beaches by seven submarines (Safari, Shakespeare, Seraph, Unrivalled, Unison, Unseen and Unruffled), but even so there were some problems during the landings, in particular when some of the larger landing craft ran into unexpected sand bars off the coast. Around 200 landing craft suffered damage on the beaches, mainly from heavy seas.

On both wings the invasion was to begin with airborne attacks. On the right this was Operation Ladbroke, a glider borne attack on the Ponte Grande, a viaduct just south of Syracuse. A total of 144 gliders set off from North Africa, but seventy were released early and dropped into the sea. About a dozen landed roughly where they had planned, and only 87 troops reached the bridge. They were able to capture it and remove the existing demolition charges, but were then forced away from the bridge by Italian counterattacks. The Italians were unable to destroy the bridge before the 50th Division arrived overland and recaptured it.

On the left the Americans planned to land 3,400 paratroops from the 82nd Airborne Division (General Ridgway) on the high ground overlooking Gela. One party was to land at the crossroads of Piano Lupo, east of Gela. Another was to take the Ponte Olivo airfield north of Gela. The third was to take the Ponte Dirillo bridge across the Acate River, towards the eastern end of the bridgehead, between the 1st and 45th Division sectors. Once again little went as planned. Not enough time had gone into training the pilots from the 52nd Troop Carrier Wing. The paratroops were scattered over much of south-eastern Sicily, with many landing in the British zone. Colonel James M. Gavin, the commander on the ground, wasn&rsquot even sure he&rsquod landed on Sicily at first! Even so the paratroops managed to form up into small groups and caused a great deal of confusion behind enemy lines.

The defenders weren&rsquot all caught by surprise. The vast invasion convoy was detected late on the afternoon of 9 July and the German troops on Sicily were ordered to stand too at 1840, ready to repel a possible invasion. The Italian coastal radar detected the incoming fleet, but it was so large that the operators assumed there was some sort of technical issue, and didn&rsquot report their readings until dawn, when the fleet came into view.

To the east four heavily reinforced British and Canadian divisions landed around the Pachino peninsula (ending in Cape Passero), led by guides in folboats. By 0530 all of the British beaches had been taken. On the left 30th Corps attacked the peninsula. The 51st (Highland Division) landed on the south-eastern tip of the peninsula, and soon captured the town of Pachino. On the left the Canadian 1st Division and a force of Royal Marine Commandos, captured Pachino airfield, and it was ready for emergency use by noon on D-Day. On the right 13th Corps had the task of taking Syracuse. On the corps&rsquo left the 50th Division took Avola and Noto. On the right the 5th Division advanced north towards the Ponte Grande viaduct, which had been the target of Operation Ladbroke, an airborne operation to capture the viaduct. The division rescued the survivors of Ladbroke, who had held on long enough for the viaduct to remain intact, and ended Syracuse without opposition late on D-Day.

The Americans were to land around the Gulf of Gela. The 45th Division (Middleton) was to land at the right, around Scoglitti, advance north-east to take Vittoria and then east to Ragusa, where it was to join up with the 1st Canadian Division coming from the Eighth Army sector. In the centre the 1st Division (Allan) was to land around Gela, capture the Gela-Farello and Ponte Olivo airfields and capture Niscemi, nine miles inland (these two divisions formed the 2nd Corps). On the left the 3rd Division (Truscott), supported by part of the 2nd Armored Division, was to land around Licata and protect the left flank of the beachhead against any counterattack.

On the left the 3rd Division only faced coastal units, as the Italian Assietta and Aosta Divisions and German 15 Panzer Grenadier Division were further to the west. Early opposition was overcome with the aid of naval gunfire, and by noon the division had taken Licata, its port and airfield, and a twelve mile beachhead, and had only suffered 100 casualties. One common story about this part of the invasion has US troops find an empty Italian command post near Licata. The phone rang, and Michael Chinigo of the International News Service, who had been posted in Rome pre-war, answered. An Italian officer was on the line, asking if the Americans were there. There are different versions of the conversation, although the general gist is the same in each case. In one the Italian asks &lsquoAre the Americans there?. Chinigio replies &lsquoof course not&rsquo, and the Italian says &lsquofine&rsquo. In another Chinigo answers the phone with &lsquopronto&rsquo. The Italian officer asks where the Americans are, and Chinigio replies &lsquoNot here - everything&rsquos quiet here&rsquo

On the right the 45th Division landed across a wide front, but soon got organised and began to move north-east towards its targets. The division was reinforced by many of the scattered paratroops. Vittoria was captured as planned, and the division reached Ragusa, but found the Canadians hadn&rsquot arrived yet and withdrew a short distance.

In the centre the 1st Division was led into Gela by US Rangers. They came under heavy fire when 500 yards offshore and lost an entire platoon, but landed at 0335 hours and by 0800 had secured the town. By 0900 the leading units of the division had landed, the Gela-Farello airfield had been taken and contact made with the few paratroops on Pinao Lupo.

The Italians and Germans did have a counterattack planned. General Guzzoni wanted to use the Livorno mobile division and two mobile armoured groups and the Hermann Goring Division in an coordinated counterattack against the American sector. General Conrath, the commander of the Hermann Goering also had orders to counterattack, although he didn&rsquot receive the order to coordinate with the Italians.

In the end the Axis troops made three largely unconnected attacks on the 1st Division position. First to attack was the Italian Mobile Group E. This unit attacked from Niscemi, and managed to get ten tanks into Gela town, although they were repulsed after the Ranger leader Lt. Col. William O. Darby returned to the beach to collect a 37mm gun and crew which disabled one tank and forced the others to retreat. The rest of the attack was repulsed by the paratroops. Next came a battalion from the Livorno division, which attacked from the north-west. This attack was fought off with little difficulty.

Potentially the most serious was the third, by Conrath&rsquos Hermann Goering Division. He planned to attack from Biscari, to the east of Gela, and Niscemi, to the north. His original plan was to attack at 0900, but his advance was delayed by air attacks and the scattered paratroops and didn&rsquot get underway until 1400 hours, five hours late. Despite his best efforts the attack from Niscemi made little progress and was repulsed at Piano Lugo. The attack from Biscari, which was supported by Tiger tanks, made more progress, overrunning one battalion from the 45th Division before being fought off by a second supported by an artillery battery. Eventually the Germans broke and fled back to Biscari.

By the end of the first day the Allies were thus firmly established on Sicily. The only weak spot in the beachhead was in the US 1st Division sector, where it had proved impossible to land any tanks.

The Campaign

Kesselring ordered the Hermann Goering division to resume the offensive on the next day. Conrath came up with a six pronged assault, three German and three Italian. The Italian Livorno Division would attack on the right, heading towards Gela from the north-west, with the left hand column moving near Highway 117, the main road running south from Ponte Olivo towards Gela. The Hermann Goering division would attack on the left. The right hand column would also advance down Highway 117. The centre column would move south from Niscemi to Piano Lupo. The left hand column, with the Tigers, would advance from Biscari to the Ponte Dirillo. The three German columns would then unite to attack the eastern end of the American sector, before heading west along the coast. The Americans would be trapped between the German and Italian pincers.

The two central columns ran into the US 26th Regimental Combat Team and were unable to make any more progress down the highway. The Italians attempted to get around the Americans and head for Gela, but were stopped by heavy fire. The Germans turned east to join their central column, attacking Piano Lupo from the north (with Conrath in command). Conrath split his forces, sending the tanks towards the beaches east of Gela, while the infantry attempted to force the Americans away from the road junction at Piano Lupo. Further to the east the third German column captured the Ponte Dirillo, but was then hit in the rear by Gavin&rsquos paratroops, by now recovering from their chaotic drop. By the time this battle ended this column was out of action.

On the Axis right the central Italian column briefly threatened Gela from the north-west, but was then hit by 6in fire from the cruiser USS Savannah and almost destroyed. After the bombardment was over Darby&rsquos raiders took 400 prisoners. The right-hand Italian column made less progress, turning back after running into a strong column from the 3rd Division.

