History

Wars & Campaigns

Boer War
First World War

►►Western Front

►►►Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

►►Allied Offensive: 1916

►►►Allied Offensives: 1917

►►►German Offensive: 1918

►►►Advance to Victory: 1918

►►Siberia
Second World War
►►War Against Japan

►►Italian Campaign

►►►Sicily

►►►Southern Italy

►►►The Sangro and Moro

►►►Battles of the FSSF

►►►Cassino

►►►Liri Valley

►►►Advance to Florence

►►►Gothic Line

►►►Winter Lines
►►North-West Europe

►►►Normandy
►►►Southern France
►►►Channel Ports

►►►Scheldt
►►►Nijmegen Salient

►►►Rhineland

►►►Final Phase
Korean War
Cold War
Gulf War

Operations 

GAUNTLET Aug 1941

(Spitsbergen)

HUSKY Jul 1943

 (Sicily)

COTTAGE Aug 1943

 (Kiska)

TIMBERWOLF Oct 1943

(Italy)

OVERLORD Jun 1944

(Normandy)

MARKET-GARDEN Sep 44

(Arnhem)

BERLIN Nov 1944

(Nijmegen)

VERITABLE Feb 1945

(Rhineland)

Battle Honours

Boer War

►Paardeberg

18 Feb 00

First World War
Western Front
Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

Ypres, 1915

22 Apr-25 May 15

Gravenstafel

22-23 Apr 15

St. Julien

24 Apr-4 May 15

Frezenberg

8-13 May 15

Bellewaarde

24-25 May 15

Festubert, 1915

15-25 May 15

Mount Sorrel

2-13 Jun 16

Allied Offensive: 1916

►Somme, 1916

1 Jul-18 Nov 16

►Albert

.1-13 Jul 16

►Bazentin

.14-17 Jul 16

►Pozieres

.23 Jul-3 Sep 16

►Guillemont

.3-6 Sep 16

►Ginchy

.9 Sep 16

Flers-Courcelette

15-22 Sep 16

Thiepval

26-29 Sep 16

►Le Transloy

. 1-18 Oct 16

Ancre Heights

1 Oct-11 Nov 16

Ancre, 1916

13-18 Nov 16

Allied Offensives: 1917

►Arras 1917

8 Apr-4 May 17

Vimy, 1917

.9-14 Apr 17

Arleux

28-29 Apr 17

►Scarpe, 1917

.3-4 May17

►Hill 70

.15-25 Aug 17

►Messines, 1917

.7-14 Jun 17

►Ypres, 1917

..31 Jul-10 Nov 17

►Pilckem

31 Jul-2 Aug 17

►Langemarck, 1917

.16-18 Aug 17

►Menin Road

.20-25 Sep 17

►Polygon Wood

26 Sep-3 Oct 17

►Broodseinde

.4 Oct 17

►Poelcapelle

.9 Oct 17

►Passchendaele

.12 Oct 17

►Cambrai, 1917

20 Nov-3 Dec 17

German Offensive: 1918

►Somme, 1918

.21 Mar-5 Apr 18

►St. Quentin

.21-23 Mar 18

►Bapaume, 1918

.24-25 Mar 18

►Rosieres

.26-27 Mar 18

►Avre

.4 Apr 18

►Lys

.9-29 Apr 18

►Estaires

.9-11 Apr 18

►Messines, 1918

.10-11 Apr 18

►Bailleul

.13-15 Apr 18

►Kemmel

.17-19 Apr 18

Advance to Victory: 1918

Amiens

8-11 Aug 18

►Arras, 1918

.26 Aug-3 Sep 18

►Scarpe, 1918

26-30 Aug 18.

