July, 1943 – Allied invasion of Sicily

 

Cecil Jensen, Chicago Daily News

The Allied invasion of Sicily, code named Operation Husky, was a large scale  amphibious and airborne operation, followed by six weeks of land combat.

Husky began on the night of July 9, 1943, and ended August 17. Strategically, it achieved its goals by driving Axis air and naval forces from the island, opening the Mediterranean sea lane, toppling Mussolini from power and opening the way to the Allied invasion of Italy.

The operational plan called for the amphibious assault of the island by two armies, one landing to the south east and one on the central southern coast. Overall command was lead by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, with General Sir Harold Alexander acting as his second in command.

S.J. Ray, K.C. Star

The Allied land forces were from the American, British, and Canadian armies and structured as two task forces. The Eastern Task Force was lead by General Bernard Montgomery; the Western Task Force by General George Patton.

Casualties on the Axis side totaled 29,000, with 140,000 (mostly Italians) captured. The US lost 2,572 killed; the British suffered 2,721 dead, Canada lost 562 killed.   For many of the American forces and for the entire Canadian contingent, this was their first time in combat.

 

Burt Thomas, Lynchburg News

The invasion of Sicily brought the war to Italy’s doorstep and turned Italian public opinion against the Fascist government and against Mussolini in particular.  He was removed from power as Prime Minister on July 24 and spent much of the rest of the war, until his death in 1945, in hiding.

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