The biggest danger came to the east of Gela, where Conrath&rsquos tanks got to within 2,000 yards of the beach, forcing the unloading parties to join the battle. Conrath was convinced that he had won, and reported his victory to Guzzoni, but he had misinterpreted what was happening on the beaches, mistakenly thinking that the Americans were re-embarking, when it was actually reinforcements landing. Amongst these fresh troops was a field artillery battery, which opened fire as soon as it landed. Four US Medium Tanks were finally able to get ashore, and the German attack was halted. Sixteen German tanks were destroyed near the beach, forcing the Germans to withdraw. This exposed them to naval gunfire and more tanks were destroyed. At 1400 hours Conrath called off the attack.

While the Americans were fighting off a counterattack, the British 5th Division was advancing up the east coast from Syracuse. It reached Priolo, half way to Augusta, before running into tanks from Group Schmalz, moving south from Catania. This was meant to be the start of a joint counterattack with the Napoli Division, but that formation had been dispersed in the earlier fighting, leaving Group Schmalz almost alone.

The night of 11-12 July saw one of the biggest Allied disasters of the campaign. During the day the Luftwaffe had carried out a series of heavy attacks on the Seventh Army area, illuminating it with parachute flares later in the day. Then, just after 10.30, a massive Allied resupply force appeared over the fleet, 144 aircraft carrying 2,200 airborne troops into the beachhead (Operation Husky No.2). Some 5,000 anti-aircraft guns opened fire, shooting down 6 aircraft before the paratroops could jump. In the end 229 paratroops were killed, wounded or missing, 23 planes were destroyed and 37 badly damaged.

On 12 July the Hermann Goering Division made one more attack on Piano Lupo, possibly the incident in which Patton is said to have seen a young naval officer directly cruiser fire right onto German tanks. The division then withdrew towards Catania. On the same day the British 5th Division was involved in a long battle with Group Schmalz, eventually pushing the Germans back.

By the end of 12 July the Americans had reached their &lsquoYellow Line&rsquo targets on their left, and had advanced beyond them to Canicatti, in the rolling hills to the north of Licata. On the right the 45th Divisoion had reached Biscari and Chiaramonte Gulfi, where they met up with the Eighth Army. All of the airfields in the US sector had been taken, along with 18,000 prisoners. On the Eighth Army front 30th Corps had reached Modica, on the army boundary south of Ragusa. Their line then ran north to Giarratana and from there east to Palazzolo, where 13 Corps took over.

On the night of 12-13 July the Germans dropped part of the 1st Parachute Brigade at Catania airfield, part of a build-up that raised German strength on the island to over 50,000, a move directly ordered by Hitler to try and prop up Mussolini. Over the next few days the Germans added more of the 1st Parachute Brigade, all of the 239th Panzer Grenadier Division and General Hube&rsquos 14th Panzer Corps HQ. Hube then took over combat command of all German troops on the island. The German plan was to defend the &lsquoEtna&rsquo line. This ran west from Catania on the east coast, around the southern and western flanks of Etna and north-west to Santa Stefano di Camastra on the north coast.

On 12 July Montgomery decided to advance on a wider front. The 13th Corps would attack along the coast, heading for Catania, while the 30th Corps would move west along Highway 124 and turn north-west heading for the road junction at Enna, where it could cut off the Axis troops retreating from western Sicily. This plan had two problems. The first was that the Hermann Goering Division was about to head north-east, cutting across that route, leading to an unexpected clash between that division and the Eighth Army. The second was that it took Montgomery&rsquos men into an area that had been allocated to Patton&rsquos Seventh Army, leading to a disagreement between the two commanders.

Early on 13 July the 5th Division entered Augusta. On their left the 50th Division moved towards Lentini, on the approaches to the plains south of Catania. Further to the left Leese ordered the Canadians to stop at Giarrantana, while the reinforced 51st Division attacked north towards Vizzini then west along Highway 124 towards Grammichele and Caltagirone. The American 45th Division was also heading for Vizzini, and the two units collided south of the town. Alexander judged in favour of Montgomery. The 23rd Armoured Brigade then advanced northwest from Palazzolo towards Vizzini, but ran into the Hermann Goering Division, moving north-east towards Catania. Vizzini finally fell to the 51st Division on 14 July, as did Francofonte, a few miles to the east. The Canadians were them moved to the front with orders to advance on Enna. One Canadian brigade reached Grammichele early on 15 July, where they ran into a rearguard from the Hermann Goering Division. The Germans held the Canadians up for a day before withdrawing. On 16 July they reached Caltagirone. A second Canadian brigade advanced on the left, and took Piazza Armerina, further to the north-west, on 15 July. On 16 July the Canadians ran into a rearguard from the 15th Panzer Grenadiers further north, at Valguarnera, seven miles south-east of their target of Enna. The town fell on the night of 18 July after a hard battle. The Canadians then bypassed Enna, and advanced north towards Leonforte and Agira, cutting the roads east to Catania from western Sicily.

On the British right Montgomery planned a major attack towards Lentini. This was to be supported by two Special Forces operations. On the coast the Commandos were to seize the bridge over the Malati River three miles to the north of Lentini. Further inland paratroops were to take the Primosole bridge over the Simeto River. Neither operation went entirely as planned. The Commandos landed on the night of 13-14 July, captured the bridge and removed the demolition charges, but weren&rsquot strong enough to hold the bridge and were soon drive off. The airborne assault (Operation Fustian) ran into the same problems as the original landings. The aircraft ran into anti-aircraft fire from Allied ships and the Germans and the gliders and paratroops were widely scattered. Only 200 of the 1,900 men dispatched actually reached the bridge. Once there they discovered that they had landed almost on top of the machine gun battalion of the German 1st Parachute Division, which had arrived earlier on the same day! The British paratroops managed to take the bridge, remove the charges, and then held on for the rest of 14 July against heavy counterattacks. That night they withdrew to a nearby ridge, and were able to keep the bridge under fire. They were also joined by the leading troops from the 50th Division, sent to relieve them. Even then the German paratroops were able to hold the bridge for another day, and then restrict the British to a small bridgehead for some time, before finally being forced back on 17 July.

On the night of 17-18 July Montgomery launched a large scale attack towards Catania, but the Germans were now in a strong defensive position. Schmalz had been reinforced by the Hermann Goering Division, retreating from the American sector, and the attack made little progress. Montgomery began to realise that an attack up the coast would be too expensive, and began to plan for an outflanking movement around Etna.

The new attack involved the Canadians, who had the task of taking Leonforte and then advancing east towards Agira, Regalbuto and finally Adrano, at the western side of Etna. This move would cut the German Etna Line in half. Nearer to the coast the 51st Division was to attack Gerbini, in the western end of the Catanian plain, then move north to Paterno. Between these two units was the 231st (Malta) Brigade, which reached a point three miles to the south of Agira on 19 July and then paused to allow the Canadians to arrive from the west. 19 July saw the Canadians attack Leonforte and Assoro, a short distance to the east. Assoro was secured by midday on 22 July, Leonforte by the end of the same day.

In the meantime the Americans turned west. The 3rd Division pushed out west and north-west towards a line from Palma di Montechiaro, ten miles west of Licata, north to Canicatti and then north-east to Caltanissetta. They ran into very little resistance, and Agrigento, and the nearby port of Porto Empedocle, to the west of the initial target line fell with little resistance on 16 July. The 1st and 45th Divisions attacked into the high ground between Caltanissetta and Enna, starting on 16 July. They were held up by German rearguard actions, protecting the armour as it pulled back to the east, but took Caltanissetta on 18 July. They were then able to move further north and cut Highway 121, the road from Palermo to Enna.

The easy success at Agrigento convinced Patton that the Germans and Italians would put up little resistance in western Sicily, and he created a Provisional Corps, under his deputy Major General Geoffrey Keyes, to head north-west across the island to Palermo. At first this consisted of the 3rd Division and 82nd Airborne, but the 2nd Armored Division was soon added to it. At first Patton kept his plans secret, but after Alexander issued an order that appeared to confirm that his army was to operate as a flank guard for Montgomery for the entire campaign, a furious Patton flew to Tunis to put his case to Alexander in person. Alexander gave him permission to take Palermo, allowing Patton to begin the first of his lightning advances.