►Drocourt-Queant

.2-3 Sep 18

►Hindenburg Line

.12 Sep-9 Oct 18

►Canal du Nord

.27 Sep-2 Oct 18

►St. Quentin Canal .29 Sep-2 Oct 18
►Epehy

3-5 Oct 18

►Cambrai, 1918

.8-9 Oct 18

►Valenciennes

.1-2 Nov 18

►Sambre

.4 Nov 18

►Pursuit to Mons .28 Sep-11Nov

Second World War

War Against Japan

South-East Asia

Hong Kong

 8-25 Dec 41

Italian Campaign

Battle of Sicily

Landing in Sicily 

   9-12 Jul 43

Grammichele 

15 Jul 43

Piazza Armerina

16-17 Jul 43

Valguarnera

17-19 Jul 43

Assoro 

  20-22 Jul 43

Leonforte

 21-22 Jul 43

Agira

24-28 Jul 43

Adrano 

29 Jul-7 Aug 43

Catenanuova

29-30 Jul 43

Regalbuto

29 Jul-3 Aug 43

Centuripe

  31 Jul-3 Aug 43

Troina Valley

 2-6 Aug 43

Pursuit to Messina

 2-17 Aug 43

 Southern Italy

Landing at Reggio

 3 Sep 43

Potenza 19-20 Sep 43
Motta Montecorvino 1-3 Oct 43
Termoli 3-6 Oct 43
Monte San Marco 6-7 Oct 43
Gambatesa 7-8 Oct 43
Campobasso 11-14 Oct 43
Baranello 17-18 Oct 43
Colle d'Anchise 22-24 Oct 43
Torella 24-27 Oct 43

The Sangro and Moro

The Sangro

19 Nov-3 Dec 43

Castel di Sangro

.23-24 Nov 43

The Moro

5-7 Dec 43

San Leonardo

8-9 Dec 43

The Gully

..10-19 Dec 43

Casa Berardi

 ..14-15 Dec 43

Ortona

20-28 Dec 43

San Nicola-San

.31 Dec 43

Tommaso

.
Point 59/ 29 Dec 43-

Torre Mucchia

4 Jan 44

Battles of the FSSF
Monte Camino

.5 Nov-9 Dec 43

Monte la Difensa-

2-8 Dec 43

 Monte la Remetanea

.
Hill 720

25 Dec 43

Monte Majo

3-8 Jan 44.

Radicosa

4 Jan 44

Monte Vischiataro

8 Jan 44

Anzio

22 Jan-22 May 44

Rome

.22 May-4 Jun 44

Advance

.22 May-22 Jun 44

to the Tiber

.
►Monte Arrestino

25 May 44

►Rocca Massima

27 May 44

►Colle Ferro

2 Jun 44

Cassino
►Cassino II

11-18 May 44

►Gustav Line

11-18 May 44

►Sant' Angelo in

13 May 44

Teodice

.
►Pignataro

14-15 May 44

Liri Valley
Liri Valley

18-30 May 44

►Hitler Line

18-24 May 44

►Aquino

18-24 May 44

►Melfa Crossing

24-25 May 44

►Ceprano

26-27 May 44

►Torrice Crossroads

30 May 44

Advance to Florence
Advance

17 Jul-10 Aug 44

to Florence

.
Trasimene Line

20-30 Jun 44

Sanfatucchio

20-21 Jun 44

Arezzo

4-17 Jul 44

Cerrone

25 - 31 Aug 44

Gothic Line
►Gothic Line

25 Aug-22 Sep 44

►Monteciccardo

27-28 Aug 44

►Montecchio

30-31 Aug 44

►Point 204 (Pozzo Alto)

