Sicilian Operation of 1943

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sicilian Operation of 1943

 

military actions undertaken by Anglo-American troops from July 10 to August 17 to capture the island of Sicily at the beginning of the Italian Campaign of 1943—45 during World War II. Sicily was defended by the Italian Sixth Army (commanded by General A. Gussoni), which included nine Italian and two (later, four) German divisions and was supported by air power (about 600 planes).

The Sicilian Operation was carried out by the 15th Army Group (commanded by General H. R. Alexander), which included the British Eighth Army (commanded by General B. Montgomery) and the American Seventh Army (commanded by Lieutenant General G. Patton), in collaboration with large-scale naval and air forces under the overall command of General D. Eisenhower. In all, participating in the operation were 13 divisions and three brigades, 600 tanks, more than 3,200 warships and transport and landing ships (including six battleships, four aircraft carriers, and 30 cruisers), and 4,000 combat, and 900 transport aircraft.

In the first stage of the operation, Anglo-American troops, put on landing ships in British and North African ports, were rushed across the Mediterranean Sea and landed in the southeastern part of the island on the morning of July 10. The Italian divisions deployed on the coast laid down their arms without resistance. The Anglo-American troops, encountering resistance only from the small number of German units, completed their landing by July 14 and established a base.

In the second stage of the operation, the Anglo-American forces advanced and completely cleared the enemy from the island. On August 17, they entered Messina, which had been abandoned by the fascist German troops, who evacuated to continental Italy with all their military equipment. Subsequently, Sicily was used as a base from which Anglo-American troops were landed on the Italian Peninsula.

N. M. CHEREPANOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.