The attack began early on 19 July, and covered 100 miles in four days, facing only token resistance. An Italian 75mm anti-tank gun briefly slowed down the armoured column, but in general the Italians were unwilling to offer serious resistance, while the Germans were retreating east. On the evening of 22 July General Giuseppe Molinero and the remaining Italian garrison of Palermo surrendered to General Keyes. The Provisional Corps then captured the nearby ports of Trapani and Marsala. On the US right flank the 2nd Corps took Enna on 20 July, then cut north to the coast, reaching Termini Imerese, twenty miles to the east of Palermo on 23 July. The dash to Palermo only cost the Americans 57 dead, 170 wounded and 45 missing. The port itself had been badly damaged by the Germans, but was back at 60% capacity within seven days, giving Patton a much better supply base for his own advance towards Messina along the north coast.

The campaign now turned into something of a race towards Messina. The Americans were advancing on two routes - the coastal road and Highway 120 a few miles inland. The Eighth Army was concentrating on the advance towards Etna, with the troops on the coastal front facing Catania ordered onto the defensive.

Neither of the routes open to Patton&rsquos men were easy. Both were narrow and winding roads, easy for the Germans to block with simple demolitions. The Germans developed a simple but effective defensive plan. They would put up temporary road blocks, blow a bridge or culvert, and put defensive forces on the far side. The Americans would have to climb into the mountains to get behind these positions, at which point the Germans would withdraw before they could be trapped. They also made a series of more determined stands as particularly strong positions. During this period of slow progress Patton began to lose his temper, leading to one of the more notorious incidents of his career. During a visit to a field hospital he found someone who appeared to be suffering from shell shock. Asked &lsquoWhat&rsquos wrong with you?&rsquo the soldier answered &lsquoI guess I can&rsquot take it sir&rsquo. Patton slapped him across his face with his glove and forced him out of the hospital tent. The soldier actually turned out to have a high fever caused by chronic dysentery and malaria. A week later the incident was repeated with a genuine shell shock case. This time Patton threatened to shot the soldier and struck him so hard that his helmet liner came off. The medical corps colonel in charge had to place himself between Patton and the soldier. News of these incidents eventually reached Eisenhower, who issued Patton with a formal reprimand and ordered him to make a public apology to everyone involved. Partly as a result of these incidents Patton was also not given a senior command in the invasion of mainland Italy, and they later went on to play a part in the pre D-Day deception plans, when they were used to suggest that Patton was out of favour.

Patton allocated the 2nd Corps and the recently arrived 9th Division, supported by all of his artillery, to the advance east. On the inland route Nicosia fell on 28 July after a three day long battle, but the Americans then got bogged down at the mountain town of Troina, a few miles further to the east. An initial attack with a full regiment of 3,000 men failed, and it eventually took a full division and an extra regiment to force the 15th Panzer Grenadiers to abandon the position on 6 August. The Germans retreated ten miles to Randazzo.

The main American advance came on the coast. San Stefano fell on 31 July, but the Germans then held out on the San Fratello Ridge, which ran down to the coast west of Sant&rsquo Agata. The Germans held out here from 2-8 August, before the Americans used poart of the 3rd Division in an amphibious landing behind German lines. The Germans pulled back to the ridge that ran south from Cape Orlando past the village of Naso, ten miles to the east. Patton ordered another amphibious attack, but this time General Truscott, the 3rd Division Commander, wanted the attack delayed until the main force had advanced further to the east. Patton refused to allow any delay, and Lt Col Lyle A. Bernard&rsquos troops landed near Brolo, four miles behind enemy lines, and took up a defensive position on Monte Cipolla, 350 yards inland. This time the landing had little impact. The main advance made slow progress, and Bernard lost 167 of his 650 men before being relieved. Patton attempted another amphibious landing at Bivio Salica, 25 miles to the west of Messina, where he landed part of the 157th Regimental Combat Team of the 45th Division, but once again the Germans escaped.

On the Eighth Army front Montgomery decided to launch a full scale assault on the Etna flank on 1 August, moving the 78th Division to reinforce 30th Corps. In the meantime the Canadians were to continue to push east. On 24 July they captured Nissoria. Agira held out from 25-28 July. The Canadians advanced east, but were stopped just short of Regalbuto. On their right the newly arrived 78th Division captured Catenanuova (six miles to the south of Regalbuto) on 30 July. On 1 August they attacked Centuripe, a heavily defended mountain top town to the north-east of Catenanuova, while the Canadians took Regalbuto. Centuripe fell on 3 August. The Canadians were now only five miles from Adrano, and cutting the Etna Line. On 6 August Biancavilla. A few miles south-east of Adrano, fell to the 51st Division. The Canadians and the 78th Division took Adrano on 7 August and advanced north to take Bronte on 8 August (this had once been the site of a dukedom granted to Nelson by the grateful Neapolitan crown, and he had estates in the area). The British and Canadian advance from Etna helped the Americans in the north, threatening to outflank the German defenders of Highway 120, which was only four miles to the north.

It was now clear to the Germans that the battle for Sicily was over, and they withdrew from their positions around Catania. On both fronts the Allied advance was held up by rearguard actions and demolitions, but the outcome was no longer in doubt - only who would reach Messina first. Patton&rsquos troops won that race, and their first patrols entered Messina on 17 August, only to find that the Germans had already gone. Patton wasn&rsquot far behind, and entered Messina at 10.15 on 17 August. The first British tanks arrived a few days later.

The evacuation from Messina was the most impressive German achievement of the campaign. The Italians began their evacuation on 3 August, and managed to get 70,000-7,5000 men and 75-100 guns back to the mainland, but lost 145,000 men captured or dead on Sicily. The German evacuation began on 8 August, after Kesselring ordered it to begin without asking Hitler&rsquos permission. Colonel Ernst-Gunther Baade, in command of the evacuation, had 33 barges, a dozen Siebel ferries, 11 landing craft and 76 motorboats at his disposal. The Allies were unable to do much to disrupt his efforts. The narrow straits were defended by around 500 dual purpose AA/ ground guns, mostly on the mainland side, which made it very dangerous for Allied aircraft to operate in daylight. The straits were also heavily defended with coastal guns, so the navies couldn&rsquot do much either. The Germans were able to evacuate 40,000 men, 9,600 vehicles, 47 tanks, 94 guns and 18,000 tons of supplies from Sicily. Most of these men would go on to play a part in the fighting at Salerno and on the defensive lines across Italy, and their escape thus helped make possible the German defence of southern Italy.

On the Allied side the Seventh Army lost 7,500 men and the Eighth Army 11,500 men. The island had fallen in only 38 days, and with much lower Allied casualties than expected, making an invasion of the mainland seem like a much more enticing prospect.

Perhaps the most important consequence of the Allied invasion of Sicily was the fall of Mussolini. Discontent with Mussolini&rsquos rule had been growing for some time, as the war turned increasingly sour for Italy. By the spring of 1943 the Italian economy was in ruins, the Italian Empire overseas had been destroyed, and the Allies were clearly poised to invade Italy herself. The initial landings of 10 July weren&rsquot enough to trigger the fall of Mussolini, but the failure to repel in the invasion slowly built up the pressure against him. The Italian political elite had another shock on 19 July when the Allies bombed marshalling yards in Rome herself, bringing the war into the Eternal City. Mussolini was now faced with two overlapping plots to remove him from power, one from within his own Fascist party and one from the Royalists and Military.

The Fascists made the first move, insisting that Mussolini called a meeting of the Fascist Grand Council on 24 July. At the end of the meeting the party passed a vote of no confidence in Mussolini, and demanded that he hand military authority back to the King. On the following day, 25 July, Mussolini attended a meeting with King Victor Emmanuel III, who announced that he had been dismissed as head of state and was to be replaced by Marshal Badoglio. Mussolini was bundled away in an ambulance and put into &lsquoprotective custody&rsquo. On 26 July Badoglio announced that Italy would remain in the war alongside Germany, but hardly anyone believed him, and on 31 July he sent peace envoys to the Allies. The negotiations between the Italians and the Allies didn&rsquot run smoothly, and full advantage wasn&rsquot made of the Italian desire to change sides, but the bulk of the Italian army was removed from the war, forcing the Germans to find troops to replace them in Italy and across the Balkans.