31 Aug 44

►Monte Luro

1 Sep 44

►Borgo Santa Maria

1 Sep 44

►Tomba di Pesaro

1-2 Sep 44

►Coriano

3-15 Sep 44

►Lamone Crossing

2-13 Sep 44

Winter Lines
►Rimini Line

14-21 Sep 44

►San Martino-

14-18 Sep 44

San Lorenzo

.
►San Fortunato

18-20 Sep 44

►Casale

23-25 Sep 44

►Sant' Angelo

11-15 Sep 44

 in Salute

.
►Bulgaria Village

13-14 Sep 44

►Cesena

15-20 Sep 44

►Pisciatello

16-19 Sep 44

►Savio Bridgehead

20-23 Sep 44

►Monte La Pieve

13-19 Oct 44

►Monte Spaduro

19-24 Oct 44

►Monte San Bartolo

11-14 Nov 44

►Capture of Ravenna

3-4 Dec 44

►Naviglio Canal

12-15 Dec 44

►Fosso Vecchio

16-18 Dec 44

►Fosso Munio

19-21 Dec 44

►Conventello-

2-6 Jan 45

Comacchio

.
►Granarolo

3-5 Jan 44

Northwest Europe
Dieppe

19 Aug 42

Battle of Normandy
Normandy Landing

6 Jun 44

Authie

7 Jun 44

Putot-en-Bessin

8 Jun 44

Bretteville

8-9 Jun 44

       -l'Orgueilleuse .
Le Mesnil-Patry

11 Jun 44

Carpiquet

4-5 Jul 44

Caen

4-18 Jul 44

The Orne (Buron)

8-9 Jul 44

Bourguébus Ridge

18-23 Jul 44

Faubourg-de-

18-19 Jul 44

       Vaucelles .
St. André-sur-Orne

19-23 Jul 44

Maltôt

22-23 Jul 44

Verrières Ridge-Tilly--

25 Jul 44

         la-Campagne .
Falaise

7-22 Aug 44

►Falaise Road

7-9 Aug 44

►Quesnay Road

10-11 Aug 44

Clair Tizon

11-13 Aug 44

►The Laison

14-17 Aug 44

►Chambois

18-22 Aug 44

►St. Lambert-sur-

19-22 Aug 44

       Dives

.

Dives Crossing

17-20 Aug 44

Forêt de la Londe

27-29 Aug 44

The Seine, 1944

25-28 Aug 44

Southern France
Southern France

15-28 Aug 44

Channel Ports
Dunkirk, 1944

8-15 Sep 44

Le Havre

1-12 Sep 44

Moerbrugge

8-10 Sep 44

Moerkerke

13-14 Sep 44

Boulogne, 1944

17-22 Sep 44

Calais, 1944

25 Sep-1 Oct 44

Wyneghem

21-22 Sep 44

Antwerp-Turnhout

   24-29 Sep 44

Canal

.

The Scheldt

The Scheldt

1 Oct-8 Nov 44

Leopold Canal

6-16 Oct-44

►Woensdrecht

1-27 Oct 44

Savojaards Platt

9-10 Oct 44

Breskens Pocket

11 Oct -3 Nov 44

►The Lower Maas

20 Oct -7 Nov 44

►South Beveland

 24-31 Oct 44

Walcheren

31 Oct -4 Nov 44

Causeway

.

Nijmegen Salient
Ardennes

Dec 44-Jan 45

Kapelsche Veer

31 Dec 44-

.

21Jan 45

The Roer

16-31 Jan 45

Rhineland
The Rhineland

8 Feb-10 Mar 45

►The Reichswald

8-13 Feb 45

►Waal Flats

8-15 Feb 45

►Moyland Wood

14-21 Feb 45

►Goch-Calcar Road

19-21 Feb 45

►The Hochwald

26 Feb-

.

