Operation Husky, the Anglo-American amphibious landings on Sicily in July 1943 were the proving ground for all subsequent Allied amphibious operations including Salerno, Anzio, and D-Day in Normandy. Husky's strategic objective was to knock Italy out of the war, a mission that ultimately proved successful. But it also demonstrated the growing ability of Britain and the United States to conduct extremely complex combined-arms attacks involving not only amphibious landings, but also airborne assaults. It was in many ways the precursor of all modern joint operations through the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as two different armies and navies with their own methods of command and control adjusted their practices to conduct a harmonious operation. This stood in stark contrast to the increasingly dysfunctional German-Italian alliance which finally broke down on Sicily.
Not only did the Sicily operation represent a watershed in tactical development of combined arms tactics, it was also an important test for future Allied joint operations. Senior British commanders left the North African theater with a jaundiced and dismissive view of the combat capabilities of the inexperienced US Army after the debacle at Kasserine Pass in Tunisia in February 1943. Sicily was a demonstration that the US Army had rapidly learned its lessons and was now capable of fighting as a co-equal of the British Army.
The Sicily campaign contained a measure of high drama as Patton took the reins of the Seventh US Army and bent the rules of the theater commander in a bold race to take Palermo on the northern Sicilian coast. Patton was determined to prove the ability of the US Army after Kasserine in the hands of a skilled tactical commander. When stiff German resistance halted Montgomery's main assault to Messina through the mountains, Patton was posed to be the first to reach the key Sicilian port and end the campaign.
The Sicily campaign contains a fair amount of controversy as well including the disastrous problems with early airborne assaults and the Allied failure to seal the straits of Messina, allowing the Germans to withdraw many of their best forces.
About the Author
Steven J Zaloga received his BA in History from Union College and his MA from Columbia University. He has worked as an analyst in the aerospace industry for over two decades, covering missile systems and the international arms trade, and has served with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federal think tank. He is the author of numerous books on military technology and military history, with an accent on the US Army in World War II as well as Russia and the former Soviet Union.
Praise for Sicily 1943: The debut of Allied joint operations…
"Written by American aerospace analyst Steven J. Zaloga with illustrations by British artist Howard Gerrard, this is a worthy addition to the line-up of Osprey’s Campaign Series (this is Volume 251 in this popular series). Several easy-to-comprehend maps spice up the text and provide a useful reference to the events being described in the text. Zaloga’s writing style is informative and interesting, and he covers the most important aspect of the Allied invasion in sufficient depth so as to give the reader a solid understanding of the basic movements, the strategy, leaders, equipment, and terrain involved with the attack and defense of Sicily. Gerrard’s slick and well composed paintings and selection of other illustrations and photographs are among the major highlights of the book. The reader will come away with a broad understanding of Operation Husky and its importance in the overall Allied strategy in the Mediterranean."
- Scott L. Mingus, CHARGE! Civil War Wargaming
“…follows the nature and strategies of the Anglo-American amphibious landings on Sicily which set the stage for future landings, and discusses a mission designed to knock Italy out of the war - one that ultimately proved successful. The strategy represented a change in tactical development and was a test for future Allied joint operations - so having this in-depth history covering the extent of operations and planning is central to any serious World War II collection.”
-The Midwest Book Review (March 2013)
"This short book by one of Osprey's best authors summarizes the Sicilian Campaign, from the inital planning to the successful Axis withdrawal. It is a well-written, intelligent summary ... Zaloga's analysis of the failure of the Allies to prevent the Axis escape is particularly interesting and persuasive."
- The Coast Defense Journal (Vol 27, Issue 2)