The Allies had already begun to consider an invasion of mainland Italy. On 16 July Eisenhower had been asked to consider a landing near Naples, and on 23 July he was ordered to prepare a plan for that as a &lsquomatter of urgency&rsquo. As always the Allies had different aims for the Italian campaign. Churchill would have preferred a landing as far up the peninsula as possible, to avoid a long series of battles in the south. The Americans hoped to take advantage of the fall of Mussolini, to satisfy Churchill&rsquos desire to capture Rome, and to gain air bases for attacks on the southern half of Hitler&rsquos empire. The invasion would have to take place somewhere in the south, as that would be within range of Allied fighters based on Sicily, but the Germans weren&rsquot expected to try and defend the south. This belief wasn&rsquot entirely without foundation. The original German plan was to defend a line from Pisa to Rimini, and Rommel had been given command of a new army group in the North of Italy. Kesselring, who had command south of that line, was to conduct a fighting retreat to avoid being trapped in the south. Kesselring himself opposed this plan, and was sure he could delay the Allies in the south of Italy for a considerable period, taking advantage of the mountainous terrain. He was eventually allowed to carry out this plan, leading to the costly battles around the Winter Line and most famously at Cassino. However this was all in the future when the Allies began their invasion of mainland Italy, when the British Eighth Army crossed the straits of Messina on 3 September 1943 (Operation Baytown), only a couple of weeks after the end of the campaign in Sicily.


Allied Invasion of Sicily

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Allied Invasion of Sicily, (9 July–17 August 1943), World War II event. The Anglo-American invasion and capture of Sicily was a vital stepping-stone for the campaign in Italy, although the Allies were at fault in failing to prevent the Axis from successfully evacuating their best divisions from the island to continue the defensive battle on the mainland.

While the British wanted to pursue an offensive against Italy after the Allied capture of Tunisia, their U.S. partners were less enthusiastic, but the British prevailed. The invasion of Sicily, the first part of the plan, was a massive undertaking—in Europe, second only to D-Day—involving 2,600 Allied ships and sustained air support. The invading force was made up of two armies—the U.S. Seventh Army and the British Eighth Army—and once ashore the Allies pressed forward in an attempt to destroy and capture the Axis units on the island. The few German troops on Sicily were quickly reinforced to a total of four elite divisions, along with a substantial Italian force. Commanded by Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, the Germans skillfully used the island’s mountainous terrain to carry out an effective delaying operation. The Allies, especially the British, advanced cautiously against the Germans. Although Hitler insisted that Sicily must be held at all costs, Kesselring soon realized that he must abandon the island if his German formations and their valuable weapons and equipment were not to be lost to the Allies. On the night of 11-12 August, the Germans began a well-executed withdrawal that saw 40,000 German and 60,000 Italian troops cross over to the mainland with minimal hindrance from the Allies.

Losses: Allied, 22,000 casualties of 180,000 German, 10,000 casualties of 50,000 Italian, 132,000 casualties (mostly captured) of 200,000


Sicily, Invasion of

Sicily, Invasion of (1943).The invasion of Sicily on 10 July 1943, a combined American and British operation, was the first major Allied attempt to seize a foothold on homeland territory of an Axis power. Code named “Operation Husky,” it followed total victory over Axis forces in the North Africa Campaign two months earlier. It was undertaken because success in North Africa had made pressing on with the British�ked Mediterranean strategy strategically logical for the Allies. But the U.S. War Department regretted that it delayed for another year the war‐winning invasion of occupied France across the English Channel from Britain.

Operation Husky's invasion armada, consisting of 2,500 ships sailing to Sicily from North Africa, Britain, and the United States, was the largest assembled to that time. Two armies—the U.S. Seventh Army on the left, commanded by Gen. George S. Patton, and the British Eighth Army on the right, under Gen. Bernard Law Montgomery�ted the landings on an 85‐mile front between Licata and Syracuse on the southeast corner of Sicily. Landing craft for tanks and infantry that were to feature prominently in subsequent Allied amphibious warfare were employed for the first time.

The invasion, under the overall command of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, was to be spearheaded by airborne operations, but U.S. paratroopers and British glider𠄋orne forces were dispersed by gale𠄏orce winds. The amphibious landings, preceded by powerful naval and air bombardments, proved successful. The 180,000 troops put ashore on the first day met little initial resistance from war‐weary Italian defenders. But mounting a fierce counterattack the following morning, German armored forces almost drove the Americans back into the sea at Gela. Nevertheless, within forty𠄎ight hours of the first landings, all the beachheads were secured. Subsequent operations in Sicily proved the fighting abilities of American troops as well as General Patton's aggressive combat leadership, demonstrated by Patton's success in achieving final victory on the island by capturing Messina, across from the Italian mainland, while Montgomery remained bogged down short of the city.

Enemy resistance in Sicily was totally crushed by 17 August—though not before faulty tactical planning by the Allied command permitted most of the German forces on the island to escape. The conquest of Sicily, and control of its air bases, led to the invasion and conquest of Italy a month later.


Over 60 Amazing Photos of the Operation Husky, Invasion of Sicily

‘Operation Husky’ was the codename for the invasion of Sicily in 1943. The Operation began at night of 9/10 July. It was a large amphibious and airborne operation, followed by a six-week land campaign. It was the beginning of the Italian Campaign. ‘Husky’ was launched during bad weather, with strong winds which made the whole operation very difficult, but on the other hand, it also surprised Axis defenders.

The Axis lost over 29,000 soldiers (killed or wounded) and 140,000 were captured as POWs. The invasion had also substantial consequences on the Eastern Front. From the Battle of Kursk, the Germans had to withdraw part of their troops to Italy. The Germans managed to evacuate over 100,000 men and 10,000 vehicles.

A British soldier reads up on Sicily, the target for the next Allied invasion, July 1943. Photo Credit. Royal Air Force glider pilots and pilots of towing aircraft are briefed before the airborne invasion. Photo Credit. The Allied commanders of the campaign photographed in Tunisia. Front row, left to right: The Commander-in-Chief, General Dwight Eisenhower, The Air Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Air Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder the Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Ground Forces Commander, General Alexander and the Naval Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Andrew Cunningham. In the back row are the Hon. Harold MacMillian MP, Brigadier General W B Smith and Air Vice Marshal H E P Wigglesworth (on the extreme right). Photo Credit. Map of the Operation Husky. View of the dockside of Sousse Harbour, Tunisia. Landing craft are loaded with vehicles and equipped in preparation for the invasion. Photo Credit. L.S.T’s lined up and waiting for tanks to come aboard. Two days before the invasion of Sicily. A jeep is loaded onto an American WACO CG-4A glider before Operation Husky. July, 1943. Photo Credit. Handley Page Halifax A Mark V Series 1 (Special), EB139 ‘NN’, of No. 295 Squadron RAF based at Holmesley South, getting airborne from Portreath, Cornwall, towing Airspeed Horsa glider LG723 to Tunisia, during Operation BEGGAR: the transit of Halifax/Horsa glider combinations from the United Kingdom to North Africa by units of No. 38 Wing RAF, in preparation for the Operation Husky. Photo Credit. A wrecked U.S. Army Air Force Waco CG-4A glider (s/n 42-73623) in Sicily in July 1943. An Airborne Division Horsa glider, after landing off course nose down in a field near Syracuse. Although unsuccessful in achieving their primary objectives, the Airborne forces did cause considerable disruption behind the lines. Photo Credit. The Sicily Landings 9-10 July 1943: A small section of the vast armada of ships which took part in the invasion of Sicily as photographed from landing ship headquarters HILARY at dawn of the first day of the invasion of the island. Photo Credit. Troops from 51st Highland Division unloading stores from tank landing craft on the opening day of the Allied invasion of Sicily. 10 July 1943. Photo Credit. U.S. Navy LCVPs from USS Joseph T. Dickman (APA-13) landing vehicles through the surf at Gela, Sicily, on 10-12 July 1943. The truck in the center appears to have stalled.