4 Mar 45

►Veen

6-10 Mar 45

►Xanten

8-9 Mar 45

Final Phase
The Rhine

23 Mar-1 Apr 45

►Emmerich-Hoch

28 Mar-1 Apr 45

Elten

.
►Twente Canal

2-4 Apr 45

Zutphen

6-8 Apr 45

Deventer

8-11 Apr 45

Arnhem, 1945

12-14 Apr 45

Apeldoorn

11-17 Apr 45

Groningen

13-16 Apr 45

Friesoythe

14 Apr 45

►Ijselmeer

15-18 Apr 45

Küsten Canal

17-24 Apr 45

Wagenborgen

21-23 Apr 45

Delfzijl Pocket

23 Apr-2 May 45

Leer

28-29 Apr 45

Bad Zwischenahn

23 Apr-4 May 45

Oldenburg

27 Apr-5 May 45

Korean War
Kapyong

21-25 Apr 51

Domestic Missions

FLQ Crisis

International Missions

ICCS            Vietnam 1973

MFO                 Sinai 1986-

Peacekeeping

UNMOGIP

India 1948-1979

UNTSO

 Israel 1948-    ....

UNEF

Egypt 1956-1967

UNOGIL

Lebanon 1958    ....

ONUC

 Congo 1960-1964

UNYOM

Yemen 1963-1964

UNTEA

W. N. Guinea 1963-1964

UNIFCYP

 Cyprus 1964-    ....

DOMREP

D. Republic 1965-1966

UNIPOM

Kashmir 1965-1966

UNEFME

Egypt 1973-1979

UNDOF

Golan 1974-    ....

UNIFIL

 Lebanon 1978    ....

UNGOMAP

Afghanistan 1988-90

UNIIMOG

Iran-Iraq 1988-1991

UNTAG

Namibia 1989-1990

ONUCA

C. America 1989-1992

UNIKOM

Kuwait 1991    ....

MINURSO

W. Sahara 1991    ....

ONUSAL

El Salvador 1991    ....

UNAMIC

Cambodia 1991-1992

UNAVEM II

Angola 1991-1997

UNPROFOR

Yugosla. 1992-1995

UNTAC

Cambodia 1992-1993

UNOSOM

Somalia 1992-1993

ONUMOZ

Mozambiq. 1993-1994

UNOMUR

 Rwanda 1993    ....

UNAMIR

Rwanda 1993-1996

UNMIH

Haiti 1993-1996

UNMIBH

Bosnia/Herz.1993-1996

UNMOP

Prevlaka 1996-2001

UNSMIH

Haiti 1996-1997

MINUGUA

Guatemala 1994-1997

UNTMIH

Haiti 1997    ....

MIPONUH

 Haiti 1997    ....

MINURCA

C.Afr.Rep. 1998-1999

INTERFET

E. Timor 1999-2000

UNAMSIL

Sie. Leone 1999-2005

UNTAET

E. Timor 1999-2000

Exercises

 

Operation HUSKY

(Note: this article describes the planning and other items of interest regarding Operation HUSKY: discussion of the actual battles and fighting on Sicily will be covered in other articles on the site.)

Operation HUSKY was the Allied code name for the invasion of Sicily during the Second World War. This operation was executed on 10 July 1943, resulting in the Battle of Sicily.

Choosing the Target

Allied grand strategy during the Second World War has been a long-standing subject of controversy. The centre of gravity of Allied offensive operations moved firmly to the Mediterranean in late 1942, with US and British landings in North Africa. The decision was made to continue to prosecute the war in that theatre. By the time German resistance in North Africa collapsed in May 1943, plans were already in place to strike again in the Mediterranean, by invading Sicily. Italy was one of the three major partners in the Axis and such an invasion would mark the first time fighting would take place directly on enemy soil.

The decision to concentrate in the Mediterranean was not reached easily; until late 1942 the United States was keen on entering north-west Europe with an invasion launched across the English Channel.

By early 1943, the war against Germany had turned in favour of the Allies. The Battle of the Atlantic was being won by the American, British and Canadian navies...The Allies had also achieved decisive victories on both fronts where their ground forces were engaged - North Africa, where a quarter-million Germans and Italians were trapped in Tunisia, and the Soviet Union, where two hundred thousand Germans had been lost in Stalingrad.

