The invasion of Sicily had been on the agenda ever since the Casablanca Conference of January 1943. The success of the "TORCH" landings in French North Africa the previous November was the incubus of Franklin D. Roosevelt's and Winston Churchill's plan for a seaborne assault as soon as the Axis had been defeated in Tunisia. "TORCH was the first major amphibious assault against the Axis, although, in the Pacific, the marines landed on Guadalcanal on Aug 7th. It had to be staged from Continental US, go almost 3000 miles, through U boat infested waters, land troops on hostile beaches, and then keep the sea lanes open for reinforcements"2.
While "TORCH" had been mostly unopposed, Sicily, it was estimated, would be a more difficult conquest because the Italians would be then fighting on their home ground, buttressed by good German troops. That notwithstanding, the allies remained undaunted. A blend of the battle-hardened men of Eighth Army under Montgomery, the profusion of US war ammunition and other materials, and American troops of the Seventh Army under Patton were considered enough to overwhelm the island garrison and bring the war to mainland Italy. Amphibious ships and landing craft were the resource that defined Allied military strategy in 1943-4, and it took six months to assemble enough for the main component of HUSKY, an operation involving 150,000 men and 3,000 ships.
The Allied invasion of Sicily also known as "Operation Husky" was a major World War II invasion. During the invasion, the Allies took Sicily from the Axis. The Allies were primarily from the American, British, and Canadian armies. The axis represented Italy and Nazi Germany. The invasion is often referred to as a grand scale airborne and amphibious exercise, supplemented with approximately six weeks of land combat.
The invasion of Sicily, documented all over the world, was heralded by Canadian newspapers. The invasion is described as one that was easy with little fatalities3. The reader is encouraged with the impression of the "shock and awe" that Iraq was met by the United States and British forces in the 21st century. Clearly, one reading the tales of control and bravery would never guess that Sicily was seized with worthy resistance. Newspaper accounts regale the at home reader with the "spectacle" of British and Canadian forces entering Sicilian borders with some stubborn resistance, but the tone is one of confidence.
Eisenhower himself states:
"The enemy's losses in men and equipment since
the commencement of the campaign had been
enormous. Of his panzer divisions, the equivalent
of five had been destroyed and a further six
severely mauled. The equivalent of 20 infantry divisions had been eliminated and 12 more
(including 3 crack parachute divisions) had
been badly cut up. Three divisions were trapped
in Brittany and another division was isolated
in the Channel Islands. By 25 August the enemy had lost, in round numbers, 400,000 killed, wounded, or captured, of which total 200,000 were prisoners of war"4.
While the newspapers report with pride, the accomplishments of the axis, the history books tell a different story. Tales of heroism and outstanding bravery were reported in Canada. Indeed, one officer who rallied his troops by stating "Never mind the Germans, they can't shoot straight!" was