U.S. and British troops landing near Gela, Sicily. 10 July 1943. British troops wade ashore during the invasion of Sicily, 10 July 1943. Photo Credit. During the Allied invasion of Sicily the Liberty ship Robert Rowan (K-40) explodes after being hit by a German Ju 88 bomber off of Gela, Sicily, Italy. 11 July 1943. British ship HMS Warpite of the coast of Sicily. July 1943. Photo Credit. A British Universal Carrier Mark I comes ashore during the invasion of Sicily on 10 July 1943. Photo Credit. German soldiers on the beach with Tellermines in their hands. Photo Credit. Two bombers Savoia Marchetti S.M. 79 of the Regia Aeronautica flying over the southern coast of Sicily. 1943. Photo Credit. Two German soldiers with machine gun camouflaged between cactuses on Sicily. July 1943. Photo Credit. German troops in Sicily in the summer of 1943 preparing to fight with the Allies. German troops of the 29th Panzer Division near the Strait of Messina. Summer 1943. German soldiers maintaining the Panzerkampfwagen III N (Sd.Kfz.141/2). July 1943. Photo Credit. Machine gun crew takes a position in a vineyard and securing standing troops. Photo Credit. German artillery crew in action with their 7,5cm cannon. Photo Credit. Men of 1st Battalion, The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, advance past a burning fuel store on Pantelleria. Left to right: Lance Sergeant A Haywood, Private C Norman and Private H Maw. Photo Credit. British dummy tanks on the Catania Plain. Photo Credit.

A German Mk III tank knocked out during the fierce street fighting in Centuripe. Photo Credit. American troops advance through a damaged street in Randazzo. Photo Credit. Personnel of a Beach Balloon Detachment bring gas cylinders ashore at “Cent” Beach near Scoglitti, Sicily. Photo Credit. US soldiers in the vicinity of Gela. in the background destroyed German aircraft. 12 July 1943. British wounded being treated, and Italian prisoners of war waiting to be evacuated from the beach on the first day of the invasion of Sicily, 10 July 1943. Photo Credit. Anti-aircraft FlaK-38 20mm and its crew near Etna, Sicily. 1943. Photo Credit. Destroyed palace after Allied bombing in Palermo. July 1943. Photo Credit. The British Army in Sicily 1943 Men of the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders advance along a road near Noto, 11 July 1943. Photo Credit. Wrecked and damaged Italian fighters outside bomb-shattered hangars at Catania, Sicily, under the scrutiny of an airman, shortly after the occupation of the airfield by the RAF. Photo Credit. Crew from the tank “Eternity” check their vehicle after landing at Red Beach 2, Sicily. 10 July 1943. Panzer VI ‘Tiger I’ in a city in Sicily, Italy. 1943. Photo Credit. Remains of the Italian Navy armed train “T.A. 76/2/T”, destroyed by USS Bristol while opposing the landing at Licata. A 4.2-inch mortar of 1st Princess Louise’s Kensington Regiment in action near Adrano. 6 August 1943. Photo Credit. Map of the advancing lines of the Allies in Sicily during Operation Husky. British Sherman tank advancing near Catania, Sicily. 4 August 1943. Photo Credit. Men of the 6th Inniskillings, 38th Irish Brigade, searching houses during mopping up operations in Centuripe, Sicily. August 1943. Photo Credit. Civilian resident of Misterbianco, near Catania, paints the slogan ‘Viva England’ on a wall after the village had been occupied by the Eighth Army. Photo Credit. A German Panzer III Ausf M moves along a dusty road in Sicily, August 1943. Photo Credit. A British self propelled ‘Priest’ gun in action against the town of Palazzolo. The ‘Priest’ was a 105mm Howitzer mounted on an American M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage and was first used at the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Photo Credit. Gunners of 66 Medium Regiment Royal Artillery in action on the slopes of Mount Etna at dawn. 11 August 1943. Photo Credit. General Patton during conversation with Lieutenant Colonel Lyle Bernard near Brolo. The first Royal Air Force Supermarine Spitfire lands at an airfield, converted from a wheat field, watched by Sicilian farmers who are working on the harvested wheat. Photo Credit. A Martin Baltimore of the Tactical Bomber Force of the North West African Air Forces, flying over its target by a road in Sicily, while bombing retreating German forces heading for Messina. August 1943. Photo Credit. Bombs bursting on the docks and harbour of Pantelleria, as seen from on board the cruiser HMS ORION, in preparation for the allied invasion of the island. Pantelleria, Sicily, 1943. Photo Credit. The successful German rear guard action towards the end of the campaign enabled over 100,00 Axis troops and a large quantity of equipment to be evacuated to Italy from Messina. An aerial photograph shows one of the last German ships to leave Messina on fire after being bombed by the Royal Air Force off the Sicilian coast. Photo Credit. A Sherman tank passes a tram in the Via Garibaldi during the entry into Catania. 5 August 1943. Photo Credit. A captured Italian 305mm gun being fired at night by the British during the Battle for Catania. This was the biggest gun used during the campaign. Photo Credit. Chandelier flares light up an Allied airfield during a night raid by Axis bombers. Bombs are bursting and a column of smoke rises into the night sky from a fire. Photo Credit. General Bernard Law Montgomery is bid a jolly farewell by Lieutenant General George S. Patton. An Airport at Palermo, Sicily, 28 July 1943. Italian soldiers of the 206th Coastal Division, taken prisoner by British forces after the landing in Sicily. Typical of the second-rate equipment issued to the Coastal Divisions, they are wearing Adrian helmets, rather than the more modern M33 helmets. General Keyes and the General Molinero together arriving at Palermo in order to sign the surrender of the city. Italian gunboat ‘Geniere’ lies on its side in Palermo Harbour after being hit by a bomb, 23-26 July 1943. The Americans entered Palermo on 22 July, cutting off 50,000 Italian troops in the west of the island. But the mobile Axis forces, including most of the Germans, escaped to the north-east corner of the island. Photo Credit. A huge dump of German Teller mines captured by the Americans near Roccopalunba during their drive on Palermo. Photo Credit.


History

Sicily was inhabited 10,000 years ago. Its strategic location at the centre of the Mediterranean has made the island a crossroads of history, a pawn of conquest and empire, and a melting pot for a dozen or more ethnic groups whose warriors or merchants sought its shores. At the coming of the Greeks, three peoples occupied Sicily: in the east the Siculi, or Sicels, who gave their name to the island but were reputed to be latecomers from Italy to the west of the Gelas River, the Sicani and in the extreme west the Elymians, a people to whom a Trojan origin was assigned, with their chief centres at Segesta and at Eryx (Erice). The Siculi spoke an Indo-European language there are no remains of the languages of the other peoples. There were also Phoenician settlements on the island. The Greeks settled Sicilian towns between the 8th and 6th centuries bce . The mountainous centre remained in the hands of Siculi and Sicani, who were increasingly Hellenized in ideas and material culture.

In the 3rd century bce the island became the first Roman province. The Byzantine general Belisarius occupied Sicily in 535 ce , at the start of hostilities with the Ostrogoths in Italy, and after a short time Sicily came under Byzantine rule. In 965 the island fell to Arab conquest from North Africa, in 1060 to Normans, who progressively Latinized the island. In the 12th and 13th centuries the island formed a part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (or Naples), and in the 18th century Sicily was ruled by the Bourbons. During the 19th century the island was a major centre of revolutionary movements: in 1860, as a result of Giuseppe Garibaldi’s revolt, it was liberated from the Bourbons and in the following year was incorporated into the united kingdom of Italy. In 1947 Sicily gained regional autonomy.


Contents

Etymology

During the classical period, the Romans interacted with, and later conquered, parts of Mauretania, a state that covered modern northern Morocco, western Algeria, and the Spanish cities Ceuta and Melilla. [11] The Berber tribes of the region were noted in the Classics as Mauri, which was subsequently rendered as "Moors" in English and in related variations in other European languages. [12] Mauri (Μαῦροι) is recorded as the native name by Strabo in the early 1st century. This appellation was also adopted into Latin, whereas the Greek name for the tribe was Maurusii (Ancient Greek: Μαυρούσιοι ). [13] The Moors were also mentioned by Tacitus as having revolted against the Roman Empire in 24 AD. [14]

During the Latin Middle Ages, Mauri was used to refer to Berbers and Arabs in the coastal regions of Northwest Africa. [15] The 16th century scholar Leo Africanus (c. 1494–1554) identified the Moors (Mauri) as the native Berber inhabitants of the former Roman Africa Province (Roman Africans). He described Moors as one of five main population groups on the continent alongside Egyptians, Abyssinians (Abassins), Arabians and Cafri (Cafates). [1]

Modern meanings

In medieval Romance languages, variations of the Latin word for the Moors (for instance, Italian and Spanish: moro, French: maure, Portuguese: mouro, Romanian: maur) developed different applications and connotations. The term initially denoted a specific Berber people in western Libya, but the name acquired more general meaning during the medieval period, associated with "Muslim", similar to associations with "Saracens". During the context of the Crusades and the Reconquista, the term Moors included the derogatory suggestion of "infidels".