Everyone knew that, sooner or later, the western Allies must invade Continental Europe. But the British and American leadership disagreed sharply on the question of timing. The Americans were anxious to mount an invasion via the English Channel into occupied France as soon as possible, while the British...preferred to delay this inevitable confrontation...American and British philosophies of war were diametrically opposed: American military doctrine was based on direct confrontation with the foe, and the shortest route to Berlin...lay across the Channel and through France; the British, wary of the high human cost of this approach, preferred to use their naval superiority to chip at the periphery of occupied Europe until a weak point appeared.1

Options in the Mediterranean included an invasion of Sardinia (a plan called Operation BRIMSTONE was drawn up for this eventuality) as well as an invasion of Sicily. Sardinia was less heavily defended, but while it offered good airfields for supporting future operations in the Mediterranean, it had little in the way of good harbours or beaches. General George C. Marshall, the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, felt that Sicily, Sardinia and Crete would all have to be taken to secure the Mediterranean, and that the large forces necessary could not be justified. The British came to feel that driving Italy out of the war was a laudable goal and that invasion of France could be postponed to 1944.

Planning

Sicily was finally chosen as the next Allied target at the Casablanca Conference in Jan 1943. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, and the leader of French forces in exile (Free French), Charles de Gaulle, were all present. The Conference was notable in that the Allies agreed to call on the unconditional surrender of the Axis, as well as committing themselves to an invasion of Sicily and then Italy, as well as greater aid to the Soviet Union. While many questions of grand strategy had been resolved by this face to face meeting of the Allied war leaders (Russian leader Joseph Stalin and Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King were not among them - Stalin had been invited, King had not), the question of the Mediterranean had been thorny. The US reluctantly agreed, despite the British thought that forcing Italy out would oblige Germany to send troops to Yugoslavia and Greece that were otherwise needed to fight on the Eastern Front, and eventually the Western Front when it opened in France.

Unfortunately, the Casablance directive concerning Operation HUSKY was flawed. Observes American historian Carlo D'Este: "It established Sicily as an end in itself rather than as the first step in an agreed joint strategy for the Mediterranean." Further friction between the allies was certain because, although the Americans did not yet know it, Churchill had no intention of stopping there.

The post-Casablanca preparations for the invasion of Sicily amount to a textbook study of how not to plan a military operation.2

Command Structure

A command structure was set up in February 1943 with Allied Forces Headquarters under US General Dwight D. Eisenhower at Algiers in overall command of the Mediterranean theatre. Task Force 141 (named after the hotel room in Algiers in which the organizers first met) later became the 15th Army Group under British General Harold Alexander. This organization was to oversee all land operations. Two armies would serve in this group; an American group called Force 343 eventually became the American 7th Army under US Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr., and Force 545 "essentially the British 8th Army" under General Bernard Law Montgomery.3

 
 
  Allied Force Headquarters General Dwight D. Eisenhower  
 
 
  15th Army Group General Harold Alexander  
7th US Army Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr. British 8th Army General Bernard L. Montgomery

Landing Areas

Planning for the invasion was hampered by the fact that the senior commanders involved were still fully occupied by the campaign in North Africa; US forces suffered a severe blow at Kasserine Pass in the latter half of Feb 1943, being routed by experienced German forces. Indeed, British and American forces were both stumbling in their operations to clear Axis forces off the African continent.

One historian opines that:

Force 141 eventually produced eight plans of which the front runner involved a multi-pronged invasion at several widely separated points from Palermo in the west to Catania in the east. Inexplicably the best, and to a layman obvious, option seems never to have been seriously considered. Landings along the Messina and Calabrian coasts, coupled with landings elsewhere, would have cut off the Axis forces from either reinforcement or evacuation and placed them in a hopeless situation.4

The problem with Sicily was that it was "an island admirably suited by position and terrain for defence against invasion from anywhere except Italy. Separated from the Italian peninsula by the Strait of Messina, which at its narrowest is only two miles wide, the island had long provided a natural springboard for the projection of Axis troops into Tunisia - for Cape Bon on the African mainland is but ninety miles from Sicily's western tip."5

Reinforcement from Italy by air or sea would be very easy for the Axis forces. The terrain on Sicily is also marked by hilly and mountainous terrain. In fact, the only flat ground of note was the plain at Catania, above which towers Mount Etna. Few roads existed in the interior of the island. The need to have a port through which supplies could flow was a major factor in the planning.

