Sicily - Operation Huskey
June 1943 - November 1943
Map showing the route of the 51st Highland Division through Sicily from the landing at Portopalo to Messina during Operation Huskey, 1943.
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The campaign to retake Sicily was called Operation Husky.
In January 1943, Winston Churchill and the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with their senior military advisers at Casablanca, Morocco, to devise a military strategy for the coming year. With the North African campaign moving toward a successful conclusion, the leaders of the two nations debated where to launch their next blow. Views varied from a direct intervention in mainland Europe through to a continuation of the Mediterranean strategy to take Italy out of the war. After several days of negotiations, they agreed to make Sicily their next target.
General Eisenhower was appointed supreme commander with General Alexander commanding the land forces, Admiral Cunningham the navy and Air Chief Marshall Tedder as the air commander. The land component was divided into to parts, the 8th Army commanded by Montgomery and the 7th Army by Patton.
The original Allied plan was to launch two widely separate landings in the north west and south east of the island. General Montgomery objected on the grounds that this approach violated the principle of a combined and closely coordinated force. After much discussion, the plan was changed with the British 8th Army landing on the south east of the island and the US 7th Army landing on the south. The 51st Highland Division would land on D Day on the south east tip of the Island.
The axis occupation force comprised two Italian corps but there were in addition two German divisions, 15 Panzergrenadier Division and the Herman Goring Division. Although the Italian General Guzzoni was nominally in charge, in reality he was under the direction of General von.