Apart from these historic associations and context, Moor and Moorish designate a specific ethnic group speaking Hassaniya Arabic. They inhabit Mauritania and parts of Algeria, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Morocco, Niger, and Mali. In Niger and Mali, these peoples are also known as the Azawagh Arabs, after the Azawagh region of the Sahara. [16]

The authoritative dictionary of the Spanish language does not list any derogatory meaning for the word moro, a term generally referring to people of Maghrebian origin in particular or Muslims in general. [17] Some authors have pointed out that in modern colloquial Spanish use of the term moro is derogatory for Moroccans in particular [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] and Muslims in general.

In the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, many modern Filipinos call the large, local Muslim minority concentrated in Mindanao and other southern islands Moros. The word is a catch-all term, as Moro may come from several distinct ethno-linguistic groups such as the Maranao people. The term was introduced by Spanish colonisers, and has since been appropriated by Filipino Muslims as an endonym, with many self-identifying as members of the Bangsamoro "Moro Nation".

Moreno can mean "dark-skinned" in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and the Philippines. Also in Spanish, morapio is a humorous name for "wine", especially that which has not been "baptized" or mixed with water, i.e., pure unadulterated wine. Among Spanish speakers, moro came to have a broader meaning, applied to both Filipino Moros from Mindanao, and the moriscos of Granada. Moro refers to all things dark, as in "Moor", moreno, etc. It was also used as a nickname for instance, the Milanese Duke Ludovico Sforza was called Il Moro because of his dark complexion. [23]

In Portugal, mouro (feminine, moura) may refer to supernatural beings known as enchanted moura, where "Moor" implies "alien" and "non-Christian". These beings were siren-like fairies with golden or reddish hair and a fair face. They were believed to have magical properties. [24] From this root, the name moor is applied to unbaptized children, meaning not Christian. [25] [26] In Basque, mairu means moor and also refers to a mythical people. [27]

Muslims located in South Asia were distinguished by the Portuguese historians into two groups: Mouros da Terra ("Moors of the Land") and the Mouros da Arabia/Mouros de Meca ("Moors from Arabia/Mecca" or "Paradesi Muslims"). [28] [29] The Mouros da Terra were either descendants of any native convert (mostly from any of the former lower or untouchable castes) to Islam or descendants of a marriage alliance between a Middle Eastern individual and an Indian woman.

Within the context of Portuguese colonization, in Sri Lanka (Portuguese Ceylon), Muslims of Arab origin are called Ceylon Moors, not to be confused with "Indian Moors" of Sri Lanka (see Sri Lankan Moors). Sri Lankan Moors (a combination of "Ceylon Moors" and "Indian Moors") make up 12% of the population. The Ceylon Moors (unlike the Indian Moors) are descendants of Arab traders who settled there in the mid-6th century. When the Portuguese arrived in the early 16th century, they labelled all the Muslims in the island as Moors as they saw some of them resembling the Moors in North Africa. The Sri Lankan government continues to identify the Muslims in Sri Lanka as "Sri Lankan Moors", sub-categorised into "Ceylon Moors" and "Indian Moors". [30]

The Goan Muslims — a minority community who follow Islam in the western Indian coastal state of Goa — are commonly referred as Moir (Konkani: मैर ) by Goan Catholics and Hindus. [a] Moir is derived from the Portuguese word mouro ("Moor").

In the late 7th and early 8th centuries CE, the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate, established after the death of Muhammad, underwent a period of rapid growth. In 647 CE, 40,000 Arabs forced the Byzantine governor of northern Africa to submit and pay tribute, but failed to permanently occupy the region. [31] After an interlude, during which the Muslims fought a civil war, the invasions resumed in 665, seizing Byzantine North Africa up to Bugia over the course of a series of campaigns, lasting until 689. A Byzantine counterattack largely expelled the Arabs but left the region vulnerable. Intermittent war over the inland provinces of North Africa continued for the next two decades. Further civil war delayed the continuation of further conquest, but an Arab assault took Carthage and held it against a Byzantine counterattack.

Although a Christian and pagan Berber rebellion pushed out the Arabs temporarily, the Romanized urban population preferred the Arabs to the Berbers and welcomed a renewed and final conquest that left northern Africa in Muslim hands by 698. Over the next decades, the Berber and urban populations of northern Africa gradually converted to Islam, although for separate reasons. [32] The Arabic language was also adopted. Initially, the Arabs required only vassalage from the local inhabitants rather than assimilation, a process which took a considerable time. [32] The groups that inhabited the Maghreb following this process became known collectively as Moors. Although the Berbers would later expel the Arabs from the Maghreb and form temporarily independent states, that effort failed to dislodge the usage of the collective term.

Modern use in parts of the Maghreb

The term has been applied at times to urban and coastal populations of the Maghreb, the term in these regions nowadays is rather used to denote the Arab-Berber populations (occasionally somewhat mixed-race) living in Western Sahara, and Hassaniya-speaking populations, mainly in Mauritania, Western Sahara, and Northwestern Mali. [ citation needed ]

In 711 the Islamic Arabs and Moors of Berber descent in northern Africa crossed the Strait of Gibraltar onto the Iberian Peninsula, and in a series of raids they conquered Visigothic Christian Hispania. [35] Their general, Tariq ibn Ziyad, brought most of Iberia under Islamic rule in an eight-year campaign. They continued northeast across the Pyrenees Mountains but were defeated by the Franks under Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732. [36]

The Maghreb fell into a civil war in 739 that lasted until 743 known as the Berber Revolt. The Berbers revolted against the Umayyads, putting an end to Eastern dominion over the Maghreb. Despite racial tensions, Arabs and Berbers intermarried frequently. A few years later, the Eastern branch of the Umayyad dynasty was dethroned by the Abbasids and the Umayyad Caliphate overthrown in the Abbasid revolution (746-750). Abd al-Rahman I, who was of Arab-Berber lineage, managed to evade the Abbasids and flee to the Maghreb and then Iberia, where he founded the Emirate of Córdoba and the Andalusian branch of the Umayyad dynasty. The Moors ruled northern Africa and Al-Andalus for several centuries thereafter. [37] Ibn Hazm, the polymath, mentions that many of the Caliphs in the Umayyad Caliphate and the Caliphate of Córdoba were blond and had light eyes. [38] Ibn Hazm mentions that he preferred blondes, and notes that there was much interest in blondes in al-Andalus amongst the rulers and regular Muslims:

All the Caliphs of the Banu Marwan (God have mercy on their souls!), and especially the sons of al-Nasir, were without variation or exception disposed by nature to prefer blondes. I have myself seen them, and known others who had seen their forebears, from the days of al-Nasir's reign down to the present day every one of them has been fair-haired, taking after their mothers, so that this has become a hereditary trait with them all but Sulaiman al-Zafir (God have mercy on him!), whom I remember to have had black ringlets and a black beard. As for al-Nasir and al-Hakam al-Mustansir (may God be pleased with them!), I have been informed by my late father, the vizier, as well as by others, that both of them were blond and blue-eyed. The same is true of Hisham al-Mu'aiyad, Muhammad al-Mahdi, and `Abd al-Rahman al-Murtada (may God be merciful to them all!) I saw them myself many times, and had the honour of being received by them, and I remarked that they all had fair hair and blue eyes. [39]

The languages spoken in the parts of the Iberian Peninsula under Muslim rule were Andalusian Arabic and Mozarabic they became extinct after the expulsion of the Moriscos, but Arabic language influence on the Spanish language can still be found today. The Muslims were resisted in parts of the Iberian Peninsula in areas of the northwest (such as Asturias, where they were defeated at the battle of Covadonga) and the largely Basque Country in the Pyrenees. Though the number of Moorish colonists was small, many native Iberian inhabitants converted to Islam. By 1000, according to Ronald Segal, some 5,000,000 of Iberia's 7,000,000 inhabitants, most of them descended from indigenous Iberian converts, were Muslim. There were also Sub-Saharan Africans who had been absorbed into al-Andalus to be used as soldiers and slaves. The Berber and Sub-Saharan African soldiers were known as "tangerines" because they were imported through Tangier. [40] [41]

The Caliphate of Córdoba collapsed in 1031 and the Islamic territory in Iberia fell under the rule of the Almohad Caliphate in 1153. This second stage was guided by a version of Islam that left behind the more tolerant practices of the past. [42] Al-Andalus broke up into a number of taifas (fiefs), which were partly consolidated under the Caliphate of Córdoba.