The Canadian official history described why Messina was rejected as an immediate objective despite being the largest port in Sicily which would materially aid Axis reinforcement of the island:

A direct assault on the port or its vicinity could not be contemplated...for the Strait of Messina was completely closed to Allied shipping by mines and coast defence batteries, and was beyond the effective range of Allied fighter cover based on Malta and Tunisia. It was therefore necessary to look elsewhere for invasion sites through which operations could be developed to overrun the island.6

Direct assaults on any of the port facilities were not contemplated, in fact, and "planning focused on beaches from the very beginning."7 The coast of Sicily extends for a distance of 600 miles, and Allied intelligence identified 90 miles of beaches suitable for landing operations. Only two sectors were within range of Allied air cover, however. Of the port facilities on Sicily, three were considered "major" ports - Messina, Palermo and Catania. Estimated daily clearance through those ports was 4,000 to 5,000 tons in the case of Messina, 2,000 for Palermo and 1,800 for Catania. (A division required 500 tons of supplies a day, and one RAF squadron required 30 tons.) Discussions early on decided that at least one major port had to be taken early on in the invasion (though it was recognized that there were smaller harbours around the perimeter of the island as well).8

Other considerations were the availability of airfields, both for Allied use upon capture, as well as the ability of the enemy to use them to oppose the landings. Airfield locations in Sicily were determined by geography rather than tactical considerations; almost all were located within 15 miles of the coast and concentrated in three clusters. Allied planners felt that the immediate objective of the assault forces should be the airfields in both the south-east and the west "in order to provide the extension of air cover required for the capture of the ports of Catania and Palermo."9

Casablanca Outline Plan

Therefore, early plans (referred to as the Casablanca Outline Plan) concentrated on landings simultaneously at Palermo and Catania, with British forces landing on D-Day in the south-east with 3 divisions and the mission of securing airfields and the ports of Syracuse and Catania. Three days later, using those airfields for friendly fighter cover, and additional infantry division, a brigade group, and an airborne division would assault the Catania region to secure additional airfields and the port itself. On D-Day, one US division would land at Sciacca on the south-west coast, to capture western airfields in preparation for an assault on Palermo to be delivered on D+2 by two US divisions, whose mission included securing the port there. These plans were finalized by mid-Mar 1943. Two reserve divisions (one for each Task Force) were allotted, to be ashore by D+7.10

Second Outline Plan

The naval, ground and air commanders (British Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham, General Alexander, and British Air Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, respectively) all objected to the Casablanca Outline Plan. Alexander did not like the wide dispersion of the landings, and Cunningham and Tedder both agreed that the quick seizure of enemy airfields at Ponte Olivo was essential due to their proximity to the Allied naval forces that would be offshore. The commanders of the two armies also opposed the plan; General Montgomery wanted another division for his force though "it was not clear whence such additional strength would be found forthcoming...the limiting factor was once again that of shipping, for all sea transport and landing craft expected to be available for "Husky" had already been assigned." It was felt that a redistribution of available forces would be the only solution.11

The US landing at Sciacca was therefore cancelled, and the single division scheduled to land there moved to Gela - however, this compromise left a single US division under British command in the south-east of the island. This action also meant that neutralization of the airfields in the west would have to be done by air, thereby putting the dates for the Palermo landings in doubt as they could not be attempted without aerial superiority. "There thus appeared the unwelcome prospect of condemning the assaulting Seventh Army...to stay aboard (ships) for an indeterminate period after D plus 3 somewhere between the North African ports and Western Sicily, exposed to possible attack from hostile aircraft based on the airfields behind Sciacca."12

Eisenhower and the British Chiefs of Staff all opposed the new plan. By Apr, the plan was revised yet again, to deal with concerns that Palermo would be used by the enemy to reinforce Sicily, and make effective use of the airfields in the western part of the island.