The Kingdom of Asturias, a small northwestern Christian Iberian kingdom, initiated the Reconquista ("Reconquest") soon after the Islamic conquest in the 8th century. Christian states based in the north and west slowly extended their power over the rest of Iberia. The Kingdom of Navarre, the Kingdom of Galicia, the Kingdom of León, the Kingdom of Portugal, the Kingdom of Aragon, the Marca Hispánica, and the Crown of Castile began a process of expansion and internal consolidation during the next several centuries under the flag of Reconquista. In 1212, a coalition of Christian kings under the leadership of Alfonso VIII of Castile drove the Muslims from Central Iberia. The Portuguese side of the Reconquista ended in 1249 with the conquest of the Algarve (Arabic: الغرب ‎ – al-Gharb) under Afonso III. He was the first Portuguese monarch to claim the title "King of Portugal and the Algarve".

The Moorish Kingdom of Granada continued for three more centuries in southern Iberia. On 2 January 1492, the leader of the last Muslim stronghold in Granada surrendered to the armies of a recently united Christian Spain (after the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragón and Isabella I of Castile, the "Catholic Monarchs"). The Moorish inhabitants received no military aid or rescue from other Muslim nations. [43] The remaining Jews were also forced to leave Spain, convert to Roman Catholic Christianity, or be killed for refusing to do so. In 1480, to exert social and religious control, Isabella and Ferdinand agreed to allow the Inquisition in Spain. The Muslim population of Granada rebelled in 1499. The revolt lasted until early 1501, giving the Castilian authorities an excuse to void the terms of the Treaty of Granada (1491). In 1501, Castilian authorities delivered an ultimatum to the Muslims of Granada: they could either convert to Christianity or be expelled.

The Inquisition was aimed mostly at Jews and Muslims who had overtly converted to Christianity but were thought to be practicing their faiths secretly. They were respectively called marranos and moriscos. However, in 1567 King Philip II directed Moriscos to give up their Arabic names and traditional dress, and prohibited the use of Arabic. In reaction, there was a Morisco uprising in the Alpujarras from 1568 to 1571. In the years from 1609 to 1614, the government expelled Moriscos. The historian Henri Lapeyre estimated that this affected 300,000 out of an estimated total of 8 million inhabitants. [44]

Some Muslims converted to Christianity and remained permanently in Iberia. This is indicated by a "high mean proportion of ancestry from North African (10.6%)" that "attests to a high level of religious conversion (whether voluntary or enforced), driven by historical episodes of social and religious intolerance, that ultimately led to the integration of descendants." [45] [46] According to historian Richard A. Fletcher, [47] "the number of Arabs who settled in Iberia was very small. 'Moorish' Iberia does at least have the merit of reminding us that the bulk of the invaders and settlers were Moors, i.e., Berbers from Algeria and Morocco."

In the meantime, Spanish and Portuguese expeditions westward from the New World spread Christianity to India, the Malay peninsula, Indonesia, and the Philippines. By 1521, the ships of Magellan had reached that island archipelago, which they named Las Islas Filipinas, after Philip II of Spain. In Mindanao, the Spaniards named the kris-bearing people as Moros or 'Moors'. Today this ethnic group in Mindanao, who are generally Filipino Muslim, are called "Moros".

The first Muslim conquest of Sicily began in 827, though it was not until 902 that almost the entire island was in the control of the Aghlabids, with the exception of some minor strongholds in the rugged interior. During that period some parts of southern Italy fell under Muslim control, most notably the port city of Bari, which formed the Emirate of Bari from 847–871. In 909, the Aghlabids was replaced by the Isma'ili rulers of the Fatimid Caliphate. [ citation needed ] Four years later, the Fatimid governor was ousted from Palermo when the island declared its independence under Emir Ahmed ibn-Kohrob. The language spoken in Sicily under Muslim rule was Siculo-Arabic.

In 1038, a Byzantine army under George Maniakes crossed the strait of Messina. This army included a corps of Normans that saved the situation in the first clash against the Muslims from Messina. After another decisive victory in the summer of 1040, Maniaces halted his march to lay siege to Syracuse. Despite his success, Maniaces was removed from his position, and the subsequent Muslim counter-offensive reconquered all the cities captured by the Byzantines.

The Norman Robert Guiscard, son of Tancred, invaded Sicily in 1060. The island was split between three Arab emirs, and the Christian population in many parts of the island rose up against the ruling Muslims. One year later, Messina fell, and in 1072 Palermo was taken by the Normans. The loss of the cities, each with a splendid harbor, dealt a severe blow to Muslim power on the island. Eventually all of Sicily was taken. In 1091, Noto in the southern tip of Sicily and the island of Malta, the last Arab strongholds, fell to the Christians. Islamic authors noted the tolerance of the Norman kings of Sicily. Ali ibn al-Athir wrote: "They [the Muslims] were treated kindly, and they were protected, even against the Franks. Because of that, they had great love for King Roger." [48]

The Muslim problem characterized Hohenstaufen rule in Sicily under Holy Roman Emperors Henry VI and his son, Frederick II. Many repressive measures were introduced by Frederick II to appease the popes, who were intolerant of Islam in the heart of Christendom. This resulted in a rebellion by Sicilian Muslims, which in turn triggered organized resistance and systematic reprisals and marked the final chapter of Islam in Sicily. The complete eviction of Muslims and the annihilation of Islam in Sicily was completed by the late 1240s when the final deportations to Lucera took place. [49]

The remaining population of Sicilian Muslims converted to Catholicism due to the incentives put in place by Fredrich II. [50] Some Muslims from Lucera would also later convert due to oppression on the mainland and had their property returned to them and returned to Sicily.

During the reigns of Frederick II as well as his son, Manfred, a large amount of Muslims were brought, as slaves, to farm lands and perform domestic labor. Enslaved persons in Sicily were not afforded the same privileges as the Muslims in mainland Italy. [51] The trend of importing a considerable amount of slaves from the Muslim world did not stop with the Hohenstaufen but was amplified under the Aragonese and Spanish crowns, and was in fact continued until as late as 1838 [52] [53] [54] The majority of which would also come receive the label 'Moors' [55] [56]

Moorish architecture is the articulated Islamic architecture of northern Africa and parts of Spain and Portugal, where the Moors were dominant between 711 and 1492. The best surviving examples of this architectural tradition are the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba and the Alhambra in Granada (mainly 1338–1390), [57] as well as the Giralda in Seville (1184). [58] Other notable examples include the ruined palace city of Medina Azahara (936–1010) and the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, now a church, in Toledo, the Aljafería in Zaragoza and baths such as those at Ronda and Alhama de Granada.


60 Amazing Photos Of Operation Husky, The Amphibious Invasion Of Sicily In WWII

‘Operation Husky’ was the codename for the invasion of Sicily in 1943. The Operation began on the night of 9/10 July. It was a large amphibious and airborne operation, followed by a six-week land campaign. It was the beginning of the Italian Campaign. ‘Husky’ was launched during bad weather, with strong winds which made the whole operation very difficult, but on the other hand, it also surprised Axis defenders.

The Axis lost over 29,000 soldiers (killed or wounded) and 140,000 were captured as POWs. The invasion had also substantial consequences on the Eastern Front. From the Battle of Kursk, the Germans had to withdraw part of their troops to Italy. The Germans managed to evacuate over 100,000 men and 10,000 vehicles.

We have put together this epic photo gallery to give you a closer look at this operation. Enjoy!

A British soldier reads up on Sicily, the target for the next Allied invasion, July 1943. Photo Credit. Royal Air Force glider pilots and pilots of towing aircraft are briefed before the airborne invasion. Photo Credit. The Allied commanders of the campaign photographed in Tunisia. Front row, left to right: The Commander-in-Chief, General Dwight Eisenhower, The Air Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Air Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder the Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Ground Forces Commander, General Alexander and the Naval Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Andrew Cunningham. In the back row are the Hon. Harold MacMillian MP, Brigadier General W B Smith and Air Vice Marshal H E P Wigglesworth (on the extreme right). Photo Credit. Map of the Operation Husky. View of the dockside of Sousse Harbour, Tunisia. Landing craft are loaded with vehicles and equipped in preparation for the invasion. Photo Credit.

L.S.T’s lined up and waiting for tanks to come aboard. Two days before the invasion of Sicily. A jeep is loaded onto an American WACO CG-4A glider before Operation Husky. July, 1943. Photo Credit. Handley Page Halifax A Mark V Series 1 (Special), EB139 ‘NN’, of No. 295 Squadron RAF based at Holmesley South, getting airborne from Portreath, Cornwall, towing Airspeed Horsa glider LG723 to Tunisia, during Operation BEGGAR: the transit of Halifax/Horsa glider combinations from the United Kingdom to North Africa by units of No. 38 Wing RAF, in preparation for the Operation Husky. Photo Credit. A wrecked U.S. Army Air Force Waco CG-4A glider (s/n 42-73623) in Sicily in July 1943. An Airborne Division Horsa glider, after landing off course nose down in a field near Syracuse. Although unsuccessful in achieving their primary objectives, the Airborne forces did cause considerable disruption behind the lines. Photo Credit. The Sicily Landings 9-10 July 1943: A small section of the vast armada of ships which took part in the invasion of Sicily as photographed from landing ship headquarters HILARY at dawn of the first day of the invasion of the island. Photo Credit.

Troops from 51st Highland Division unloading stores from tank landing craft on the opening day of the Allied invasion of Sicily. 10 July 1943. Photo Credit. U.S. Navy LCVPs from USS Joseph T. Dickman (APA-13) landing vehicles through the surf at Gela, Sicily, on 10-12 July 1943. The truck in the center appears to have stalled.

U.S. and British troops landing near Gela, Sicily. 10 July 1943. British troops wade ashore during the invasion of Sicily, 10 July 1943. Photo Credit. During the Allied invasion of Sicily the Liberty ship Robert Rowan (K-40) explodes after being hit by a German Ju 88 bomber off of Gela, Sicily, Italy. 11 July 1943.

British ship HMS Warpite of the coast of Sicily. July 1943. Photo Credit. A British Universal Carrier Mark I comes ashore during the invasion of Sicily on 10 July 1943. Photo Credit. German soldiers on the beach with Tellermines in their hands. Photo Credit. Two bombers Savoia Marchetti S.M. 79 of the Regia Aeronautica flying over the southern coast of Sicily. 1943. Photo Credit. Two German soldiers with machine gun camouflaged between cactuses on Sicily. July 1943. Photo Credit.

German troops in Sicily in the summer of 1943 preparing to fight with the Allies. German troops of the 29th Panzer Division near the Strait of Messina. Summer 1943. German soldiers maintaining the Panzerkampfwagen III N (Sd.Kfz.141/2). July 1943. Photo Credit. Machine gun crew takes a position in a vineyard and securing standing troops. Photo Credit. German artillery crew in action with their 7,5cm cannon. Photo Credit.

Men of 1st Battalion, The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, advance past a burning fuel store on Pantelleria. Left to right: Lance Sergeant A Haywood, Private C Norman and Private H Maw. Photo Credit. British dummy tanks on the Catania Plain. Photo Credit.

A German Mk III tank knocked out during the fierce street fighting in Centuripe. Photo Credit.

American troops advance through a damaged street in Randazzo. Photo Credit. Personnel of a Beach Balloon Detachment bring gas cylinders ashore at “Cent” Beach near Scoglitti, Sicily. Photo Credit. US soldiers in the vicinity of Gela. in the background destroyed German aircraft. 12 July 1943. British wounded being treated, and Italian prisoners of war waiting to be evacuated from the beach on the first day of the invasion of Sicily, 10 July 1943. Photo Credit.

Anti-aircraft FlaK-38 20mm and its crew near Etna, Sicily. 1943. Photo Credit. Destroyed palace after Allied bombing in Palermo. July 1943. Photo Credit. The British Army in Sicily 1943 Men of the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders advance along a road near Noto, 11 July 1943. Photo Credit. Wrecked and damaged Italian fighters outside bomb-shattered hangars at Catania, Sicily, under the scrutiny of an airman, shortly after the occupation of the airfield by the RAF. Photo Credit. Crew from the tank “Eternity” check their vehicle after landing at Red Beach 2, Sicily. 10 July 1943. Panzer VI ‘Tiger I’ in a city in Sicily, Italy. 1943. Photo Credit. Remains of the Italian Navy armed train “T.A. 76/2/T”, destroyed by USS Bristol while opposing the landing at Licata. A 4.2-inch mortar of 1st Princess Louise’s Kensington Regiment in action near Adrano. 6 August 1943. Photo Credit. Map of the advancing lines of the Allies in Sicily during Operation Husky. British Sherman tank advancing near Catania, Sicily. 4 August 1943. Photo Credit. Men of the 6th Inniskillings, 38th Irish Brigade, searching houses during mopping up operations in Centuripe, Sicily. August 1943. Photo Credit. Civilian resident of Misterbianco, near Catania, paints the slogan ‘Viva England’ on a wall after the village had been occupied by the Eighth Army. Photo Credit. A German Panzer III Ausf M moves along a dusty road in Sicily, August 1943. Photo Credit. A British self propelled ‘Priest’ gun in action against the town of Palazzolo. The ‘Priest’ was a 105mm Howitzer mounted on an American M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage and was first used at the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Photo Credit.

Gunners of 66 Medium Regiment Royal Artillery in action on the slopes of Mount Etna at dawn. 11 August 1943. Photo Credit. General Patton during conversation with Lieutenant Colonel Lyle Bernard near Brolo.

The first Royal Air Force Supermarine Spitfire lands at an airfield, converted from a wheat field, watched by Sicilian farmers who are working on the harvested wheat. Photo Credit.

A Martin Baltimore of the Tactical Bomber Force of the North West African Air Forces, flying over its target by a road in Sicily, while bombing retreating German forces heading for Messina. August 1943. Photo Credit. Bombs bursting on the docks and harbour of Pantelleria, as seen from on board the cruiser HMS ORION, in preparation for the allied invasion of the island. Pantelleria, Sicily, 1943. Photo Credit. The successful German rear guard action towards the end of the campaign enabled over 100,00 Axis troops and a large quantity of equipment to be evacuated to Italy from Messina. An aerial photograph shows one of the last German ships to leave Messina on fire after being bombed by the Royal Air Force off the Sicilian coast. Photo Credit.

A Sherman tank passes a tram in the Via Garibaldi during the entry into Catania. 5 August 1943. Photo Credit. A captured Italian 305mm gun being fired at night by the British during the Battle for Catania. This was the biggest gun used during the campaign. Photo Credit. Chandelier flares light up an Allied airfield during a night raid by Axis bombers. Bombs are bursting and a column of smoke rises into the night sky from a fire. Photo Credit. General Bernard Law Montgomery is bid a jolly farewell by Lieutenant General George S. Patton. An Airport at Palermo, Sicily, 28 July 1943. Italian soldiers of the 206th Coastal Division, taken prisoner by British forces after the landing in Sicily. Typical of the second-rate equipment issued to the Coastal Divisions, they are wearing Adrian helmets, rather than the more modern M33 helmets. General Keyes and the General Molinero together arriving at Palermo in order to sign the surrender of the city.

Italian gunboat ‘Geniere’ lies on its side in Palermo Harbour after being hit by a bomb, 23-26 July 1943. The Americans entered Palermo on 22 July, cutting off 50,000 Italian troops in the west of the island. But the mobile Axis forces, including most of the Germans, escaped to the north-east corner of the island. Photo Credit. A huge dump of German Teller mines captured by the Americans near Roccopalunba during their drive on Palermo. Photo Credit.


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