At the time Canadian participation was announced in mid-Apr, the plan had changed considerably and took the following form:

  • Another British division from North Africa was sent to land at Gela, allowing the US division to once again land at Sciacca.

  • A divisional landing at Catania on D+3 was scrubbed in favour of leaving it in reserve at Malta for employment on or after D+1 as needed. This division would not be assault trained, and simply ferried to Sicily on craft used during the initial landings, thereby not increasing the number of landing craft needed for this additional British division.

  • Four British divisions to land on beaches from Avola to Gela on D-Day

  • US landing at Sciacca postponed to D+2

  • US landing of two divisions at Palermo on D+5

  • Two divisions in reserve (one for each Task Force) available in North Africa

  • Staggered airborne landings in support of the beach landings

General Montgomery opposed this plan as well, citing that it lacked concentration of force, and felt that the ability of Axis forces to resist was underestimated. General Alexander disagreed that enemy strength was not appreciated. It was realized that the garrison on Sicily might easily outnumber the invaders. For planning purposes, enemy strength was estimated at two German divisions and six Italian mobile divisions with five Italian coastal divisions (or 13 in total). (In the event, the actual numbers were two, four and six, or 12 in total.) The Allies had only ten divisions (including airborne formations), with two in reserve. The Allied advantages of choosing the battlefield as well as naval and air superiority, as well as material advantages on land (over the Italians if not the Germans) would be compromised by the dispersal of effort called for in the new plan.13

Beset by rivalry and conflict, the planning for Husky quickly bogged down, and for some time there was a real possibility that there would be no invasion of Sicily. The crisis was not resolved until 3 May, when Eisenhower intervened decisively...enabling the project to proceed.14

Final Plan

The final plan saw the US landings in the west cancelled, with the entire Western Task Force (US 7th Army) instead landing immediately to the left of the Eastern Task Force (British 8th Army).

The plan, which had originally called for a double assault directed at the Palermo and Catania areas, had been altered to provide instead for a single concentrated blow at the south-eastern corner of the island. A significant feature of the scheme was the fact that it did not depend upon the immediate capture of a major port. The assault forces would be maintained in the first instance over open beaches, the process being facilitated by the many novel types of landing ships and craft now available. The successful attack on Sicily has been called a landmark in the development of the technique of combined operations, signaling the transition from the belief in the absolute essentiality of obtaining a port at the earliest possible moment...to the conception of "beach maintenance" which was adopted...in Lower Normandy in 1944.15

The cancellation of the western landings meant that Palermo's port could not be used to support the invasion; Alexander "chose to take this administrative risk rather than the operational one of too much dispersion."16

Canadian Participation

Canadian participation was also a matter of some controversy. Canadian troops had not yet been employed in a major operation outside of the Dieppe Raid in August 1942. The commander of the Canadians in the UK, General A.G.L. McNaughton, preferred to keep his divisions under a unified command until the main battle in Europe was underway. However, with the knowledge that the invasion would not take place until 1944, Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King asked the British Prime Minister in March 1943 if Canada might contribute to the upcoming battles in the Mediterranean. The British in turn, specifically the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Sir Alan Brooke, requested an infantry division and a tank brigade. Canada agreed, though General McNaughton argued in vain against splitting up his forces and pressed for a limited role in HUSKY.

McNaughton had agreed to participation in the Sicilian operation if the 1st Division returned to Britain thereafter; he objected to the dispatch of I Canadian Corps, which left his First Canadian Army with only one corps and hence with its existence in doubt. He said he was prepared to resign if this policy were carried out. McNaughton knew that, as the Governor General in Ottawa wrote privately to Prime Minister Churchill, he had become an "idol in the eyes of his countrymen."17

The move did not make McNaughton popular with General Sir Alan Brooke, who felt McNaughton "devoid of any form of strategic outlook, and would sooner have risked losing the war than agreed to splitting the Canadian forces." His opposition contributed to his relief as senior Canadian combatant commander later in 1943.18

In April 1943, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division officially replaced the British 3rd Infantry Division in the order of battle.19

Canadian troops on the way to Sicily. Both soldiers have been kitted out with Khaki Drill clothing, and a Clasp Knife can be seen suspended from the equipment of the man at left. He also carries a .45 calibre Thompson submachine gun, standard issue for Commonwealth soldiers in the Mediterranean. LAC Photo

Axis Forces

  • Italian 6th Army

    • German XIV Panzer Corps

      • German Parachute Division 1 (reserve)

      • German Panzergrenadier Division 15

      • German Panzergrenadier Division 29

      • German Fallschirmpanzer Division "Hermann Göring"

      • Infanterie Division 382

      • Italian 4th "Livorno" Motorized Infantry Division

      • Italian 26th "Assietta" Mountain Division

      • Italian 28th "Aosta" Infantry Division

      • Italian 54th "Napoli" Infantry Division

    • Italian XII Corps

      • 202nd Coastal Division

      • 207th Coastal Division

      • 208th Coastal Division

      • 133rd Coastal Regiment

    • Italian XVI Corps

      • 206th Coastal Division

      • 213th Coastal Division

      • 18th Coastal Brigade

      • 19th Coastal Brigade

 

Allied Forces

  • 15th Army Group

    • US 7th Army

      • U.S. II Corps

        • US 1st Infantry Division

        • US 9th Infantry Division

        • US 45th Infantry Division

      • US Provisional Corps

        • US 2d Armored Division

        • US 3d Infantry Division

        • US 82nd Airborne Division

    • British 8th Army

      • British 46th Infantry Division (Army reserve)

      • British XIII Corps

        • British 5th Infantry Division

        • British 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division

        • British 78th Infantry Division

        • Elements of British 1st Airborne Division

        • British 4th Armoured Brigade

      • British XXX Corps

        • 1st Canadian Infantry Division

        • 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade

        • British 51st (Highland) Infantry Division

        • British 23rd Armoured Brigade

        • British 231st Infantry Brigade

Notes

  1. Dancocks, Daniel G. The D-Day Dodgers: The Canadians in Italy, 1943-1945 (McClelland & Stewart Inc., Toronto, ON, 1991) ISBN 0771025440 p.7

  2. Ibid, p.9

  3. Ibid p.10

  4. McKay, A. Donald Gaudeamus Igitur "Therefore Rejoice" (Bunker to Bunker Books, Calgary, AB, 2005) ISBN 1894255534 p.49

  5. Nicholson, Gerald Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War. Volume II: The Canadians in Italy, 1943-1945 (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1957) p.10

  6. Ibid, p.11

  7. Dancocks, Ibid, p.11

  8. Nicholson, Ibid, pp.11-12

  9. Ibid, p.12

  10. Ibid, pp.13-15

  11. Ibid, pp.14-15

  12. Ibid, p.15

  13. Ibid, pp.17-18

  14. Dancocks, Ibid, p.12

  15. Stacey, C.P. The Canadian Army 1939-1945: An Official Historical Summary (King's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1948) p.95

  16. Nicholson, Ibid, p.19

  17. Granatstein, Jack The Generals: The Canadian Army's Senior Commanders in the Second World War (Stoddart Publishing Co. Ltd., Toronto, ON, 1993) ISBN 0773727302 pp.74-75

  18. Alexander papers, cable from Alexander to brooke, quoted in Granatstein, Ibid, p.77

  19. Stacey, Ibid, p.94


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